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Anyone who is promoting their business is familiar with the concept of “Outbound Marketing”. They might not even know that this is the formal term but Outbound Marketing is the traditional way of marketing your business. “The techniques used are print adverting, ads on TV and radio, telemarketing, direct mail and email and many more. These forms of marketing are perceived as an interruption to customers. As an example, when you are watching your favorite TV program you are often interrupted by ads. Outbound marketing means customers are at the receiving end. They are not in control.”

The opposite of this and the purpose of the post is Inbound Marketing.

Many of you might have heard the term “Inbound Marketing” but for those of you that have not, it is essentially getting the customers to come to you. This involves “discovering where potential customers are searching, positioning yourself correctly so they’ll find you and letting them discover whether you have what they are looking for”.

So how do you get discovered naturally and have customers come to you? Well, I have put together what I think are 10 Great Rules for Inbound Marketing that you can use in your business.

Rule #10 – Blog about things that solve your customers problems – People will see the value in your advice and your business. You may think you are giving away free consulting but if people don’t know you how will they know you are an expert and worth talking to?

Rule #9 – Optimize your web sites – SEO is critical so that search engines can locate our sites and our articles easily

Rule #8 – Market Your Content to Where your Readers Are – Submit your content to social bookmarking and social networking sites. We also submit our sites to blog directories and our articles to article directories

Rule #7 – Create an “Inbound Hub” – This means setting your website up like a “hub” for your industry that attracts visitors naturally through the search engines, through the blogosphere, and through the social media sites.

Rule #6 – Use Social Networking Sites for actual networking – There are many other social network sites out there beyond Facebook that focus on niche areas. This allows you to build focused networks with others in those respective niches and interests

Rule #5 – Employ Analytics – Your hard work needs to have some result and you need to know if things are working. The easiest way to do this is to employ metrics technologies like Google Analytics, Hubspot and Radian6.

Rule #4 – Make it easy to buy – Give visitors to your site the information that will help in their decision making process.

Rule #3 – Get that prospect’s name – There are many clever ways to drop in their name and email to keep updated on information. Sounds easy and at this point in web technology, it is but most people

Rule #2 – Provide methods for visitors to make inquiries or purchases – You would be surprise how many web sites FAIL at this portion of the web site. Heck, you spent all that money on a web site and someone can’t fill in a form or quickly ask a question. SEE RULE #4 on Make it EASY TO BUY.

Rule #1 – Give some stuff away – This might sound trite or even cheap but this actually brings all previous nine rules to a focus point. Create an e-book, or a podcast, maybe even a video series. This relates to capturing info and leveraging all the rules together so a potential customer can easily find you, see that you have something of value they can use in exchange for some basic info (email and name) which shows them how much of an expert you are and how easy it is to buy and hire your company.

Any other rules I missed?

These are my 10 rules for implementing an inbound marketing program with customers, is there anything I missed or should add? Leave a comment.

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    • http://www.HighestPotentialTraining.com/BYS Monique

      Steve,

      This is a good reminder to all of us. One little tweak I would make is your rule # 10. Rule #10 – Blog about things that solve your customers problems

      How about not only blogging, but make sure your offers are solutions to YOUR customer's problems and not what one may think is desired?

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    • http://twitter.com/warrenss Warren Sukernek

      Steve, Great advice for companies on how to implement inbound marketing. Thanks for recommending Radian6 as one of the analytics technologies to use.

      Warren Sukernek
      Director of Content Marketing
      Radian6

    • http://www.johnsgibb.net/ John Gibb

      Great set of rules. An interesting point: these really are the core rules to apply to any type of maketing – inbound, outbound, or whatever marekting buzzword is in vogue tomorrow.

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    • http://www.appsolve.com Steven Fisher

      That is an excellent point Thursday. Guest posters are awesome and add a great dimension and promotion to your site.

    • http://www.appsolve.com Steven Fisher

      Happy to do so Warren. Radian6 is a great company with a great product and you are not even paying me to say it… :)

    • http://www.appsolve.com Steven Fisher

      An excellent point Monique and thanks for adding your input to this list. Thanks for reading.

    • http://twitter.com/warrenss Warren Sukernek

      Steve, Once again, thanks for the kind words. I guess the proverbial check is in the mail. :)

      Thanks,

      Warren Sukernek
      Director of Content Marketing
      Radian6

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    • simonwww

      Good article — I think the cool thing about social media marketing is that it's, by default, inbound marketing. People who become “fans” of you on Facebook are following your product because they like you. And it becomes easy for their friends to also find you. This is definitely the marketing of the future, and we have to remember to take advantage of all those services, also using AdWido, Twitter, and so on.

    • nikita_irmal

      Strategies to make the most of inbound marketing

      Here's how to get a head start on Inbound marketing efforts this summer:

      Stay Current.
      An online inbound marketing strategy like SEO only works well if your site is equipped to deal with the increased traffic. Hire a web designer by comparing and saving on website design services: http://www.tradeseam.com/smallbusiness/business… to make sure your site is easy to navigate and has the capacity to handle more visitors. If you don't have an e-commerce section, now is a good time to accept credit cards on your site and build a shopping cart. Companies providing credit card procssing services (Read http://www.tradeseam.com/smallbusiness/buying-g… ) could also have special rates given the economy and season.

      Develop strategies to land more customers.
      The way to do that, particularly for small businesses, is to use effective small business marketing and lead generation solutions such as http://www.tradeseam.com to connect with new customers, partners and suppliers and create a positive experience. Make sure you give every customer the best experience you can. That means clean restrooms, courteous staff, eye contact, handshakes. You've got to do this better than the other people out there. Another good option for local businesses is community involvement. Join a small business community or the Chamber of Commerce. Sponsor a Little League team. Let the Girl Scouts do a car wash in your parking lot. This is part of bonding with your community and becoming an established part of it.

      Try New Social Media Strategies.
      If you've been putting off launching a social media strategy, such as starting a blog or using Twitter (can be found at http://www.twitter.com) or tradeseam (can be found at http://www.tradeseam.com), now is the time. During the summer, you'll have the time to implement a strategy, hire interns to do the leg work and track different programs making adjustments along the way.

      Take advantage of summer talent.
      A good online marketing campaign requires a certain level of maintenance, or day-to-day monitoring. Hiring a summer intern is a great way to get skilled help for very little cost- sometimes even for free. Check with your local community colleges, universities, and graduate schools to see if they offer school credit to students who work for local businesses.

    • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

      Great post! I think overall #4 is the most important! You can do all of the right things to attract visitors but if the site is not set up with conversion aspects and call to actions in place then you are wasting your time!

    • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

      Great post! I think overall #4 is the most important! You can do all of the right things to attract visitors but if the site is not set up with conversion aspects and call to actions in place then you are wasting your time!

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