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How To Do Your Own Inbound Marketing

Along with SEO, inbound marketing is one of the big buzzwords in marketing this year. As Google tightens up its algorithms to prevent manipulation and spam, more and more businesses are turning to inbound marketing to help them generate revenue and get found by the customers who are looking to spend.


In this article, we’ll look at the basics of inbound marketing and define some DIY techniques you can use to create your own campaign today.

What is Inbound?

Marketing techniques can be split into two camps: outbound and inbound. Basically, inbound marketing can be summarised as non-intrusive; unlike outbound marketing, you don’t need to display a huge banner or use a megaphone to get noticed.
Inbound marketing is becoming increasingly popular because of its links with SEO, lower costs and opportunity for creative and dynamic elements. It’s thought of as modern when compared to outbound, although both have their place.

How Do I Get Started?

Here’s a simple summary plan of your first steps in inbound marketing.

Sort Your SEO

Perhaps the most important building block for a good inbound marketing campaign is a well optimised website. It doesn’t just help with search engine positioning. It’ll also make your website contents easier to find, so it’ll complement everything else you do.

Build a Blog

Everyone knows regular content is the key to satisfying the search engines. It’ll also help you build authority in your niche. You can try publishing blogs via social media, posting guest blogs rich with unique content, or even creating videos. Whatever you do, make sure your content offers something really interesting – and publish frequently.

Market With Mail

Mailing lists have a bad reputation thanks to spammy outbound marketing techniques, but an email list is still a very valuable tool. Don’t be scared of inviting people to sign up so that you can build a valuable list of interested leads. Then, offer your email list subscribers value in the form of a discount, some unique content or valuable extras and freebies.

Improve Authority

Once you’ve established your campaign, get your brand name (or your own name) noticed. Write a book; ebooks are great providing you’re willing to give them away for free, but a print book is even better. Build a healthy Google+ profile, spend time networking on LinkedIn and snap up opportunities to get your name and face known. Even if you’re not directly promoting your business, the fact that you’re visible means people are developing a connection with you from afar.

Making the Switch to Inbound

For several years, we’ve been told that advertising is the key to marketing online. It’ll take some time for that to be reversed. The sooner you adopt inbound marketing methods and embrace them, the further ahead you’ll be when your competitors catch on.
The key to developing your inbound marketing campaign is to look for customers and help them to find you – don’t force your message in front of them. Before you know it, you’ll be generating sales leads at a fraction of the price you paid before.

Featured images:

Sam Wright is a journalist working with Brand Republic.

How One Businesswoman Embraced Social Media Management

Mashable.com is currently running a great story about Julie Smolyansky, who inherited the position of CEO at the company her parents started in 2002, and was responsible for deciding the company’s direction at the tender age of 27. Since then, annual sales have increased from $12 million to $80 million and Lifeway Foods’ product has never been more popular. Smolyansky attributes much of this success to her early adoption of social media management. So what is the trendy product that has been embraced by internet users? Kefir, an ancient fermented milk drink. Not exactly the stereotypical subject of online popularity.

The product is made by introducing special ‘Kefir grains’, which are really a mixture of yeast and live bacteria, into milk and allowing the liquid to ferment for 24 hours. The resulting drink is rich in protein and in bacteria, leading some to praise its probiotic effects on the digestive system. Kefir has been around for some 2000 years, and Smolyansky credits its popularity explosion to her adoption of MySpace, Twitter and Facebook at a time when businesses did not commonly use social media services: ‘Everything that we do, we make sure that it’s sharable. We become a friend and a trusted source of information’.

At first, the young CEO attempted to manage the accounts herself alongside her other duties at Lifeway. Having realised that she just did not have the time to effectively engage with potential customers online, she hired a social media management expert in 2009. Nowadays, Lifeway employs 5 social media managers, and Smolyansky seems to suggest that she wishes to expand this even further: ‘We want to do more and more of it. You have to be everywhere’.

Lifeway’s story is an extreme one – few businesses can realistically hope to turn over $80 million each year. This case study does, though, illustrate the potential power of active social media management. If you want to explore the possibilities that social media could hold for your business, give us a call.

Katie’s Top Tip for Businesses – Digital Marketing Services

Calling all entrepreneurs! Our very own founder and managing director Katie has contributed to an article on creative business site The OnRamp. When asked how she fought through the fear that entrepreneurs can feel during the infancy of a business, she cast her mind back to the founding of her digital marketing services company and replied:

‘When first starting out, if I was worried about the future of the business I would stay late at the office after everyone had left and take time to reflect. Often I make my best decisions at the end of the day when I’m tired, hungry or just want to go home, as this adds a sense of urgency to the decision making process!
So far all the decisions I have made this way have helped drive the business forward immensely.’

You can read the other 11 hints over at The OnRamp’s site.

