Business promotion has really shifted in recent years in favor of more intuitive ways of drawing in customers. Traditional, or outbound, marketing has lost subscribers as progressive inbound techniques gain momentum. If you are new to the concept of inbound marketing, here is brief rundown of its many advantages:
- Measurable results
- Inexpensive in the long term
- Better targeting
For lack of a better comparison, money spent on outbound marketing is basically like throwing ideas up in the air and hoping they land on likeminded people. There are limitations on measuring the results of outbound techniques and no real way to target just the people that are looking for your goods or services.
Inbound marketing works smarter by giving people what they are looking for anyway. According to Google, 97 percent of consumers find the company they need through an online search. That number alone is reason enough to toss out old fashioned and wasteful outbound techniques in favor of focused, helpful and natural solutions. Two ways to do this include adding your business to Google’s Places for Business or Chamber of Commerce’s online business directory.
As you make the switch from outbound to inbound marketing, there are some basic building blocks to put in place:
- Search engine optimization. Though there are many search engines, Google is king. In a recent survey by AYTM Market Research, 74 percent of respondents said that they use Google search as their primary resource for finding information on the Web. When building an inbound marketing campaign, follow the best practices and suggestions used for Google. The algorithm does change from time to time in order to keep site developers from abusing the system, so it is important to stay current on these issues and make necessary adjustments.
- Quality content. Simply splashing keywords all over a site with no particular rhyme or reason is a bad way to increase traffic – and it may even backfire. Instead, focus on quality content for inbound marketing. Quality content provides site visitors information in the form of blog entries, research articles and even product descriptions. This will establish your company’s place as an expert in your industry, making it more likely that consumers will come to you when it is time to buy.
- Social media utilization. Facebook, Twitter and the other big networking names are not just for personal use. They can spark a conversation between consumers and companies that do not exist in any other medium. Use company profiles to further develop your brand and reach out to consumers on a more personal level.
While the way that you implement these suggestions may vary, these should be your guidelines when making a switch to inbound strategies. Seek out some expert guidance from professional marketing consultants and blogs like this one and start making your marketing work harder for you – and not the other way around.
Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for ChamberofCommerce.com. She specializes on the topics of marketing and technology. ChamberofCommerce.com helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.