No matter what business you own, manage or work for, marketing is at the core of everything we do. All types of businesses, but especially startups and smaller businesses, can benefit from these inbound marketing techniques.
At its core, inbound marketing is about attracting prospects to your business rather than marketing directly to them. Traditional marketing relied on direct mail, flyers, radio and television advertising, cold-calling, billboard advertisements, and even email. Modern inbound marketing uses organic search traffic, opt-in email forms, and content publication to attract customers. Inbound marketing is the best approach for today’s businesses, whether B2B, B2C, tech, non-tech, brick-and-mortar or any business for that matter.
Here are the six inbound marketing techniques that I use everyday.
1. Give Away Something Of Value For Free.
The standard response I get to this suggestion is, “I cant afford to give anything away”. I recently worked with a client who provided financial training both in person and online to his clients. After much persuading, I convinced him to give away Part 1 of a 10 part online video course he provided to clients. To cut a short story shorter, we massively increased course sales and built a massive email list of contacts. How did we achieve it I hear you ask?, well, that’s for another day and another post.
2. Pick One Or Two Keywords Or Phrases And Optimize Your Content.
Inbound marketing is nearly synonymous with Search Engine Marketing (SEO). SEO is a minefield and one we can not cover in this post. However, one of the most important features of SEO is the power of keywords. In order to successfully gain traffic for relevant keywords, you have to use those keywords on your site.
Some may argue that keywords aren’t as important as they used to be, and that may be true, but keywords and phrases are still at the heart of successful SEO campaigns and will continue to be for some time, or until Google tells us otherwise.
3. Build Your Personal Brand.
To be a truly successful marketer, you need to build your own personal brand. The term “branding” has long been relegated to companies, but today almost every individual has a personal brand. Your brand should reflect you and not necessarily who you work for. Having said that, our work will always influence who we are to some point, so don’t get to caught up in the psychology of “brand you”. Building your personal brand takes time, but worth the effort in the long run.
4. Ask And Answer Questions On Social Media.
Social media turned inbound marketing into a viral interactive experience. Now, instead of just hearing about companies and going to them, potential customers found companies, followed those companies, and interacted with those companies. While many corporate brands use Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter purely for customer support and engagement, its this very engagement that creates brand loyalty. We all know a happy customer is your biggest sales asset.
Don’t depend upon social for your conversions, however, you should engage social as a powerful method of inbound marketing.
5. Create and curate great content
One of the easiest and fastest ways to build credibility is to create and curate really great content that supports the things you stand for. For many, it is finding great articles that are in your area of expertise and sharing those out to your networks.
The key is to pick a few focused areas to solidify that branded position among readers and followers. Use a RSS reader like Feedly.com to aggregate news from all the blogs you read so you can go to one place to see all the news you may want to curate.
6. Make new connections.
Use LinkedIn Groups and Twitter to create new connections. Join groups on LinkedIn that are aligned with your brand, interests and company you work for. Start posting your great content there. But, be sure you respond to any comments that your articles may generate.
There are endless ways to use inbound and content marketing (view our top tips for content marketing here) to grow your business. The best way to prove it to yourself is to try it. If you aren’t using any of these inbound techniques, pick one, try it for six months, and see what an impact it makes for your business.