Inbound Marketing: You may have noticed this term bandied about the blogosphere or dropped into conversations you’ve overheard or been part of and wondered whether this is a term you should be clearer on the definition of, or if indeed it’s just a rebadging of something you already do and can safely dismiss as trendy ‘marketingese’ (that elusive language that people in our industry use to fool you whilst making ourselves feel important and knowledgable).
The answer? Yes and no. Usefully.
I’m not going to turn this into one of my ramblings, I’ll keep it brief, but it’s a term that quite accurately aligns itself with the way our service to you has evolved recently and I felt it may be worth spelling out the ethos behind the terminology. It’s quite important to you and your online marketing activities as it balances everything we do (and you should be doing) in the most ROI focused proportions.
The service formally known as SEO
Previously we quite heavily touted ourselves as an SEO agency. This is a term people are familiar with and one which our target audience commonly uses when they’re looking for people like us to help them generate more traffic and sales. However, it’s probably not the most descriptive way to badge our core service offering and at the same time, shouldn’t be the focus of your traffic generating goals.
SEO is a core service in the suite of services that can be described as ‘Inbound Marketing’. What is inbound marketing? Simply, it’s all marketing activities you undertake to get your engaging message in front of an audience that is looking (that’s the inbound bit) for what you do. Now they may be looking via a search engine (SEO, PPC), they may be looking on blogs and content hubs they trust (content marketing), or they may be getting busy amongst their social networks looking for somebody who does what you do (social media). These are the most influential and potentially audience engaging platforms in the inbound marketing arena that are going to be important to your inbound marketing strategy.
SEO is just a part of the story
So SEO is still in the mix, of course it is, it’s very important. But it’s a very important part of a larger strategy. So why are we calling it Inbound Marketing? Because we know that by using all of these strategies together, each one feeds off and supports the other, meaning that your content efforts, your social efforts and your SEO efforts all work in synergy making the whole greater than the sum of the parts.
Let me quantify that a bit with an example:
1. You optimise a landing page for a particular keyword theme that you have proven in your PPC campaign converts nicely to sales.
2. You write a couple of (high quality) guest blog posts (avoiding exact or partial match anchor text in your links – brand/domain only) for a couple of high quality blogs that meet your strict criteria to support your domain strength.
3. You write a blog post (for your own blog) with content that aligns to the theme you’re targeting (very high quality,long form content or a unique data infographic etc) and is targeted towards the influencers in your social media networks (that you’re consistently growing and analysing).
4. You tweet, Facebook share, stumbleupon, pin and so on your content.
What are you trying to get in return?
- More indexable content (landing page and your blog post)
- A stronger domain (better rankings for any page on that domain)
- Social engagement (with SEO enhancing social engagement signals)
- Shares, likes, retweets, stumbles and pins (people sharing your audience targeted content)
- Earned inbound links
This is how you get your content supporting your social activities, your social activities sharing your content with an audience, engagement at the social end, engagement (and conversions) at the website end and to put a cherry on top, plenty of kudos from Google thus higher rankings.
In other words, the more holistic inbound marketing approach means more traffic from search engines, more traffic from social media, better engagement from both and more conversions.
Getting the balance right
The balance between these activities varies depending on the site objective and your audience objectives but we’re in a very exciting phase of traffic generation right now where we can leverage these maturing social networks (and a more mature, experienced and therefore more likely to engage audience) alongside our onsite SEO activities and content creation and they actually support each other meaning that, when strategically planned, the ROI and effectiveness of each singular activity can be multiplied several times (sometimes exponentially) by it’s support for and from other activities under our inbound marketing banner – Happy days!
Hope that clears it up a bit…