Marketing Isn’t Dead, It Just Had A Heart Attack

inbound marketing is aliveMost people who spend time on the web encounter a brand barking at them about their business.  It’s funny how this archaic form of marketing, also known as outbound marketing, is still being used in the inbound marketing world.  It’s as if these businesses didn’t get the memo that if they want to help their business not only survive, but grow, they need to adopt an inbound marketing strategy.  The old school strategy simply does not fit in the new internet world.

Outbound marketers find it hard to adapt to the internet world.  They are easy to spot in 2012, so keep an eye out form them.  The brands who continue to use these old marketing methods are also coming across more and more road blocks by users who are finding new ways to block their message.  This keys in on the fact that consumer behavior is incredibly different these days.  Not only can I skip through commercials, I can ditch cable all together and use internet streaming subscriptions instead.  I can tune out the company on Twitter who continues to fill my social stream with bullcrap messages about how badly I need to buy their new product.  Sure…  Not only are you on my block list, but it will most likely take a friend or two for me to reconsider purchasing your product over your competitor who is truly offering value to my information filled life.  People are becoming pickier about who and how they ingest information.  Do you really want to burn bridges by jumping the sale?  Internet users are already blasted with messages from businesses everywhere they go on the internet.  Do you really want to be just another business they tune out?  Outbound marketing is typically more expensive, even when used through the internet with some restraint, and the leads generated from it rarely justify the dollars spent.  The outbound marketing techniques have a hard time fitting into this world for small business, so let’s try something new.

Inbound marketers who are manning the ship for businesses today are refreshing.  They might not always have the biggest Twitter following, or most retweets, but they are followed and listened to by devoted fans of their brand.  This is far more valuable than shouting into space, wondering what the ROI of it all is and why your boss should continue to stroke those checks.  It’s all about adding value to the user now.  How are you going to entertain, edify, or reward your current and potential customers?  It certainly does not involve tracking your hash-tag on Twitter and telling people about your specials this week.  It does, however, involve engaging in a meaningful way with the folks who do mention you, love you, criticize you, or are simply just wondering about you.  One of the most important goals of inbound marketing is to find valuable leads that are ready to buy.  You are creating the top of your sales funnel with value for your potential customers while also pre-qualifying them as well.

Great inbound marketers are drawing customers to their site in various ways.  My peers are drawn to SEOmoz for their free tools.  Eventually, they suck you in through the funnel and you pay to use their valuable SEO tool set.  This is much more valuable and cost efficient than cold calling digital marketers across the United States.  By offering me value, SEOmoz has already warmed me up as a well qualified leadSmall businesses can leverage the power of the internet by using a blog and social media channels.  A barber shop blog, for example, could become a hub for manly grooming tips and also boost the business’s SEO goals.  The possibilities are endless, and for small businesses they can be relatively inexpensive as well.  The value brought by the barber shop blog might help out a certain client with the most simple issue such as dandruff, but it could make a lifelong advocate of the shop.

Your website should become a hub which attracts visitors naturally.  Small businesses today require an internet presence to accomplish this at the most basic level.  In order to build a web presence, you will need a blog, a Facebook page, Twitter, and now, a Google + page.  All of these things, combined with bringing honest value and engagement to your customer, will help your small business grow.  Not only will you have a better chance of building a brand advocate, but you will most likely be rewarded in the search engine rankings as well.

Start bringing in the leads that will convert by reallocating your outbound marketing budget to your new inbound marketing plan.

 

Photo via Flickr

Keyword Research Tricks [My Canadian Guest Post]

Every now and then, I like to guest post on a Canadian SEO blog, Search Engine People.  I enjoy the community of bloggers, and the material is generally high quality. They have a good thing going over there.  When Ruud Hein asked me to write a post for 2012, I jumped at the chance to share my poor man tools for keyword research in 2011.  Some of the best SEO strategies out there are free, though they are a dying breed.  Check out a few of my favorite keyword research tricks from 2011 and let me know about your favorite free SEO tools so far in 2012!

The 5 Best [Free] Keyword Research Tricks I Tried In 2011

The 5 Best  Free  Keyword Research Tricks I Tried In 2011   Search Engine People   Toronto

SEO Directory

Small Business Can Win on YouTube

YouTube for Small BusinessEarlier today I was working on exchanging a power cord for a dryer.  I needed to switch it from a 4 prong plug to a 3 prong.  Now, it’s really not that complicated, but I didn’t want to damage the dryer on account of me being an idiot and overlooking a step.  My dad offered to come by and assess the situation as well… He also had some of my favorite beer too.  When we both looked at the back of the dryer, still not 100% confident, he suggested that we just drive to Home Depot and ask a service rep over there.  Before driving a mile down the road, I insisted that we check YouTube, just incase there was an installation video…

Of course, there was a video.

Guess who didn’t make it though.

Home Depot didn’t, but a small business did.  There are a few different take aways from this situation:

  1. Home Depot is messing up.  Rather than become a major resource on the internet, they are letting the opportunity slide by because they probably don’t think it’s worth their time.  How freaking ignorant!
  2. This is YOUR opportunity to use a Google preferred resource to give your customers added value, and also optimize the YouTube video and a blog post to be found by a potential new client.

Small Business Needs to Take Advantage of YouTube

Big corporations are really missing out on the value of YouTube.  If you think that your small business needs a video that’s going to go viral in order to use YouTube, then you have sadly bought into that hype as well.  As the world’s 2nd largest search engine, you need to be on there just as much as you need to be using Facebook and Twitter.

SEO for YouTube

You can SEO your YouTube channel just like you can your website, Facebook, and Twitter.  The advantage to search engine optimization for your YouTube channel is that Google owns it.  If you haven’t noticed, Google prefers itself.  Optimizing your YouTube helps people in need of your services find you.  Similar to SEO on your website, you should optimize the title and description for your YouTube video.

Quit wasting your time trying to come up with that “amazing” YouTube video and start making simple videos that people need.