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Inbound marketing 101 for start-ups

Friday, 8 March 2013 | By Adam Franklin

Inbound marketing, also known as content marketing, is the art of publishing useful information that attracts customer to you.

 

Here’s a crash course in how it works!

 

Create a valuable offer

 

You may take your knowledge for granted, but you already know enough to create a valuable resource, like an e-book, that can help educate your potential customers.

 

In the web world, where the buyer holds the power, the companies that educate their customers are the ones that win the business.

As a rule of thumb, if it feels like you are giving away too much, then you’re probably on the money in terms of having a valuable offer.

 

Set up a landing page

 

This is a page on your website where people can download your content whether it is an e-book, report, recipe, template, checklist or tip sheet. The idea here is that people will provide you their name and email address in exchange for the content.

 

The best landing pages have the following characteristics.

 

They remove the main navigation to eliminate distractions.

 

They have social media share buttons to provide the ‘social proof’ that the content is both legit and popular.

 

They outline a list of benefits and ideally include a preview of the content.

 

Finally, they have a clear call to action and a simple form to fill out.

 

Form

 

The form should be kept reasonably short to make it easier for the person filling it out. I’d aim for First Name, Last Name and Email.

 

Of course, you can request more information, but your conversion rate may drop.

 

Deliver your content

 

Once people have filled out the form, deliver the content, say thanks and ask people to share it with their friends if they like it!

 

You now have someone who has provided their email and put their hand up to say they’re interested in what you have to offer.

 

Treat this person well and keep on helping them out with valuable content and you’re on your way to winning a new customer and advocate.

 

Can you give away too much?

 

Sometimes you might feel uncomfortable giving away your intellectual capital.

 

You may feel competitors will steal it, or that potential clients will do it themselves and you’ll do yourself out of a pay cheque. I understand that feeling, but bear in mind the following.

 

Two things to remember

 

If you don’t share your intellectual capital, your competitors will probably share theirs and they will get the credit for releasing it. Plus they’ll get all the backlinks!

 

Also, if people are using your information themselves, then that is a wonderful sign that your content is valuable.

 

Well done!

 

Since you’ve helped them, they are likely to be strong advocates of yours, and you’ve got to remember that eventually everyone is out of their depth.

 

And guess what? At that point, who are they going to pay to help them? Their trusted advisor: You.

 

I hope this has been useful. If you’re keen to learn more about this, I’ve released a new e-book Inbound Marketing for Business: Six steps to create lovable marketing which is a free download.