I have been floating on air for the last 24 hours. Let me explain. I have been telling our clients and writers alike to engage with our readers for quite sometime. Of course, their response is "yes" then they never do anything about it, or should I say their response is “I never get anything out of it”. Quite honestly, I wonder if people know what "Engage with your readers" really means.
I asked one of our clients to join every Social network they thought would have their target market and start engaging them in NON-sales copy. If you are into online marketing, you can see the blank looks on their face. You see, we are entering a second Internet phase; businesses are downsizing and trying to stretch every dollar looking for efficiency. They're shifting their budget from PPC, while using SEO for organic traffic.
What does that mean? In simple terms, great content with a mix of social media. The new era of marketing, which created the foundations of marketing on the web, made its way to a new buzz in the industry - Inbound Marketing.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing focuses on bringing the customer to the business, instead of the business searching for the customer
In outbound marketing, the "traditional" way, companies use poorly targeted techniques to bring in customers. They use radio and T.V. advertising, spam, cold-calling, print advertising, junk mail and more. In other words, they use every method that most people get irritated about.
These techniques are long out-dated, less effective and more expensive, thanks to technology. TiVo, spam filters, caller ID that blocks cold calls and tools like RSS render print and visual advertising almost useless. While these methods of advertising still work to some extent, it's much more expensive.
The Internet opened up whole new avenues and marketing possibilities. Instead of television ads that scream at potential customers to "buy, buy, buy", or junk mail that gets thrown away, inbound marketing has a gentler, more persuasive technique. Entertaining, informative videos, interesting blogs, useful content and tools – inbound marketing is a soft, inviting whisper rather than a pounding sledgehammer. With these tools and techniques, highly qualified customers are attracted to the business through a combination of curiosity, confidence and trust.
The Three Components of a Successful Inbound Marketing Campaign
1. Content: Every Inbound Marketer knows that content is king. Information and persuasive writing, helpful tips and tools help attract potential customers to the company's website or business.
2. Search Engine Optimization: Potential customers find this informative content much easier through SEO. Building your site, and building up inbound links to your site, through optimization and website design "best practices" maximizes your search engine rankings. SEO brings your product, website or company into the public's eye, so they can begin the buying process.
3. Social Media: When the content is truly helpful, informative and interesting, people tend to discuss it with their friends, family, co-workers etc. Distributed across several networks, it gains credibility and authenticity, making it more likely to draw people to your website.
You're wondering what any of that has to do with the smile on my face? In one day I was able to prove that using inbound marketing can not only save you money by getting free targeted traffic, but you learn that investing in your company's future sometimes has it’s rewards without trying.
I was featured in Business week.com for engaging in Social media. That alone has sent our website a nice boost of traffic. I know I may not get all that‘s out there the way I see it nobody does, but the new business I do get can result in a higher base of happy customers, more referrals, and ultimately more sales.