by Cindy Kelly
President / Founder| Media Fusion
Technology has forever changed the way business conduct business. Gone are the days of consumers thumbing through a phone book to search for a company. Today’s consumer heads to Google instead. Technology has changed our sales process. Traditionally, salespeople were the first to educate a consumer on their product. Today, most consumers are often more educated than the salespeople because they’ve already done their research online. This technological shift, known as Inbound Marketing, affects everyone and is transforming the advertising and marketing industries as we know it.
Inbound Marketing in a Nutshell
The word “Inbound” describes a process that brings customers to you. The word “Outbound” describes you reaching out to your customers. Traditionally, marketers have always interrupted their prospects with their message. This has been done in the form of TV ads, radio ads, billboards etc. As technology has evolved, consumers have shown their lack of interest in advertising. They’ve purchased DVR players to watch their favorite shows without interruption, turned to their iPods for music (no ads there) and people can barely stop texting and driving much less pay attention to a billboard. This presents start-ups with many challenges when deciding what methods of marketing and advertising to use to make the most impact.
Make Inbound Marketing the Backbone of Your Startup
You’ve got the business plan, funding and product, now it’s time to market to your audience. You may be considering online ads or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns to enhance your visibility on Google. While this does get you instant exposure, it can also be very costly if it’s your only method for online visibility. Pay-per-click is just what the name implies, you pay for every click, regardless of the end result. Pay-per-click is a form of advertising and your search engine visibility will disappear if you decide to stop paying. That is unless you’ve earned that position organically. This is where Inbound marketing comes in.
Inbound marketing helps you enhance your visibility naturally. This is accomplished by understanding what your audience is interesting in, creating great content to support that, sharing that content on social media channels and getting others to talk about it. As you can imagine, there is not a quick solution for this. It takes a great strategy and many hours to accomplish however, the long-term benefits will be worth it. I like to think of PPC as “renting real estate” and Inbound Marketing as “buying real estate”.
Building Your Inbound Marketing Toolbox
To be great at inbound marketing, you have to work with a set of tools. Here are a few basic tools you’ll need to get started
Website: Regardless of the methods you chose for marketing and advertising, there’s no doubt your website will be the hub of all information. For this reason you’ll want to make sure your website is consistent with your brand, has a clear message and professional image.
Blog: A blog is simply an extension of your website. It’s a platform typically built into your website, meant to house educational content. Your blog will help position you as an expert in your field.
Content: Content the foundation of inbound marketing, without it you won’t get very far. Think like a writer. Think beyond articles. What could you provide people that is different? An ebook, checklist, how-to-guide, video? The list goes on.
Social Media: Love it or hate it, social media isn’t what all the kids are doing, it’s what all the businesses are doing. Not all social media platforms will be a good fit for your business. Think about the audience first, then think of the social media platform that your audience uses. You’ll use social media to promote your content, not sell.
Analytics: What gets measured, gets done. How are your marketing programs performing? You should never stop measuring your marketing. You’ll want to monitor things like website traffic, leads, new customers, etc.
Inbound marketing is a new approach that markets to the modern consumer. According to HubSpot, companies that implement Inbound marketing experience a cost per lead 61% less than those using outbound marketing. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface with the tools and techniques discussed in this post.
To learn more about inbound marketing, please join us for an enlightening, educational and engaging digital workshop specifically to help you market your startup at Tampa Bay WaVE on May 15th from 6:00-7:00 (http://www.eventbrite.com/event/6433501777)
For more information, please contact Gracie Leigh Stemmer at email@example.com.