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Inbound marketing - don’t end up on the Jersey side of things!

Inbound Marketing, a reflection. Part 1

Inbound marketing is customer focussed. It is about understanding your customers and serving those customers with value content so as to attract, convert, close, delight and ultimately create customers who are happy promoters of your company.

This post is the first of a series on Inbound Marketing. With this series I will look at key components of an Inbound Marketing strategy. My aim is that at the end of the series, for you, this space will be demystified to some degree allowing you to make more informed decisions.

Outbound and Inbound marketing

Since 2006 Inbound Marketing represents a paradigm shift in marketing methodology. Outbound marketing of old represents the ‘beggar’ or ‘pusher’ mentality. Purchasing of ads, email lists and leads and pleading with or coercing customers to engage with you. A methodology which smacks of desperation.

For us early adopters of the internet it is a source of wonder at the slow uptake, even still, of the principle which is at the core of Inbound Marketing. Indeed, it is this same principle which existed at the core of the birth of the internet – to share value [content].

I found this definition of inbound marketing on HubSpot.

“….inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that pulls people toward your company and product, where they naturally want to be. By aligning the content you publish with your customer’s interests, you naturally attract inbound traffic that you can then convert, close, and delight over time."

The key take away is ‘naturally want to be’ – customers WANT to do business with you.

A maze of potential paths

Inbound Marketing: A maze of potential paths

Yes, all well and good, but how? Marketing in the digital age offers a maze of potential paths:

  • SEO (Search Engine Marketing);
  • Email marketing;
  • Social media;
  • PPC campaigns (Pay Per Click or AdWords);
  • Blogs;
  • Podcasts;
  • Video;
  • Content marketing;
  • Influencer outreach .. and .. and .. and …… PHEW!

Added to this, it seems as if each potential path is competing for your attention. Include the word of the ‘expert’ and depending on which expert you speak to you will get a different perspective as to what is the ‘right’ course of action. Given the above it is little wonder that many find this space daunting.

With this series I will look at key components of an Inbound Marketing strategy. My aim is that at the end of the series, for you, this space will be demystified to some degree giving you a perspective that will allow you to make more informed decisions.

Understanding the digital space – a reflection

For me the digital space is quite intoxicating. It offers a myriad on possibilities and if mastered creates efficiency which is quiet poetic. It is a complex and nuanced space and to master; these complexities and nuances need to be understood and wielded with precision, care and patience.

The following I would say are given:

  • Complexity will only increase;
  • Without a plan, you will fail;
  • There is no one size fits all;
  • To be effective:
    • precision is essential;
    • the essential is essential;
  • The knowledge divide between those who know and those who don't will increase;
  • Those who can will stand out, as will those who can’t;
  • Success will be abundantly apparent as will failure;
  • Data will be king;
  • Knowledge IP will be more important than technology IP.

Looking at the first two points, complexity and planning. These go hand in hand.

Complexity - let's reflect

A piece of content can be delivered to desktop, tablet and smart phone to mention but three. Desktop we have Linux, Windows and iOS. For browser choice we have Internet Explorer, Edge, Chrome, FireFox, Opera and others with their plethora of versions. Throw in multiple screen resolutions, HTML5, JavaScript, CSS and content management platforms. I don’t know about you, but my brain is going into override already and we have just touched the tip of the tip of the iceberg.

Add to the above that this space is a continuum, ever moving, ever evolving and at a faster and faster pace. System shut down, let’s go watch the latest Jason Bourne!

With this sort of complexity, you have to plan.

Anecdote - don't end up on the Jersey side of things!

Don't end up on the Jersey side of things

I read a great anecdote on the Infusionsoft webinars which I have adapted.

Cherri, and adventurous Jozi tourist is in New York on holiday. She is staying in Kingsbridge north of Upper Manhattan. Cherri, after a few days of taxi’s, traffic and ending up on the Jersey side of things with misread underground timetables, decides to change tactics. Having completed two Cape Epic mountain bike races and with some funds left from a Lottery pay out, Cherri decides to do New York on bicycle!

Cherri is go-to and techno savvy. Complete with a data roaming contract, she pops the lid of her M*c B*** P*o and hops over to Bicycles NYC website. Cherri purchases the Multi-speed Specialized Turbo S cycle with matching vPearl Izumi Fly Thermal Tights, vest, cleats, helmet, hydration pack, pump, self propelling pedals, VR anti fog goggles and sweat hydration self-cooling helmet. Thrown in to the deal was a tub of Chamois Butt'r Eurostyle Chamois Cream and same day delivery.

Cherri was ready to go and the next day decided to pay Lady Liberty a visit. Alas; Cherri still ended up on the Jersey side of things - totally lost! Why? Cherri had no map.

To wrap up

In the Digital Age, no matter how good your equipment, you will end up on the Jersey side of things if you have no plan!

In the next episode I will look more deeply at the planning process. We look at setting objectives, understanding what tools you may need, building your customer profile and actually putting together a plan based on a case study scenario.

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