Inbound is the new black for marketers. You may have heard of inbound marketing, a strategy that involves creating great content that is educational, helpful, interesting, and even entertaining. This content doesn’t beg or buy its way to eyeballs….it earns them the old fashioned way.
It’s no mystery why inbound marketing is so effective—in a world of information overload, great content is still incredibly hard to come by! Your customers are media savvy and, quite frankly, skeptical of your marketing messages. They’re hungry for content that furthers their understanding, not your agenda.
By choosing the path of providing great content, instead of simply adding your messages to the noise, you’re actually providing value. When you provide value, you earn trust, and that trust is the building block of every strong relationship.
Community, like your blog, Facebook page, and SEO efforts, is a key piece of a complete inbound strategy. That’s because your customer community is inherently home to tons of great content about your products, services, company, and industry. It’s a natural destination for people looking to learn more information about you or your space because the content there is relevant, the other members share their interests and concerns, and the conversations are ongoing.
The Pamper’s community, for example, connects new mothers with everything from information about the shelf life of diapers, where to request product donations and coupon codes, and how to get your baby to model for the diaper company. The MuleSoft developer community provides a central place for developers to collaborate, discuss challenges they’re working on, and share interesting ideas, as well as seek help from the MuleSoft team. HP Vertica’s community is a place where customers can share their knowledge and ask questions about the relatively new and complex big data space.
The best part of community as an inbound content engine is that you don’t have to provide all the content that exists here. Sure, it’s a good idea when launching a community to seed FAQs and other valuable information to attract new members and conversation. But once your community is thriving, it’s the community members who create the bulk of the content!
This is important because A. it’s nice not to have to do all the content creation (trust me, I know!). But also because consumers are much more interested in what your customers have to say about your products and services than what you have to say about them. It’s more trustworthy coming from them, and in the Internet age, trust is critical.
On top of that, Get Satisfaction communities rank extremely well in search. The keywords in the title, body content, and URL are made up of the language your customers naturally choose to discuss your products and services. This makes it easy for others looking for similar information to find you as well, whether they know about your specific company or not. When you rank well in search, more people are able to discover you, increasing your inbound without PPC or high SEO spends.
How do you drive inbound demand for your products and services? Is a customer community or other means of collecting user-generated content a part of your strategy? Let us know.