Inbound Marketing, the New Media, and Meatball Sundaes
Sunday Night Reflections: Inbound Marketing and the Week in Review
As I look back over the past week, a number of thoughts and ideas dealing with The Ultimate Internet Image and inbound marketing are floating around in my head.
Many of the ideas I’ve been kicking around relate to the application of the new media and much of what is now referred to as Web 2.0. Interestingly, Web 3.0 has been suggested but has yet to take hold in the way many once thought it would.
An Aside: I wonder if Jessi Hempel of CNN Money would like to have the words of January 8, 2009 blog post back? In her blog post entitled Web 2.0 is so over. Welcome to Web 3.0. Jessi Hempel suggested, rather emphatically, that social media was a complete bust!
Ms. Hempel’s bold yet somewhat misguided post notwithstanding, these are some of the inbound marketing strategies I’ve been focusing on this past week:
- Social Media – Social media is the most misunderstood and misused new media strategy. Social media is at the heart of much of what is right, and wrong, with most inbound marketing strategies. A poorly constructed social media campaign will do violence to your brand…this cannot be overstated!
- Social Media Management – Social Media Management is a bit like grabbing a tiger by the tail. Manage exactly what? With over 1600 social media sites, the numbers growing daily, most strategies appear to be nothing more than a shotgun approach with links and quotes being the big attraction! How many times can we read the same quotes before someone stops “liking” them on Facebook?
- Social Media Marketing – An Oxymoron! Social Media MARKETING as most businesses approach it, and this includes most inbound marketing consultancies and social media management firms, is the kiss of death. Marketing via social media is a pursuit that will do more harm than good to your brand and your reputation when applied as the majority of businesses and Internet marketing “gurus” seemed hell-bent on doing. Is there a way to build your brand and to sell your products via social media? Yes! It’s like walking a tightrope: You can do it but that first step is a killer if you don’t get it just right. DO NOT trust this to amateurs!
- Video Sharing – Video sharing means more than just using the 800 pound gorilla in the room. YouTube is not the only game in town…nor should it be! As an inbound marketing strategy, video is the best vehicle for getting your message to as many people as quickly as possible. Many inbound marketing consultants attempt to use TubeMogul for video distribution because of the free level. TubeMogul is not a good alternative because it is NOT free for business usage and they will ban you if you try to do it there anyway. Terms of Service (TOS) is a real issue when developing an inbound marketing video sharing strategy, particularly when you are using profiles linked to your brand name. Take care to dot all the –i-s and cross all the –t-s when you begin and get professional help. Video sharing can also chew up a huge amount of your number one resource, time. So use TrafficGeyser or use an inbound marketing consultancy that uses TrafficGeyser’s Platinum level for distribution or you will be playing in the minor leagues. You and your inbound marketing clients will pay for the shortcutting with lackluster results and huge chunks of wasted time and money.
- Video Marketing – Video is King! Overall, video marketing is one of the most neglected of the new media strategies. Significantly, video is the most effective inbound marketing strategy, when videos are properly produced and distributed. Unfortunately, most videos are often the opposite! The average video is viewed for 10 seconds across the Internet. You have 10 seconds to grab them or they’re gone! Most videos are awful. View videos with a critical eye and use TrafficGeyser to get them out across the Internet.
- Viral Video – Video takes on a life of its own! A properly constructed inbound marketing strategy will help a video spread. Applying certain strategies video sharing strategies, videos will get more play and take on a life of there own. The question is: What are they and will they work long term? The answer is yes, well produced video will enhance your company’s brand long term; and, there are myriad strategies but there are a few that work across the board. Contact me for more information about video marketing and The Ultimate Internet Image.
- Blogging and Microblogging – Web 2.0 blogging and microblogging can be very useful and is actually an integral part of social media. But there is more to blogging and microblogging than Twitter and Facebook. There are a number of blogging sites with rabid fans and followers (e.g., Squidoo, Blogger, Xanga, Tumblr, Brightside, Plurk, and hundreds of others).
- Blogging for Business – Use Premium WordPress Blog Themes! The Ultimate Internet Image uses two, Thesis and Studiopress. Thesis is easier to learn and you can build an attractive blog in very little time. Studiopress is spectacular! With Studiopress, you have the capability to build a fully-functional website and blog. Studiopress allows for every conceivable modification and, with branding, you can build it into something amazing. In my opinion, Thesis and Studiopress make it unnessary to have any other sort of web presence. Again, The Ultimate Internet Image uses both Studiopress and Thesis exclusively. Why use less than the best?
