One of these discussions occurred yesterday, when I conversed with a client of mine about how to engage his students using online tools. He has recently learnt that the college he teaches at will soon offer online classes to its students, and his concern was that he will no longer be able to interact with his students while lecturing (i.e. taking and answering questions).
Puzzled from this statement, I asked him if he has ever heard of what a webinar is. He responded by telling me that he might have heard of it, but never took interest.
I explained to him the simple process of creating a webinar, and at the end he asked me about what to do if students want to ask questions. I gave him the options of Twitter, Chatting, Forums, and other SMM tools that he can use, and explained to him that all he will need is a computer, and his notes.
Why am I writing this? Well, after conversing with many clients, colleagues, and friends, I realized that Inbound Marketing is far from its full potential. Furthermore, there is a big misconception of what various SMM tools are, and how SEO is not what it used to be 4 or 5 years ago (i.e. it is not just about keywords anymore). What seems obvious to me as a social media marketing strategist is completely alien to someone else.
I find the most challenging aspect of promoting an Inbound Marketing Plan is the vast effort it takes to explain executive level personnel what seems to be the big pink elephant in the room. The way I see it is quite simple:
1) you have the opportunity as a CEO to bridge the gap between your company and your customers.
2) It gives you an opportunity to create an honest relationship with your clients, which is something you can not do by placing big billboard ads on buildings, or blasting your customers with TV commercial ads while they watch a movie.
3) You will attract more visitors, create more leads, and nurture more leads better than any other marketing 1.0 technique you choose to use.
4) It saves you money!
Ironically, bullet number 4 is the least important when creating an Inbound Marketing strategy. Yes, I agree that money is a good incentive, but it is also a given ‘obvious’ when creating an Inbound Marketing plan. Why? Because most of the SMM and SEO tools are absolutely free (for now), and if you hire a good SMM strategist you can rest assure that he or she will probably keep it this way for a long time. .
Of course, if you are a small to mid size business, you can always invest in one of HubSpot marketing kits, or SEOmoz SEO innovative solutions, but it will only be a fraction of what you will pay if you were using a Marketing 1.0 strategy.
Inbound Marketing has come a long way in the pass 5 years. Books have been published, Webinars were launched, Inbound Marketing companies were created, and there is even an Inbound Marketing University out there that spreading the knowledge of Inbound Marketing for free.
With all of this wonderful infrastructure in place, I still see a gap between corporations, and SMM. It is almost as if the corporate world (on its different levels) refuses to accept the change, or even more alerting, afraid to adapt to the new rules of marketing.
With all this said, I find it the most exciting era to work as a SMM Strategist.
Share your comments if you have one.