Inbound Marketing

NOTE: the Link Roundup is beneath this post.
Inbound MarketingIf you’ve tried to figure out what your business should be doing online anytime within the past 2 years, you’ve no doubt run across the term, “Inbound Marketing”.

Simply put:

“Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy
that focuses on getting found by customers.”

Inbound marketing. (2011, July 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 11:29, August 26, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Inbound_marketing&oldid=442417459

Inbound marketing is the opposite of  the more traditional”Outbound Marketing” (or as it is pejoratively called, “Interruption Marketing”) where the goal is to go to where customers live and direct their attention to your products and services (think TV and magazine ads).

The goal of inbound marketing is to create a spot where potential and current customers can, and want to, find you and, once they have you can:

  • Establish your expertise and authority around your products and services, and
  • Expose them to information about your products and services.

The key to having customers want to find you is to provide value in some way and most often, this value takes the form of online content.

Online Content Marketing

The reason that online content is so popular is that it’s the quickest, easiest and cheapest way for any company to get up-and-running with inbound marketing.

The most common form of online content marketing takes the form of a blog. That’s not how it has to be (you can just create pages on your website with content as well), but a lot of work has gone into creating solid blogging platforms which meet the “quickest, easiest and cheapest” criteria and online visitors have grown used to, and comfortable with, the blog format.

It doesn’t matter if the content you provide takes the form of text, video, white papers or any of the other cool online methods of communication, the important thing is that it provides real value to your potential and current customers.

Your content can both:

  • Educate – help your customers understand your products and services by answering what, why, how, and when.
  • Entertain – whether you make visitors laugh or cry, make sure they remember it so they’ll keep coming back for more.

Your content should NOT be an advertisement. Sure, you can (and should) use personal anecdotes and mention your products and services, but only when it helps demonstrate a point. If your content is purely promotional, you will not realize the most powerful effect of inbound marketing: repeat visits.

Remember that readers are always thinking, “What’s in it for me?” Answer that question and you will satisfy their needs and add value.

Online content marketing’s biggest advantage is that search engines LOVE good content and will reward you by sending folks your way. You can learn more about this in my post, “Search Engines Don’t Hate You: Winning at SEO“.

Learning More About Inbound Marketing

Below are some links to help you learn more about inbound marketing:

Weekly Link Roundup

Weekly Link RoundupEach week, I collect the 10 best posts that I’ve read and share them with you here.

These posts focus on small business solutions or resources online (or both!).

Enjoy!

New Infographic: The Brandsphere by Brian Solis and JESS3: A powerful graphic representation on the channels you can use to spread your brand story far and wide.

Twitter Adds Galleries for Users’ Last 100 Tweeted Photos: If you’re like me, you don’t often access Twitter directly (I use Hootsuite) so you did not see this new feature on your Twitter profile. Learn more and then check out your Twitter profile.

The Ultimate Cheat Sheet for Mastering LinkedIn: Take action to enhance your effectiveness on LinkedIn with these 20 tips you can use right away.

7 Ways to Sync Social Media With Traditional Marketing: I love when folks link online and offline marketing! Here are some actionable tips for doing just that.

Automation can save you from overdraft and late fees: One of the most powerful aspects of managing your business online is automation. This post is a wake-up call on one reason it’s important.

Web-Based Gift Registries Level the Retail Playing Field: Running a gift registry for your customers used to cost a lot in terms of time and expense. That’s not true anymore and your company can benefit directly.

The 7 Golden Rules For A Great Website: Basic but solid tips for achieving your website goals.

LinkedIn Secrets: 3 Reasons Why Most Small Business Owners Fail To Attract Clients Using LinkedIn: Actionable tips for increasing the effectiveness of LinkedIn for your business.

Six Tips for Mobile Marketing to Engage Customers: Mobile continues to be the hottest topic around. Here are some approaches to use for making the most of a potential customer’s cell phone.

The Dark Side Of Viral Content: An interesting story and helpful tips highlight the pluses and minuses of “linkbaiting”. This is especially relevant given the “Content Marketing” topic above.

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Comments

  1. Matt, you had me at ‘inbound marketing’ brother. ;-)

    For me, these two words are as important as anything a business can possibly do at this point. It’s critical. And it can change lives, as it has done with me.

    And thanks so much for the mention my friend,

    Marcus

Trackbacks

  1. BizSugar.com says:

    Matt About Friday: The “Inbound Marketing” Edition…

    Learn how inbound marketing, and content marketing in particular, can bring new customers your way….

  2. […] here: Matt About Friday: The "Inbound Marketing" Edition | Matt About … Comments […]

  3. […] and outbound marketing as well as some information on how to use, and the advantages of using, inbound marketing for your own […]

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