Inbound Marketing

"Inbound marketing is about getting found online, through search engines and on social networking sites that billions of people use to find answers each day."

- Inbound Marketing, page xii

The subtitle of Inbound Marketing is Attract, Engage, and Delight Customers Online and the premise is that it is a comprehensive guide to increasing online visibility and engagement. Written by top marketing and startup bloggers, the book contains the latest information about customer behavior and preferred digital experiences. From the latest insights on lead nurturing and visual marketing to advice on producing remarkable content by building valuable tools, readers will gain the information they need to transform their marketing online. This book provides the new strategies you need to get more free traffic from Google, build a valuable business blog, create a social media following and analyze which of your marketing efforts are working.

With outbound marketing methods becoming less effective, the time to embrace inbound marketing is now. Cold calling, e-mail blasts, and direct mail are turning consumers off to an ever-greater extent, so consumers are increasingly doing their own research online to choose companies and products that meet their specific needs and wants. Inbound Marketing recognizes these behavioral changes as opportunities, and explains how marketers can make the most of this shift. This not only addresses turning strangers into website visitors, but explains how best to convert those visitors to leads, and to nurture those leads to the point of becoming delighted customers.

The Big Idea

The Big Idea: The biggest takeaway from the book

Help, Not Harassment

"People do not want to be interrupted by marketers or harassed by salespeople. They want to be helped."
- Inbound Marketing, page xviii

The quote above was the observation of the authors after “many meetings, much coffee, and the occasional wine or beer.” It’s the concept you need to grasp if you are going to be effective with your marketing efforts in the current world. How people shop for goods and services has changed, but has your marketing stayed current to keep up with the times?

Brian and Dharmesh make the point that people use the Internet in three specific ways to get the information they desire:

  1. search engines (primarily Google)
  2. blogs
  3. social media sites

As I think about my own life, I realize they have a valid observation. How often do you and I type something into Google during the day? My Feedly has a couple dozen blog feeds for the blogs I regularly read and enjoy. In addition to checking my email several times a day, I swing by Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to see what’s new. Is your online life that different from mine? Probably not.

Insight #1

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Tips to be outstanding

"The trick is to stand out by becoming as remarkable (unique and valuable) as possible to a segment of buyers."
- Inbound Marketing, page 17

Can you answer the question “What are you the world’s best at?” If so, congratulations! You are more aware than the majority. To stand out from the crowd you should write informative articles relevant to your industry and provide links to other resources that are relevant. You may want to invite others in your area of expertise, or supporting areas, to write articles for your blog. As a rule of thumb, you should be posting an article per week and gaining credibility and consistency.

For your articles, practice developing catchy article titles since that is what will draw people to your information. Numbered items (top 10), famous names (Donald Trump), and well-known companies (Google) do well in titles. At the end of every article have a call to action like “leave your comments below”, or “email me to discuss this”, etc.

As you write your articles, think about the keywords you should use. When picking keywords think relevance and what words your ideal customer would type into Google when searching. Also, make sure your page titles on your web pages contain your keywords.

Insight #2

An actionable way to implement the Big Idea into your life

Convert, Convert, Convert

"Simply getting visitors to your website isn’t enough. You need to convert those leads into prospects and eventually paying customers."
- Inbound Marketing, page 109

The goal of all of your marketing efforts should be to get people to engage with you and your business. Always provide a variety of ways for people to engage further. On each page of your website have a compelling call to action such as an opt-in for a free eBook, a free initial consultation, or some type of trial offer. Make sure each of your calls to action is valuable, easy, prominent, and action oriented.

Send targeted prospects to a unique landing page just for them and a specific offer. Remember, a landing page has only one function — to capture prospect’s information such as email or phone number. Typically, the less information you ask for on a landing page, the better the conversion rate. Not all leads are created equal, some will close right away; others will take months or years. Continually conduct what the authors call “lead nurturing” – staying in touch with each potential customer so you come to mind when they are ready to purchase.

Inbound Marketing contains essential tools and resources that help build an effective inbound marketing strategy. Is your inbound marketing strategy current and relevant? Have you measured the return on investment of each technique you are using and replaced the bottom performing one with another technique? What have you learned from this summary that you will implement today?

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Barak Strickland

ABOUT Barak Strickland

Barak Strickland is a project manager who holds certifications in program management and lifecycle logistics from the USAF. He has been planning, organizing, and completing projects professionally since 1981, when he joined the USAF...
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