As an entrepreneur, your primary goal is to get customers to buy your products and services. Inbound marketing offers you an affordable way to get found by customers. The idea is to take proactive steps to bring potential customers to you and motivate them to buy your products through the quality content you provide. There are three main types of inbound marketing: content marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Social Media Marketing (SMM).
Content marketing is the process of promoting your business by sharing information and resources that potential customers find valuable. It is based on the idea that sharing high-quality information with a certain market niche promotes profitable consumer activities. With content marketing, you can demonstrate your expertise, build your brand, promote your company, help people and generate income. Some of the most popular forms of content marketing are website publications (eg tips, case studies, and tools), newsletters, blogs, articles, white papers, books, e-books, seminars, webinars, teleseminars, and videos.
Search engine optimization is a systematic process of improving the quality and quantity of traffic to your site by improving the site’s visibility through different search engines. The goal is to use a variety of proven SEO techniques (eg site content, inbound links, website title and title tags) to help your website rank higher when certain keywords or phrases are entered into the search box of a major search. engines. For example, if you own a sporting goods store and someone types “sporting goods” into the search field, you want your website to appear on the first two pages of results. If you don’t appear on the first or second page, people are unlikely to find your site.
Social media marketing is the process of getting your message across to potential customers by participating in various electronic media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, MySpace and Twitter. This is done by becoming an active member in one or more social networking communities. SMM offers significant marketing advantages. It is very affordable because it practically does not incur any financial costs. It offers you the opportunity to become an active and respected member of various social communities and allows you to position yourself as an expert in the fields of primary interest. Although it can be very time-consuming, many people spend time networking in the virtual world with their colleagues.
So how do you get started with inbound marketing? I recommend answering two questions. First, what inbound marketing techniques are you using? For example, do you have a blog or a newsletter? Have you written any articles? Do you organize live performances such as seminars, clinics or workshops? What about web-based presentations like webinars? Have you taken steps to optimize your website for higher search engine rankings? Do you participate in any social networking community? Create a clear picture of what you are doing.
Second, based on your answer to the first question, where is the best place to start? For example, if you are already using several inbound marketing techniques, you can simply keep doing what you are doing, especially if you are getting positive results. If you’re not using inbound marketing, identify one technique you want to try. Maybe you want to start a newsletter or a blog. You can organize presentations in your specific area of expertise (e.g. a seminar or webinar), or you can join a social networking site such as LinkedIn and start building a network of partners. Whatever you choose, remember to be diligent and patient. Inbound marketing takes time to succeed.