12 Inbound Marketing Tips for 2014

by Jason Acidre on January 28, 2014 · 38 comments · Content, Conversion, Search, Social


I did a short presentation last week for the first ever startup/marketing meetup that our company has organized.

The pointers from my talk were mostly based on my personal experience for the past 3 years of my career as an online marketer and a business owner – so I was really excited to turn my slide deck into a blog post as well.

Inbound Marketing’s popularity as a medium to exponentially grow a business’ ability to attract customers and establish its brand as a leader in its space, has certainly increased these past couple of years.

I believe that it’s not just because everyone’s turning to it these days, or because it’s not as expensive as paid media.

But mainly because of the scalability and longevity of the results it is capable of providing, knowing that it involves data-driven (and measureable) processes – such as SEO, content marketing, social media, analytics, and conversion optimization.

This approach to marketing has helped me develop a one-man consulting business into a 20+ person company in 2 years.

I witnessed its power firsthand, and I’ll definitely be glad to share the key things I’ve learned from doing it.

#1 Great products make great marketing campaigns, not the other way around

Marketing a business is a lot easier when you’re offering a product that no one else in your market can match.

Users/consumers most likely share a product/service that they find really valuable to their peers (word of mouth marketing). And products that can be considered as one of the best solutions in solving a certain problem are definitely newsworthy.

It’s important to genuinely believe in the product that you’re trying to sell (or market). Because it is the driving force of your marketing campaign.

Although, this core principle doesn’t just apply on the product itself, as the entirety of the branded product can also be heavily affected by other factors surrounding it – like customer support/service, packaging, company culture, etc… (think of Zappos).

So when you’re offering a great product that’s in a very competitive market, then your brand’s unique value proposition will really matter, a lot.

#2 Understand the 2 core factors of SEO (for both site and page-level)

Relevance and Authority.

Search engines use hundreds of factors to determine sites/pages that they’ll be displaying to their users. But many of those factors stemmed out to become more accurate in gauging both relevance and authority.

For instance, optimization methods such as improving information architecture, implementing structured data, proper distribution of keywords, content optimization (title tags, meta descriptions, content matching the given title, internal/external links, etc…) and a lot more, all help search engines better understand what the information/products your site is providing and be able to determine if your site is relevant to what their users might be looking for.

Whereas links, brand signals (social, unlinked mentions, etc…), domain authority and sentiments from other entities about the brand tell search engines how popular and authoritative your brand is.

A good question to ask yourself every time you optimize a site for search:

Is this the most relevant and most authoritative site in this vertical for it to rank for keyword xxx?

If not, then you have a lot of work to do.

#3 Design is 50% of the battle

I actually got this tip from one of Rand Fishkin’s presentations (can’t remember which one though).

The more web consumption grows, the lower an average user’s attention span gets. Design separates many successful websites from their competitors, especially in persuading and engaging new visitors to stay longer on the site, because:

  • Sites that provide better visual experience look more credible and trustworthy to users.
  • It makes it easier for visitors to use and navigate the website (UX, usability and site architecture).

This area of marketing can strongly impact your site’s ability to convert visitors. It’s smart to invest more on it.

#4 To educate is the best way to sell

I learned this from my former employers (Simon Slade and Mark Ling) while working full-time for Affilorama and Traffic Travis.

They’ve been giving ton of valuable information for free (through their content marketing efforts) which helped them established their brand(s) as an authority on their respective fields. And it’s a conventional wisdom in any industry that it’s easier to sell when people see you as an authority.

An effective content marketing campaign almost always aims to educate its target audience. Since having the ability to spread new and/or actionable ideas is one of the best ways to be remembered by your audience (influence).

This is the very reason why I always try to write extremely comprehensive blog posts (with ideas that I don’t usually see on other blogs) for the past 3 years of blogging. Because the more I teach my readers the things I do (and how difficult it is, sometimes), the more I can attract people to avail the services we offer.

#5 Invest on developing more “Big Content”

Content marketing has been the center of all attention these days in the world of online marketing – because it’s the center of it anyway. Content ties everything in digital marketing, that’s why it’s king.

When you have the best content on the web about a certain topic, you can get almost everything you need to fuel an online business:

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And a comprehensive branded content (that’s purely informational) can certainly do well in search results these days (and can even outrank Wikipedia).

