As traditional outbound marketing gives way to inbound content marketing, it is increasingly important to foster a mindset of putting customers first and delivering value. If you consistently offer interesting and useful content, people will notice you and come back again and again. By growing and engaging your audience, you will have an opportunity to gain even more new customers and learn from them so that you can continually adapt your strategy.
But while you are making the shift to inbound marketing, how will all those potential customers find you? You can’t engage people and offer them valuable content if they don’t know you exist. In this blog post, Michael Brenner offers these seven steps to “getting found” using inbound marketing:
1. Name Your Customers. The first step for effective inbound marketing isn’t so different from any other kind of marketing: research your customer. Your goal should be to define the type of customers you are trying to reach, get to know who these people are and learn as much about them as possible.
2. SEO. SEO. SEO. Brenner says that search engine optimization may be the most important part of the entire process. Begin with solid keyword research and a keyword strategy, then dig deeper to figure out the actual keywords your audience is using to search.
3. Media Consumption. Try to determine the amount and percentage of time your audience is spending in various media channels such as print, online, TV, mobile, and social. This will help you figure out the best mix for targeting your potential customers. According to Brenner, many people skip this very important step.
4. Create Content. Once you’ve completed these first three steps, it’s time to develop content that matches up with the personalities, media habits and keyword searches of the customers you’re trying to reach. A blog is a great way to draw in your intended audience with content they will find interesting and useful.
5. Identify Influencers and Get Social. Social media requires a different form of engagement than traditional marketing, but if you go about it the right way it can be very effective. Instead of simply sending out promotional messages, try to learn from top influencers about the best ways to reach your audience.
6. Share With Care. Inbound marketing doesn’t mean you stop promoting anything. It just means you take a more customer-focused and value-based approach. As Brenner explains:
Every channel has certain unwritten rules of etiquette to ensure you are not considered a self-centered blow-hard. For example, on Twitter, some people follow the Twitter 4-1-1 rule. This means that for every 6 tweets, you share other people’s original content 4 times, you RT someone else’s content 1 time for every 1 promotional tweet. And by promotional, again, I mean simply sharing valuable content, not overly promotional crap no one wants. Now this only talks about Twitter but you should determine your own rules for all channels.
7. Response Management. The final step is being set up to provide a quick response to any questions or concerns from a customer or potential customer. Every employee will be social and play a role in responding to questions and telling the company story.
These steps are both basic and critical for successfully implementing your inbound content marketing strategy. For more detailed information and guidance as you begin the shift to inbound marketing, contact us.