Drawing a comparison between Inbound Marketing and a cocktail party may feel like a great leap, but in reality, they have more in common than at first blush. How much do you dread constantly running into the person that only ever talks about themselves or brags about their accolades instead of engaging in a two way conversation? Chances are, you avoid them at all costs, or when stuck acknowledging their self-talk you’re constantly thinking of a way to escape. No one wants to be this person at a cocktail party or a networking event - and the same should be true for the way a company thinks of their brand voice online.
Act like Velcro
You want to attract people to your brand, not repel them away. The days of push marketing and screaming ‘look at me!’ are over. Consumers don’t have the time or the energy to sort through convoluted marketing messages when on the hunt to find a solution to a problem they have. These days, consumers are looking to be educated and entertained, all on their terms. To create an Inbound strategy, and to see it flourish, put yourself in your consumer’s shoes and present information that they’ll need to help them make the best decision regarding your industry. Begin by thinking about what your consumer thinks about and searches online for before buying a product or service like yours. Then, take your brand out of the equation, and simply aim to answer all of the questions they’ll likely asking to help them make the best decision before signing on the dotted line. By positioning your organization as the thought leader, expert, and educator on these topics, your potential customer can find you when they need you - feeling grateful that you’re providing a solution, instead of feeling annoyed that you’re trying to force their hand on your offer.
Walk The Talk
Just as you should be creating content for your potential customer to help them make their buying decision, you should also share relevant content from a source other than your brand. By encouraging conversation with others in your industry, and with potential and current customers, you’re opening up the discussion to become a two way street. A great rule of thumb is the 3-1-1 plan: share others content 3 times as often as your share your own educational content, and 3 times as often as you share promotional or sales content.
Last but not least, when people do engage with you - respond! You wouldn’t want to be ignored at a party, and you wouldn’t want to be ignored online either. Sometimes the easiest way to turn a prospect to a customer is by making yourself available. We create all this content to start a conversation, so when one arises, don’t blow it off! It’s amazing how many times I see questions and comments go unanswered online. Lend a helping hand, it’s why we’re here.
What other ways do you work to foster community through your Inbound Marketing strategy?