Content Marketing: 3 Steps to Building a Relationship That Lasts

Businesses are starting to realize the power of content marketing, as consumers are no longer being influenced by traditional, intrusive messaging. With an estimated 60% of businesses employing inbound marketing last year, it is safe to say that the consumers have spoken. Besides being a better experience for readers, content marketing has become the best way to increase SEO rankings, find leads, and build a strong audience. 

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Giving Consumers Control: The Power of Social Media

Since this is a rather hot topic now a days, I decided I should start off with a TED talk. The speaker, Sherry, talks about how we have become so dependent on our technology, that it is shaping who we are becoming. The control we have over what content we want to read, and more importantly, the content we share with the world, has become a worldwide epidemic. Our mothers warned us to never talk to strangers, yet we converse with them every day on Twitter and Facebook. Our online presence is starting to hold more weight in job interviews than actual resumes, and companies look through potential employees Facebook’s before even asking them in for an interview.  The idea of having control is part of the reason why social media is so big today.

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Inbound Marketing: For the Self-Informed Consumer

We live in a DIY society. Broke your  bike? Go to Youtube to see how to fix it. Want to try a new hair gel? Go hit the forums for reviews and suggestions. Let’s face it: the age of telemarketing and direct mail campaigns has ebbed in the last decade or so. Thanks to the power of the Internet, people have become self reliant on finding information they need on new products; the constant bombardment of broad promotional material is no longer relevant. Our job as marketers is no longer  to find new leads, but to help leads find our company. This is why knowing about inbound marketing is so important; we are targeting our ideal audience with relevant content that acknowledges their problem, and gives them solutions. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

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There are a multitude of other blogs, reports and videos on a definition, but Marketo’s really lays it out for you by saying it’s, “the process of helping potential customers find your company – often before they are even looking to make a purchase – and then turning that early awareness into brand preference and, ultimately, into leads and revenue.”

In short: it’s bringing customers who are looking for you, to you. It’s all very personalized, and is what consumers like because you are catering to them, not just talking at them. Example: Search Engine Optimization. I talk about it a lot in this post. 

Here are what marketing professionals had to say about inbound marketing in an article on Scalable Sociable Media:

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In 2013, 60% of companies were implementing inbound marketing according to HubSpot; I’d like to see how many companies they interviewed to get that number, but I digress. What really matters is that consumers are responding better to the content-intensive marketing those companies used, with 82% of marketers who blog saw an increase in ROI.

There is also an infographic that actually is a great example of Inbound Marketing here for Stark Inbound Marketing  that gives a very clear definition of the strategy, and how it can really benefit you while promoting their agency. I personally think Inbound Marketing should be one of the strategies that stays in-house though, because you are the one who knows your customer, and customers should be building relationships and trust with your company; not the agency you outsource it to. Isn’t that the whole purpose of inbound marketing?

Bring In the Justice League

Most companies seem to think that Inbound Marketing is a super hero. There are tons of articles that champion its ability to get through the consumer’s “anti-marketing” shield, and advise to put all your marketing efforts into it. While inbound marketing is a fantastic strategy, it works best when aligned with the rest of your company’s  marketing mix. Marketo’s article mentions how to amplify the effects of your inbound marketing to gain even greater successThink of your marketing mix as the Justice League. You have all these strategies that work well on their own, but together, can benefit your company 10x more than they ever could individually. Inbound Marketing needs to be a part of your Justice League in order to be of most value to you.

In my opinion, I am surprised it took us this long to start using Inbound marketing as a part of our strategy. It all seems like common sense to want to build relationships with your customers. That’s how human beings make friends, it seems logical to do business that way as well.

Do you agree with Inbound Marketing being the next generation of marketing techniques? Which superhero do you think it would be in the Justice League?
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