Warning: This blog post contains some hard truths!
In our last blog post we (hopefully) answered the questiion, what is inbound marketing? It spelled out in simple language the process of attracting people, engaging with them and converting them into customers. Inbound marketing works and it creates a predictable, scalable and reliable marketing and lead generation machine, but it's not for everyone.
If you're the kind of business owner who needs an agency to blow smoke where the sun don't shine, inbound's probably not going to work for you. I say this because getting inbound right requires brutal honesty and a willingness to reset your business compass.
Getting inbound right means taking a hard look at your business to figure out what makes you special, and you'd be surprised what doesn't make you special. For example:
"We really care about our customers" - because your competitors say they don't care?
"We always go the extra mile" - because your competitors give up halfway?
"We really value our customers" - because your competitors tell their customers they don't value them?
You see, none of these things mean anything, they're just so much hot air and if you really think any of the above makes you unique or special you're wrong. Although we're not suggesting those things are bad, far from it, they don't make you unique, all your competitors are making these same claims and for most people these claims don't even register. People have been "sold to" to death.
3/10 Could Try Harder
In a world where people turn to Google when they're trying to solve a problem such as what new car to buy or which estate agent to use, companies need to do better than "Hey we're great, buy stuff from us!". Simply put it's not cutting it anymore, if it ever really did. In today's world, you need to educate, entertain, help and show people why they should choose you when they've got a need, and importantly, a world of choice!
In our experience, this is a bitter pill to swallow for most companies. When we suggest a blog's a good idea, we're often met with "Yeah, we've got a blog" but further investigation reveals a sad excuse that's updated twice a year and consists of nothing better than a few 100 word, badly written posts telling the world something they're not interested in, like how the business has just invested in a new photocopier. Trust me, it's that bad and worse.
There Is An Alternative
If you're not prepared or able to earn the attention of potential customers with compelling content there's another approach that works quite well. Paid search. Paid search systems such as Google's AdWords platform lets businesses put compelling messages in front of potential customers at the right time. It's amazing, it works and for as long as you're happy to pay for visitors to your website it will keep working. For some businesses this Pay Per Click or PPC advertising is the right solution. But if you're not happy to rent space on Google, which is all you're doing, you need to reevaluate.
You see, getting organic results in Google differs from using PPC in one very important way. If you establish your business in organic search you effectively own that space and it's for others to try and wrestle it off you. Which sounds better to you?
So What Now?
If your company is remarkable, and you're willing to create amazing helpful content then it's worth looking at inbound marketing as a vehicle for business growth. If it isn't, then you might have a torrid time of it and you'd be better off buying your traffic with PPC. There are those who will try and tell you otherwise but we prefer to tell it like it is.