Go Back to Marketing School
Inbound marketing is a growing and evolving business practice, with new strategies and best practices being created each day. Despite being a new wave, inbound marketing still requires many of the basic elements of traditional marketing. Marketers and the businesses they work for can often forget about these basic marketing skills, decreasing their opportunity of success. These techniques and skills can be ignored by mistake, due to time or pressure, lack of training, or even plain ignorance. Compiled here are some of the easily forgotten elements to inbound marketing. Develop these marketing skills first to prepare yourself to be a successful inbound marketer.
Content is one of the biggest elements of inbound marketing. It’s all about creating and sharing content that your customers will love. Because content plays such a large role, a high amount of content is required and constantly needs to be produced. Pressure from deadlines and content calendars can cause marketers to quickly and haphazardly create their content, just for the sake of having blogs done. The problem here is the marketer is more focused on the timeliness of the task than the purpose. This issue can be avoided by sticking to an organized plan for your writing process. When writing quality content, marketers must first spend time researching the subject and how it relates to their customers, then outline their content to highlight key points. After writing, marketers should edit their content not just for grammar and style, but to make sure it appeals to the audience and follows campaign strategy.
Inbound marketing stands out above traditional marketing partially because of how easily it is measured and tracked. Metrics for page performance, social media, and blog content are all readily available and constantly updated. But because these statistics are effortlessly provided, marketers often forget to delve deep into the analytics, where the really valuable information lies. Simple metrics will tell you things like how many visitors you received or how many clicked on a link. But when metrics are explored deeper, marketers can extract more useful numbers such as what days of the week social media traffic is at its highest, or which specific email offers have the highest conversion rate. General statistics can be easily misleading because they don’t provide context. Marketers can’t afford to forget to spend time analyzing their metrics, or else they will be left shrugging their shoulders at the reasons behind their successes and failures.
Nobody likes spam. Any spam email that filters through into your inbox is promptly deleted without a second thought. Brands can face this same quick judgment, losing out on customers because they appear pushy or “spammy.” Businesses can give this impression by over-posting their own offers or content, or recycling a lot of material and sending it out repeatedly. These brands become just like a person at a party who only talks about himself; they appear self-absorbed and unapproachable. Marketers who make this mistake are forgetting about the basic skill of cross-promotion. As a brand, you should have an idea of who your customers are and what they enjoy. Promoting the content of other brands in the same field, or others related to your customers, reflects your appreciation for your customer by giving them the things they love. Cross-promotion can also lead to great marketing karma, opening up new doors for other brands to return the favor and promote your content to their customers.
You have all of the necessary tools and training for inbound marketing, so the rest will just take care of itself right? Not quite. You may have the vehicle, but you don’t have the map to get to your destination. Every action taken, each piece of content written, each offer created, all must fit into a defined campaign strategy. When strategy is neglected or ignored, the content becomes unorganized and confusing, greatly losing its effectiveness. An effective campaign strategy will have smart marketing goals, benchmarks for measuring progress, specific action items, and an overarching theme to tie it all together.
Inbound marketing is an extremely fast-paced field, and the speed of business can be the downfall of many marketers. The key to remembering basic marketing skills is to slow down when you can and really focus on what you are doing. Keeping organized, outlining your actions and goals, will make it much easier to develop marketing skills. Inbound marketing is all about creating marketing that people love, but if you are forgetting to stick to the basics, your brand may end up coming off like a guy spinning a sign on the side of the road.