Katie is able to offer consulting and mentoring as part of I Say! Digital’s full-service digital marketing services, so if you want to know how to get your new venture off the ground, give us a call.

YouTube: What Can it Do For a Business?

YouTube and Digital Marketing

A discussion broke out earlier this week in the office about YouTube.

We were talking about life before the site, and how as recent as 2005, we dreamed of a place on the internet which would act as a magical wishing well for whatever niche or interest you had: ‘I want to watch my favourite childhood TV programme’ or ‘I want to see that goal again’. With YouTube, these aims are achievable. Yes, we probably use it mainly for cute cat videos or the latest film trailers, but one shouldn’t exclude YouTube from any discussion of useful social media.

How Social is YouTube?

Yes, YouTube is more widely considered a video-streaming site (which it is); but there is a huge social element too, which gets lost in the shuffle. Visual items, such as video and infographics, are a lot more likely to be shared and go viral than a long, wordy article; and because social is becoming more and more decisive in SEO, creating something that people will want to show off to friends is becoming vital. YouTube users have a profile which they can play around with; made easier with its integration with Google, to the point where you can now have your own name (which will please anyone who came up with an immature username at the age of 15). Unfortunately, a strong majority of users don’t bother to contribute or even read comments, because they’ve already seen a related video that they want to click on to. You’ll have your usual trolls with their all-caps, swear word-infested arguments, but you can find some very thoughtful, well-structured back-and-forth replies as well. You just have to scroll.

Like Facebook or Twitter, you can also see relationships built up over time. Someone posts a video here and there; someone else replies with a ‘cool video dude'; more people see it, and want to throw in their two pence or expand on your reply. A comment strikes a chord and gets a “thumbs up”. If you keep at it as a creator, promoting your video on the other proper social networks, and tagging your video properly, your uploads will spread further. People will post a link on forums, or even sites like Reddit, and in turn, YouTube will register that your upload is getting a lot of views, and give it a nudge.

Soon you’ll have subscribers (i.e. followers) who’ll look forward to your next upload. They can even see it pop up by making YouTube’s homepage a port-of-call, along with Facebook or Twitter. If they’ve decided to follow you on those platforms, you can post a link there to remind them you’re still around and have uploaded fresh content. Like the concept of ‘followers’, ‘subscribers’ assumes that even if you don’t personally know someone, it’s socially acceptable to follow their activity. So whereas some businesses struggle to earn likes from those beyond their friends and family, YouTube is a bit more lax in that you don’t have to wait for someone to accept your request. This way, strangers can observe you from a distance for a while before making a decision to take on your services.

How YouTube Can Be Used By Business

Only a small majority of our clients use YouTube, because it captures a visual element of their services which they wish to demonstrate and which is not as applicable to other industries. How-To tutorial videos, for instance, builds up authority as a knowledgeable or capable source if you’re in the building trade. Viewers can put a face to a business and get to know you as a personality – which can be endearing, provided you pick the right person to represent you on camera. Videos are also an alternative route to posting images on their own on Pinterest or Facebook; putting together a slideshow to music can be easier on the eye, and show that much more effort has been put in.

If you’re interested in seeking out this, or another of our services, browse our services or get in touch with us.

 

How to Write an Effective Business Blog

It seems that Clark Kent won’t be requiring a telephone box to change into his superhero get-up for much longer.

It has been revealed that Superman’s real-life persona will quit his renowned job as a reporter at the Daily Planet newspaper in Metropolis, in an upcoming issue.  The Man of Steel tells his colleague Lois Lane that ‘times are changing and print is a dying medium'; a reflection of the rise of digital sources for relevant and credible news over the traditional newspaper. The writer who has penned this latest storyline has hinted that Clark may even end up writing his own blog from home.

Print is dying, with more consumers finding their news through alternative means, and many media agencies and networks making this transition. People simply will not wait till something is published hours after an event. They also want to hear from specialists in a field or niche; not a pretty face (as lovely as Lois Lane is). They don’t want some form of spun content that anyone with Wikipedia open could put together either. And just as you can count on Superman to appear the moment trouble occurs, we want this content consistently and regularly.

Even when incredibly busy with clients, we like to take some time out and blog about something relevant to what one of us is currently working on. It can be quite relaxing to geek-out on something intriguing we’ve come across or something we’ve noticed while working on a project. Teaching is often the best way to learn, after all. Just like any business, if you can demonstrate expertise and a passion for a field or service, people will seek your opinions. They’ll care that you care enough to write, and before you know it, you have an audience to convert into customers. Your personality can shine through in your writing, both in style and content.

There is a right and a wrong way to blog for business or personal reasons. Will Clark’s hits soar higher than he could with his cape? Or will blogging get the better of him in ways that Lex Luthor could only dream? Will you be a superhero when it comes to blogging?

 

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