What are the A,B,Cs of Inbound Marketing?
The Ultimate Internet Image Offers: A through Z (coming soon)
This is a prelude to an ebook that will be distributed to The Ultimate Internet Image subscribers at no charge on September 1, 2010: Building and Inbound Marketing Consulting Business: A to Z.
While this is a rough draft and only the Introduction and Chapter “A” of Building and Inbound Marketing Consulting Business: A to Z, we are looking forward to sharing this with you in its entirety. While our book is almost complete, we will be refining it over the next 21 days. As we work toward completion, we will be offering you, our readers and subscribers, bits and pieces here, and via email, until launch day.
So, subscribe to our email and pre-launch countdown list and you will be guaranteed a free copy on September 1, 2010…regardless of how we ultimately decide to distribute it to the public.
Enjoy and please feel free to comment and offer feedback, we would appreciate it.
“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. Accordingly a genius is often merely a talented person who has done all of his or her homework.” Thomas Edison
Introduction: Building and Inbound Marketing Consulting Business: A to Z
What started as a 26 item list, Understanding the A to Z of Inbound Marketing, quickly took on a life of its own, as lists of this nature often do, and it soon became something very different: Building and Inbound Marketing Consulting Business: A to Z.
Within each category, each letter of the alphabet, I have attempted to include those inbound marketing and online business related concepts, terms, and ideas that I feel are important to, in many cases crucial for, the success of an individual or group attempting to build an inbound marketing consultancy or a brick and mortar business attempting to establish The Ultimate Internet Image. I have also included some of the personalities who have had an impact on Internet marketing, inbound marketing, and/or online-offline business building in some way. All in an attempt to provide the information you need to build your business and serve your clients more effectively.
Significantly, there have been many lists of this kind.
Many lists offer The 101 Top Social Media Experts, others assert they know The 100 Top Bloggers, and some are privy to The Top 25 Online Products; and so on, and so on. I find fault with many of these lists (some are quite good) because they are arbitrary and almost always subjective. In other words, they have no real basis in fact. The lists are purely anecdotal, often self-serving in one way or another, and usually based a one person’s observations. Consequently, they are not without bias.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I am guilty of the same methodology…to a certain degree anyway. Consequently, I must admit that this list is not scientific, I have not included all of the words for a given letter or put them in rank…or even alphabetical order. However, I have attempted to make it as complete as possible. I claim no corner on insight into their overall rank in the constellation of inbound marketing terms. Meaning, others may have very different opinions about the same terms.
That being said, I feel I am as up on the latest in inbound marketing as anyone in the field. Perhaps a bold statement? Significantly, it is my sincere belief that if you are taking the time to read this ebook…then you are too!
Ultimately, the thoughts, ideas, concepts, and resources shared here are subject to interpretation. These are, after all, just one man’s opinion; that of a seasoned inbound marketing consultant. Yours truly!
Interestingly, because of the age of the field, and the rapid rate of change, anyone with more than a year in the inbound marketing trenches must be considered seasoned.
Because it is a challenging field and if you have made it through the first year and are still at it, you are on your way to proving yourself to those who matter most, your inbound marketing clients.
Additionally, if you have been at this for a year or more, you are obviously making a living at it; and, that is a degree of success in-and-of-itself. It would also seem to validate the fact that you are moving in the right direction (i.e., you are acquiring clients).
I do hope the inbound marketing terms you find here are instructive, or at least helpful. I also hope they will provide you with ideas for areas of research, exploration, and continuing self-education.
I am certain there will be a few terms you may not have thought of or perhaps haven’t thought of in quite the same way as presented here. If that is the case, then the list, and this ebook, will have been a success.
If not? So be it!
Regardless, take this as is, insight into online business and inbound marketing from the mind of one successful inbound marketing consultant in the process of building a young, growing, and increasingly successful inbound marketing consultancy:
The Ultimate Internet Image.
So, once again this list is by no means conclusive. I have made every attempt to include the major terms, concepts, resources, and experts in inbound marketing.
I am ceratin you will think of more.
If so? Please leave a comment below.
Your thoughts and ideas will add to this resource; and, perhaps other inbound marketing consultants will tap into it from time to time as they look for the “pieces-parts” of inbound marketing success.
How about that for a successful Wendy’s USP?
