The internet has fundamentally changed the relationship between companies and customers which means marketers need to take a different approach to marketing if they want to effectively grow revenues. One of these new approaches is to shift from outbound marketing (advertising, telesales, direct mail) to inbound marketing (search engine optimization, content generation, social media). A very good book that explains how to effectively execute an inbound marketing strategy is Inbound Marketing by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah.
I thought the book provides a strong foundation for what marketers should know about using the tools of SEO, blogging, and social media to attract good leads to your website and then converting those leads into customers. Inbound Marketing provides tons of useful tips and examples. If you are already experienced in this area, some of the book may seem too basic but you still can learn a lot of practical tips to be more effective at getting found by potential customers. I would definitely recommend it to marketers who are new to this area and as a good book to give to a client who needs convincing about the benefits of the new tools of marketing.
My main takeaways:
A blog article is a durable asset – once you write the article it provides value forever.
This is the concept that once you create content on the web, like a useful article, it can attract traffic and links perpetually. This is the opposite of paid ads, whose benefits end when you stop paying. The authors also point out that the cost of buying ads for a certain keyword can spike suddenly if the competition drives the price up.
SEO is not about tricking the search engines, it’s about creating content that users would want to find.
If you create remarkable content, you will attract traffic and links naturally. The authors point out that trying to trick Google is not a good idea. The engineers are constantly closing loopholes and improving the algorithm. Some copywriters say you should spend half your time on the title and half on the article. Coming up with catchy titles will help your idea spread faster. You should also spend time figuring out what keywords your customers would type into Google, and use these keywords in the title of your article. A useful SEO tip is to choose a domain name with a keyword in it if you can like www.seattleflowershop.com. Having keywords in your domain name adds this keyword to every page of your site and will often be used in the anchor text when people link to you.
New links are like new roads for customers to find your company.
And every new blog post you write is a potential page that will show up in Google search results. Inbound Marketing discusses the mistake of having a static brochure-like website. You want to have a busy site (new articles, comments, social media integration) with lots of traffic and roads (links). You want your site to be like New York city, rather than a small quiet town.
Inbound marketing is like learning to play the guitar.
Of every 100 people who start to learn the guitar, just a handful actually make it to the point where they can play a basic song. Inbound marketing tools don’t produce benefits overnight. It takes hard work over a long period of time. It took me about 3 years and 286 posts to get to 1,000 monthly visitors. But once you get over the “dip”, the benefits are well worth it.