On my first day at Big Sea, I met my new team. Designers. Developers. The Project Manager. Then the Inbound Marketing Specialist. (Scratching record.) Who? What? I had no idea what she did or what inbound marketing even meant.
I have a bachelors degree in marketing, 15+ years in various marketing roles, and have worked in small, mid and large size companies. I’d never once heard the term “inbound marketing” before.
The marketing field is constantly evolving and changing with the times. That’s one of the reasons I love it.
When I got over the initial surprise of discovering a brand new method, I dove right in and began exploring what inbound marketing means.
Inbound marketing is also referred to as digital content marketing and content marketing. At its core, inbound marketing is publishing and distributing content that is relevant, helpful, high-quality and speaks to your specific audience when they want it, where they want it and how they want it. That’s all.
Although “inbound marketing” sounded so foreign to me, its concepts made perfect sense to me as a marketer. But this type of marketing is a little different. It’s smarter. It’s more effective. It works — and the metrics prove there’s a return on investment.
Looking back, I can now see that I made a big mistake in my previous marketing director role. I worked for a small company that was just really hitting the ground with their marketing efforts. I had taken over the position from someone who’d been in the role for a short time before me. The first couple of weeks on the job I made a lot of plans. The retail store needed a brand refresh, updated logo, a new website, more robust social presence, in-store signage and more. I decided to cut out the weekly blog postings my predecessor had been writing. I figured with so much to do, I couldn’t possibly spend hours writing blog posts.
Now I know that keeping the blog going would have been an ideal way to communicate directly with the store’s clientele. They wanted useful content like support for their life changes, recipe ideas, and general dietary guidance. I should have made it a priority and hired someone to keep knocking out that weekly blog while I continued to focus on more brand-relevant and in-store projects for the company.
Blogging builds credibility and allows for ongoing dialogue with customers and potential customers. It keeps content from going stale, and it keeps people coming back. It establishes authority and humanizes the business.
Now that I know about inbound marketing and all it entails, I can confidently say that I can’t think of a single reason why a business should not blog. But hindsight is 20/20. I think I might just send this post along with my apology to my former boss and ask him to hire me to blog for him. (Just kidding. Sort of.)
It’s not just blogging.
Inbound marketing is about more than blogging, though. There are many ways to publish valuable and meaningful content that is relevant and helpful to your target customers, and it can be served up when and where they want it. This means publishing blogs, sharing links and information through social media outlets, landing pages with targeted keywords for search engine optimization, email campaigns, producing webinars and white papers. All the while measuring and analyzing and making adjustments along the way.
Inbound marketing is now part of my everyday vocabulary and my daily thought processes. I’m contributing to our inbound team with ideas, writing, and strategizing for our client needs.
Are you producing helpful, quality materials; publishing and communicating digitally with your customers and potential customers? If not, I can tell you first hand: You might want to start now.
Too busy and don’t have time to write blogs and quality content? You don’t have to. We can produce high-quality, industry-specific materials to get you noticed and grow your business.