OK, let’s begin! In this case “A” is not for Apple, it is for:
A – Action is the key to success. The smartest inbound marketing consultant will be left in the dust by a consultant of average intelligence who is willing to get the job done each and every day (see the Thomas Edison quote above). That means prospecting, self-education, writing, creating, and growing constantly. Intellect without action is useless. Action is, in part, what Napoleon Hill calls Personal Initiative. Personal initiative is the inner power that initiates all action.
Jack Canfield talks about action: He also tells a great story about how a chiropractor got started in an area where he was told there were already too many chiropractors. So, if you think that perhaps there are already too many people in the inbound marketing consulting business? Listen to Jack’s story! Great story and a super idea for getting started as a new inbound marketing consulting firm.
A – Accurate Thinking is the very foundation of all successful achievements. Napoleon Hill discusses this better than I can here. He discusses inductive reasoning and deductive reasoning, distinguishing important facts from unimportant facts, opinions, and so on.
A – Articles and Article Marketing are important to any inbound marketing strategy for a number of reasons. Well-written articles will establish you as an inbound marketing authority, not only with your peers but with prospective clients. Articles generate traffic to your website and help build links. The same holds true for your clients’ sites. A steady stream of articles submitted to the highest ranking article directories (see below) is one of the quickest ways to build traffic and links to your clients’ sites. Develop a list of your favorite directories and submit to them on a routine basis, every day if possible.
I always write 4 articles for submission. Always!
- The first article written is usually abbreviated, but not always, and goes up on one of my blogs or my clients’ blogs as a post.
- The second article is submitted to EzineArticles by way of various pen names and by way of accounts set up for each individual client to avoid terms of service (TOS) violations.
- The third is submitted to SubmitYourArticle and they disperse it across a number of article directories on a staggered timetable.
- The fourth article is segmented and made into video descriptions and mini-blog posts for sites like Twitter, Tumblr, Squidoo, Hubpages, and the like.
This simple article marketing strategy works to build authority, traffic, and backlinks. In other words, it works as an inbound marketing strategy. I do pay EzineArticles for their Premium level service for my personal account and I do pay a small monthly fee to SubmitYouArticles. Both investments are relatively small and worth it. Not only do the fees invested come back in the form of direct income, they put me at the head of the class when it comes to editing and approval. If you can get your articles published ahead of the many hundreds or thousands of writers submitting their articles, many of them attempting to do the same thing you are? So much the better!
NOTE: A few article directories do not allow their link juice to flow. Meaning, they use a no follow tag in the author’s resource box. So, if you are using articles to gain PR and improve your inbound marketing client’s page ranking, or your own for that matter, don’t bother with the NF directories. A great resource for checking out the top article directory sites is Virtual Real Estate Toolbar. This is the website, not the toolbar download, but it has all the relevant information.
A – Attitude, along with action, is the key to success. You can overcome just about anything with a positive mental attitude, even the occasional rejection you will get as an inbound marketing consultant building your business. Stay positive and keep moving forward.
There’s an old saying in sales: “Four happy people and one unhappy person leave for lunch. Five unhappy people return.” Stay away from negative people and stay positive.
Note: Many people attempt to trivialize “all this PMA mumbo jumbo.” You have a choice: you can either be positive or you can allow the forces of whatever comes next to blow your attitude this way and that. I choose the former, as the latter is too painful…and far too ineffective.
Napoleon Hill has stated that: “A positive mental attitude can clear away all obstacles which stand between you and your major purpose in life.”
This 7:58 video entitled Napoleon Hill Think and Grow Rich – Pt Seven Positive Mental Attitude says it better than I can, particularly when it comes to the strategies for keeping yourself positive.
A – Advertising is any form of communication used to convince or persuade an audience or an individual to take some form of action. The form of action to be taken is usually a purchase decision of one kind or other. Advertising, as a word, has a generally negative connotation and outbound advertising is viewed as an invasion, an interruption to be avoided at all costs.
Note: If you notice, throughout my writing I use the terms inbound marketing and outbound advertising. Occassionally, I use the term outbound marketing instead but we are really talking about the same thing. The reason I use outbound advertising is because, in my opinion, it is a double negative of sorts and emphasizes where we don’t want to go.
Advertising is in fact crucial to the success of any enterprise. However, the message must be well-crafted and part of a well-thought out marketing plan with a focus on brand building and brand awareness; and, converting prospective clients into buyers (i.e., consumers, clients, patients, etc).
A – Aptitude is not only innate, as many assume, aptitude can be acquired and developed. Yes, it is true some people have a seemingly natural aptitude for one thing or another, in this case sales and inbound marketing consulting, but aptitude can be learned and competency to excel acquired.
