Marketing, as an entity, has been around for a very long time. However, the approaches to marketing have not changed but they have been enhanced by the addition of inbound marketing. Inbound marketing, unlike traditional marketing, allows your clients and prospective clients to come to you as opposed to you having to go after your clients and prospective clients in traditional marketing.
People are clever
In the past, as a marketer, you would have spent a great deal of money on marketing your brand. The payback for that was that your target audience actually paid attention to your marketing materials. However, eventually, people became more sophisticated and found ways to block your marketing efforts. If you bought ads in newspapers, magazines, etc., the other person could simply not read it. If you bought ads on TV, they could change the channel. If you advertised over the phone, the other person could just hang up.
Inbound marketing is a great new approach to marketing
Eventually, inbound marketing was born. Not only is inbound marketing a different approach but it also allows you greater possibilities of succeeding because not only does your client or prospect come to you but that person has chosen to do so willingly. That means that the person is prequalified and he or she would be more than willing to connect with you. The challenges that you always faced in the past when it came to marketing results are less challenging because of inbound marketing. They get to decide if and when they go with you.
How does inbound marketing work?
As was stated previously, inbound marketing only works if the other person opts into what you want them to do. At the very least, that will be basic contact information. In some cases, it will be more than that. However, it is not as simple as the person becoming aware of your existence online and then immediately deciding to connect with you and to cultivate a relationship.
With inbound marketing, it takes time to build the relationship and to trust each other and for your to become credible in the other person’s eyes. It is important that you understand that even though it may feel like a slow process to you, it is actually an extremely effective process and will worth exploring. Inbound marketing works effectively for many different businesses.
The way that it works is that you consistently post top-quality, educational, valuable content and the other person gets to know you and your business through your content. At some point in the near future, that person will want to deepen the connection that he or she has with you and you will begin to interact with each other. With any luck, you start to do that regularly. Before you know it, you have built a solid, meaningful, mutually beneficial relationship that will exist for a very long time.
At this point, you may be wondering how to get started using a strategy that includes inbound marketing.
- Establish your content marketing strategy: Content is king! That cannot be emphasized enough. Before you do any writing at all, you need to establish your content strategy. It is that strategy (or roadmap) that will keep your content flowing and will hopefully help you to avoid any roadblocks in the way of your writing productivity. Your strategy should contain detailed information about your target audience members, including their wants and needs. Those details will guide you to customize your writing appropriately. Your first objective is to solve the other person’s problem(s). You need to write content that resonates with the other person and that helps you to establish an emotional connection.
- Build your communities: Assuming that you have created a strong repository of top-quality content, the next thing that you will need to ensure is that your online social communities are in order. The reason for that is so that you have places to share your content. Of course, that means that wherever you post your content, it will elicit positive results. It is recommended that you choose quality over quantity when it comes to your online social connections. However, you should still have a significant number of connections. You should present your content in ways that appeal to your target audience, including words on relevant, compelling topics, graphics, videos, etc.
- Leverage forms: Once you have gotten the attention of prospects, you will want to deepen the connection. A great vehicle for that is to use a form. You will want to encourage your online connections to complete a form with contact information and other pieces of valuable information that you need. The way that you can accomplish that is by providing a link to your landing page that contains a form (or a link to a form). The landing page will provide additional content that your prospects will find useful.
- Grow your relationships: Relationships need tender loving care. That is true of personal as well as professional relationships. If you want to make the relationship solid and enduring, you will need to put forth some effort to make that happen. It is not necessarily correct to assume that the minute you connect with the other person, you will become besties! It takes time and effort to develop true relationships. In many cases, the more effort you put into the relationship, the stronger that relationship will become. Always remember that your first objective is to solve the other person’s problem(s). If you can satisfy his or her needs, yours will be met as well.
Inbound marketing is an extremely effective approach in business. Inbound marketing provides you with the opportunity to establish solid, meaningful, enduring relationships. Those relationships will benefit everyone involved. Your online connections exist for you because they want to, not because they have to. Your business will potentially grow at an increased rate and the relationships that you establish will last.
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.
His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.