Let’s say you are an expert in the field of online marketing. You have an online business that seeks to tutor people how to be successful in internet marketing. How do you reach your audience? Let’s say you undergo the entire stereotypical paid search trauma and invest a huge amount of money to attract the eyes of unsuspecting viewers who might or might not buy your eBook or whatever product you are trying to “sell”. At the same time however, you are spending hundreds of dollars on your paid search plus hosting a domain and products.
So what do you do? Simple. You use your own expertise and guide people in that field. For free. Don’t jump. You can publish rich content and engage in problem solving through blogs, podcasts and video. When you begin to offer something to your niche market based on your expertise, you earn the attention of your prospects, draw them to your website and make yourself easy to be found.
This is known as “inbound marketing”
While “outbound marketing” relies on the traditional cold calling, TV, print and radio advertisements to get a random viewer’s prospective attention, inbound marketing tries to reach out to a smaller but more targeted customer base who are actually seeking your expertise in the field. This is why inbound marketing can be so effective for small businesses or businesses that revolve around a particular niche.
Online marketing strategist, David Meerman Scott in his ideology, “the new rules of marketing & PR” states that, instead of “buying or begging the media to write about you”, you should earn the prospect’s attention by “publishing your way in”.
Sounds vague? Well, you see, the internet today is a vast network of knowledge. People will pay you high dollars for your information. Originality is revered. Therefore if you don’t mind hard work, knowledge based products and long research cycles, then inbound marketing can be really profitable for your business objectives.
Initially inbound marketing dealt with three principles:
– Get Found
However the field has become more nuanced and now deals with five stages.
All marketing plans seek to attract traffic but inbound marketing does this in its own style. Do you have a blog? A YouTube channel? This is where you begin to start your marketing campaign. You provide valuable information for free. Anyone can write or shoot a video but only few can create evergreen content.
Remember the people looking for you are desperate for answers which only you have and they will pay you well for it. Write content from your heart; instead of writing about everything and anything, choose the niche you are comfortable with, preferably something related to your business.
As your readership grows, you will be revered as an authority on your niche and what better reputation for your product? Your product will be known by your name, not the other way around.
Convert Visitors to Leads
It is great to write blog posts and be appreciated for them but your work does not end there. You have to convert your visitors to leads. Your dedicated readers will surely want to know more about problem solving from you and one way to help them out is lead generation.
– Record an interview with an industry expert
– Showcase a slide presentation
– Edit a mini eBook on the “Top ten mistakes in my niche and how to solve them”
Never stop updating your content.
Also choose your topics after communicating with your readers and employees. Never ignore their email, respond to their queries. That way, you already know what your prospective customers are looking for. That is 60% of the problem solved. All you have to do now is solve their problems through your unique expertise! You can also ask your prospects to sign up for newsletters so that they are always up to date on information.
Convert Leads to Sales
Make them offers they can’t refuse. If they liked your slide presentation, may be you can offer them a sequel. If they like the sequel, you can offer them a combo pack. May be you can release the eBook with an audio and more information for a special price. And while they are at it, don’t forget to display your proud products and services and how you seek to make the internet a better place for marketing with your eBooks.
Turn Customers into Repeat Higher Margin Customers
If you convert even 20% of your prospects into paying customers, you have already stepped onto the big band wagon of inbound marketing. Time to bring on the high stakes! These same customers who have bought your combo slides and audio eBooks are the ones who will be interested in big deals.
How about offering them your eBook on internet marketing along with a video on the “15 successful ways to break even into online marketing”?
Analyze for Continuous Improvement
Even though this is the last point, I have already mentioned how important it is to follow this right from stage one.
You cannot afford to be loose with this. White papers, blog articles, SEO, audio podcast, videos, downloadable eBooks, newsletters, flowcharts, worksheets, workbooks- the millions of ways in which you can keep updating your content is truly endless!
Think long term. What is relevant now will be common knowledge a few weeks later. The world of internet marketing is quite different from real-world marketing and you need to be flexible. Keep track of current market scenario, talk to industry experts and always have a good relationship with your customers.
Also never stop giving content for free. Everybody loves free information. Your downloadable PDFs might not get you money, but they will surely get you trust and likability in the marketplace. And needless to say, if your consumers like you, they will buy your products and services. And well their recommendations will surely work wonders.
The main goal of inbound marketing is to generate valuable content. Remember only when you throw the food, do the fish come. Not before that. Be patient, be persistent. Inbound marketing is here for the long haul and if you want to be the winning horse, you better get on the track now.