Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Inbound Marketing 2012

Atlanta Inbound Marketing

Published on by: James H. Hobson

Inbound Marketing is THE way to go if your business wants to achieve top tier results and minimize, if not totally mitigate, and chances of algorithm based penalties. Oddly enough, even within our industry, there is a significant lag of interest from SEO companies and internet marketing companies. While this is a problem for them, it is a huge opportunity for well informed clients to make significant improvements to search engine rankings and online visibility.

If your SEO company or internet marketing company has not approached you with information on inbound marketing you may want to rethink who you have driving your online marketing and ranking.

Inbound Marketing Strategies

As discussed elsewhere on our blog, inbound marketing is a deliberate and brilliant method to merge the benfits of social media, SEO and content marketing. Inbound marketing engages clients early in the marketing cycle, which creates warmer leads. Additionally, inbound marketing has the long term benefit that comes from having a well developed brand image.

Your master inbound marketing strategy should include mini-plans for the three areas listed above. The next step is to compare the mini-plans and make adjustments for these elements to work together. As with any marketing intiative, it is important to maintain consistency in messaging, inform your potential customer of features and benefits, and become the source for what they want.

Inbound Marketing should help you to build a relationship with your (potential or existing) customer. Your inbound marketing strategy should serve the traditional sales funnel model that has been molded to fit modern marketing techniques. It may be easier to understand when you see inbound marketing infographics.

Social Media Mini-Plan

Your social media plan must include the key social media sites of Google+, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. The selection of other sites can be driven by your type of business with careful consideration of where your customers may be found. Sites such as Foursquare, Pinterest, CafeMom, Manta, and Meetup are worth considering. Sites that might otherwise be considered as Citation sites should not be overlooked for creating at least a profile page. Ideally you should have the same user name (brand name) on these sites and take advantage of every possible feature. Popular features include uploading custom profile images, adding more information into your profile, and then the all important job of getting connections (Likes, Circles, Retweets, etc.)

SEO Mini-Plan

Your SEO plan should be carefully planned with due consideration of Google Webmaster Guidelines and all credible information on best practices for algorithms. Your mini-plan can be divided into on-page SEO and off-page SEO tasks.

On-Page SEO should begin with checks within Google Webmaster Tools to identify search engine identified problemns such as broken links, duplicate content, crawl errors, etc. Next you can do a page-by-page check for code and content improvement opportunities. A check of each page using the W3C Validator Tool will identify code issues, many of which are quick and easy corrections. Other easy corrections are making certain that your page titles are 70 characters or less, page descriptions are accurate and not spammy, keywords tags (if used) are no more than 8-10 words, alt tags and title attributes are used for usability and not spammy wording, and that header tags are properly used. Using Google Analytics is absolutely essential.

Off-Page SEO should begin with a check for inbound links, and a sincere effort to remove any links from unsavory sites. If there are broken inbound links you may be able to save the link by creating a 301 redirect to an appropriate page. Any new link building that you do should be the result of judicious selection and paced implementation. Under no circumstances should you use paid link services (this is different than paying an internet marketing firm to acquire quality links for you). Some of the best off-page SEO is managed under your content marketing strategy.

Content Marketing Mini-Plan

Content marketing is an umbrella term which covers a myriad of tactics. Content marketing can include video creation and publishing, quality articles posted on blogs, internet press releases, downloadable whitepapers, and even community activities. Content that is crafted for sharing (infographics, etc.) is exceptionally productive. The key objective is to get people to see your company name and have your brand develop a reputation as being the choice for smart people, trustworthy and providing value.

Inbound Marketing, done by professionals, delivers exceptional results and is something that every internet marketing company or in-house marketing team needs to learn and put into practice.

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