What's the first thing a company or business professional needs to understand when they begin or advance an inbound marketing plan?
My short and quick answer is this. They need to "get it", "understand it", "embrace it".
If you asked me to isolate one of the most significant challenges as an inbound marketing (Internet marketing) software & services provider, it has to be getting my clients (and prospects) to understand as many of the basic changes taking place in the world of marketing and message delivery. Then react and embrace those changes.
Even more significant is... If you asked me to isolate one of the most significant challenges for my business owner or business professional clients, it would be the same challenge.
The most useful way for me to explain this point for other (interested) inbound marketing professionals and all business that need to consider employment of these strategies is sharing this latest experience.
Client: The Corporate Sedan Service
Client Location: Philadelphia, PA
Client Background: Provides sedan and limousine services to major airports in the tri-state area.
Client Size: 29 corporate style sedans, 7 limousines, 5 shuttle vans, 2 mini-buses
Client History:Ground transportation service provider since 1996.
I (Virtual Support Systems) have been working with this client for a few years on a number of different projects. The relationship started like many as goals were established and the related work and performance was dictated in the form of instructions. Beginning an SEO project would be a good example. The client thought better search engine position would be beneficial to the marketing efforts of his business so the project was handed off to my company, we did the required work and reported the results to the client and everyone was happy.
Fast forward to current times and as most of us can see, the demands of today's business leaders are changing and they are required to "get more involved".
As part of a "new strategy" discussion with this client last year, I explained as clearly as possible that new times, demanded new strategies. I continued to explain that these new strategies would demand fundamental changes in thinking and some of the old ways of managing our marketing must change. I further explained that as Operations Officer of this company, he would need to take part and pay regular attention to some or all the following:
- Evaluating current content on the web site.
- Dictate specific modification needed to web site content.
- To help develop new, powerful and relevant content for web site.
- Establish profiles on Twitter, Linked In, Facebook, etc.
- Use Google Reader to subscribe to related industry information.
- Regularly read & stay current on industry content.
- Create & develop a blog.
- Utilize his new social media accounts to communicate to his customers.
- Learn traffic analysis skills.
- Brainstorm new offers & develop landing pages.
- Answer and coment on other industry blogs.
- Answer target market's questions on blogs & other social media.
- Teach company employees to contribute to blog and other content.
These and other changes are not easy for business owners who have been employing traditional marketing strategies for many years. Thats what makes this challenge so real and so critical.
In this case, almost to my amazement, the client started to relax, absorb and understand the new power he himself has over the future success of his business in this fast changing climate. Keep in mind that the ground transportation business is old school, blue collar and probably not first on my list to embrace change. To illustrate and drive home this point, do a quick search of regional or local limousine web sites and you will quickly see they are dangerously behind. It's not difficult to see that a web site has had no real attention for 5 years or more.
Conclusion: The better a business owner, professional or leader understands what changes are taking place, the better a client understand their new role, the better a company executive understand the specific methods they can accelerate their performance... the more loyal the client and the more successful the client will become. The first step is to teach the client to understand the real time condition of the web site.
To other Inbound Marketing Professionals: The better the communication and educational skills, more we can help our clients.
Thanks for reading!
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