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  • How Community Fits into Your Inbound Marketing Strategy

    inbound marketing community

    Good inbound marketing brings new customers to you, no begging or buying required.

    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.

    Subscribe to the Social Studies blog for the tools to unleash the power of customer conversations.


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    Hanna Johnson

    About Hanna Johnson

    Hanna is the Marketing Manager for Get Satisfaction. She spends her days connecting, educating, and inspiring curiosity in customers online and off. When she's not in the Satisfactory, she's likely on the move, seeking out new sights, flavors, and sounds. She blogs at TheRoadsToRoam.com.

    5 Comments

    1. Hanna, great points. I think brands need to convert their website into social website to enhance inbound marketing. Facebook or blog is great but there are shortcomings. Increasingly, communities are built around activities. With your own social platform, you can let your customers perform a useful action (Pamper’s community’s ask a question, share your answer – is an example) and this will attract more users to join.

      • Hanna J

        Hi Sankar, Your observation that companies need to make their websites more social is spot on! Our independent research confirms that people go to websites first when researching products and services, not a brand’s social network page.

        We offer Engage widgets, so companies can embed community on any page of their website. You can place product specific conversations next to that product on the eCommerce page. The key is opening the door for customers to have these conversations with companies wherever they’re interested in having them.

        Thanks for your comment! Have a great day :).

    2. Great post Hanna, definitely introduces the concept & why’s of inbound marketing well! The community angle is an interesting one in terms of demand generation via search. I can definitely see it working well for product companies, and SaaS providers in particular. More traditional service providers may struggle a bit more to generate enough content via the community though, for example financial service companies that may have 10’s of clients, rather than thousands (and where the service is highly customised).

      • Hanna J

        Hi William, Yes, driving conversations about your products and services is definitely easier when you have more customers to talk about them, but it’s by no means a hard and fast rule. Some of our most successful customers have very small communities, but the conversations are extremely vibrant and valuable because of the passion the customers have for the products and services, or even the complexity of a given industry.

        The key for companies to drive community conversations is to provide valuable information there. In the Internet era, customers go where the information is. Thanks for your comment, and have a great day!

    3. Inbound marketing is one of the most effective marketing strategy to easily contact with the customer. It’s a great media to make a long term relationship with your target customer. As a marketer it’s our main motto to build a strong relation with those community which are really effective for our business…..

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