After all, Michael Jordan was cut from his 10th grade basketball team. Look where a lot of effort and a dedicated high school coach took him!
Aptitude is attitude plus knowledge. Attitude in this instance is perseverance, consistency, willingness to listen, and the ability to comprehend. Knowledge is ability, both verbal and nonverbal, combined with the power of reasoning and interpretation.
Ultimately, attitude empowers knowledge and yields aptitude.
In other words: If there is a will…there’s a way!
The aptitude we develop will enable us to better practice our inbound marketing consulting trade, propel us forward, and ultimately help us build our inbound marketing consulting business; and, the businesses of our clients.
A – Adobe is one of the suites of resources every inbound marketer should become comfortable with for a variety of reasons. Adobe offers some of the most valuable tools online. I am not going to get into a sales pitch for Adobe, you are undoubtedly familiar with the brand already, but I had to include them, they are among the premier suites of communication resources online.
A – Ask is number 4 in search engine size…but, like Avis: they try harder. Another great USP!
A – AdWords is a phenomenally productive resource…if used properly. Google’s PPC advertising can also send you and/or your inbound marketing client to the poorhouse if you don’t understand it and use it wisely. If used wisely, the gains using Google AdWords (PPC) advertising may be significant.
I use four resources before beginning an AdWords campaign:
- Perry Marshall: Anything I can get my hands on written by Perry Marshall. I recommend his Mastermind Group and his AdWords course. It will pay you back 100-fold or more almost at once.
AdWords can make you a lot of money or very broke. Do your homework and you won’t go wrong. Shoot from the hip and you will certainly go broke.
A – AdSense is dead! We hear that all the time and it is simply not true. Yes, it is true that AdSense fails to deliver the same returns it once did. However, AdSense is still a viable source of revenue for the right kind of online business model.
However, using AdSense for your inbound marketing clients is usually a mistake!
In fact, anything that directs traffic away from your client’s site is a bad idea….unless you are sending them to another, related site for a specific reason, like to a landing page to collect subscription information or to a shopping cart for some reason (i.e., a purchase or to capture information for a continuity program of some kind. See “C” – Continuity below).
A – Analytics is one of the most valuable resources at your disposal. Unfortunately, analytics is also one of the most underused resources. Analytics are available to every inbound marketing consultant in a number of different forms. Google Analytics is just one of many resources available to inbound marketing consultants. Alexa, Quantcast, YouTube Insights, and a myriad of others offer free analytics to better understand online traffic trends, tendencies, and patterns.
Google Analytics should be part of every inbound marketing strategy.
Additionally, analytics should be a part of your pre-consultation research. Meaning, by the time you walk into your first meeting with a prospective client, you should know everything from their page rank (PR) to their Alexa traffic rank and more. You should also understand their competitive business environment and what their competition is doing online and offline. All of this information is available online a little or no cost to you or your business…other than your time.
A – Anchor Text is linking on steriods. Anchor text is like shouting a particular keyword phrase for the world to hear…or at least the search engines to see. The words in the anchor text may very well determine the ranking for a page with the search engines. Anchor text that is relevant, descriptive, and contextual will enhance the destination page’s ranking. That is why article resource boxes are so important. The inbound marketing consultant/author has an opportunity to use descriptive anchor text and direct it back to the consultant’s own site or to that of a client. Anchor text should be used at every opportunity (i.e., resource boxes, intersite linking, intrasite linking, etc.).
NOTE: It never ceases to amaze me how many seasoned Internet marketing “gurus” and inbound marketing consultants fail to use anchor text and instead post a bare URL in a resource box, in a blog post, or in a video description. It is a lost opportunity to help their site or a client’s site along. While one bare URL will neither make nor break a site’s ranking, the effect is cumulative and the use of anchor text should be automatic and should be used across the board at every opportunity.
A – AOL: Remember these guys? I threw them in for a reason. No, they are not an inbound marketing resource, not directly anyway, but they are a great example of how fast things change online. Yes, a lot of people still use AOL and a lot of people still use MySpace for that matter. But usage patterns shift and change constantly. If, as inbound marketing consultants, we do not stay on top of the various trends, we are not serving our clients to the best of our ability.
Don’t get caught napping!
The king of the hill today may the on the way out tomorrow. There is no telling what will be the next “Big Thing.” AOL and MySpace were two of the biggest Internet properties just a short while ago. They are by no means dead but they are no longer king of the hill! Currently, we all know who is on top…but that will change too.
