Remember when everyone started saying Web 2.0? I remembered thinking, “What does that mean? Why is everyone saying it? It seems self-explanatory, why do I need to watch a webinar on it?” Well, I found myself in the same situation recently when I started hearing about Inbound Marketing, only this time it didn’t seem as self-explanatory.
What is it?
Inbound marketing is when you focus on getting found by customers versus finding customers. It’s effective in B2B marketing because it focuses on advertising to people who are interested in your industry or service or product, instead of interrupting prospects through e-mails, cold calls, etc. In addition, technology is making it harder and harder for you to use the aforementioned methods because of spam blockers, inability to find phone numbers on websites, etc.
What are the fundamentals?
- Your Website: SEO is critical to B2B inbound marketing, and your website has to be the hub for everything you do. Blog on your website using your own company’s keywords, publish links on your site and keep it maintained and updated with new information and useful content.
- Content: You can’t write about what you ate for lunch. You have to develop meaningful content that people will find useful and informative so they keep coming back for more. Of course, it’s always nice to throw in a little humor too. But above all it has to be useful to your public.
- You Guessed It: Twitter! I don’t mean JUST use Twitter, but that’s another thing we all keep hearing about, so I figured I’d try and get an eye roll out of you. Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and all other forms of social media act as significant channels to get your message out there. They increase your visibility while establishing you as a thought leader in your industry.
Why do it?
It’s significantly cheaper! But don’t be fooled, though it is monetarily cheaper, it does not cost less in terms of time. Developing meaningful content, finding groups to publish in, responding to people’s posts, responding to people’s responses to your own posts, searching topics, etc. all take time. But it’s worth it, because it’s directly targeting those who are searching you out because they’re interested in your industry, product or service, and that’s a darn good lead for just blogging about what you know off-hand anyway.
How do I start?
- Begin by making your website the center of all your marketing efforts. Pump it full of meaningful content and refresh it constantly so people keep coming back for more.
- Take that meaningful content and send it out through social media channels to increase your visibility.
- Start poking around on Twitter and LinkedIn. Search for topics and see what people are saying. Respond. Once you get started, you’ll see that it’s actually really easy, because all you’re doing is writing about what you know anyway.
- We (MLT Creative) wrote a guide on blogging that can help you get started: An Introduction to B2B Blogging. Hubspot.com has some great information about inbound marketing as well.
So go ahead and try it! Sometimes people will even comment on your posts and tell you you’re smart. And it’s always nice to hear that from someone other than just your mother .