Inbound marketing is all about achieving two things: greater visibility and a greater reputation.
If more people know who you are and more people respect who you are, you’ll naturally attract more customers without ever resorting to cold calls or traditional forms of advertising.
For most companies, the path forward in inbound marketing is clear and simple: write good content, do some SEO work and syndicate your material on a handful of social media platforms. And for most purposes, this strategy is sound.
However, there are a number of inbound marketing channels that are frequently neglected in favor of their more popular, more visible counterparts. If you’re looking for a way to improve your existing inbound marketing results or you’re just trying to liven up your old campaign, try one of these too-often neglected avenues:
Related Article: Google Analytics Tips to Optimize Your Marketing Efforts
1. Value-Based Emails
Email marketing is sometimes interpreted as an outbound strategy. After all, you’re targeting specific users, sending them information and hoping for them to use that information to buy your product or service. However, you can customize your email marketing strategy so it’s more of an inbound campaign by prioritizing the actual value of your emails.
Image via Forbes
Theoretically, you won’t be advertising anything in the body of your emails. You’ll need to showcase your brand to earn the value of the exposure, and publish your website and social media links to gain the increased traffic without pushing any specific products. Instead, make your email marketing campaign all about the user.
Do extensive research to figure out exactly what it is they want to read—would they prefer news and updates? FAQs and helpful information? Entertaining videos? Then create an email campaign that gives them exactly what they want, and tweak it over time so it only gets more compelling.
Related Article: Cream of the Inbox: Small Businesses Doing Email Marketing Right
2. Social Bookmarking Sites
Social bookmarking sites exist to consolidate entertaining or informative material throughout the web and distribute it to a wider readership. Companies like StumbleUpon and Reddit have earned fan bases numbering in the millions based solely on their commitment to offering high-quality content. Because these communities are inclusive and loyal, it’s easy for material with high potential to go viral—meaning if you post your best content, and post it consistently, eventually you’ll earn a knockout hit that explodes your visibility throughout the web.
Image via StumbleUpon
In addition, the residual traffic increases you get from posting content here easily make them worth the effort—yet too many search marketers neglect them in favor of other, more conventional strategies.
3. Local News Outlets
Local news sites are fantastic for inbound marketing campaigns for a number of reasons.
- First, they’re a news site, which means any links pointing back to your domain from them are far more valuable than your run-of-the-mill backlink.
- Second, they’re a local authority, which means getting your brand associated with them will increase your relevance in any local search results.
- Third, they’re usually free to post on—as long as you have something newsworthy to publish.
Image via NBC San Diego
That being said, local news outlets have a lower reader base than their national counterparts, but that shouldn’t stop you from using them. Get to know the editors on a personal level, and get your press releases the greatest amount of local visibility you can.
4. Bit Social Players
You say you’re involved in social media, but what does that really mean? If you’re like most modern business owners in the United States, that means you’ve claimed your company’s profile on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and you post occasionally to keep up appearances. If you aren’t looking for some deeper, less frequented social platforms, you’re probably missing out.
Image via Meerkat
It’s important to remember that all—or at least most—social platforms are completely free, so there is less risk involved. Try a niche platform like Pinterest, which caters to specific demographics with specific functionality, or a new platform like Meerkat, which exploded in popularity when it was first showcased at SXSW, to capitalize on new segments of your audience and expand the visibility potential of your brand. Otherwise, you could completely alienate these audiences.
Related Article: The Skinny on SXSW: An Inside Look
5. Mobile Apps
The mobile app world is ripe with opportunities for organic visibility. If you don’t already have a mobile app for your own brand, it’s time to develop one. Each person who downloads your app will get a dose of brand exposure every time he/she unlocks the phone, and each person who actively uses the app will have an opportunity to visit your site (or make a purchase).
But the inbound possibilities for mobile apps don’t stop there. You can also get your brand involved on other third party applications, either as an affiliate or a contributor. For example, if there’s an app for a local directory in your area, you could make sure your business gets listed or you could piggyback a piece of your own app’s functionality in the integrated context of another app.
These inbound marketing channels aren’t necessary—in fact, it’s certainly possible to see great results without them. But they are far more valuable than they’re usually given credit for. If your inbound campaign needs a little extra push to reach your goals or if you’re just looking for new ways to experiment with your lead generation, give them a try. You might be surprised at the results.