Last week, we talked about how companies that do outbound marketing are like lions wandering the jungle hunting for elephants, while companies that do inbound marketing are like lions that cleverly wait by the watering hole where all the elephants come to drink.
Of course – to continue the analogy – there are a lot of different watering holes in the online jungle. You need to figure out which ones are worth staking out. You also need to have the right tools to catch your prey when it gets there.
In some cases, the methods for choosing the watering hole and catching the prey can be pretty high-tech and can’t be used by laypeople. You’ll definitely need professional help to use all these tools and run a complete and maximally-successful inbound marketing campaign.
(Some people find inbound marketing off-putting because it requires professional help to do it well. But if you think about it, you need a whole team of professionals – graphic designers, film crews, producers, printers, etc. – to do high-quality outbound marketing. The professional help you’ll need for inbound marketing is usually much less expensive.)
However, even if you can’t afford a professional inbound marketing campaign, there is still one cheap, easy way to lurk by the watering hole: blogging.
Why are blogs so great?
First of all, you can do them yourself. Blogging is the most “low tech” of all the inbound marketing channels. It does require a computer, but it doesn’t require you to purchase expensive software (many of the lower level, but perfectly adequate, blog systems are available free of charge) and it doesn’t require specialized skills. All you need to do to get results is set up a simple blog and post to it regularly.
Blogs are affordable because search engines love to include blog posts in their free results – i.e. if you write some good blog posts, the search engines take care of it from there. Search engines want to deliver accurate and up-to-date information to their users, and a nice fresh blog post fits the bill perfectly. A solid blog post will put your name – and your expertise – in front of people who are already interested in buying what you offer.
Second, well-written blog posts offer searchers what they want: information and tools to help them make a good purchasing decision. Of course, you have to make sure not to ruin the whole effect by giving a blatant sales pitch (the elephants won’t take a drink if the lion jumps out at them before they even get to the water). If your blog offers real information in a low-key way, consumers will start to trust you, and they’ll stick around and buy.
Next week, we’ll look at what the HubSpot survey revealed about optimizing your ROI from your blog.