Quick Start Guide to Inbound Marketing - Part 1

If you’re desperately wanting to get started in the world of Inbound Marketing (the world where businesses efficiently attract and convert qualified prospects into profitable customers, instead of inefficiently pushing messages out to a mostly disinterested public), here’s my comprehensive to-do list to increase your (relevant) site traffic.

It’s in rough-draft format, it’s not perfectly ordered, and you may notice that this very post violates at least one of my directives below (I don’t yet have any related links embedded here). But these very shortcomings relate to another directive here - that is, if you wait to get everything just so with your inbound/internet/online marketing initiative, you’ll never start.

My intention is to post new articles, related to each respective point below. But clients keep calling. Their needs come first, but I’ll do my best to keep to the schedule. If I begin to fall behind, feel free to motivate me with any sort of technique you prefer. All that said, here’s the guide. (If massive to-dos get you down, scroll to the very bottom of the list and read the last two bullets first.) Ok, go.

* Figure out where your customers gather online. Go there and engage with those audiences. Set up accounts with Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and any other social site. Keep your eyes open for other emerging sites. Remember that it’s not about Facebook or Twitter or any other specific site. It’s about where your prospects gather online, wherever that is. Go FIND them.

* In doing this, don’t try sell your products. Instead, impress the audience with not only your expertise but your great interest in subjects related (both directly and indirectly) to your products.

* With Facebook, get 25 people to “Like” your business (don’t be shy about asking anyone you know to do it). Then claim your business’s Facebook URL (which is much more intuitive than the one you’ll get to start).

* With Twitter, tweet a lot, as much as you want. You really can’t tweet so much that you’ll annoy others. Some studies show that (all else being equal) attention to tweets maximizes at over 20 tweets per day. Just make sure to make your tweets relevant, and somewhat agnostic (you can tweet about your products and deals, but don’t make that the dominant thrust).

* With LinkedIn, make lots of connections, create and then actively manage a user group related to your industry. Engage with other groups and users related to your business.

* Set up a Google analytics account (or other such software, if you prefer). Learn how to use the reports so you can tell what works on your site and what doesn’t.

* Build relationships with the audience slowly and consistently.

* Hard-sell techniques are counter-productive. Be product-agnostic.

* Create a blog (make sure it’s directly associated with your website, so it boosts your site’s search engine visibility). For example, use yoursite.com/blog. Never embed your blog within a wordpress-like site. You can USE wordpress to write posts and manage the blog. The important thing is the blog’s address.

* Do NOT create a blog until you are dedicated to the idea of posting with consistent frequency. (Abandoned blogs are also counter-productive.)

* Create and actively manage an exhaustive editorial calendar of blog post ideas. Try to include key words to use in each post. The idea is to make post writing efficient, so you can pump out good ones without a major writing struggle each time. This is not easy. I do it for clients constantly, but even I have difficulty making time to do it for my OWN company.

* Within each post, use key words as active links (to other authoritative sites and articles). For example, instead of a link named “click here” use “inbound marketing techniques.”

* Research how to create effective titles for your posts, then make sure your posts have pertinent titles that get recognized within all that internet blog “noise” out there.

* Get your website optimized with SEO techniques, so that when those interested come looking for your company, they find your site or blog. (Details here are a whole other list, and I’ll get to that after I finish all the posts dedicated to THIS list.)

Part 2 of the Quick Start Guide

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  2. Small Businesses: Are you strategic with your online marketing? Or running around like a headless chicken?
  3. An effective online marketing plan is the sum of many parts working together
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