January 9th, 2015

Understanding Inbound Marketing

When the internet first appeared, it was seen as an amazing and new way to communicate with anyone all over the world. For businesses, it brought about a revolution that would allow their presence to be known to a wider audience worldwide. This new technology was embraced, everyone jumped onto the bandwagon and suddenly, every business had a website.

Having your own business website is a great start. But it is not enough now. The internet has evolved in such a way that it has now brought forth a new marketing strategy called Inbound Marketing. And once again, you as a business owner must now keep up learn to embrace this new strategy and harness its power to bring in more customers to your website.

There are many advantages of inbound marketing as compared to traditional or outbound marketing and advertising practices. For one, inbound marketing takes the pain and effort out of finding customers; they are the ones who find you. The cost of inbound marketing is comparatively lower than traditional advertising. This allows small scale businesses and start ups to also have a try at going head to head with bigger and more established businesses. And in fact, inbound marketing has even been seen as fun!

Unless you have been living in a remote cave or dessert for the past few years, you would have undoubtedly heard of the likes of Facebook and Twitter. You would have seen and experienced the rise of the smart phones and mobile devices. These are just some of the key elements that are driving the shift from traditional outbound marketing to the new trend of internet based in bound marketing.

An effective inbound marketing program involves three elements - useful and engaging contents, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) of keywords and use of social media and social networking sites.

Inbound marketing focuses on letting the customers find you. They do this by utilizing search engines and they will only be able to find you if you have successfully incorporated the above three elements for your online presence.

Useful and engaging contents are what most user are looking for when they take to searching for information on the internet. These contents can be in the form of your main website, blogs, forum and white papers, video channel, webinars and so on. Your contents must be informative; answer to the user's needs or be able to direct them to where they can find it. Contents must also be fresh and up-to-date to let the user know that you are still in operation and that you are in line with the times.

Search Engine Optimization is all about making sure that you top the ranks on search engine results when searched for. This is done by analyzing and incorporating the use of the most relevant and important keywords which describe your business and what you offer. They key is all about making it easy for the customers to find you.

The last and most important aspect is the use of social media and social networking sites. With close to 20 billion internet users worldwide, it is not surprising how fast information can travel through the web. With sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, blogs, e-mails, RSS feeds and buttons such as 'Share', your information and contents can be spread in double time. It might also go viral. What's more, it does not cost anything to register and start up your own page on these social media. Whilst traditional advertising is only effective during the week or month of publication, your profile and contents on these sites live on for as long as you keep them active. Thus, it is definitely something worth the time and effort to invest in.

Not only is inbound marketing cost effective, it is also not interruption based them way outbound marketing is. Where outbound marketing bombards consumers with advertising, prompts, calls, visits by salespersons and mailers; inbound marketing attracts interested consumers and motivates them to find out more about your business and your product. What's best is that each time your business or product is mentioned, commented on or shared; it also carries with it the personal endorsement of the person who is sharing it along. And people listen to their friend's recommendations and word of mouth more than anything.

The above are very solid reasons why inbound marketing should be embraced by every business out there. You already have your online presence with your website. Go a step further and allow the power of inbound marketing to attract more customers to your website today!