In my previous life, I was a sales engineer in the corporate jungle. I sold capacitors and resistors. Sounds like fun, huh? Actually, at the time, it was.
In that life, “marketing” was making sales calls and going to trade shows. From there, you followed up on leads and referrals. Then waited for the phone to ring. That's Outbound Marketing.
Websites and Inbound Marketing
So much of our marketing efforts revolve around the online activities we participate in to drive traffic to our Websites. Enter Inbound Marketing.
Rather than chasing leads or chasing customers, they come to you by your marketing efforts. You put teasers to content “out there” that potential customers click-thru to find what you have to offer.
You use any combination of Social Media, SEO, Blogging, and e-mail marketing to get the word out. Once a potential customer lands on your website, the goal is to convert it to a contact request, subscriber, or sale.
What exactly is inbound marketing?
This is not the first time that a term or buzzword appears that defines what I've talked about for decades. Even before WordPress existed…
Inbound Marketing = Outstanding Content
It's about creating content. How you create or what venue you concentrate on should be guided by what will work for your target audience.
For example, if your target customer is big into Instagram, creating compelling images and stories is a must. If your audience frequents YouTube, then you should check into creating videos that catch those eyeballs.
There are all kinds of content that you can create. While you don't have to do them all, the more you offer, the better to be perceived as the “THE” in your niche.
- Blog Posts
- Case Studies
- Free Trials
- Info Guides
- Live Streamed Vents
- Online Courses
- Press Releases
- Reference Guides
- Resource Libraries
- RSS/XML Feeds
- White Papers
Avoid the Pitch
With inbound marketing, your goal is to draw potential customers before they are even looking to do business with you. You do this by providing value, being unique, and grabbing their attention — without the sales pitch.
You let the quality of your content be the draw. Or you have visuals that stop them in their tracks and force them to read on. In other words, you aren't creating blatant commercials. Instead, you are creating content that educates, entertains, and inspires.
The best way to accomplish this is to be empathetic to the desires and challenges of those who need your products or services. And may not know it yet.
You are there to help them. Without the sales-pitchy vibe, you build your brand and their trust.
So there are a handful of ways to accomplish inbound marketing.
Most site owners struggle with “blogging.” This is because they aren't writers, don't enjoy writing, and/or don't have the time to create quality content. Whatever your reason for avoiding blogging — embrace it and get over it. Whatever you have to do, you need to have a blog.
Not just for inbound marketing but to build your brand. Building your brand means you are an expert in your field. You are viewed as an authority that can be trusted. (Yeah, I know, I mention E-A-T in almost every post. It's that important!)
Forums and Groups
There is no better way to get out there and build awareness for your website than by sharing your knowledge and helping others. I speak from experience with this as I've always scheduled “give-back” time.
And the thing is that while you are participating, you will find that you learn things along the way. So it's a win-win.
Whether that be new information or resources or how folks think and what they struggle with that you may not have been aware of. That's called opportunity!
“How to” articles, cheat sheets, downloadable eBooks, and PDFs. Add quizzes or your own on-site forum/community.
While creating resources is labor-intensive, your customers' value and your brand are worth the time and effort. WordPress makes doing any of these things pretty easy right out of the box or by installing a plugin or two.
Some spend all their inbound marketing efforts and budget on social media. Some even getting more traffic to their social channels than they do to their websites.
The key is to know where your market prefers to hang out and to cater to that—no need to be active on channels that don't produce interactions. Instead, spend your efforts to get the reaction and results that make it worth your time (and ad spend).
The key is to have graphic imagery that is stellar and compelling. They can't look away. Make sure your graphics are in the appropriate dimensions for that specific social platform. They're all different. [Pro Tip: I use Canva — they handle all that for you.]
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
I answer questions all the time about SEO. And rarely are the answers provided what folks want to hear. It isn't set and forget. It isn't easy.
But the more you can learn and apply, the better your chances of getting discovered by those who don't know you exist. One of those necessary evils, as they say.
I have a bunch of how-to articles on SEO. Start with these:
- WordPress How To: Learn About SEO
- WordPress SEO Tips to Put to Work Right Now
- 5 WordPress Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Myths
- Guide to Google SEO and E-A-T
- How to Integrate SEO Basics for WordPress Posts
And be sure to have Calls to Action for a purchase, to subscribe to your email list or posts. When folks land on your site — make sure to tell them what to do next.
What do you enjoy most?
Of course, different social and online media combos, strategies — and personalities — will work for different markets. So you always want to be testing and tuning to find out what works for you, your market, your brand, your business model, and your target customer.
To help you out, here is The Ultimate List of Marketing Statistics for 2020 to consider going into 2021 to help you create your plan. The key is to keep at it, be consistent and make sure you are “out there.” Set a schedule and follow through. Watch the data and reaction, then do more of what works.
But even more importantly, start with what you enjoy doing most and go from there. Because you want to have fun — that's when the magic happens.
At your service,