Inbound Marketing: Questions for Self-Starters

by Michael Talburt on June 7, 2016

 

Inbound marketing as a tool for branding in your business

 Establishing yourself in the world of business is not an easy feat. With so much competition in the world, there is a growing number of businesses that turned to best inbound marketing companies to set themselves apart from everybody else. When everything has been done before, it can be quite difficult to eke out an identity for yourself -- especially one that relates to your audience and leaves them wanting more. Fortunately, in the digital age, there has been a growing number of resources and tools that make this possible. 

Personality is everything, or so they say. Branding is no different. It is what sets a business apart from its industry colleagues, and provide them bountiful opportunities for growth and recognition. Having a “name” for yourself makes it easy for creating opportunities through partnerships, sponsorships, and branching out to other avenues of business.

 

Here are a few questions for the online entrepreneur and inbound marketing executives that is just starting out on a new campaign. Whether you have experience with search engine optimisation or are simply looking to expand your business, it will do well to keep these in mind.

 

 

What is your brand name?

 

The first order of business is to name your brand. Any business will know the advantage of a good name. A lot of research is involved, from the etymology to the pronunciation to context, as this is how your product and succeeding businesses will be referred to. This will also determine what your brand will be associated with. A foreign sounding name comes off as exotic and adventurous; a business that revolves around relaxation and comfort will benefit from having a name that is tranquil and peaceful-sounding. Do not be afraid to discuss this at length with your colleagues and potential business partners.

 

What are your objectives?

 

There are goals that need to be met within any business. Whether it is a profit margin, a wider audience, branching out your product lineup, it is important to set them so as to give your content, as well as your staff, a direction in which to work with.

 

These goals should be reflected in your company’s values and CSR, or corporate social responsibility. Corporate social responsibility is an often-repeated phrase that comes with a lot of meaning. What does your business stand for? What are the values and qualities that it aspires for? For service-oriented businesses, there may be an emphasis on professionalism and attention to detail. If you’re a restaurateur, you would do well to strive for cleanliness and time management as you run your daily routine.

 

Integrate this into your company and your business by taking the time to flesh out the issues that define you,and your brand the most. Do they match with your objectives? Are they achievable? Use this to devise an inbound marketing methodology  that addresses these concerns.

 

How is your organisation set up?

 

Having fleshed out your company’s key qualities, it is time to set up how the company will be run. Accounting, human resource, managerial, marketing, and staff positions require a certain set of qualifications, and filling those in would be crucial in determining the success of your brand. Hiring fresh graduates and more experienced workers also has its advantages; fresh graduates offer novel ideas whilst workers that are longer in the tooth have an established work ethics.

 

A good chain of command, from those in the executive positions and those who are hands-on, becomes especially crucial once the business is fully launched. Plan out a company structure map and a calendar of activities. Team-building retreats and company outings are a great way to establish camaraderie in the workplace. More importantly, responsibility is clearly defined.

 

 Team players benefit from branding and inbound marketing

Who are key team players in your brand?

 

More often, the more hands-on members of your team also become associated with your brand. Wherever they go, they carry the name of the company with them. This is where your company values are enacted in the real world. Bad publicity can ruin a good business very quickly, and being associated with unsavory characters can become detrimental to your brand in the long run. Learn how to associate yourself with people that only want positive things for your brand. This can also relate to advertising and partnership opportunities, where you can mutually benefit from the other.

 

What is your product/service?

Whilst this may have already been determined in the establishment of your business plan, a more coherent write-up of your current product or service lineup will help determine future steps towards creating a well-defined brand. This includes a detailed list of your do’s and don’ts, as well as specifications in regards to the area or context of your business locale.

 

Suppliers or raw material should also be considered. For example, if your business relies heavily on imported goods, tax and tariffs on these items could affect your business. Measures to prevent negative impacts on your business – whilst still maintaining one’s profit margin – should be considered.

 

What is your industry like? Any culture or tradition?

Whilst details are important, it is also crucial to look at the bigger picture; industry practices and the state of national economy are of utmost concern to any locally-run business. Higher costs of living often translate to higher prices to offset the demand, and as such can be wearing on fledgling businesses.

 

If you are trying to enter a well-established industry or one that is full of competitors, it is best to be prepared. As there is a lot of competition, the need to set yourself apart from the rest is even more pronounced.Inbound marketing  agencies in London and all over the UK are usually employed by companies looking to further their online presence, whilst traditional marketing is used

 

What are your competitors like?

 

A way to assess the status of your industry is to look at your colleagues -- and often, your competitors. Take note of the similarities and differences that you share with them, whilst using that as inspiration to carve out  your own brand. Interview a few business owners and inquire on their success, and use the lessons they impart to create some of your own.