REI-1

Many brands in our industry have already been implementing this (ex: Moz’s beginner’s guide to social media and QuickSprout’s advanced guide to content marketing), seeing that they’re getting a lot of good results from it (plus the fact that it’s a scalable landing page – since the content is evergreen).

big content

This marketing initiative can amplify your brand’s online presence, especially when the content is specifically targeted to a set of audience that can potentially be your future customers.

#6 Earn brand visibility from high-traffic industry communities

Google has brought down a lot of link building techniques over the past decade (from comment spams, article directories, badges, reciprocal linking and now to guest blogging). But perhaps, this is the only artificial link building tactic that will not cease to exist – providing real value to other online communities.

I’ve preached this approach many times in the past, because I’ve had many successes with it.

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Instead of submitting one-off content to hundreds of blogs in your industry, why not just focus on regularly contributing content to one or two top blogs in your space that are sure to pass on more quality traffic back to your site.

Being associated with high-traffic online publications can improve the perceived value that others see in your brand. Become more visible to your target audience through them.

#7 Content and brand identity fuel social media campaigns

This one’s very basic, but many people seem to forget how content plays a big role (a very huge chunk actually) in social media marketing.

Content initiates interactions in the social web, and content can also display a brand’s identity or what differentiates it from its competitors.

Most successful big brands in social media integrate content with their campaigns (like Red Bull), so why would it be any different to the smaller ones.

Understanding the types of content that typically get shared (a lot) on social networks is crucial to be very effective on this area of inbound marketing.

#8 Personal branding is vital in Inbound Marketing

People tend to follow, interact and listen to other people, not brands.

personas

Aside from the benefit of improving the ability of the site to earn its target audience’s trust, having strong personas behind a brand also serves as a strong signal that search engines can use (for entity search).

#9 Use Analytics to find opportunities and traffic assets. Identify what’s working, then do more of them (80/20)

Many practitioners use analytics for reporting, but forget to use their data to actually improve their sites’ performance.

Identify what’s continuously bringing high-quality traffic and conversions to the site (whether it’s high or low in volume), so you can maintain/improve them and take more advantage of them. These traffic assets could be:

  • Landing pages or existing content assets
  • Keyword rankings
  • Linking domains/pages (via Assisted Conversions)
  • Locations where you’re getting more conversions
  • Mediums (email, social, referrals, search, etc…)

conversions

#10 Optimize for remarkability and experience

Think of ways how you can make every visitor feel different when they’re on your site, because that’s what will make them come back.

In my case, I focused on including ideas on many of my blog posts that I think my readers wouldn’t find elsewhere. That was the unique selling point I planned to focus on for my blog’s content development a couple of years ago.

Because I believed that element will somehow make my brand more remarkable. And I think it kind of worked.

If you’ve built your business for the long haul, this should be a high priority. Knowing that eventually, brands and standalone platforms are what will matter most in the web’s ecosystem.

One good sample of this is CollegeHumor.com. They’ve established their brand very well through consistently providing remarkable content, which also impacts the experience their users get every time they go to the site.

logo_collegehumor

Many of their content get shared a lot on social media, and I believe many of their followers just go directly to the site (due to the consistent content updates they do on their site).

The cult following they have built is enough for search engines to understand who they are.

funny videos

#11 Maximize earned visibility to improve owned media

Use or test multiple CTAs on pages constantly generating new traffic to your website.

Calls-to-action shouldn’t just be used on your site’s transactional landing pages, because there are so many other secondary CTAs that you can use to build up your other marketing activities, such as

  • Encouraging visitors to follow you on social networks.
  • To subscribe to your blog’s feed and/or email newsletters.
  • Check out products you sell that they might find interesting (based on the topic of the content they landed on).

#12 Do everything the hard way

The harder the things you do, the more your work becomes valuable. It also makes it harder for your competitors to replicate what you’ve done to succeed.

If you liked this post, you can subscribe to my feed and follow me on Twitter @jasonacidre.

Jason Acidre

Jason Acidre is Co-Founder and CEO of Xight Interactive, marketing consultant for Affilorama and Traffic Travis, and also the sole author of this SEO blog. You can follow him on Twitter @jasonacidre and on Google+.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Kira Permunian January 28, 2014 at 1:02 pm

Realistic and highly applicable tips. I struggle with “authority” – leads me to do more hardwork and perseverance it obtaining it but I agree it is very important in ranking.

Providing real value to communities is very true. It comes always with being knowledgeable to a certain product or on what we are doing for us to be prominent and be the authority of the subject.

Thank you for this update.

