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How To Get Started with Inbound Marketing

Apr 16, 2018
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Inbound marketing is a powerful way to build relationships with your potential and current customers. Jumping into tactics though is not the best way to get started. If you want to ensure that your business reaps the largest return on your investment, taking time to build a strong foundation is key. 

In this video, I go over how to get started with inbound marketing the right way. Check out the video below and comment if you have any questions.

 

 

Video Transcript 

Inbound-5

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Today, we're going to be talking about inbound marketing and, more specifically, getting started. I talk to a lot of people who are interested in using inbound to drive traffic, drive leads, to really build a community online that then they can turn into a tribe that can hopefully grow their business and build this connected community. That's the power of inbound.

Inbound is a lot different than traditional marketing because it focuses on attracting people and educating to the sale, and not buying space in front of people and putting themselves in front, so it's the difference between push and pull. So we would call traditional marketing push marketing. We would call inbound marketing pull marketing because we're pulling people towards us by creating a lot of value.

Now, inbound marketing is becoming known for these types of tactics: SEO, blogging, emails, social media, personalization, lead nurturing, landing pages, things of that nature. These are all types of ways to attract people and engage with people on a more one-to-one level. Now, like I said, all of these are tactics, and a lot of times when we talk to people, they come to us, and they're saying, "Hey, I want to do some inbound marketing." Or, "Hey, I've tried inbound marketing in the past, and it hasn't really worked." And the reason why it hasn't worked most of the time, is you're starting with tactics.

All of these are strategies are really, really great, and they can be very powerful if they're done right, and you have a good foundation. Foundations are key. If you just start building a house, and you don't lay a foundation, the house is going to fall over, because it has nothing to ground it, nothing to have as a base. So if you just start doing these tactics, you may start seeing some success, but it's not sustainable, because you have nothing to build off of. It's already kind of weak as it is, and you're just going with the flow.

So in inbound, we actually want to take a slightly different approach when we're getting started. And the first thing we want to do here, is right up at the top. We want to do a self-assessment. We want to first understand who we are, who want to be, why we want to be like that, and figure out what we can offer right now? What do we have that's valuable? This is a really important step to understand where your company is, before you ever get started, before you ever start doing any of this stuff, understanding where you are, where you are in the marketplace, how you compare against your competition. And really taking time to understand that this is who we are right now. And now you can cast a vision for who you want to be in the future, or how you want to grow who you already are.

After you've done some self-assessment, the next step is to start to do some market research, and also understand your users. Understand your buyers. This is where we build our buyer personas. And buyer persona, I talked about this in a couple of other videos and I know in other courses that we've put together. They're not these things that you just create one time and put in your back pocket, and feel good that you did it. A buyer persona is a living, breathing document that you use for your organization to guide your strategy. It's going to help you understand your customer base and who the people you want to target are. Because during this market and user identification phase, this is where you're going to start to understand what type of tactics are actually going to work.

If your user base isn't on social media, and you're spending all of your time posting blog posts to Facebook, you're wasting your time. Sure there may be small levels of search benefit to that, but not big enough to be spending your time in. If your users are on social media, but you're focusing all time on organic traffic, again, you might be missing the boat. So this phase is going to help dictate the types of tactics or strategies that you might be wanting to use in order to see success.

So we start with self-assessment, we start to understand who we are. We begin to have a better idea of the market, who the players are in the market, how our user base is going to interact with the type of content, and the things that we're building there. And then we want to look again, back at ourselves and ask what's our compelling offer? What do we have to give? What do we have to just put out there that's of value, that would immediately entice and intrigue people that we want to attract to our business? A lot of times when we start doing inbound marketing, I see a lot of the focus is five ways to buy my product better. It's all of these things that go straight to the sale, it's really not about educating, it's still about sales. Now yes, sales are extremely important, but you have to take the necessary steps. Not everybody who's reading your blog or commenting on your social posts is ready to buy from you. You have to actually build some foundation and groundwork with them, and you need to have something that's compelling enough for them to say yes, I want that, or yes, I need that. Yes, that's going to make my life better. Yes, that's going to solve my pain points.

What is your compelling offer? That has to be defined and it has to be very, very clear. So what we do, one of our compelling offers, probably one of our biggest compelling offer, is we help brands gain digital clarity. We help them understand who they are in the market, who they want to be in the market, and then we help position them in the market. Maybe they've got their ideas scattered all over the place. We're coming in, we're saying, we're going to give you clarity. And we're going to give you clarity through our content, through our blog posts, through our free offers, and we give you more clarity to our paid services, whether that be retainers or some of our training programs.

So we have this offer, this knowledge offer that we want to give to people, and most of it, 90% of it's absolutely free, maybe to build this relationship with people. So, what's that compelling offer? What's that thing that you have? We all can teach something. We all can share something. We all can educate people, especially our customers and the people here, in our market and the user base that we want to reach. So what's your compelling offer?

And then lastly, what's your story? You can't start implementing these without having a story. And again, this is where clarity comes in. Often times, we just start jumping into blogging, we get really excited thinking, oh blogging is going to solve my problems. I'm going to blog. But we're just going all over the place and we don't have a compelling story. We haven't done these steps up here, so we don't really know who we are. We don't really know who we're targeting. We're just feeling it out as we go. And while you can learn a lot like that, it's going to take a long time to build success.

So what's your story? How are you going to come alongside your prospects and solve their problems? How does this solve your own problem? The reason why we've had so much success in inbound is because we live it. When I started my company, I was just an SEO shop and a web design firm. Years later, we started to shift into the inbound method. And I stepped into it and I executed it, and I worked at it, day in and day out. And it was hard. But I saw the fruit pay off based on the work. So a part of our story is literally my personal story of building this company and saying, we can do this if we put the time and the effort into building this funnel that's actually going to work, and do it with people in mind.

So what's your story? Why did you build your business? Why did you develop your product? Why are you selling it? Why are you passionate about what you do? When you do these four fundamental steps, they're like four legs of a table. If you only have a table with three legs, it's going to be a little bit wobbly. If you have two legs, it's more going to be a skateboard ramp than it is a table. But if you've got four legs, that table's strong, it's sturdy. And you can start to do things on top of that table. You can make masterpieces on the top of the table. You can have meals on top of that table. You can have conversations around that table. There's a lot of things you can do because it's sturdy, and it has a foundation. And now, you can go into the tactics, start building off of that. 

So when you're starting inbound marketing, these things are awesome. And they'll come, and they'll be part of your strategy and part of attracting people and generating leads, and nurturing those leads. But before you get into that, slow down. Take time to assess yourself. Know where your business is, and know what you want to be. Know the market you're getting into and the users you want to attract. Know what your compelling offer is. What can you offer somebody? And then know your story. So you can wrap this all up and you can have that conversation with the people that you want to attract. That's going to give you way better results, and it's going to help you avoid all this headache of starting these things and failing and being frustrated.

So I hope you learned something new today. If you've got any questions, please comment below. And again, we would love to have you join our community, so if you do like these videos, please hit subscribe because we post new videos each and every week. Until next time, Happy Marketing.

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Ryan Shelley, CPBI

By Ryan Shelley, CPBI

Ryan is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects. He is a regular contributor to Search Engine Land, the largest and most popular SEO news site on the web. His works has also been featured on the HubSpot Blog, Business2Community and by LinkedIn Marketing solutions.

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