Inbound marketing does not have to be overly complicated, but it does require common sense, patience, and that creative spark.
In reality, not too many businesses execute inbound marketing well; or at least not enough businesses are taking advantage of inbound marketing strategies and the impact they can have on their brand, product, or service.
This leaves room for opportunity and growth, who doesn’t like the sound of that?
Seriously, what the heck is inbound marketing?
Strategic digital marketing channels that create engagement, and capture the audience’s attention, by answering search queries as quickly and efficiently as possible. In short, your business provides something the search user wants or needs. Does that make sense?
Inbound marketing compliments the flow of your overall digital marketing campaigns as users search the web, use mobile devices and social media, and has been proven to be the most effective form of online business.
Beware of the noise and disruptions
Nothing works out perfectly and there will always be some hitch to any plan; inbound marketing is no different. Different types of noise and disruptions affect the effectiveness of communication between the business and its audience.
These disruptions come in many forms of media, such as pop-ups and spam. This can disengage your target audience from your message, therefore working against the inbound marketing flow. All that hard work to deliver a message can be instantly wiped away due to the audience’s attention being disrupted.
What types of inbound marketing are available online:
- Content Marketing
- Email Marketing
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO), etc.
You don’t have to choose. All of these tactics can (and should) be included in a well-integrated marketing strategy. It is a good idea to prioritize though. If you choose to blog as your priority, here are a few things all other marketing channels can help with:
SEO: Use keywords
Make sure that you know what keywords you want your business blog to be found for when customers and prospects do online searches. Then, use those keywords in your titles, HTML headings, and the first paragraphs of your blog posts.
You can use a WordPress SEO plugin (WordPress SEO by Yoast is an easy-to-use option) to simplify the process of choosing and using keywords.
Branding: Add images
Some bloggers still don’t use images in their posts. This is a big mistake, since adding visuals enhances your results in search engines. However, it’s also a big mistake to use random photos grabbed from Google searches, since this can get you in hot water with the photographers who own the pictures.
Branding: Provide value
Are your blog posts providing something your prospective customers want? If your posts sound like press releases, it’s no wonder customers aren’t reading.
As you write, focus on giving your customers useful information, helping to solve a problem they have or just being entertaining (depending on your business).
Content Marketing: Post Regularly
The best results are obtained by posting two or three times a week. However, if you can’t do it that often, don’t stress. Any amount of blogging is better than nothing—and regularity is more important than quantity.
In other words, it’s better to post twice a month than to put up six posts at once and then do nothing for two months. A regular posting schedule shows readers your business is up and running.
Email Marketing: Promote your posts in your emails
No matter how good your SEO, you can’t just create a blog and hope people find it online. Promote your blog in all possible avenues, especially in your email newsletter.
CRO: Include a call to action
Invite readers to comment, click on a link for more information, contact you, download something, or otherwise take action as part of every blog post.
Monitor Your Competition
Keeping an eye on your competitors will give you even more ideas on how to utilize other marketing tactics to empower your prioritized channel.
The reality of why every business needs to understand inbound marketing
As mentioned many types of inbound marketing channels can be mixed to gain positive web results, however, it is not something that happens overnight.
You should expect that this type of marketing requires hard work, planning, and patience; because establishing quality links and developing content that is ‘sticky’ is not easy (or else everyone would be doing it).
What I love about inbound marketing is that it can build and be its driving force, requiring less input from the marketer while the website’s Domain Authority, Domain Trust, and PageRank still increase steadily over time.
The secret recipe is a secret (Google has that locked up tight), but as digital marketers, we have a good idea of what works and what does not from testing, recording data, experience, and of course the Google guidelines. Therefore we need to be constantly testing different marketing tactics to see which works best. Getting it right the first time is not realistic, it requires a digital marketing refinement process.
As mentioned earlier, very few competitors invest in inbound marketing, and do it properly, leaving a wide open gap for you to take advantage of and become a market leader in your location. Now, go forth and conquer!