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There are tons of analogies and metaphors out there on the web to explain inbound marketing—the purple cow, the jaguar and the watering hole, the magnet—the list goes on. What they all boil down to is this:
Create marketing that people will love.
To help you get started, here are a few of the lessons we’ve learned (and are still learning) at the Chamber relating to the vast realm of inbound/permission/content marketing.
Lesson #1: Shh! Don't interrupt me!
Think about marketing in your own life. You are bombarded by e-mail, banner ads, ads on YouTube, ads on TV, junk mail, posters, billboards, flyers, banners, push messages and promoted posts. You’ve probably gotten really good at ignoring all of these annoying little interruptions, especially given that there are entire industries dedicated to helping you fast forward through commercials, block spam and essentially avoid traditional marketing. So, how do we as marketers stand out from the crowd? Simple: be less annoying. That’s the essence of inbound—stop interrupting and start creating content that users will find organically and seek out again and again once they’ve found it.
Lesson #2: I bet you think your blog is about you
Your content should not be about you. This is going to be hard. It goes against everything that our traditional marketing instincts tell us, but we have to fight the urge to immediately push our product on the consumer. The key to not interrupting is to create content that draws the audience to you by entertaining them or solving a problem for them. Think about the questions that potential clients might have that you can solve, and then put the answer out there where they are going to find it.
Lesson #3: Failure is an option
The beauty of digital marketing is that you can afford to fail. You need to fail. When you fail, it tells you something about your audience and your message. If you’re strategic about your metrics, your failure might give you some insight into the type of marketing your audience would love. At minimum, you’ll know what they don’t love.
Lesson #4: If you build it, they will come... but will they buy anything?
Inbound marketing takes time, and a lot of energy. Very rarely do new visitors read your blog post and then immediately purchase your product. It takes multiple touches with your brand to build a relationship—to build up enough loyalty to generate a conversion. This is the scariest part of content marketing. You have to build it, wait for the customer to come to you, and then keep creating content and building the relationship until they are loyal enough, until they love your brand enough to make a purchase.
These are just a few of the lessons that we’ve learned along the way, but by no means are we the ultimate experts on inbound marketing. In fact, we want to hear from you.
What tips do you have for budding inbound marketers? Or what questions do you have that we can help find an answer to?