We are living in an exciting time for consumers. Never before has it been so easy and empowering to shop and gather information. Instead of reading newspaper or magazines, we search Google, blogs, and social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Instead of buying in store, we complete our transaction, from research to purchase, online.
It amazes me every day that the very same people reaping the benefits of the changing landscape as a consumer have yet to implement inbound marketing business strategies that will help them get found by prospects online. Think about it – how many times did you use Google to look for something today? People are shopping and learning in a whole new way, now it’s time for marketers to adapt to the changes or risk extinction.
Have you ever heard the fable of the Crow and the Pitcher? It goes a little something like this:
During the dry season, when birds can usually find very little water to drink, a thirsty Crow happened upon a very tall pitcher with water.
The pitcher was high and had a very narrow neck. The crow tried and tried but could not reach the water. As he worried whether he would die of thirst, an idea came to him. Picking up small pebbles, he dropped them one by one into the pitcher. With each pebble the water rose a little higher until finally, it was high enough so he could drink.
In this changing marketplace, thoughtfulness and ingenuity often beats out brute monetary strength. It used to be that you could buy advertising in magazines, TV, or purchase a booth at a tradeshow to generate leads. Now, the neck of the pitcher just keeps getting narrower and narrower as your customer becomes more efficient at blocking your messages out.
The Crow figured out if you drop pebbles into the pitcher, the water will rise. If you create meaningful content, build a valuable presence on social media, and drive up the quality and quantity of inbound links to your site and offerings, you’ll eventually attract the organic search traffic and leads that will guarantee your business’s survival.
Start by aligning the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn and shop. Turn your website from a sales-oriented brochure into a hub of useful information for your prospect. The best and easiest way to begin is not to redesign your website, but to start creating meaningful content that gets people talking about you. Every inbound link to your site from an outside source is a vote for your site. Google takes all these votes into consideration when ranking your site. (There are some rules on what makes a link valuable, but for our purposes here it’s most important that you realize the importance of creating original content that people want to talk about and reference on their sites.)
You have an opportunity to connect to multiple audiences (socialmediasphere, blogosphere, and through search engines) with a single piece of content. Every single piece of content on your site has the power to drive up your site ranking in Google, increasing your chances to get found for important keywords, and spawn conversation about you in blogs and social media channels. The best part is, unlike previous outbound marketing tactics which often generated rented, unqualified traffic to your website, your blog posts and articles will continue to accrue value over time.
Remember, every piece of content you create has the power to bring you closer to your goals. Just like the Crow in the fable, one pebble is simply not enough. You need to create a steady stream of content – one pebble (ehem, post) at a time. If you stay focused and keep at it, you will see your Google rank for important keywords and number of leads rise, and rise, and rise.