What Is Inbound Marketing And Will It Help Me?
By Joel Black
What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is a shift in the paradigm of marketing, from interruption based marketing such as cold calling, flyers, postcards, radio or TV ads, to a form of content marketing where a company uses channels such as blogs, whitepapers, social media, search engine optimization, and enewsletters. This form of “permission based marketing” was coined” inbound marketing” by a partner of ours, HubSpot.
The Inbound Marketing Concept
Before we talk about how it can help you as a small business, let’s understand the concept of inbound marketing. The original concept was broken into three stages: get found, convert and analyze. Since then, it has morphed into the four actions as illustrated by the graphic below.
To learn more detail about each of these concepts is a post all in its own. I will briefly outline what each means, and if you want to dig deeper, visit HubSpots Inbound Marketing Page.
- Attract: The concept here is to create content via blog post and social media that will attract users to read and interact with it. You also have to optimize your post and website so that people can find the content.
- Convert: Next you will want to convert users by “calls to action” such as free offers or something as simple as a “join my newsletter” option. The key is having some type of form users can complete.
- Close: Everyone that you attract and convert will not be ready to purchase. This stage is where all the magic happens. It is time to build a relationship via email follow-ups and conversations.
- Delight: One sale from one customer will not put the kids through school! Even after the sale, you want to keep in touch with customers and make it easy for them to send you referrals.
How Can Inbound Marketing Help Me?
You may see a pattern at this point. If you don’t, here is the secret. Inbound marketing is about being in the right place at the right time, while building relationships. If you post content that is helpful to others and helps them solve their struggling issues, it will make them happy. Studies have shown that happy people are always happier! (Just wanted to make sure you were still paying attention)
We all search for answers online; it is all about the internet search! If you are looking for a necklace for your wife, you find an answer and a price. If you are searching for the meaning of life, yes, you can find that answer, as well. If you can generate content and help people find those answers when they are searching, then you become the solution. Will your customer be someone that you call, while busy doing something, or will your customer be someone searching for an answer? I will let YOU answer that question!
What Is The First Step To Inbound Marketing?
Know it or not, you have already taken the first step to inbound marketing. By doing the research and learning what its all about, you’ve started the process. Now, you are ready for the second step. I would suggest taking out a piece of paper and writing down the one thing related to your business that you know more about than anything else. If you think it is not very informative, you may be quite mistaken! Remember that you are in business because you know more and can do it better; please write it down!
Let’s look at what you have written; I am sure you can dissect it and break it down into different pieces to make it work. For example, I wrote down internet marketing. Internet marketing has many pieces, such as blogging, pay-per-click, enewsletters, search engine optimization and more. You should have a 20,000 foot idea you wrote down first, and then you should have it broken down into several parts that make up the idea. Maybe you can break it down into eight different parts that you can move into a series. Here is how it can be organized.
Take out a calendar; if you do not have one, sketch out a general calendar on a sheet of paper. Then pick a day each week and write in one of the parts. What you’ve just done is created an editorial calendar. Each week, you will write about the part of the big idea and create a blog post about it. You will be, in essence, answering a question about that part.
If you need a starting point, we have you covered. We have an editorial calendar template you may download as an excel file to get you started. I hope these ideas on inbound marketing will give you a great starting point for your inbound marketing strategy. If you have questions or comments, or just want to say hi, we would love to hear from you.