Ever wonder what the term “inbound marketing” means, exactly? At its most basic, inbound marketing is a very different approach to more traditional, “interruption based” marketing. In traditional marketing, you do your best to try to gain customers’ attention and make them take notice of you and your product. Inbound marketing, by way of contrast, seeks to create useful content, provide information, and encourage interaction with your customers, giving them something they value, in order to build trust and provide a better customer experience – which in turn leads to more business. The idea is that people are more willing to do business with someone they are familiar with and whom them trust, someone who is interested in forming a long-lasting relationship with them rather than looking just for an immediate sale, than with a nameless corporation.
Bill Prescott for the Times-Standard explains the broad scope of inbound marketing, as well as offering some very useful tips on getting started.
- An easy place to start: creating and maintaining an eNewsletter for your company.
Ask your customers to sign up for it, have an easy-to-sign-up button on your website and take signup sheets when you go out to public, industry or trade events. You will be surprised by how many people want to learn more about your company or your products.
Inbound marketing is sometimes called “permission marketing,” and the simple technique of having potential customers sign up for an eNewsletter leverages the power of that given permission. Those who sign up are, in effect, “pre-qualified” customers – you already know they already want to know more about your company, your product, etc.
- Another easy way to put inbound marketing into practice? Start a blog.
This is an informal appendage attached to your website where you can share your insights or your recipes and, most importantly, your expertise with your customers. The blog format is easy to deal with on a technology level, and many platforms are available for free. Readers have the option to subscribe, and it can easily be shared with your Facebook community, your Twitter stream or on your website. The neat part of the blog is that people will find it if you post information they want.
The more you can provide quality content to your customers, the more you can educate and inform them, the more value they attribute not just to your product and service, but to your business as a whole. Your business becomes, in effect, a friend, a contact — not a nameless corporation trying to separate them from their cash. As Bill points out in his article’s conclusion, “in the digital age, where spam and robo-calls are the norm, giving your customers great personalized content is a sure way to improve your marketing efforts.”
We couldn’t agree more.