Inbound marketing is the methodology innovative CEOs, business owners and marketing professionals are using to help their companies get found, get leads and drive sales. Inbound marketing, by definition, is the process by which you create educational content, leverage that content to help your business drive visitors to your website, convert those visitors from anonymous lurkers into leads and then nurture those leads through the sales process turning them into new customers.
While this is a bit more complicated than traditional outbound or interruptive marketing, it is much more efficient and much more aligned with the way today’s prospects want to be marketed to. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be guided through a process to a point where they feel safe making their purchase decisions. Buyer behaviors have changed, and businesses need to adapt to survive.
Social media is one of the secret ingredients that help us crack the code to inbound marketing, helping businesses drive discovery and increase sales.
One of the built-in value propositions that comes along with social media is the user’s desire to share information, to be part of the conversation and to show their own expertise. Inbound marketing is built on the creation of helpful educational content. Content such as whitepapers, e-books, blog posts (like this one), videos, research studies, survey results, podcasts, webinars, slide shows and infographics are used to educate your target prospects. The result of this process is they are driven to your website where you collect their contact information.
A secondary result is that they share this highly helpful educational content on social media with all of their contacts. Drive even more new people to your website and driving more leads for your business. The more remarkable and interesting the educational content, the more people stop by your site and the more leads you get for your company. During this process, the people who have found your company for the first time also subscribe to your e-mail newsletter, your daily blog feed, your upcoming webinars and they “like” you on Facebook, “follow” you on Twitter, “connect” with you on LinkedIn and subscribe to your YouTube channel feed.
This builds what we call your Total Available Audience. The number of people connected to your business because they liked what you had to say, you helped them and they trust you. This is a number you want to be measuring and working hard to grow month over month. The more people in your TAA, the easier it is to get the word out about new educational content, new offerings, news, events, etc. Even better, it costs you almost nothing to communicate with these fans of your company. A blog post can be automatically shared with everyone in your audience with the click of a button. No need to buy expensive advertising, put out a news release or attend a trade show. When set up properly, inbound marketing delivers a highly efficient, permission-based Marketing Machine.
Make sure your social media profiles are built out and accurately represent your business. Make sure they have educational content prominently displayed on those pages. It’s not enough to just have a great website. Today, you need a remarkable LinkedIn profile for your business, a fun Facebook page for your business, an informative Twitter feed and an information-rich YouTube channel page. Your prospects are using all of these sites to find businesses just like yours. You need to make sure your business shines on all these sites.