Streamline Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
If you're using social media and business blogs to promote your business, chances are that you've realized that working smarter always rules. Inbound marketing leads typically cost around 61% less than traditional marketing methods in 2012, according to Hubspot. What is inbound marketing, anyway? It's really about leveraging up-to-date platforms for building trust in marketing. While there are no short-cuts to sincerity, it doesn't mean you can't double your reach in half the time. We're about to unleash some real tips on streamlining your inbound marketing strategy and overcoming some of the challenges real small business owners are facing today.
Challenge #1: What's Relevant, Anyway?
Context rules, and the challenge for every company is to identify the topics and ideas that resonate with their clients, leads and buyer personas. One topic that's guaranteed to hit a home run, regardless of your industry or specialty. is effort. Put a spotlight on the value to your customer and ways that you are currently beating your competitors when it comes to customer service. Zappos is a brand that's received some serious critical acclaim for living up to their tag line of "powered by service", and I was able to find 3 examples of ways they've used effort to connect with customers within about 5 minutes on their website:
1. They're Not Shy
When you hit the Zappos homepage, they're not hesitant to highlight their value in an eye-catching bar right above the fold of the web page:
2. They Humanize
Zappos is a huge brand, but they humanize extremely well. A recent piece of blog content highlighted how one of their products, a kid's athletic shoe, helped a young customer recover from an injury. Customer testimonials and real stories with photos are a great way to showcase effort in content.
3. They're Smart
People go crazy over the word "free." They love gifts with purchase, bonuses and perks. If you're able to say thank you with something tangible, highlight the benefit in your content just like Zappos did on their company blog September 5th:
Challenge #2: Content is Time Consuming
Quality content takes time. Dedicate time towards the end of each month - it could look like 3 hours, or it could be even a little longer when you're getting started - to plan out content for the entire month. You should definitely leave some room for newsjacking big stories, but starting each piece business blog article a solid idea of what you'll be covering is going to get you closer to the ultimate goal of truly efficient content creation.
Here at Inbound Marketing Agents, we've recently adopted occasional "title jams," where the entire team gathers to hammer out blog titles. It takes less than an hour, and we generated over 100 amazing ideas in the last session.
Challenge #3: No One Reads My Blog
There's no shortcuts to quality content creation, but tapping into the networks of other bloggers is one of the most efficient way I know to get your business blog in front of more people. Make networking with other bloggers a priority - comment on their work, spark up a dialogue on Twitter, and constantly pitch thoughtful ideas for guest posts. It takes time and sustained effort to build a blog following and the key is to figure out how you can connect with established networks. There's no shortcuts to building relationships, so consider networking with peers key to both professional development and opportunities for additional exposure on social media and inbound links.
Challenge #4: My Social Media Engagement is Low
Social media engagement doesn't just add an element of charisma to your brand, it can be a ticket to free exposure. You've got to generate shares, retweets and Facebook likes, and here are a few great ideas for getting there:
1. Provide Incentive
In a move more aimed towards generating brand awareness and establishing a reputation as a media source that cares, USA Today ran a social media contest offering a free, full-page ad to the charity that could generate the most retweets in a three-day period. More than 500 organizations participated, and USA Today's message was shared over 60,000 times. While most companies can't afford to give away nearly $190,000 in value - the estimated worth of the full-page advertisement - get to work coming up with ways that you can reward your clients and leads for sharing in their own networks.
2. Ask Questions
Be a little direct and ask your clients exactly what they thing about relevant topics. Fashion deals site Rue La La asks a question daily:
This example, where fans were asked to weigh in on a recent runway hair trend generated 133 comments and 16 shares at the time of writing. Best of all, Rue La La gained some insight into their clients' preferences!
When it comes to marketing smarter instead of harder, the keys are to put the spotlight on effort, plan ahead and let your fans take care of spreading your message. By focusing on networking with other bloggers, highlighting effort and creating social media content that's share-worthy, your marketing messages will get more mileage than ever.
Image credit: freedigitalphotos.net/KROMKRATHOG