May 22, 2013 at 4:34 pm

Traditional Meets Inbound Marketing: peering into murky waters

Traditional Meets Inbound Marketing: peering into murky waters
Ocean5

The water begins to clear as I learn more about inbound marketing. Photo courtesy of ks photography – www.kimistewartphotography.com

Continuing on my quest to prove old PR dogs can learn new tricks, I’m delving further into the world of inbound marketing. With just a few more lessons (and some hefty review), I’ll be ready to take the Hubspot Inbound Marketing Certification test.

I’m learning more than I thought I would, and I’m also seeing the value of the PR/marketing work I’ve done over the past 25 years. The two seem to meld nicely.

So, on with my journey, on with my quest for the perfect wave, on with my search for the dolphins surfing down the shimmering waves. I know they will accept me when I’m worthy. I will surf with them…

This week I swam out to some pretty good looking swells. I let go of my board, held my breath, and pushed down to see how deep the water was. I knew the sand was somewhere below me and the sky was above, but the water was so murky I really could not see much. I’m hoping each week, as I become “one with my board,” the water will give way to more and more clarity.

As a PR professional for many years, my job, whether print, mail, media placement, or web-based, was to attract interest in and close new customers for my business. Once a lead was generated (someone calling our business), our experts closed the deal, and it was up to every employee to turn these customers into evangelists (promoters of our business). Inbound marketing has changed this – for the better.

75% of website visitors do not go past the first page of a website-raise this significantly with inbound marketing

I’m finding, with inbound marketing, the basics hold true. EXCEPT, with the old PR model, a huge net was cast into our demographic waters in hopes of catching a few good customers. Many of these people were simply not interested and never continued on to the next step of exploring the website, or most of those who did log on, were not enticed enough to stay on the site or to call us to get more information.

Inbound marketing brings interested customers to the business because they have an interest – they want to be there. Inbound focuses first on understanding customers and honing in on their needs and desires. Inbound marketers create excellent web content that answers customer’s questions, enticing them to further exploration, and moving them through the site on carefully tailored paths.

Inbound marketers know the power of interesting, informative blogs that keep prospects coming back to the carefully created website that speaks to them. Inbound marketers use the power of social media to pull customers to their websites. Inbound marketers know what appeals to their buyers. The result? Success through marketing to the right people – more sales, more interest, and at less cost.

98% of visitors never come back to a site – keep them interested with inbound

Think about the most memorable websites you’ve visited. Why did you return, why did you bookmark the page, why did you subscribe to an RSS feed? It’s because the people who crafted the sites thought long and hard about the content. They grabbed attention with the use of color and image. They appealed to the human element. They showed that they understood and cared about their prospective customers. They made it easy for customers to use the site and offered free incentives for continued exploration. Using inbound marketing models, the right customers are encouraged to visit again and again.

I’m now convinced that inbound marketing is the wave of the future. One of the best (and by far the most interesting) explanations of the inbound concept I’ve seen is an award-winning music video done by Rebecca Corliss, one of the talented professionals at Hubspot. Check it out. It makes a lot of sense and it’s fun to watch.

So, while you’re enjoying the music video, I’ll be studying about inbound marketing: using social media to leverage a business; keywords, consistency and meta descriptions for site optimization; the value of landing pages, and about the 10:4:1 rule (yes, you’ll have to come back to learn about this gem!).

When I’ve committed these lessons to memory, I’ll hit the beach again. I’m still out to find those illusive dolphins. I’ll be there enjoying the warm water, the heat of the sun on my back and the sound of the softly crashing waves. But I’m waxing my board before I go out into the surf. I know that preparation is the key to success.

Stay tuned!

Kathy

Learn more about inbound marketing from my mentors at What She Said Marketing Solutions.

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