- Article Marketing – Article Marketing is a must! If you are not creating articles and distributing them across the Internet you are missing out on one of the most effective inbound marketing strategies for building traffic, links, and authority. Quality content delivered to the best article directories (i.e., EzineArtcles, SearchWarp, etc.) using a submission service like SubmitYourArticles will save you time and money while delivering traffic and links on an ongoing basis. If video is king? Article marketing is queen! The two, in combination, are essential if you are to dominate a niche for yourself or your client. Keep in mind one thing: Quality Content! Do not buy PLR, spun articles, or articles for a dollar a piece from some freelancer site! Invest in quality content or better yet write it yourself. You will get your investment back one-hundred-fold.
- SEO or Search Engine Optimization – SEO requires its own post. Needless to say, you can do everything else right but if you get the SEO wrong you will never be found. SEO is the foundation you build everything else upon. If your website is not ranking at least 90 or better on Hubspot’s Webgrader…fix it at once! This website is ranked among the top 6% of all sites in the world.
- SEM or Search Engine Marketing – Again, requires its own post. SEM is all of the above and more. It is crucial and one of the linchpins in your inbound marketing strategy.
- Permission Marketing (a term that has evolved somewhat since Seth Godin coined it in his book of the same name)
- Relationship Marketing (an overarching term that applies new media platforms and strategies)
- Email Marketing (from autoresponders to email newsletters to permission-based solitication)
- And so much more….
The list above is by no means scientific or comprehensive, they are just a few of the things I routinely think about and/or find myself discussing with clients.
I am constantly thinking about how the new media and inbound marketing strategies apply to the local businesses, professional practices, organizations, and associations, as you should be as a fellow inbound marketing consultant.
In consulting with local, “offline,” brick and mortar businesses, practices, and associations day after day over the course of a week and the questions are always the same:
- Do I need to be involved in social media?
- How to I apply these new marketing techniques to my business?
- Do I need a website?
- Do I need to pay to advertise on the web?
- How do I get started, I just don’t have the kind of time all of this will take?
- I just don’t have the time to learn all this SEO stuff, does it really matter?
Interestingly, no one asks about inbound marketing strategies and almost no one asks about SEO.
Most local brick and mortar business people, and I’ll lump everyone into one category for the sake of time and space, just want to know:
- They want to know about social media!
- If they need a website at all?
- They want to be assured that if they spend the money, and often they already have, sometimes more than once and often paying too much for something that is truly awful, are they getting what they need?
- How much time is it going to take them because they are swamped already just trying to keep the business running, they do not have time for the “social media and marketing stuff!”
- Who is going to do it for them?
- Ultimately, how much will it cost?
Interestingly, the cost is generally the last thing to come up and usually isn’t an issue once value is preceived.
If real and lasting value is perceived, the rest takes care of itself!
Most local business people know they need some sort of an Internet image, they simply don’t have the time or the knowledge to get there. If you as an inbound marketing consultant can help them get there, the first part of your job is accomplished.
The Ultimate Internet Image specializes in helping local businesses communicate that image, and their brand, via the new media and inbound marketing, to people they are not presently reaching…people they must reach!
This is the responsibility of anyone calling themselves an inbound marketing consultant. Everything begins with the business owner’s investment in you and your inbound marketing consultancy!
If you have experience working in the offline world, so much the better, empathy is a crucial component. However, more than that, you must understand how to develop The Ultimate Internet Image for your client, you need to get your client in front of people searching for the products they are interested in buying.
Significantly, that means you must get your client to page one of the various search engine results pages (SERPs) for the keywords and keyword phrases you are targeting. A page one ranking for the targeted keywords is crucial because that will put you in front of your clients’ prospective customers, clients, patients, etc.
To yodel or shout into the wind and hope someone will hear you message?
Those days are long gone!
Simply throwing links up on Twitter will lead to your client’s ruin…and your’s!
It is up to you as inbound marketing consultant to create brand awareness based on something new, fresh, exciting, and different.
As Seth Godin put it (paraphrasing):
You can’t sell widgets with the new media…it simply doesn’t work!
Your new media, inbound marketing strategy must match up well with the underlying sundae or you will not have The Ultimate Internet Image, you will have a Meatball Sundae.
More to follow!
Any thoughts? Please leave them…I’d love to hear your ideas!
Contact me anytime!
The Ultimate Internet Image, LLC
Lakewood, Ohio 44107