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Grow Your Business with Inbound Marketing

The Internet has given us ways to find information, research options and make smart purchasing decisions.

And as a business, it has given us a new way to reach our customers that is the opposite of the aggressive, unwanted, pound the pavement selling strategy so many of us don’t like to be on the receiving end of.

It’s called Inbound Marketing, and if your business isn’t doing it, it needs to.

What is Inbound Marketing?

inbound marketing

Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that brings your ideal customers to you through the valuable content you produce. It helps you be found on the Internet during their search for information.

Traditionally, most companies’ marketing efforts were outbound – trying to get in front of their customers by purchasing ad space, sending direct mail letters, or making cold calls.

And while this could be a portion of your marketing strategy, focusing on it solely causes you to waste a lot of money reaching an audience that may not be interested in what you have to sell.

With inbound marketing, you’ve accomplished half the battle, because the customers that find you are already interested in what you have to say or sell. You have earned their attention based on the helpful content you have written. You are developing relationships and trust by encouraging a two-way communication between you and your customers.

Because they like what they read, they will comment on your articles, subscribe to your blog, opt in to your email list or follow you on social media.

Here are five ways you can incorporate inbound marketing into your business’s marketing strategy:

  1. Start a blog. A blog brings customers to your website. When you provide helpful advice and information in your blog articles, you not only become a trusted advisor, but your article will come up in your customer’s Google search when they are searching for that topic. They click on your blog, they get to your website. While they are there, they may read a few other articles and check out your business.
  1. Optimize your website. An optimized website brings your customers to you. You don’t have to be a Google expert to lay a solid foundation for good SEO. Use keywords in your content, headings, subheadings and page URL. Use short sentences, short paragraphs and lots of white space to make your content more readable.
  1. Write strong copy. Customers are drawn to easy, well-written information, and will avoid reading long, complicated paragraphs written in tiny font text. Write strong copy that is clear, concise and has a focus on your customers’ needs. Don’t forget to include a call to action.
  1. Be active on social media. Social media engages customers, and is another platform for communicating with them. Your goal of everything you post should be engagement – receive likes, retweets and shares. Have completed profiles on at least a couple of social media sites, and visit them frequently.
  1. Write an e-book or a white paper. Offering advice for free, in the way of an e-book or white paper, is a great way to attract customers. Customers are always looking for ways to solve their problems, and if they think your e-book offers a solution, they are going to download it. You can ask for an email address in exchange for the download, which would allow you to follow up with that customer in an email marketing campaign.

Inbound marketing is based on the premise that your customers want to be educated, not sold to. Provide the information they need, follow up with communication, and stay consistent. Your content empowers them to make their own choices. If you’ve established trust through your valuable, consistent content, they may just choose to do business with you.

Laurie Zinn is a Columbus-based freelance writer and owner of Line-By-Line. She helps businesses communicate with their customers through website content, blog articles, email marketing campaigns and social media. For more information about Line-By-Line, visit http://line-by-line.us or contact Laurie at laurie@line-by-line.us.

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