In some small businesses, the sole proprietor wears every hat in the place, including the sales, marketing, and customer relationship hats. At medium sized firms, there may be a sales and marketing manager, and a customer service manager, and their respective teams, while the proprietor concentrates more on growing the business.
At the top of the corporate food chain, senior executive vice presidents and chief marketing officers, directors of sales, and customer relations directors oversee small armies of account reps, marketing creatives, and customer service resources.
No matter whose job it is, or how many resources are available for the job, the modern world of sales, marketing, and customer contact management has moved online in a massive way.
What To Do When the Old Ways Stop Working
In many commercial sectors and industries, inbound marketing has almost completely replaced traditional outbound marketing. The distinction between the two approaches is straightforward.
‘Inbound’ means customers are choosing to interact with your marketing information, your sales process, or your customer support resources. They sign up to receive your emails. They follow your blogs, watch your videos and download your white papers and reports. At the very least, they find you in search results pages, visit your website, and engage with your online content.
‘Outbound’ means you are pushing marketing information out through open media channels and hoping customers will notice and care about the message. This includes the shrinking distribution of print media marketing. Online ads have to fight through ad blockers in web browsers. Commercial-skipping DVR systems for TV, and online streaming in place of radio and TV broadcasts for music, video and audio consumption have drastically reshaped valuations in the outbound approach to marketing.
Content Marketing For a New Generation of “Mad Men (er, People)”
Content marketing has become fully entrenched as the new standard in getting consumer attention and amplifying marketing messages. In order to transition effectively into content marketing with an emphasis on inbound traffic, it’s essential to have a strategic plan that identifies and addresses the key issues for your particular business, industry and customer profiles.
Strategic planning is a process, of course, not an event, and it takes time and thorough analysis to develop a meaningful, detailed, practical plan. But once an initial plan is set up and in operation, the process of keeping it current can be streamlined through real time monitoring, regular reviews, reports and revisions.
3 Simple SEO Tips For Inbound Content Marketing Success
Here are three key areas to focus your thinking around effective content marketing activities that will engage your customers and reward them for their attention. These will help to increase audience engagement and outreach so readers and viewers will want to sign up for notifications, share your content on social media, and follow your news for future developments.
1. Incorporate customer experience into your content marketing mix. Whether it’s working with customer surveys to establish communication and marketing priorities, or compiling the best customer reviews to emphasize and promote for sharing, the customer’s voice should be present in all your marketing perspectives.
2. Look for connections with trending topics on social media networks to create or curate content that can ride the momentum of the trend. This may not always relate to your products and services, but the idea is to relate to your audience first and foremost. Targeted social media ‘presence’ can affect your related web page search engine rankings.
3. Point people back to your website and email list signup. Give away something of value, like useful insider information in a brief report, or something similar that will appeal to your target audience. Your website and email list represent your online sales floor. All your other inbound efforts should be pointing people toward that destination.
A successful program of inbound content marketing will produce, over time, a steady stream of qualified leads and sales prospects. Then all you have to do is close the sale (and, yes, that is a whole other subject, all by itself).
Importantly, inbound marketing leads appear when and where they do because they are following their own interests toward a buying decision. They are at least partly ‘pre-sold’ and more likely to have an interest in your solution than other ‘random’ web browsers.
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