It always does!
A – AWeber is in my opinion one of the best deals online, not only for email marketing but for any service used by Internet marketers and inbound marketing consultants. It is easy to use, has great testing and tracking tools (we will get into more of this below), and is responsive, reputable, and inexpensive. Whether you pass on the cost of maintaining your clients’ services or include them as part of a package (recommended), AWeber is one of the best values online and certainly a great deal for anyone building an inbound marketing consultancy.
If you are using email marketing, and you should be, not only in your own inbound marketing consultancy but for your clients inbound marketing strategies, then Aweber should be on your radar.
Jim Cockrum has created a very nice 5 minute video demonstrating just one of the very useful things Aweber can be used for.
And Jim’s suggestion is just the tip fo the iceberg!
A – Affiliates and Affiliate Marketing may have a place in your inbound marketing consultancy. If you have retail clients who would like to move online and sell physical products via the Internet? Then you will eventually want to consider linking them with Clickbooth, Commission Junction, LinkShare, ShareResults, or some other affiliate management site. Attempting to manage an affiliate program yourself is expensive in terms of time and money. After all, why reinvent the wheel when a company like Commission Junction already has everything in place and can manage the entire process for you and your client or clients?
As an aside: If you engaged in affiliate marketing as an additional revenue stream and are not already using Clickbooth? You should be! They are one of the largest CPA affiliate networks and should be on your radar.
A – Audience: Understanding your client’s target audience or target market is crucial. It is not enough for an inbound marketing consultant to understand the Internet. Inbound marketing consultants must understand the “offline” business world as well. Too many inbound marketing consultancies today are heavy on Internet knowledge and speaking to an Internet savvy audience and weak when it comes to offline experience and speaking to an audience that is not familiar with the Internet.
In order to succeed as an inbound marketing consultant you must understand both worlds and be able to speak to both audiences!
Failure to understand that there are two worlds is a mistake common to Internet marketers and inbound marketing consultants.
Note: We will explore this at length when we get to C – Competitive Analysis and E – Empathy.
A – Alexa is one of the most valuable resources online and it is free. Alexa not only provides website analytics in the form of free traffic metrics (statistics), pageviews, bounce rate, and the like. Alexa also provides demographics, relevant search data, and search engine marketing opportunities (See: S – SEM below) so you can use to tailor and tweak your message.
Every inbound marketing consultant should be familiar with and use Alexa on a regular basis.
Note: We will go into Alexa and other tools like Alexa in: D -Demographics; M – Metrics; and, T – Testing below.
A – Alerts or Google Alerts is a must for anyone attempting to make a living online or “offline.” Google Alerts allows you to track content (yours and others), brand, relevant keywords, and even social media message and penetration. Google Alerts is real-time data that will help you shape and focus your Internet image…and that of your inbound marketing clients.
We will get into B – Z over the next three weeks and make the entire ebook available to our subscribers on September 1, 2010. As stated, we are still shaping the final product and what you read above is still considered a rough draft. That being said, I hope it was helpful and perhaps offered a few insights and stimulated some ideas,
If you have any questions, comments, or feedback? Please feel free to add it below! I would love to hear from you and use anything you think might add to the finished product…a resource we can all share and use to build our inbound marketing consulting businesses.
A few people have asked why I am giving away the store, so to speak:
I guess the best answer I can give is that I am a Big Pie Guy! I believe we have an unlimited number of clients and, consequently, one Big Pie! A Small Pie Guy might want to guard ideas and be defensive about sharing strategies with his or her competition. I just don’t buy into that philosophy. There is plenty of business to go around and, if we raise the bar by providing each other with shared tools, resources, and ideas? The entire inbound marketing field grows more effective; and thus, has a better reputation and a greater reach as a result.
In other words:
The better we all are…the better we all are!
Thank you for taking the time to stop by and take in the first installment in The Ultimate Internet Image’s Building and Inbound Marketing Consulting Business: A to Z.
Please don’t hesitate to comment below and subscribe to our list so you can receive the entire ebook when it is published later this month!
The Ultimate Internet Image
Lakewood, Ohio 44107
*The reference is to just one of many successful USPs used by Wendy’s. In this one they knock McDonald’s Chicken McNuggets, which they maintain are made of chicken meat “fused” together. It was a very successful USP and a very successful, and funny, ad campaign. Not quite as popular as “Where’s the Beef?” but almost.