Customers have complete power
As an entrepreneur, there are many challenges that you may face promoting your product or services. All companies need to be discoverable in today’s marketplace and inbound marketing is at the core of it all. Today customers have a vast amount of choices for all their consumer needs. Being the company with the best product is not enough anymore. Inbound marketing is the practice of positioning yourself so customers always find you. There are four key areas of focus that are in the heart of this field of marketing.
Search Engine Optimization: Inbound marketing science
Everyone at this point uses Google, Bing, and Yahoo to find out information about everything. If you are selling anything you need to learn how to position yourself at the top of every search query relatable to you. There are many factors that determine how you rank on search pages that are always updated regularly (such as Google Panda). There are both on-page and off page factors that one has to consider to optimize your website’s SEO. For example, the on-page factors include: having a meta description with an excellent call to action that breeds curiosity to learn more about you and your product, doing substantial keyword research (using tools such as SEMRush, Longtailpro and Ubersuggest) to find out with search queries you can target with low-quality content, etc. The off-page factors include (but are not limited to): site history, bounce rate, session rate, ad quotient, location, does the site have shares on social media, spam, broken links, piracy, and much more.
SEO is one of the most important fields of digital technology, marketing, and science to date. No one will ever have a complete understanding and access to any search engine’s crawlers and predictive analysis can only take you so far. At the end of the day, the key component to SEO is user experience. If you cannot provide your customers the information they need exactly when they need it, providing the optimized experience they desire, you not only fail them but, you also fail yourself. Search engine optimization is not something that can be avoided. In addition, simple pay-per-click campaigns through tools such as Google Adwords don’t provide substantial growth models over time. One must consider all facets of SEO that help their business grow, especially since it important for all professionals to know something about the subject.
Blogging never gets old
Blogging, many consumers would say today has become over saturated with useless information. Perhaps this is true, but one thing to consider is that corporations such as Entrepreneur or FastCompany still blog, applications such as: timely, trello, and invision all use blogs because it is an effective way to express thought leadership in your industry (that in addition to infographics makes for very useful displays of your expert insights). Blogging helps show your customers not only that you provide products and services that suit their needs but, that you also share relevant information.
Newsjacking is the act being the number one provider of new and exciting topics in your industry that will determine if users can depend on you for reliable information. “The world of marketing will need more journalists than advertising majors”, was a comment a speaker at my college told a group of students that are aspiring media communication professionals. If you do not have a set of tools, such as Google alerts or Netvibes, that allow you to be the first to see new content on a daily basis, you are surely behind your competition. Lastly, the amount of overall customers that come to your site is relevant to one very important number: the number of guest bloggers you have posting content on your site. The more people you have writing content, the more they share it with members of their own networks which then improves yours.
Social Media (Conversations and Listening)
One thing I have noticed most social media campaign managers not doing is reaching out and contacting the influencers that their followers and potential followers are viewing. If you want to grow your current customer base on social media it never hurts to contacting other thought leaders in your industry and asking them to share your content (with the bargain that you will do the same). If your content is good enough they will certainly agree and it will boost your reach on your social media platforms.
Another technique (depending on your business model) that works well is having user-generated content on your page. If for example, you are a video hosting service mainly targeting “high schoolers” it would help your business a lot by having users of your product share the content they have made on your social media pages. You could also curate all the content they have and have them share it with each other on a forum page that you create. This works perfectly with businesses whose engines of growth rely on viral marketing (having users attract their friends for you).
Most importantly, focus on one specific platform. Not all social media platforms are built the same and you should be working on developing your customer base to make sure your inbound marketing efforts are rising on in one area. You can then use that social media to transfer your followers onto the other ones. Most businesses that provide business-to-business services would focus on LinkedIn and not Instagram or Pinterest and that is because LinkedIn would naturally provide better results. Inbound marketing requires intense strategy so one must always consider where the majority of their efforts lie on social media.
Being a thought leader: Content Development & Curation
There is only one thing that can determine that when a customer finds you on the Internet, they will stay and interact with you: content. Content is the only thing that matters to your customers. If you cannot provide them with the content they need at the immediate point of contact they have with you online, they will find someone else who will. If you want to be successful in your inbound marketing efforts you need to provide content such as webinars on your products and services, white papers, provide content on under-served content niches, and curating useful information from other sources so your users don’t have to. Also, you need to know how to properly generate leads by knowing the right time to gate (asking the user for contact information) and when not to. If you can’t build a connection of trust between your users and your business then you need to reconsider your strategies in all your inbound marketing efforts.
Remember, because of the Internet, you don’t need to use paid marketing. Customers are looking for you; you just need to position your business at the right place and always at the right time.
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