Inbound marketing is quickly growing into a popular marketing method. Many businesses have already had a lot of success using social media, blogs and other forms of content. Seeing this many other businesses are planning to give inbound marketing a go too. 2012 could be a year where the internet is filled with loads and loads of content.
This can be worrying for many other businesses because they will need to somehow get their content to stay afloat in this big content pool.
So how do businesses stay ahead of their competition through inbound marketing?
The best way to stay ahead of your competition is through an inbound marketing strategy. Having an inbound marketing strategy, will keep you way ahead of your competition as you will be sure about what you want to achieve. With an inbound marketing strategy – you will be able to plan what your target audience wants, what you need to produce, how to distribute it and how to generate leads from it.
The 6 steps below will help you get started with your inbound marketing strategy:-
1. Find out what your target audience wants:
You need to create what your target audience wants. Your target audience doesn’t care about what you do, how experienced you are or what you care about. They care about how you can help them. This is why you need to find out all about what type of problems your target audience face, how can you help them solve these problems, what sort of content do they prefer reading (blogs, reports, white papers, videos, etc.), how long would they like it to be, what’s their favourite social media, etc. You can learn more about researching your target audience on this post.
2. Create fantastic content:
If you want your content to stand out, you need to create fantastic content. Average content isn’t enough – there are so many blogs, white papers, videos and other forms of useful content available for free on the web. If you want your content to fare better, you will need to create quality content which will help you stand out from your competition. This means it needs to be unique, original and grammatically correct. You can learn more about creating quality content on this post and on creating content which will fare better on search engines on this post.
The best thing to do is create content your readers will find most helpful.
An e.g. of this is Social Media Examiner, who focus on creating only how to, case studies, reviews, interviews and other useful content which their readers will find them most helpful.
Their content is all based on how to do something, how to do something better, or how someone else is doing it right and why it’s working for them (case studies), instead of content on why you need to it. Focusing on this type of content has helped them become, one of the top blogs in the world quickly.
3. Choose your social media and share your content:
There are so many amazing social media sites at the moment. You have Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, etc. which have already created a name for themselves, and then there are many more like Pinterest, Google+, Stumble Upon, Tumblr, Path, etc. which are quickly getting popular.
Marketing yourself through all these social media can be quite a big headache and a lot of work. Therefore the best thing to do is choose which one will work best for you. By this I don’t mean your favourite social media sites, I mean the ones which your audience like to use most.
After you choose the best social media to market yourself with, share your content on these particular social media and make sure they reach your audience by measuring your social media activities.
4. Build a mailing list:
You need to start building a mailing list from the first day you start a blog. Just having an RSS feed and sign up that will let people sign up to your feed with their emails won’t do, you need a proper mailing list to which people can sign in with their names and email addresses. Doing this will make a lot of difference in your inbound marketing strategy.
When people sign up to your RSS all they can see is what you post on your blog. With the RSS you can’t send the latest offers and promotions about your company, unless you post it on your blog, but if you have a proper mailing list to which people subscriber to, you can send them a newsletter with your latest posts, your latest offers and promotion whenever you want to.
5. Create other forms of content:
It’s not just enough, if you write and publish fantastic blog posts, several times a week. You need to create other forms of content too. These could be in the forms of white papers, webinars, videos, reports, etc.
The best thing to do is start off with a blog where you regularly publish articles and videos. Also produce a white paper or a guide at the beginning and maybe be publish more once every month or every two months. Reports and webinars can be done less often – maybe every two to four weeks.
After you get some regular readers, find out more about what they like and put your focus into creating the content your readers enjoy reading. If they like white papers create more white papers, if they like webinars conduct more webinars and so on. The key here is to focus on what your readers like and make sure they are satisfied with the content you produce.
A company that does this really well is Hubspot. Not only do they publish several posts everyday on their blog, but they also focus on creating many webinars, white papers, guides, reports, etc. which has helped their company grow very quickly. All this extra content also plays a key role in getting many subscribers to their mailing list.
6. Get Innovative:
After your content marketing strategy produces results and improves your confidence, you can experiment a bit and get more innovative and create something different which your readers might find interesting. In this post on Entrepreneur Magazine Mark Cuban writes about how a company fared really well, when they focused on creating innovative products rather than what their customers wanted. Creating innovative and different content is something that can help your content stand out.
The best thing to do is to focus on the basics first and create content your target audience will find interesting, as it’s better to do the easy things well, than to do the hard things badly. Only after you have achieved some success, with your basic inbound marketing strategy, you can try out something different which might suit your target audience and if it works you can stick to it. If it doesn’t you can always fall back to the method you have already had success with.
If you follow the above tips you should be able to create an inbound marketing strategy, which will help you stay afloat in this huge content pool.
Sign up to have our latest blog posts emailed straight to your inbox and get the Free Video Tutorial “How to Use Pinterest for Business?”
Have you got an inbound marketing strategy? Has it helped you achieve some good results? Are there any key tips you would like to share with us? Please leave your comments in the comments box below.
Sign up to have our latest blog posts emailed to your inbox and get the Free Pinterest Marketing Video Tutorial and Ebook.