Part 1: Inbound Marketing vs. SEO vs. Just Using A Web Site
Learn from what others are doing (& not doing).
Today's blog is part 1 in a new series of blogs created to help all business and business professionals understand what others are doing in reaction to all the new Inbound Marketing technologies & lead generation software available.
As an Inbound Marketing Consultant I have learned the biggest challenge for business, developing various inbound marketing applications, maybe to much information resulting in confusion. Inbound marketing is such a new and quickly developing marketing solution that many businesses know they need to get involved but don't fully understand all the options and methods. This translates to a lot of trial and error situations that many times end in frustration. As I speak to more and more business needing and wanting inbound marketing solutions, I hear the same type of questions:
- Do I need to redo my web site?
- What condition is my current web site in now?
- Do I need SEO - What is SEO?
- Do I need SEM - What is SEM ?
- How do I isolate my best keywords?
- How often should I blog?
- How long should my blog be?
- How does video work in a blog?
- What should I blog about?
- Should my blog be under my main URL?
- How can this social media craze help me - where do I start?
- Are my current social media efforts efficient and/or effective?
- Will Twitter really help?
- Should I use Facebook or Linked In?
- How do inbound links work and how do I get more?
- What is the difference between impressions, traffic, leads?
- What is a landing page and how do I use it to my advantage?
- How do I generate more leads?
- How do I track leads?
- How do I nurture leads?
- How do I find time to do all of this?
- Why can't I just use what I am used to, it's worked in the past?
- Doesn't my web master handle of of this?
If you're an Inbound Marketing Consultant, you have heard all these questions in one form or another. If you are a business owner, marketing director or other business professionals you probably have asked many (if not all) of these questions in one form or another.
My short answer to these questions are:
- Take a deep breath and relax a moment.
- Understand that each Inbound Marketing plan will be different because each target marketing is different.
- Make sure you get a clear picture (inbound marketing analysis) of where you are starting from or continuing from.
- Speak with a few Inbound Marketing Consultants in an effort to find one you trust. Find one that gives you a reason to be confident in his/her knowledge and specific solutions.
- Look for a method that is comprehensive and easily manageable under a few or even one application.
In an effort to shed some more light on both sides of this equation, I have taken the time to sit down and speak with business owners of all types and ask them what they are doing, what they believe, what they are concerned about, and what they would like to do going forward in the world of Inbound Marketing.
As stated earlier in this blog, this is "part 1" in a new series. Each new blog in this series will have the results of a new interview with a different business. These interviews consist of general questions, the subject's responses to those questions and some suggestions to resolve the obvious obstacles and challenges.
My hope is that this open communication will help business owners understand more about what is needed and the Inbound Marketing Industry will be better equipped to address these needs as they are stated from the client's point of view.
Featured Business Name: Pain Medicine Associates
Business Web Site: www.painmedicineassociates.net
Business Location: Sarasota Florida
Marketing Decision Maker: Rosana Anatra
Business Description: Medical Office with 15 professionals with focus on pain management.
Overall Assessment: As I stated earlier, all businesses are unique and demand a unique approach to developing an inbound marketing startegy that works best. In this case, no real Inbound Marketing strategy has been developed. You can see by the answers below that this business does understand the importantce of marketing but feels they have success using a more traditional methods. After an initial conversation, PMA understands that they are ready to upgrade at least their representation and image online by creating a new web site. Once this is finished, they will slowly and systematically apply more inbound marketing elements. After this interview I can see that this business is different than many others in that they were not effected as greatly by the economic downturn. Their revenues have contionued to increase in 2009 and 2010. What I did notice was that even though they are taking in new business and growing each month, they are starting to understand the future and what technologies may help them support their future growth and marketing management.
How would you describe your current marketing activities: Peer to peer communication, yellow pages, Physicians Guide (annual publication), networking with other physicians.
What is your primary marketing method?: Peer to peer communication
What changes are needed (if any) in your marketing methods?: More frequent marketing, diversify marketing efforts, the addition of some form of Internet marketing.
Do you know what Inbound Marketing is, if so, please define in your own words?: Yes - You bolster your internet presence in an effort to become more visible online and reach out to your target marketing in a non-invasive market responsive way so that they can reach you as their needs dictate.
What percentage of your marketing budget is applied to Outbound marketing vs. Inbound marketing? 50% - Our efforts are shiftly from focus on print to other types that are web site driven.
What inbound marketing components are you currently utilizing?: Web site development. Our web site is being recreated.
How are you currently measuring ROI?: Detailed analysis of new patients and their referral sources through traditional methods measurement.
Have you ever executed a keyword development strategy for your web site?: No
How are you measuring your web site's traffic?: Not
How are you measuring your web site's conversations?: Not
What search engine strategy has been employed?: Limited SEO with no real results, we think.
Are you using a blog? If so, how often are you posting a new article?: No
Who creates each blog article?: Nobody
Does your business have a Linked In account?: No
Does your business have a Twitter account?: No
Does your business have a Facebook account?: No
How would you define your lead generation system?: Don't really have one
How would you define your lead tracking system?: Old fashion paper system
How would you define your lead nurturing systems?: Thank you cards, phone follow up, written follow up, updating referring physicians
Have you considered developing an Inbound Marketing Plan, if so, what are your challenges?: Yes, enough time to create, budget and a better understanding of what we should do first.
On a scale of 1-10, how important is developing a focused inbound marketing program?: 4
How soon do you plan on developing a better inbound marketing plan?: within 24 to 36 months
What would be your first step in creating a better inbound marketing plan?: completing and then optimizing our web site.
Stay tuned for Part 2 In this blog series with Inbound marketing perspectives from other businesses.