 

Be inspired by them, but do not imitate. Instead, take those lessons and meetings and research that you have done in order to create a business all your own. Talk it over with your team, and have them critique and refine your business plan to everyone’s benefit.

 

Today's Inbound Marketing through Branding Online

 

Initial steps – what is the personality of your brand?

 

Now that you have developed the backbone of what is to be your business’ brand, you can then have an idea of all the things you want to do. Creating an atmosphere between your employees and yourself is entirely dependent on the kind of company profile that you promote to them. A youth-oriented service business will have a more relaxed approach, whilst a more serious business venture will have a more formal, direct feel.

 

Whilst inbound marketing consultants in London will prove to greatly affect your customers’ first impression of your product, a well-developed company personality will make them stay and patronise your business for years to come.

 

Who is your ideal customer?

 

An ideal customer is the personification of your brand. In any case, the qualities that you have already fleshed out in your business plan will be reflected in your target audience. If you aim to release budget-friendly smartphones, expect to have a younger and more budget-conscious clientele.

 

Read also into their likes and dislikes, and once they become patrons, you may even end up influencing the things that they choose to be associated with. Should you go for the hard sell or the soft sell? Should social media marketing use be mild, moderate, or advanced? All this can be learned from feedback from buyer personas, or your “ideal customer.”

 

What social media sites do they use?

 

An often used gardening quote says that “you must plant flowers where they bloom.” In that same vein, you must create a presence in the areas where your ideal customer is most likely to appear, whether that’s online or in real life. Location is indeed everything, and it can mean more than just proximity.

 

Google search results and Facebook algorithms operate similarly, in that they will appear mostly where they are searched most frequently. Say you want to search for “budget friendly buffets” in your area. The more you search for it, the more that they will appear in your News Feeds and Search Results pages. Take that into consideration when choosing the social media sites to be a part of.

 

apple iphone and books on a desk

What sort of research is needed?

 

Marketing trends often shift from one form to another, so it is best to instigate a continuous flow of research even within the implementation of your inbound marketing campaign. This aids in keeping your content fresh, updated, and in tune with your customers’ wants and needs. A more receptive business that takes care of its target audience will often last longer than any marketing strategy can produce. 

 

Conduct research about the most used websites in your area. Are they frequent text messengers, or would they prefer the convenience of calling? Are they fond of playing mobile games, or do they use their computers for more business-like purposes? Infer from these results and create accounts in places that appeal most to them.

 

With that, it may be useful to hire a social media manager. They are invaluable, especially when you are handling press releases and other content materials that need simultaneous publishing. He or she will go over the content you want to publish and keep your followers well-informed of any information articles, developments, and other news that will interest them. These social media managers will often save you time and money in the long run as they can consolidate your social media posts and make it easier for you to hit your social media targets.

 

Cultivating an online social media presence

 

Once you’ve created your accounts, creating a social media following is the next step. Whilst it may seem daunting to establish a following, it can be done through the use of engaging, eye-catching content.  Your social media manager may create images and banners for your social media sites, or else source out content that may appeal to your visitors.

 

A mix of organic and inorganic content helps here. Linking and sharing pieces done by other companies and industry experts help to network your content to a wide variety of audiences. They may even return the favour and share your posts, creating an interconnected chain of shares and likes.

 

Photos and videos that showcase your company’s products or services will draw the eye first. Even if your potential customers are simply scrolling down their News feed, striking visuals will be able to catch their eye. This is invaluable, especially in newly established accounts, that your content will be able to draw the eye of many people.

 

Ultimately, engaging and helpful content will be able to draw your audience in and create a following where you can build on your company profile. The more people know about your brand and interact with your online presence on social media, the more you will be able to expand at your own choosing.

 

Branding in Inbound Marketing through Social Media

 

Blogging as marketing tool

 

Much has been said about blogging. Whether they can be considered reporters or journalists is one thing, but their power and influence cannot be denied -- especially in the context of content marketing. With blogs, you can create an ongoing discussion with your readers through creating content that they can relate to.

 

Content marketing has proved to be a powerful tool in shaping internet trends. From the title to the body and the ads that are strategically placed throughout the page, everything about content marketing is made to sell something. Whether it is an idea or a product or service, there is always an intention to impress something upon their customers.

 

Learning how to utilize basic content marketing can impact one's online presence dramatically. With SEO skills and services that can be easily taught online, blogging is a force to be reckoned with.

Constantly innovating one’s business is a trademark of a good marketing strategy and methodology in place. As it becomes more effective to adjust your business plan and content scheduling schemes according to changes in your environment, branding as a whole should be applied accordingly.

 

Source:

 

Great Brand or Great Inbound Marketing: Which comes first?,SmartBugMedia.com

 

10 Inbound Marketing Tools to Improve Your Brand’s Image, TheSalesLion.com

 

Other articles worth reading: 

Inbound Marketing Strategy Guide Free eBook

 

 

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