September 2, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

Inbound vs. outbound: Capitalizing on your content marketing strategy

Ron Stein | 10/28/2013

Content marketing is critical to your success. Really, I’m not kidding around here!

Having the information your audience wants, in the form they want it, and when they want it should be nothing short of an obsession for your business.

The ultimate result of a well-executed content marketing effort is more customers. Done correctly, an information marketing strategy will result in your ideal audience finding you, seeing you as an expert, and trusting you. Plus, your competition isn’t doing a very good job with their content marketing efforts.

Now, for the gazillion dollar question: Is there a difference between content marketing and inbound marketing?

You’ve probably read that the world of marketing falls into two basic categories -- outbound and inbound. I tend to agree, but it goes deeper than that.

For a while now the “experts” have told us all that the only way to establish a content strategy is around inbound marketing. That includes tactics such as search engine optimization of your website and social sharing -- all built around your content.

These so-called gurus say outbound methods -- such as email, advertising, trade shows, and news releases -- are ineffective and expensive.

So, where’s the truth and what’s the most cost-effective way to reach new customers? Or, as the new age thinkers amongst us like to say, “attract” new customers to you and your business.

Connect in the ways that make sense for your audience. Inbound and outbound are really descriptions of delivery channels for your content. These broadly refer to the types of techniques your business can use to cost-effectively connect with ideal prospects and keep existing customers happy. Does your audience want to be educated with webinars and case studies to see what other companies like them have done? Is your prospective customer social media active? Are there other businesses that already own relationships with the people you’d like to sell to that you could approach to partner with in some way? Will your target decision-maker typically attend trade shows and conferences where you can sponsor a panel talk? The one thing these all have in common is your content -- your valuable information.

The only marketing is complete marketing. Let’s say that your company provides a new type of online service for small community banks that solves a big problem they have. You’ll need to do a bit of education about what it is and the way it saves these banks money by streamlining their operations. Yes, having optimized content on your website will be important for bankers who search online. As far as social media goes, LinkedIn and Twitter are good bets for connecting with bankers, but since these are small, local institutions Facebook might work well too. Landing media coverage in the publications that bankers read (online and offline) will be important -- plus, news releases get posted around the Web and found by Google. Lastly, when they finally hit your website, you’ll need a call-to-action to start the nurturing process and an informational newsletter could do the trick. And, you could reach out to them via a phone call to personally invite them to a seminar or webinar. You now have effectively used your content with a combination of inbound and outbound techniques.

Make your content matter, when it matters, where it matters. Your mission is to educate, inspire, and engage the audience that matters to your business. Great content answers the questions your specific, targeted audience has about the problems they need to solve. Relevant content is a conversation starter and buys you permission to keep the dialogue going. Create a strategic collection of content that informs readers and viewers to build long-term revenue generating relationships. Deliver fresh buyer-centric content when and were it counts. And, make it actionable. The first step is an information hub -- your website -- and then draw people in while getting the word out. Actively promoting your content through the right channels for your audience -- online and offline as well as inbound and outbound -- will make a big difference in achieving your growth objectives.

Here’s the deal. The ultimate result of a well-executed content marketing effort is more customers and more money. Use whatever works for you and your target market. If your prospects want to connect through a combination of outbound and inbound channels tactics, then go for it!

It turns out that for most businesses inbound and outbound marketing go hand and hand. They just don’t realize that.

Now you know. The answer to “is there a difference between content marketing and inbound marketing” is this: content marketing is a strategy that includes inbound marketing as a healthy part of the mix.


Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.

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