Why Product Managers Need To Learn To Love Inbound Marketing
What kind of marketing do you do: outbound or inbound? For that matter, do you even know the difference? In today’s overloaded, hyper connected society, getting the attention of our potential customers has become harder than ever. Darn. As product managers we need to find ways to overcome this hurdle and right now, it’s looking like inbound marketing just might be the way to go…
What Is Inbound Marketing?
Let’s face facts: doing any type of marketing as a part of your product development definition can be a major chore for a product manager. First you have to identify who your potential customers are, then you have to determine how best to get in contact with them, next you need to create a creative and flashy way to get their attention. Once you’ve done all of this you then have to get it approved by / changed by your senior management so that you don’t end up damaging the company’s reputation with your outbound marketing program.
When you finally have all of the approvals that you are going to need, that’s when you can finally pull the trigger and launch your marketing program. Now you sit back and wait for the new orders to come rolling in so that you can brag about your marketing success on your product manager resume. Either the new orders show up or they don’t but it’s always been fairly hard to measure what the results of any marketing program are.
The marketing programs that most product manager turn to are the traditional outbound marketing ones. These include such activities as buying attention, cold-calling potential customers, direct paper mail, radio ads, TV advertisements, sales flyers, unrequested email (spam), telemarketing and traditional advertising. The problem with each one of these approaches is that they are old – everyone else is doing them and they no longer seem to be very effective.
The failure of outbound marketing has led to the recent interest in inbound marketing. Inbound marketing takes a different approach to capturing the interest of the potential customer: it’s all about earning the attention of your customers. The thinking goes that if you can do this, then they’ll naturally be attracted to your web site and both your company and your products will have become easy to find.
How Can Product Managers Use Inbound Marketing?
Since every product manager knows that some form of marketing is going to be required in order to get the world to take notice of your product, it sure seems as though you should spend your limited time working on the marketing activities that are going to provide you with the biggest bang for the buck. This means that you’re going to have to learn how to master the new art of inbound marketing.
Inbound marketing always starts in the same place: you need to create content that your customers are going to find valuable. This content can take on a number of different forms. The classic content is the white paper that takes one topic that will be of interest to your potential customers and investigates it in detail. Note that although you can mention your product, you can’t do very much of that or else your potential customers will see your white paper as a thinly disguised marketing brochure. Other forms of valuable content can be slide presentations, Excel worksheets, videos, audio interviews, or data files.
Once the valuable content has been created, your next job is going to be to make your potential customers aware of the content and draw them to your web site in order to get ahold of it. The modern web provides us with an almost unlimited number of ways to go about doing this: Blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, eNewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing. Keep in mind that once one of your potential customers finds your valuable content, they’ll tell others and very quickly the viral properties of the web can draw many potential customers to your web site. Make sure that you are ready to become very popular once you start to tell people about your valuable content!
What Does All Of This Mean For You?
All too often when you pick up a book on classic marketing, it’s going to tell you about a tried-and-true outbound marketing technique that used to work. However, times have changed. Our potential customers no longer notice our best outbound marketing efforts when we thrust them in front of them. It’s time to try something new and make it a part of our product manager job description.
Inbound marketing is starting to pick up some steam simple because it appears to work much better than outbound marketing. Inbound marketing consists of creating valuable content that your potential customers will then come to you to obtain. This is not easy to do, but it can pay great rewards.
As a product manager this means that you need to stop doing the things that are not producing the results that you want: buying attention, cold-calling, direct paper mail, radio, TV advertisements, sales flyers, spam, telemarketing and traditional advertising. You need to start doing the inbound marketing activities that are going to get you the results that you are looking for: Blogs, podcasts, video, eBooks, eNewsletters, whitepapers, SEO, social media marketing, and other forms of content marketing. Now that you know what you need to be doing, go get started!
Dr. Jim Anderson
“America’s #1 Unforgettable Business Communication Skills Coach”
Dr. Jim Anderson has been a product manger at small start-ups as well as at some of the world’s largest IT shops. Dr. Anderson realizes that for a product to be successful, it takes an entire company working together. He’ll share his insights and guidance on how to make your products a fantastic success.
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Inbound Marketing – The New Mantra to Increase Sales
Inbound Marketing – The New Mantra to Increase Sales
Inbound marketing is the new mantra for the marketers who want to land customers. It is not the equivalent of the old salesman’s knock on the door, but is more efficient way to generating sales. Outbound marketing is when you go after customers by various ways, whether it is personal calls, phone calls, mail or other outdated ways. Inbound marketing is when the customer comes to you – to put it very simply.
But how does the customer come to you? And why should he?
Today’s customers are computer savvy and know how to use the internet to research and find good deals, do their shopping, buy products, streamline business and everything else. What’s more, often inbound marketing has a global reach or at least a global presence, which may be important in certain businesses. At the same time you can target very niche and local areas via this form of marketing.
What is this new fangled marketing?
This kind of marketing uses the internet to pull in the customers. It uses all the internet resources like web sites, search engine optimization, social media, blogs, banner advertising, content marketing, even covert forum advertising to lure in the customers. The internet offers a platform to all kinds of businesses, regardless of budget or reach, to generate more sales.
Why is inbound marketing important?
The figures speak for themselves:
• 92 percent US residents use the internet for researching information.
• 78 percent go on the web to check out activities and products.
• 91 percent people use social media actively, some only once a month, but most more often.
• 64 percent read blogs.
It is not just the all pervasive presence of internet on computers alone as increasing numbers of people are turning to other computing devices like tablet computers and smart phones for various internet related activities.
So what do you have to do to get a piece of the pie?
If you want to increase sales using inbound marketing, you need to put a whole package together because this works in a symbiotic manner – just one thing alone will not be enough. So you need to be found by the search engines and for that you need:
1. A web site – a well designed web site is of paramount importance for any product or activity that you are selling. The web site should use link building and other methods to achieve high rankings as higher search engine rankings attract more people.
2. Content – The web site should provide useful and interesting content so that people land there in search of content. The content should also be search engine optimized so that your web site gets found.
3. Blog – A blog attached to your web site increases the viewership as professional blogs draw the interest of readers.
4. Social media – Social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Digg, YouTube and other sites with followers and likes actually increase interaction with potential customers and translate into sales.
5. Creative ways to generate leads – When you want to generate leads you need to use focused content and have offers or freebies on your site to attract customers.
6. A landing page – An interesting and well laid out landing page is vital to catch the potential client’s attention and offers and content can translate into sales.
The best part of inbound marketing is that you can easily reach a niche target audience and this then translates into a higher percentage of sales.
Smiti Munwani has been writing for a very long time. She is a journalist, book author, content writer and dietitian. She has had two books published, The Snack-Time Cookbook and Count Your Calories to Slim and Stay Slim. She also has two books ready to be published, one on party menus and another on cooking for a healthy heart. She can be contacted via email: [email protected] if anybody is interested in re-publishing the books (she has the copyright) or requires any articles. She has written extensively for the print media and done web content writing.
A versatile writer, Smiti writes on a wide range of topics – please contact her via email for web content work.