If you’ve heard the buzz around inbound marketing, but aren’t quite sure what it is, don’t worry—the concept is just a few years old! Even so, the method it describes has been evolving ever since it became clear that doing business increasingly meant doing business online.
We’re all familiar with outbound marketing—formerly known as plain, old “marketing.” This is everything we think of as traditional advertising: radio ads, TV ads, newspaper ads, magazine ads, billboards. We can throw cold calling for sales leads in here as well. These methods still have their place when you want to cast a wide net, but when you’re honing your marketing power to just the strategies that work best in 2015, inbound marketing needs to be your go-to.
Think about inbound marketing as a shift in your focus, first of all. Traditional advertising is so ubiquitous, potential customers may tune it out, or worse—resent it as an intrusion. Mailers get thrown out, commercials get muted, and print media is in a crisis of readership. But you still need to get your message out to reach new clients. Inbound marketing isn’t about casting the widest net, or placing the loudest ads. Instead, inbound marketing asks you to imagine your potential clients, first: how are they most likely to use the internet? What social media do they use? What search terms will they be using online when they’re in need of your services?
Know your potential client, then, and be there where and when they need you. Since most people these days go online to find anything they need, this will always mean optimizing your online presence, and expanding from there.
So where do you start? The field of inbound marketing is constantly evolving into a pretty expansive toolbox, but covering just a few basics can go a long way in raising the online profile of your business.
The Bare-Bones Basics of Inbound Marketing:
- First priority should be an attractive, current, and easy-to-navigate website for your business. If the page doesn’t load quickly, or if the site navigation is confusing, visitors won’t stay long enough to learn about you.
- Optimize SEO for best search engine results and visibility. You want potential visitors to find you when they’re searching for keywords relevant to your business. Search Engine Optimization is a complex topic unto itself, so don’t be afraid to seek an expert.
- Make sure your website is mobile-responsive. People are less and less likely to be searching the web from a desktop computer, so making sure your website displays properly on any device screen is critical.
- Create and maintain an active blog on your website, ideally with content that will be helpful and informative to your potential clients. More on this in a future post.
- Maintain your social media presence to make new client leads and maintain relationships with current ones. This is also an important way to get feedback on what your potential clients want.
Once you have those basics covered, there’s still plenty more we can do to get visitors engaged and convert them into clients. Feel free to shoot us an email if you’d like to learn more.