Years ago, when companies wanted people to know about their product offerings or services, they sent their message out to prospective customers hoping it would generate a sale, whether the customer was interested or not. They used “outbound marketing” techniques like direct mail, billboards, print and TV advertising, flyers, cold calling and visits, skywriting, trade shows, etc. to reach out to them. It was their only choice because “inbound marketing” was not invented yet and they wanted more sales.
With the rise of the internet, all that has changed. According to multiple sources, it is estimated that up to 97% of consumers go to the internet first to find a vendor. Customers search the internet to find the products and services they want, when they want them, so it is a company’s responsibility to be there in a way they can be found.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing is non-disruptive to the customer. Instead, it puts a message in the path of someone who is in the frame of mind to purchase. In other words, in the right place at the right time! Or, the customer may be looking for valuable, problem-solving answers to their questions from a credible source. If you post valuable content, your prospective customers will find your words of wisdom, with a link to your site, and they’ll be one step closer to becoming your customer.
Are you being found on the internet for searches other than your company name? Applying “inbound marketing strategies” can help your business be found first, or most frequently during an internet search. We have put together a list of the many types of inbound marketing tools available to help. Read through the list and ask, how many do you have in place for your company? Are you using them efficiently?
1) SEO —Your search engine optimization is your #1 inbound marketing tool and the cornerstone for being found on the internet in all your online endeavors. Have an experienced SEO specialist boost your ratings in Google by adding strategic keywords, title tags and meta data to all your online marketing efforts and inbound marketing vehicles. Many of the other tools listed below also have a benefit of assisting with SEO.
2) Websites With Landing Pages — It is essential to have a website in order to be searchable, but it is also important to have specific landing pages as a referring link for your other online marketing efforts.
3) Blogs — Add a blog to your website that answers questions that your prospective customer may be asking online. When they look for an answer your site will be found if you do it right. Content marketing is a great inbound marketing tool.
4) Social Media — Is also a great inbound marketing tool. Consider adding accounts on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. for customers to find you. Consider the audience you are trying to reach (B2B/B2C), the visual appeal of your content, then concentrate your social media efforts accordingly.
5) Press Releases – Release your company news and events on the internet with a referring link to your website and watch your traffic increase dramatically. Distribute your releases via a reliable source with a healthy, targeted media list as a bonus.
6) Directory Listings — Appear in reputable, relevant online directory listings for your industry. Check to make sure you are included in all online directories for your networking groups and organizations.
7) Videos —Consider a video to summarize complicated processes or quick tips on your website. Videos have the potential to go viral and have never been easier to produce or share.
8) Online Articles – Post valuable informational content on online article submission portals such as ezine.com to gain backlinks to your site. Make sure the content is properly repurposed for this audience. You can also spin these articles into blog posts for your own site.
9) Ecommerce – Add a shopping cart or other ecommerce feature to your website. When a prospect searches for your products or services and they find it available for purchase on your site, it’s a classic success story for inbound marketing!
10) Whitepapers —Post an informative, valuable resource on your webpage and offer it to your site visitors in return for their contact information. It’s a win-win inbound marketing tool and now you have some warm leads to follow up on.
11) eBooks – Create an ebook and post it online with a link to your website. It will position you as an expert and also help you be found online.
12) RSS Feeds—Make it easier for others to follow your posts by offering an RSS feed where you submit content.
13) Google Places – Regardless of your product or service, “put yourself on the map” with Google Places and you’ll create another way to be found online.
14) Webinars— Consider SEO keywords when naming your webinars so that yours has a chance of being found when you post it on your website.
15) Enewsletter Subscriptions – Although the sending of an enewsletter is an outbound technique, having the “opt-in” sign-up on the website is an “inbound” way to generate interest.
16) Digital Business Card— Posting an online business card is another way to help people find you online….and it won’t end up in a stack on a desk!
So how did you do? If you need help putting any of these inbound marketing tools in place, we can help. Call Design & Promote today!