By now, you could probably tell me in your sleep that traditional marketing operates like a crop duster – spraying the message on a segment of the population with the hope that they will be enticed into becoming customers. While on the other hand, inbound marketing creates a kind of magnetism that draws customers in, again and again, cultivating relationships until the day comes that they realize that the offer at hand is indeed a perfect match for their needs.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the two pathways that your soon-to-be customers use to enter your sphere of influence:
By discovering your published content through organic keyword searches, and
By viewing strategically placed advertisements
If you have succeeded in attracting customers, what difference does it make which path they took? Actually, it makes a big difference, in long-term results and ROI.
Limited Time Offer – When you reach out to an audience through paid advertising, the ads are run for a limited time and are usually tied to very specific criteria. To be effective they must appear in front of the right people, at the right time, and address their immediate concerns. You may achieve one or two of those objectives, but nobody hits the jackpot every time. Each ad only represents one touch, when it takes seven to ten touches, on average, for a person to commit.
Long-Lasting Exposure – When you create high-quality content that is relevant to your audience and publish it online, it will be included in online search results forever more (or until you take it down). The work you have done, or should we say, the investment you have made, to attract clients in February could potentially be the very thing that motivates a prospect to become a customer in November.
Having in-depth knowledge of your ideal customer, or buyer persona, helps you understand their everyday concerns and the obstacles they face as they work toward their goals. This is what should guide your keyword research strategies, topics and formats of content, and choice of content distribution channels. By homing in on this wealth of data, you can create valuable resources that will drive traffic to your website and landing pages on a continual basis.
Spread Far and Wide
To get the most exposure for your brand, you need to reach your target audiences in every place they may be. By publishing content through social media channels, social media groups, industry forums, and other distribution channels beyond your website, you increase your opportunities to engage with, and influence your personas. According to the Content Marketing Institute, there are three principles that should guide content distribution strategy:
Find sizable, active communities of your personas.
Become a regular contributor.
Help community members in comments and forum discussions and, only when appropriate, include links to your content.
The Role of Social Media
Social media is one of the most powerful channels you have to build brand awareness and engage with target audiences. It can be used to: attract prospects with blog content, reinforce your message with third-party resources, gain authority among your ranks, promote your brand, and influence buyers. In addition to these organic applications, many social media channels offer advertising opportunities with filtering that enables you to deliver highly-targeted ads. By combining organic and paid social media, you can boost website traffic, and convert more of your visitors into qualified leads.
Once you begin participating in a digital marketing environment, it does not take long to realize that everything is connected. For example, by setting up a Google My Business profile, you enable customers to locate you through Google Maps. If they search for your business name, they will see your web address, physical address, phone number, and hours of operation. And, this showcase opportunity includes a display of your Google+ reviews, another aspect that increases your SEO juice. All of these things occur organically, free of charge to your business.
Answer the Call
Once you understand what your personas are looking for, you can create a content marketing strategy that delivers insights and answers questions and then amplifies its impact through social media. Using long-tail keywords to capture segments of an audience through on-page SEO has proven to be one of the most cost-effective strategies. You don’t need to be an SEO expert to get the job done, but it certainly helps to have one on your team.
Now that you have a rough idea how to harness the power of social media through organic engagement and paid promotion, you may be wondering, “Where should I begin?” Well, the answer really depends on who you are trying to reach. Here is a full analysis of the demographics represented in the most robust social media platforms. It is a safe bet that Facebook will be near, or at the top, of the list. It is easy to navigate and provides a wide variety of options for user engagement. And, the Facebook ad platform provides exceptional, easy to use filtering, that enables you to create custom audiences for extremely tailored campaigns.
With a passion for helping, both consumers and businesses, I enjoy using my knowledge and skills to create engaging social posts and interactions that start a prospect on their inbound journey. As the Inbound Social Lead, I utilize my social media and interpersonal skills to develop and nurture one-on-one relationships between a business and their customers. When I'm not at the office, I enjoy spending time outdoors (fishing and floating on a tube are my favorite) or crafting on my kitchen table.