The Inbound Marketing Low-Down

By | March 13, 2012

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share articles in a series that is  focused on one major theme: How companies in the printing industry can use inbound marketing to grow their business. Here is Part 1!

Every business dreams of those “easy” sales. The sales where customers virtually fall into your lap. Don’t we all want to find that customer who nods at everything we say, knowing that we are the experts and the best solution to their needs? The reality is you likely work hard for every customer you get to that point of the sale. But what if that hard work really involved laying the ground work so that over time, those customers really do fall into your lap?

With inbound marketing, you can lay that groundwork to establish your business as a resource, as a wealth of information and the right solution to your target market’s needs. And while it takes some work, it does not require the outlay of cash that many other marketing strategies take, such as massive ad campaigns.

In traditional marketing, you send your message out to the masses. And hopefully, it gets to your target market and that target market responds. With inbound marketing, you are still sending a message out, but it’s less intrusive and much more authentic. Think about it: when you go to a party, do you want to seek out all the cool kids and chat them up, hoping they will like you? Or would you like to be the cool kid and have everyone come to you?

Attracting Leads to Your Business

By providing relevant and interesting content, you become the cool kid. Your target market wants to get to know you. They want to read your articles. They want to download your audio tips. They want to watch your video clips. As you develop your content and make it accessible in various formats, you get your name and expertise in front of your target market in various ways.

Or course, you do have to make sure your content is optimized for the search engines. You want your informational pieces to be found via free searches. This doesn’t mean you stuff your content with fluff and keywords over and over again. In fact, doing so will turn a potential customer off. You have to find the right balance between using those keywords while providing relevant and readable information.

How Social Media Fits In

Inbound marketing also embraces the use of social media to get noticed. You should be sharing your information across multiple platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and so on. Your target market isn’t going to be hanging out in one place. They’re laughing at the latest tweet. Checking out the most recent status update. Sharing that video clip. By establishing your business identity via several social media platforms, you get the chance to seize the interest of many more potential customers, and continue to establish your business as a resource. Another benefit is the ability to interact with those in your target market on a more personal level. Social media invites dialogue and interaction. By being responsive as well as proactive with your information dissemination, you are becoming the friendly resource that your target market wants to work with.

Inbound marketing isn’t for the lazy business. It takes time. It takes knowledge. It takes dedication. You need to provide good, quality content. You need to be search engine friendly and keyword wise. And you need to establish your business identity across multiple social media platforms. But in the long run, inbound marketing can take your business sales to a whole other level.

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6 thoughts on “The Inbound Marketing Low-Down

  1. Patrick Whelan

    And most important, it takes great content to promote your company as a thought leader.

    Great article John.Outbound, inbound and social media, companies need to become proficient at all of these to remain competitive.

  2. John Foley, Jr.

    Thanks Patrick!

    There is a strategy for this. Most focus on one piece or another and miss how they work together. I see online marketing success from folks that have a plan and already know how they are going to get leads from this versus- “Well lets get on face book and post something?” That’s a hope and hope is not a good strategy! My2cents – John aka @johnfoleyjr on twitter

  3. Mike Porter

    My company has been doing “inbound marketing” since 2005, although we didn’t have a name for it back then. Over the years I’ve been writing informational articles that appear in trade publications and sending out newsletters. I’ve produced video and audio content, written a book, dabbled in social networks, and spoken at industry events.

    The strategy definitely works. Today I consistently get unsolicited calls and emails from potential clients and we frequently benefit from referrals. In fact, two new opportunities came our way just last week. But it didn’t happen overnight. Those who wait until they need more sales to make their numbers at the end of the quarter will be disappointed when a single article or a sudden publication frenzy fails to result in an immediate increase in activity.

    It takes patience, repetition, and consistency. As John pointed out, the results of inbound marketing are not tied to a single channel or a specific publication. It is the combination of all the efforts over a period of time that will increase brand awareness, enhance your reputation, and every once in a while generate one of those “easy” sales.

  4. Integrated marketing services

    Nice post John. I agree with you that companies in the printing industry should use inbound marketing to grow their business and can take your business sales to a whole other level. Today, Inbound Marketing highly influences customer’s decision making. With inbound marketing, your target market gets to know you better and doing so improves the chance to convert a potential customer.

  5. tamar

    Hey John,

    Got any good examples of companies in the DTG business doing what you suggest?

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