Inbound Marketing is a term that you have heard many times over the last few years. Basically, Inbound Marketing is the opposite of traditional marketing. Instead of going after your prospective clients, you get them to come to you.
In addition to the marketing approaches being different, there is one advantage that Inbound Marketing has over traditional marketing (or Outbound Marketing). The customers who come to you have already been prequalified because they have to “opt-in” in order to get to you. Opting-in means that the prospective clients have made a conscious choice to connect with you online. The basic principle of Inbound Marketing is the same as all aspects of online interactions. It is about relationships. As always, it is never about the hard sell. Your focus should always be on their wants and needs. You must figure out how you are going to solve their problems.
There are many different types of Inbound Marketing. Each is effective and important in its own way.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the method of making various changes in different parts of your website and web presence so that the search engines will find you when someone is doing an online search. The reason that you want the search engines to find you is so that they can bring your target audience to you. The way that you get the search engines to notice your web presence is by using effective keywords and key phrases. The only way that the details of your web presence will show up in the search engines is if what you have matches what someone else is looking for. In this case, you are getting your target audience to look for you rather than the other way around.
Let’s face it. People hate to be “sold.” They don’t like that from anyone. If they are interested in a particular product and/or service, they can choose to receive alerts (targeted messages) with information about those products and/or services through social media. It is very easy for them to connect with a company or become a fan of that company through numerous social media channels, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Aside from those mentioned, there are many niche social media channels with which people can connect to enable them to receive information easily. Social media puts the power into the customers hands. If they want to follow a brand or company, they can choose to do so. If, on the other hand, they choose not to be connected to a specific brand or company, they can do that also. It certainly behooves the company to do everything in their power to make the customer want to connect and to stay connected.
A critical part of Inbound Marketing has to do with content. The more top-quality content that is written and shared, the more likely your Inbound Marketing campaign will succeed. The more content you expose other people to, the more you will build your own credibility. As you offer more and more compelling and valuable content in your niche, the more people will regard you as a subject matter expert and the more they will turn to you when they need information. Bloggers fulfill this need very well. Blog articles don’t impose on people. The content is merely available for anyone who would like to take advantage of it. The decision to visit a particular blog rests solely on the shoulders of the reader. The reason that they choose to read a particular blog is because they find it valuable and are able to apply the information to their own situation in some way.
Inbound Marketing is a critical element when it comes to the success of your marketing campaign and to your business in general. People will not be more inclined to buy something from someone else if they are constantly being imposed upon and interrupted. If, on the other hand, you offer people valuable information without asking for anything in return, they will continue to connect with you indefinitely. You always must remember that your customers’ needs come before those of you and your business. With that in mind; however, it is very important to remember that you should not forsake traditional marketing for Inbound Marketing. You need to include both of them in your campaign. Together, they will make your business a force to be reckoned with!
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Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.