The Inbound Marketing Dilemma

Pop marketing terms confuse and irritate those who are not on this side of the marketing equation, inbound marketing being one.  Often, when auditing a client’s performance, inbound marketing means email and Google Ads.  Well, that’s what their agencies tell them, anyway.  Let’s get real a second.  If you (or your PR firm/media rep/SEOM company) create an inbound plan that only includes strategies sold to you, you’ll miss the magic spot of organic inbound development.

So, what the hell does that mean, Jennifer?!? Look at the picture above, there is a layer missing between the tactics and the website.  It’s the possible actions taken by your visitors after contrived content and before they decide to buy, influence or share.  They aren’t 100% your actions, can you really plan them in the cycle?  Um…yea!  Interpersonal communications are actually pretty predictable.  Pixel tracking in paid and distributed promotion can help validate or tweak this fluid strategy.

True inbound strategy and execution can feel daunting and never ending.  It is.  As long as we continue to create ways to communicate with each other, it will grow at the speed of the Internet.

How much is enough?  It really depends on several factors.  Do you clearly have the tools to understand how much market share you have in niche areas?  If the answer is no, I’m going to challenge you to tell me how you set goals.

One quick addition to your inbound marketing can make a major impact on both numbers and insight, programmatic media is the answer to pinpoint marketing.  Interrupt  the buying process, woo the unwooable and find more customers “just like that”.  This does not mean you don’t have to have a thorough strategy.  Garbage in, garbage out.  Impressions are cheap and “eyeballs” mean nothing unless you can correlate a message that captures hearts and minds.

Content development and strategy is the King of Inbound.

Create good stuff.  Get it out.  Simple a that.

If you find yourself  “contextually inadequate”, shift the content to purely serving your audiences’ interests over yours.  Give them tools to use (recipes, how-tos, convenient lists) that have NO underlying sales message.  Seems counter-intuitive, but it’s the psychological way to activate advocates.  Remember to end your pieces “sponsored by”, and people will appreciate the gift.  And, everyone remembers a brand with presents.  Social Quizzes are a great go-to gimme promo.

Lastly, it can be argued that a DMO doesn’t need, say, a podcast.  Okay.  But, what existing podcasts have your exact audience and you can guest spot?  Go down the inbound list of “I can’t do that” and challenge your perception of that media source.

Expand and challenge your definition of inbound marketing, it should be a daily topic.

And, Never. Stop. Innovating.