Inbound marketing is a term used to talk about the aspects of online marketing that utilize search engine optimization (SEO), and various social media channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and blogging to publish content that people will find (through searches or social media networking / participation), engage with, and become interested in your products and services.  Alot has changed since 2008 and 2009 (only a few years ago), and inbound marketing practices are mandatory for successful brand design. Rather than you reaching out to them (i.e. outbound marketing or traditional advertising), they are calling and reaching out to you.  Creating a 

What is inbound marketing?

'hub' and bringing your target market to you, is a key to engagement and growth in this new marketing era.  

You can establish yourself as an authority in your field, whether that be software, jobs, digital products, professional services or anything else.  You can repurpose your content that has been published elsewhere, write amazon style reviews, or announce your upcoming events and webinars.  

These are all legitimate types of content and effective methods for engaging visitors and reaching prospects.

The premise behind "inbound" marketing is that customers are in the driver seat, and don't like interruptions.  When people are trying to solve a problem or find a solution, 98% of the time, they will open a web browser, and do a search. They are focused on and looking for information that will guide them or help them solve a problem.

Did you know there are 33 billion searches conducted on Google DAILY?  

Is your site among the group of sites getting returned in the first few pages of search results?

If you're doing inbound marketing well, then when your target audience is searching for something that your products and services handle, your site is coming up in those organic search results.  That's search engine optimization, and it's a tactic within the inbound marketing arsenal.  Understanding the keywords to focus on is a critical aspect for success with SEO.  But equally important is knowing exactly what you need to focus on to improve your ranking.

If you need to come up on page one for a keyphrase that you are not currently ranked for the first page of results, you can use Adwords (ppc) to aid in that process.  It's also called pay-per-click, where you set up text ads and pay every time someone clicks on your ad.  It's preferable to come up in the natural search results, since you don't have to pay for the traffic that you get.  But monitoring your rankings as you work on your natural SEO rankings, and using Pay-Per-Click advertising can help you at the outset.

The foundation and power of an inbound marketing strategy is producing engaging, relevant content that attracts your target market.

Is a blog your best bet? 

A popular vehicle for publishing that content is oftentimes through posts to a blog.  That's because it's generally easier to post content to a blog, and you've got to keep your content recent.  Going for months between posts is not an option if blogging is a key strategy for your efforts.  Taking on a blog is a responsibillity you've got to commit to for more than a year.  It's ongoing.  It's constant. Why have blogs gotten a good reputation for better SEO?  Because they are posted to frequently.  Google will crawl sites that are constantly adding new content on a much more frequent basis.

There are a variety of tools you can use, however, finding an integrated online marketing system, such as what Genoo offers, can make your efforts easier and more effective to manage -- especially if you've got limited resources.

Growing Your Expertise Ranking And Getting Your Content Found

There are many ways to drive traffic to your content.  Social Media is an avenue that is getting a lot of attention.  But the daily activity on Facebook is only 60 million messages, and Twitter has 140 million tweets. While the traffic with searches dwarfs these figures, social media is another viable tactic for your inbound marketing efforts, and should not be ignored.

Researching and Posting Weekly...

For example, understanding the blogs within your industry, and tracking them will highlight potential posts where comments from you might make sense and allow that blog's subscribers to find you.  Think of your inbound marketing efforts like they are creating a conversation between yourself and your perfect customer.  Some might call it "engagement" marketing.

Make sure your blog post titles grab the readers attention rather than stuffing them full of keywords.  If you a title that read something like "hubspot, mins, edit tv university users, agree, including, lots, measure, november, speaker, wordstream, tour, 2010, planning, actively, automated, coach, grader, improves, tuesday ", that would be nonsensical.  A blog post title that is not attenting getting is just as ineffective.  A description tag does not affect search engine rankings, but you also want to avoid using a random list of words like:  "wednesday efficient, relative referring, september ,investment, print, quality, money, paying, point, project, step, consumers, connected, groups, block, techniques, concept, skill".

You want to keep your content targeted on the issues and needs of your target audience.  Keep promotional copy to a minimum.  Dont make the mistake of engaging people who are not your buyers.  Your content is not all things to all people.  Focus and understand your perfect customer profile and talk directly to them.  Keep focused on your perfect customer, because you want to make sure he/she reads your content.

Inbound marketing works through using social media, search engine optimization, or other means that allow people looking for what you offer to find YOU.  Engaging content can make people interested in your company.  

Integrated online marketing tools will help you capture leads and identify those who are most interested in buying, so you can focus on converting them into customers.

Be prepared to modify your website.  Done well, your content offering must be valuable enough to utilize  lead capture forms to gate access to those content offers, which are provided in the form of free eBooks white papers, or reports.  You will constantly be challenged with how to create content ideas that can be developed ongoingly.  To be effective, good content engages your target community, who needs it, and wants to share it with their network.

With B2B selling specifically, where there are longer sales cycles, having good information that helps buyers continuing through their process, can help not only with lead generation, but also in building a relationship with them as they progress.

Following up with leads is essential.

Lead generation efforts that capture leads and help you build your lists is important.  But to be really effective you need to follow-up with those leads and keep them engaged by letting them know about other information they will find valuable.  Email trumps social media in building relatinoships.

Success with inbound marketing takes time.  Combine with targeted outbound marketing can be highly effective for ensuring near term results.

The issues with a purely inbound marketing approach is that it can take a lot of time to see results.  While some inbound marketing "purists" condemn outbound marketing practices and efforts, companies who are interested in growth goals, must also manage near term goals and results, while building a longer-term foundation for increased inbound marketing success.

That's why lead generation and lead management is a critical component of an optimal marketing strategy.  Providing  great information that your audience wants, will have them spending hours at your site over time, and they're registered so you can notify them about new content you develop.  Generating new customers and clients most effectively takes knowing who is ready for a sales conversation - which is where marketing automation technology can really help out with comprehensive lead activity tracking.

Genoo's President, Kim Albee, conducted a webinar that explored "Easily Getting Started With Content Marketing and Marketing Automation" that shows you how to assemble an online marketing approach that combines inbound marketing with thoughtful outbound marketing (such as email) to provide both near term results, and an ongoing foundation for inbound marketing success.

It's a practical and results-driven marketing approach that works, and will provide tips for how you can get started.  It allows you to start small and grow.  It involves email campaigns as well as content tht engages.  And the cost can fit any budget.

View the video, "Easily Getting Started With Content Marketing and Marketing Automation" and get the results you need.

Don't get lost in the confusion about what tactics have the most importance.  Getting started wth Inbound Marketing means you're learning.  

Contact Us for a free consultation about how you can get started.