Q: Is Inbound Marketing effective or just a gimmick?

A: Many strategies come and go in digital marketing. Some work better than others, but inbound marketing seems to be an enduring strategy. First, you need to understand that inbound marketing is made up partially of other disciplines that have been around about as long as the commercial Internet, such as email marketing. The lead generation component is older than dirt and the content marketing strategy has also been around in different forms long before the Internet. Much of what makes inbound marketing work has been embraced by large companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, and Twitter, so yes, in short, it is here to stay.

Q: Can we learn this and do ourselves in house?

A: Certainly. The process can be learned, but it takes a great deal of time and the strategies do shift so they require constant course work to keep up. Some companies have employees that are willing and able to learn and keep up with it. Many businesses are small and simply don’t have the resources or desire to do this in house. That is why we offer this as a monthly service as an outsourced marketing department.

Q: What is content marketing?

A: In short content marketing is providing useful and relevant content to your audience that isn’t necessarily about your business. In many cases it has nothing to do with your business, which begs the question why you would bother creating it to simply give it away. That content allows you to build leads, boost sales and grow your business. Why? Because your audience seeks out and wants this content. Content comes in many forms including blog articles, video, audio, eBooks, checklists, white papers, webinars, and many other forms. It helps your web site rank well in the search engines, it attracts new visitors to your site and educates your customers in ways your sales department never could. It is the foundation of inbound marketing and without it the strategy simply will not work.

Q: How much does it cost to implement this strategy?

A: It depends on how vigorously you want to pursue it. Some business can create a few great pieces of content and generate a ton of leads from it using other ways to build traffic, such as online advertising. Other companies will build a ton of great content weekly, dozens of landing pages, offers, and email campaigns. Other companies will have one. Not all companies need vast campaigns some businesses must have them. A dentist for example could probably create a few key pieces of content and get great results. Microsoft will need dozens or possibly hundreds of landing pages, thousands of email campaigns, and content that would rival the Library of Congress. We can customize a plan to your budget, needs, and capabilities. We would be happy to sit down and discuss this with you.

Q: Can I just set this strategy up and then go back to running my business?

A: Parts of this can be set up and automated with marketing automation, but for the strategy to work well it requires ongoing work. You will need to be creating fresh content, analyzing data, adjusting strategies, generating new campaigns and other steps to keep the machine running. Strategies will shift, and customers tastes, and information needs will also change. Unfortunately, this is simply NOT a fix it and forget it strategy you can check off a list and forget about for 10 years like many small businesses did/do with their web sites.

Q: How is this different than building a web site and putting my business information on it?

A: Your web site is a key component in this strategy. Think of a bicycle wheel that has a hub and spokes going out from the hub. Your web site is the hub in this strategy and the spokes are the various pieces and components of the inbound marketing strategy. The idea is to keep pulling in new and existing customers to your web site and converting them into leads or generating more sales from existing customers. Businesses should not think of their web site, social media, email marketing, and search engine advertising as separate and unrelated components. An effective inbound marketing strategy pulls all these elements and strategies together into one large cohesive and integrated marketing funnel that feeds your business with new leads, customers and boosts your profits.

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