January 28, 2013
Inbound marketing is a tactical game. Building keyword-focused content, sharing it via specific outlets at specific times, mastering SEO, and generating and nurturing leads all can be measured rather precisely. Unfortunately, going through the motions isn’t going to make a marked impact on your business. Sure, you’ll see vanity metrics improve, but it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to move the needle on the bottom line numbers like you could if you possessed one motivating trait above all else.
So, what’s the secret? It’s all about caring. Caring about:
- Your customers’ needs: How can I help those within my target market before they’re my customers?
- Your content and its ability to fulfill those needs: Am I generating content that is genuinely useful?
- Your customers’ feedback: How can I better understand my customers and reflect this in my content?
The rule of “quality over quantity” holds true, but taking it a step further is not only beneficial, but also necessary if you want to win in the marathon of inbound marketing. Here’s why caring matters:
- Your content is more transparent than you think. Nowhere is caring more reflective and evident than in your content. Do you have a clever title masking below-average content? If so, your visitors will notice – quickly and easily. Given the criticism you’re opening yourself up to from a brand perspective, it’s better to avoid inbound marketing altogether if caring isn’t something you can pull off.
- Volume breeds skepticism. As a planet, we’re now searching Google more than five billion times per day. At the same time, data is feeding content creation at unprecedented rates. Consequently, we (as searchers) have to be able to quickly sift through large quantities of data ourselves to get what we’re looking for – and we’re getting really good at it. If something isn’t straight to the point, easy to digest, and overall useful, we’re leaving – and we’re not coming back.
- Your content is your homepage: The simple goal of inbound marketing is to be found. If your keyword goals and SEO practices are on target, you’ll generate organic traffic from your content. It’s likely that a high percentage of those who click on your content are visiting your site for the first time. Thus, your content is the first page they see. Do you spend as much time designing and optimizing your content pages as you do your homepage?
- Relationships are built, not acquired: The practice of lead nurturing is a delicate one. When a lead converts on one of your marketing offers, they’re giving you permission to email/contact them. How will you use this power? Overuse it, and you’ll lose permission (unsubscribe/spam); underuse it, and you’ll quickly fade from memory. Practice care in finding the right balance as you walk your leads downward through your sales funnel.
- Word-of-mouth marketing still wins. The goal of any marketing campaign should be to inspire the most effective form of marketing ever invented (which also happens to be the cheapest form of marketing ever invented): word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. If you’ve cared enough to build a relationship with a customer – or even a lead – you’ve gone a long way towards creating your own luck when it comes to WOM.
At the end of the day, caring is not something that can be faked, but it is something that can improve both the quality and effectiveness of your inbound marketing efforts.
Guest author Eddie Earnest is a big-thinking entrepreneur focused on staying ahead of the marketing curve and using that knowledge to help build awesome companies. Follow him on Twitter: @eddie_earnest.
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