May 3rd, 2015
Most marketing experts are starting to realize that outbound advertising on the Internet is just not working. Between pop-up ads, a deluge of text ads and banner marketing plans, the Internet is overwhelmed with outbound marketing messages. Some of the messages may be very good and helpful, but the fact is that very few people are reading them.
Since the Internet is saturated with outbound sales messages, the idea of inbound marketing has become more popular. This is where a company puts out content and information that people can easily find through Internet searches or through the various social networks. It is a way to pull in customers as opposed to wasting time and money pushing out advertising.
Since inbound marketing is becoming the wave of the future, it is important that companies understand the basics behind creating a good inbound marketing program. Just like any other marketing plan, an inbound marketing strategy has to be planned in advance and designed properly in order to succeed.
Find Your Audience
Any marketing plan needs to have a target audience to be successful. Without a target audience you have no idea what your message will be, how the message will be presented or where the message will appear. If you are targeting college students to sell them credit card deals, then using keywords and inbound marketing tactics that will appear largely on home furnishing websites is not going to help.
One of the common misconceptions about inbound marketing is that it works like a big net that brings in web traffic from all over the Internet. The truth is that everything you do on an inbound marketing campaign is designed to appeal to a specific kind of audience. Remember that you can have several inbound marketing campaigns going on at the same time, but each one needs to have its own specific target audience to be successful.
Find Your Vehicle
What do you want your inbound marketing campaign to accomplish? If you want to create brand name awareness, then you may want to start producing and promoting videos on the Internet video hosting sites. If you are trying to build an audience for your monthly newsletter, then you will want to get people to go to the sign up page and give their contact information.
Every marketing plan has an end game that requires a vehicle to deliver it, and that includes inbound marketing. You have to decide what it is you want people to do, and then determine the best way to get people to do it. If you want people to join your social networking page to start an active dialogue with your customers, then all of your inbound marketing efforts need to point people to that page and suggest that they join your network.
When people see an advertisement on the Internet, they tend to click away from it. When people see an Internet video that has been passed around, then they will want to watch it. They may not even realize that they are watching a viral video of yours that is promoting your inbound marketing campaign. They just know that they are clicking on a link to see a popular video.
Do not limit yourself to the ways that you can go viral. If you have an extensive network of smartphone subscribers, then send out text updates that they can share. Create interesting web articles or promotional images that people will want to share. The more interesting your viral content is, the harder it will work for you to generate web traffic.
Every inbound marketing campaign that you create needs to have a social media component. Social media is the way for your company to interact with potential clients without the clients feeling like you are trying to sell them something.
You can join message boards that discuss issues specific to your industry and become a valued member of that message board community that offers valuable and helpful information. You can develop a social networking presence that becomes known for distributing humorous and helpful images and pieces of information. The more you reach out to your client base, the stronger you will make the bond between your company and your customers. This is the very essence of successful inbound marketing.
One of the important things to remember about social networking is that you should never base your success on the number of people that respond directly to your messages. In most cases, you can count on a large audience of people who are watching what you are doing but choosing not to be interactive.
Track Your Effectiveness
The easiest way to track the effectiveness of your inbound marketing efforts is to monitor your web traffic changes each time you do something new on the Internet. The website analytics programs that are available can show you exactly where all of your traffic is coming from using geographic and web referral information.
When you see success, you need to capitalize on that success. When you see something is not working, you need to shift to something that is showing progress. The challenge in inbound marketing is moving fast enough to keep up with the shifts and changes in consumer preferences.