From leveraging social media to creating perfect personas, here’s a wealth of information to get you started going inbound.
There's so much to learn about inbound marketing, but great resources are out there. Each month we bring you a carefully curated sampling of the best information and stories on inbound marketing from around the web. We know you'll find them as valuable as we do.
How to Create Great Buyer Personas
David Meerman Scott at HubSpot says:
“A buyer persona is when you slice your marketplace into individual groups of people.”
The blog post continues:
“In other words, the term describes your target audience.
For instance, if you are a marketing manager at a hotel, you might have five buyer personas: an independent business traveler, a corporate travel manager, an event planner, a vacationing family, and a couple planning their wedding reception. When running marketing campaigns, you will need to adapt your messaging to fit the needs of these different buyer personas.”
Read it in its entirety here.
Heidi Cohen’s blog, Actionable Marketing Guide, identifies the buyer’s persona as
“imaginary versions of your prospects, customers and the public that contain in-depth, lifelike character traits, including fun names, to help develop content and marketing.
Personas guide a firm’s marketing and content decisions. It’s useful to develop at least three different personas with unique traits.
Developing personas for your various market segments requires an understanding of your customer base.”
Cohen offers a 12 point marketing persona checklist to help you develop this essential part of inbound.
How to Craft a Compelling Brand Identity
Colleges and universities are no different from other organizations in the importance of their having recognizable values and identity -- and everything you do in marketing should help support those values and that identity.
Here’s what one leading creative said about brand identity:
“Every identity is different, and there's no one method that guarantees success. Consistency is important, although in some cases it helps if the identity can be flexible. And of course it needs to communicate.”
Read what five other innovative designers had to say about smart branding at CreativeBloq.
As an example of the importance of thoughtfully communicating institutional identity, check out the University of Chicago’s resource on communicating in a way that’s consistent with the university’s identity. They had this to say:
An organization’s identity, or “brand,” is a reflection of its enduring values. The University of Chicago’s identity is based on our commitment to rigorous inquiry, a challenging and rewarding intellectual environment, a distinctive and empowering education, and partnerships in innovation and impact. These values contribute in a meaningful way to the lives of all who are affiliated with the University—current and prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, patients, and civic partners.
How to Leverage Social Media for Inbound Marketing
We love Entrepreneur.com’s “10 Laws of Social Media Marketing.”
#1, the Law of Listening, caught our eye:
Success with social media and content marketing requires more listening and less talking. Read your target audience’s online content and join discussions to learn what’s important to them. Only then can you create content and spark conversations that add value rather than clutter to their lives.
It’s worth reading the whole list. #3 may surprise you.
Copyblogger also has a post with 7 essential elements for great social media marketing that’s well worth checking out.
“Even a 100-character tweet can have content value. Think about what you can say that makes readers’ lives better, rather than just filling up time before you run to Starbuck’s. Make sure your reader has a good experience every time she hears from you. Keep it both useful and entertaining.”
(Read more here.)
How to Make Content People Will Love
It begins with a great headline, which is, as Copyblogger says, your first (and sometimes your only) impression.
Your headline is the first, and perhaps only, impression you make on a prospective reader. Without a compelling promise that turns a browser into a reader, the rest of your words may as well not even exist. So, from a copywriting and content marketing standpoint, writing great headlines is a critical skill.
Check out Copyblogger’s 11 part series on writing great headlines here.
Of course, that’s not enough. You’ve got to have more than a good headline!
“You've probably heard how paramount blogging is to the success of your marketing. Without it, your SEO will tank, you'll have nothing to promote in social media, you'll have no clout with your leads and customers, and you'll have fewer pages to put those oh-so-valuable calls-to-action that generate inbound leads. Need I say more?”
How to Design Persuasive Calls-to-Action
Blogger Amy Lynn Andrews explains the call to action this way:
“What is a call to action? Simply put, a call to action is telling a reader, visitor, or potential customer exactly what you want them to do.”
She also offers six helpful tips on creating calls-to-action that people actually respond to!
The Converting Copy blog, on the other hand, has sixty examples of calls-to-action that you can adapt for your own needs.
So there you go -- ten resources to better position you to do inbound marketing -- and to do it right!
Unsure your marketing efforts are having any results? Check out our free Inbound Marketing Checklist.