Inbound Marketing, the Central Hub (spot), and The Ultimate Internet Image
The focus of recent blog posts here at The Ultimate Internet Image (UII) has been on the initial inbound marketing consultation and competitive assessment with prospective clients. However, while discussing much of what we cover with new UII clients, we left out a critical concept, perhaps the most important component of all:
The inbound marketing concept I left out is the one that pulls the entire strategy together, providing its emphasis and its focus.
I refer to the above mentioned inbound marketing component as the central hub strategy or, in its complete form:
The Ultimate Internet Image’s Central Hub Strategy!
For those of you serving small to medium-sized, traditional brick and mortar businesses, service organizations, service-oriented businesses, associations (non-profit and for profit), and professional practices; and, in particular, for those of you plying your trade in the inbound marketing consulting field, the name probably sets off bells and whistles. However, the name for the strategy was developed independently of, and before I personally knew anything about, the King Kong of inbound marketing – software – firms:
Great ideas spring to mind everywhere and at once…or simultaneously. It has happened throughout history in business, science, manufacturing, inventing, and myriad other pursuits. The Theory of Evolution, the telephone, the telegraph, and many other theories, ideas, and inventions were independently developed because, whatever it was that was created, it was the next, logical step in science, manufacturing, academia or whatever; and, it was obvious to many individuals separately, and at once.
In other words, great minds think alike!
The idea of an inbound marketing central hub, a hub spot, is also the logical, next-step in a line of thinking that was at first revolutionary and has now taken hold and become accepted across the Internet and around much of the developed and developing world when we discuss and apply marketing strategies.
You have, no-doubt, viewed several of the central hub spot models various inbound marketing consultants and inbound marketing consulting firms have developed for social media, specifically, and the various segments of inbound marketing, generally.
Here are a few variations on the inbound marketing central hub model:
This social media landscape image is one of the better ones I have found. There are a myriad of images, as many images as artists and the inbound marketing consulting firms hiring them to create them. This image can also be found at East One Marketing.
Unfortunately, the inbound marketing central hub model images are still all over the place when it comes to focus and message! I am certain this will change in time but for now we have to take the good with the bad. Hopefully, distinguishing between the former and the latter and choosing wisely.
I suggest that the inbound marketing central hub image directly above is on the right track and is visually attractive…while simple and easy to follow. Some key ingredients are missing but it is effective and closer to the idea of an inbound marketing central hub than many others being offered today.
This image can be found at CyberNet Consulting Inc: Innovative Technology Solutions, as well as at WebGuild.org.
This image is attributed to Mark Smiciklas, MBA of Vancouver, BC. Mark is a Vancouver Marketing Consultant. Mark has several very interesting images added to his Flickr photostream, noted above, and he invites visitors to his marketing consultancy’s site to find him on Facebook and to view is LinkedIn profile. I would also recommend Mark’s slideshare Social Media Strategy, it is quite good.
The trouble with attribution is provenance. The LocalGoogleGuru has offered this by way of his Flickr photostream. He appears to have been granted use of (rights to) the image by Daniel Crompton (Technorati profile) and his General Musing blog, mentioned above. I want to make sure both men get credit for the work. Their links are embedded here.
The flowchart has been around since Christ left Chicago, to put it bluntly. The flowchart has it uses and has been around for a long time because people learn linearly, from A to Z. Consequently, the flowchart has remained a mainstay of many marketing presentations. I would argue that for our purposes, for inbound marketing consulting presentations, the flowchart may not be as effective as the inbound marketing central hub model.
I would love to hear your thoughts!
As you can see, I hope, we are heading in the wrong direction. The image above is what I call Social Media Flow Chart Run Riot! Based on one of the comments under this image on Flickr, this may have been offered in jest (?). This sort of thing shows up a lot in inbound marketing and social media presentations.
Who can follow this?
If you were making a presentation to a client who is attempting to make head or tails of the Internet, will they know what this all means?
The Mind Map is an interesting phenomenon. In many ways it reminds me of Where’s Waldo? I have received mind maps so intricate I actually had to use a magnifying glass to see everything because when I tried to enlarge it, it grayed out on me.
Some are very cool, like this one.
Check out the How to Twitter and How to StumbleUpon Mind Maps!
As you can see, when it comes to imagery, we are still all over the place with hard to grasp charts, graphs, maps, etc.
There are many more social media and inbound marketing graphs, tables, flow charts, and the like.
