Before there was inbound marketing, there was outbound marketing. The latter included cold calling, direct mail and email blasts but these repelled rather than attracted customers. So brands sought out to related to consumers in a meaningful way and that was by creating content that was relevant, accurate and interesting.
In an era dominated by search engine use, pushing e-mails and messages the same old way will not cut it. There are three critical components of inbound marketing. They are SEO, content and social media. The three elements should be managed together as a comprehensive three-pronged approach. If well implemented, it can be very effective in drawing in customers.
Search engine optimization or SEO coordinates content with on and off SEO. This is achieved using a number of different methods including image names, site maps, alt text, meta data, html tags and content. This is easier to implement with platforms that are compliant with Web 2.0 platforms such as WordPress.
In putting out SEO content out there, it is important to realize that there are rules and regulations to be followed. Search engine giant Google leads and others follow so one must play by their rules. One reason Google stays at the top is because they go all out to ensure those who use their services only find relevant information. Overstuffing content with keywords can lead to a website getting penalized, including relegating such content to the bottom of the pile meaning browsers will never find it.
Search engines thrive on content. The days of searching in the Yellow Pages are long gone; today, it's all about the internet. Being the website where browsers find the content they are looking for is what sets apart one website from another. Content must be relevant, current, easy to understand and interesting. Websites that often refresh their content often have higher rankings than those that don't. Things are always changing and content should be refreshed to reflect this. Content may be great but it it is old, it's not any good.
It takes the form of blogs, articles, podcasts, e-books, videos, white papers, listings. This should then be promoted through online marketing campaigns, integrated branding, lead capture campaigns and website development.
Social media tools have become the means people and businesses use to keep in touch and to share what is happening around them. Facebook, Tweeter, LinkedIn, YouTube and other social media tools are being used to reach people all over the world.
Apart from unlimited reach, these tools are also ideal because they generate responses very quickly. A single tweet or Facebook posting can create a buzz very fast. These tools are also very inexpensive to use as a means of promoting a business and they give unlimited reach as they can be seen all around the world.
All together now
Just having these accounts is not enough though. They need to be synchronized, optimized and used effectively in a strategy that will ensure that one garners and holds the attention of browser so that traffic is continuously generated. The focus should be on capturing and retaining the attention of potential customers through the social media that they frequently use.
The three critical elements of inbound marketing should be viewed as a road map which if well laid out, will lead browsers to the intended destination of your website. There are 250 million websites worldwide and counting. These three elements must strategically be put to the best use possible to make your website stand out from all the others that competing for the attention of the same customers.
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Topics: inbound marketing
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