Updated on 2/26/2014 at 7:01 PM.
Have you heard and/or wondered about inbound marketing? Thinking about applying it to your business? I’m going to say yes if you’re reading this post.There’s a reason businesses are continuing to implement inbound, and the technology supporting and advancing it is impressive to say the least. Inbound marketing is smart marketing. I’m going to attempt to explain what it is and why you should care about it as straightforward of a post as possible.
Quick background: I’m an inbound marketing manager at Mainstreethost in Amherst, NY (just outside of Buffalo). I’ve been doing digital marketing for roughly 7 and a half years. I’ve witnesses firsthand what inbound marketing can do.
So, what is inbound marketing and what do you need to do it effectively?
Inbound marketing is typically made up of the following: persona development, content strategy, marketing, calls-to-action, landing pages, lead generation, lead nurturing, and sales (various other marketing efforts can enhance your inbound marketing efforts). If you’re not sure what any of this stuff is, HubSpot created The Ultimate Inbound Marketing Glossary to get you started.
Whether you’re a digital marketer, inbound marketer, SEO guru, content marketer, web designer, PPC warrior, or anything else related to the web, websites, and business, landing pages are your best friend. Think of a landing page as one of your employees that works for you 24/7, 365 days a year.
A landing page is typically associated with some sort of offer (ebook download, webinar, free evaluations, etc.), and typically serves the purpose of generating leads (though this is not the only purpose for landing pages). In addition to a great offer, landing pages will include “to the point” information on that offer, and a form to capture visitor information. If you want to learn more about what landing pages are and what they should have on them, along with some stats to back it up, read the original post by Courtney Christman on the Mainstreethost blog. Or better yet, watch the following video, starring yours truly:
Keeping on the interview kick I have been on over the past couple of months, I recently had the pleasure to conduct one with the CEO and President of Compendium, Frank Dale. Compendium is a content marketing platform for organizations and you can see exactly how it works here. I recently started following Frank and his work with Compendium and am very impressed thus far and look forward to learning more about Compendium and their platform.
Frank was more than willing to take the time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions about content marketing, marketing tools and advice to fellow digital marketers. Enjoy!
Craig: Frank, for those that do not follow you or are unfamiliar with your work, when and why did you get into content marketing?
Frank: In some ways I’ve been in the content marketing business my whole career. Before receiving my MBA, I earned a masters degree in ethics. As a marketer, I was always looking for ways to impact my audience without using some of the gimmicks or tricks for which marketing is famous. I believe that marketing should be about understanding and solving customer needs and problems, and content marketing lives up to this promise.
Craig: What is it about content marketing that intrigues you?
Frank: Content marketing is what marketing should be about: it informs without manipulating. Really, the only way to do content marketing well is to focus on what the customer needs. It has to be done from their perspective, not yours. We’ve all read the business books that demonstrate how people respond to stimulus and how to use this to influence people to buy products or services. But marketers don’t need to do that to succeed and I don’t think they feel good about those tactics. In a sense, content marketing is the purest form of marketing, because it allows companies and their customers to tell stories that are true and to educate prospects so they can make a choice. This approach works for all kinds of marketing, including brand marketing, because it focuses on knowing the customer, understanding the pain points and developing good information that answers questions. I am especially intrigued by all the different ways to share content–blogs, videos, white papers, slide decks. The opportunity is unlimited.
Craig: It is my understanding that you implemented the “Pomodoro Technique” at Compendium. What exactly is the Pomodoro Technique and what made you want to implement it?
Frank: The Pomodoro Technique is a time management method that takes the best processes in software development and marries them with how the brain works. There have been many studies that show most people cannot effectively multitask, and this technique allows me to focus on one thing at a time. It has a built-in feedback loop that helps me understand how I’m using my time and where I can improve. If I set out to accomplish six things in a day and only accomplish four of them, it’s important to understand why. Is it that I underestimated the time required to accomplish a task? Perhaps I am pulled into too many unnecessary meetings. Or maybe I didn’t get enough sleep. Knowing what’s preventing me from being as productive as possible helps me get better at planning my day, reduces unnecessary tasks and forces me to take good care of myself.
Craig: Many would agree that coming up with creative ideas is one of the more difficult parts of the content marketing process. How do you overcome creativity barriers when they arise personally or within your company?
Frank: Breaking it down into smaller steps can make it easier to tackle. The important thing is to get out of your comfort zone and get started. Once you do, you can see the next step or begin to identify options you didn’t know you had. Forward motion eliminates uncertainty. Another thing I believe is you have to talk to customers, spend time to get to know them. Learn about their challenges and observe how they work. Doing this provides a lot of content material.
Craig: What are some of your favorite content marketing tools?
Frank: Of course my favorite tool is Compendium, because it really makes it easy to create, capture and distribute stories online. I also like SlideShare, which allows marketers to turn just about any content into a slideshow presentation that can be shared with customers and prospects. Wistia is a great way to share video content. They have a tool that transcribes the video, so you can offer the content as a video or an article, which helps with SEO.
Craig: I have asked this question in one of my past interviews but would be interested in hearing your take — How do you think small businesses / small budgets can incorporate something like Coca Cola’s “Content 2020” into their marketing campaign?
Frank: From a resource perspective, this isn’t a strategy that will translate well to small businesses. But what does translate is the importance of getting to know the customer. The lesson is that companies need to understand their customer well, communicate information through stories that are authentic and truthful, and use channels that the customer is receptive to. Small businesses often do talk to their customers, which gives them a chance to do this right.
Craig: Lastly, what is Compendium and how can it help content marketers/businesses?
Frank: Compendium is a content marketing platform that helps organizations capture and create original content in a branded hub for distribution to any marketing channel. Compendium’s software makes the process of content marketing easy–from inspiration through distribution–by helping marketers capture, create and organize stories to attract their audience. This is especially important today because buyers have changed the way they shop for products and services, looking for sources of information through social media and online peer sharing before ever searching on the brand’s website. Your organization’s content is a ticket to the conversation.
There you have it, my interview with Compendium’s CEO and President, Frank Dale. I would like to take the time to thank Frank for his time and willingness to share his advice, experiences and some useful tools with my readers. If you would like to connect with Frank, you can do so on Twitter, Linkedin and Google+.
About the Author: Craig Kilgore is a digital marketer with Mainstreethost and currently heads up their R&D department. Craig’s interests include SEO, paid search, content marketing, social media marketing and business development. You can find Craig on Twitter, Google+ and Linkedin.