Check them out by “Googling” the search phrase:
Social Media Images
The main problem is that, not unlike many of the inbound marketing strategies I have come across and/or heard discussed in the past year or two, inbound marketing strategies and the methods used to communicate those strategies are indeed all over the place.
I think has to do with the following:
- Miscommunication between the client and the inbound marketing consultant. This goes back to communicating the message, verbally and visually!
- Fear of loss! Rather than stand up to the new client and tell them a new direction is required, that to simply add the new media on an old idea is folly and will result in a Meatball Sundae, many inbound marketing consultants will take the line of least resistance and go along with what the client wants, even if it is wrong, rather than lose a client. In most cases, you will lose the client anyway, particularly if you can’t stand up to them and convey your message. So, it is much wiser to stick to your guns early than to flee a sinking ship later and be blamed for it.
- An unqualified inbound marketing consultant. While this is becoming increasingly rare as the incompetent are weeded out by a sort of natural selection, incompetence does exist and it gives the entire inbound marketing consulting industry a black-eye.
- An inadequate budget to get the job done properly. Yes, organic listings are free…but a solid and effective inbound strategy is not. Do not make a sale just to make a sale…it will come back and bite you. And, there is a very good chance you won’t get paid.
- A client unwilling or unable to see the big picture and move beyond an outbound marketing mindset to take advantage of the new media and effective, search-based inbound marketing strategies…including the inbound marketing central hub model.
The fact is, an inbound marketing central hub strategy makes sense, it is easy to understand, and it works!
Inbound marketing is about targeting the proper audience or target market and then creating interest through an interesting and effective USP (unique selling proposition), developing quality content, and increasing brand awareness in the marketplace.
The new media is one of the most effective ways to get your client’s message out. An inbound marketing central hub strategy will focus the attention inward, towards the principal Internet real estate or, to put it bluntly, the money page. Then, it is about conversion strategies and metrics.
If an inbound marketing strategy is ultimately developed in such a way as to focus traffic, leads, and so on in towards the center, the center being the central hub where the call to action can be found, again, the money page, then it is all about creating a landing page that converts.
And that means an integral compenent is the inbound marketing strategy is testing.
Test! Test! Test!
As stated, The Ultimate Internet Image Central Hub Strategy entails developing a central hub, first in the form of a central site, and then driving traffic to the hub from various points online (also hubs and we will develop this over time) to the money site and the to the traditional brick and mortar business, association, organization, or professional practice.
Once the business has acquired the client’s information, either as a result of some of enticement or as part of the sales process, the final stage in the inbound marketing strategy begins:
Short term and long term relationship building!
The chief aim is to get the prospect to opt-in to a lead capture system of some sort or drop them straight onto a sales page of some sort (depending on the type of client you are dealing with). In every instance, the idea is to convert the inbound marketing prospect into a client and then develop a client for life, some say “customer for life,” by attending to the relationship building process after the sale.
In effect, the relationship begins with the initial transaction and a relationship builds from there.
The entire process is a step by step relationship building one that:
- Delivers a client from somewhere online
- Places them in a sales funnel that makes it easy to track, measure, and convert
- Produces an initial transaction
- Builds on the initial transaction creating a client for life
Once we are able to do all of that, we have an inbound marketing central hub strategy that works.
Drop them into the funnel, direct them toward the central hub, convert them from new prospects into clients, and then build a relationship that created life-long clients, patients, donors, and friends.
We will discuss how to take a prospective client through the sales funnel in an upcoming post. We will also discuss how to tap into the greatest resource your inbound marketing client owns, their database of current clients, clients who have trusted them in the past and, even if sorely neglected, will do so in the future if they are contacted and developed properly.
An aside: Many of these articles, blog posts, and videos are just the tip of the iceberg, as I have noted before. If you are an inbound marketing consultant or someone considering the sales and inbound marketing services of The Ultimate Internet Image, please feel free to contact us anytime. We will be happy to discuss any of these topics at length and in much greater depth.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and please leave a comment.
Your feedback is appreciated!
Contact UII anytime!
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
Note: I have made every attempt to provide proper attribution for source materials and images. I have actually added links I didn’t have to in an attempt to be fair. The links are to sites claiming to own the rights to and/or have permission to use the images below. I have taken every precaution and have not used some images I would have liked to because I could not get in touch with the individuals or companies I needed to in order to obtain permission. If you know of better images or would like to have me post your images here in a subsequent post, I would be happy to do so. Just leave a comment and I will get back to you quickly. Thank you!