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Roel Manarang January 28, 2014 at 11:22 pm

One of the best Inbound marketing presentations we’ve seen so far since 2014 entered.

Thank you so much Jason and Xight Interactive for the valuable and actionable tips during the meetup!

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Veronica January 29, 2014 at 4:09 am

Hey Jason,
Such an incredible post.Thanks a lot for sharing in-depth knowledge about inbound marketing.Definitely I’ll try to follow each tip of this post.

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cale January 29, 2014 at 8:23 am

I’m 50/50 with this list like #1. Great marketing can make a simple product amazing but a great product goes nowhere with mediocre salesmanship. Just my 2cents.

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Sunday January 29, 2014 at 3:06 pm

This is one of the most comprehensive list of tips about what inbound marketing may result to in 2014.

A lot of expectations are in the air and it is very important that marketers apply the best of skills, knowledge, tools and mindset to offer value.

I recommend all of the 12 tips highlighted in this post because they could help to increase successful marketing traction in 2014!

I have shared this comment in kingged.com – the content syndication,social aggregation website where this post was shared and bookmarked.

Sunday – kingged.com

http://kingged.com/12-inbound-marketing-tips-for-2014/

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David Black January 30, 2014 at 12:18 am

I think you’ve summed up how to run any business well…
Good content, great products, good SEO, good presentation, a splash of social media, a dash of pizazz and everything will work just great.
Thanks for the post.

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Paul January 30, 2014 at 2:06 am

Good post. Number 6 is especially important, I think.

There are plenty of communities for people to participate in and build a following in (Unless you’re in a really, really obscure niche) but it seems to be something that not many people actually take the time to get involved with.

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Steven J Fromm January 30, 2014 at 7:10 am

Jason, so many great tips. You saved the best for last. We all must work hard at this stuff. When I wrote a 2000 word blog on taxes I knew no one else would give this type of information and depth. The post was very well received.
Very nice post here with a lot of vital information. Thanks.

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Ashmith January 30, 2014 at 9:50 am

Jason, I love that presentation. I like the introduction to Inbound Marketing, its easy and clear for anyone to understand. I also like that you’ve explained your points in detail.

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Amit Kumar January 31, 2014 at 4:08 pm

Hiii Jason,
wow,what’s an amazing presentation. it’s really much informative post. After reading this article completely i can say – this is One of the best Inbound marketing presentations i read ever. thanks a lot for describing and sharing this brilliant post with us.

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Alexandra Nicola February 5, 2014 at 1:28 am

Some people consider they can create awesome marketing campaigns even if the products is not at that level. But through is that works sometimes for the marketing cause you can promise anything in your content and seam credible but once your audience realises that you aren’t delivering on those promises they will run faster than you can think.

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Nwosu Desmond February 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Great publication i must say. This year 2014 is the year of quality content. I believe every Google search engine updates in the previous year have all had effects on contents and links, but mostly contents.

This year 2014 is the year where you must produce quality over quantity if you are to succeed in your online ventures. Gone are the days when you can scrape content from every nook and cranny, buy links and rank for it. Now you must work hard to produce quality and that quality is what will help you excel.

Thanks for sharing such an amazing article on kingged.com.

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Nathan Brook February 6, 2014 at 5:24 am

Thanks for sharing this in-depth post. I can see every point be utilized with great impact. I’ve learnt from through experience and if used correctly, they will do wonders in 2014

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Louie Sison February 6, 2014 at 12:52 pm

wow man! This point struck me straight to the bones –
“The harder the things you do, the more your work becomes valuable.”
As an aspiring online businessman following your step, this lesson will stick to my brain forever!
Every word is a meaty content. Thank you!

Regards,
Louie Sison

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Michael Bian February 7, 2014 at 3:33 am

Great presentation..Thank you for sharing this one..

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Brent February 8, 2014 at 8:06 am

I couldn’t agree more with #4. It’s something that most people overlook. They focus too much on the “making money” part that they tend to forget about the real “value” of what they’re selling.

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Jordan J. Caron February 9, 2014 at 3:18 am

Points 3 and 4 are interesting and I believe they are tied together. Mark Shaefer recently wrote a post about how the price of creating great content will go up because peoples attention spans are growing thin. If you don’t produce helpful and educational content, people will move along. A website is a sales tool. And educating people is selling them on your expertise. You also build trust this way.

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SUPer February 9, 2014 at 11:37 am

Nice one Jason, thanks!

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Neil February 10, 2014 at 8:01 pm

These are great tips…specially the “design is 50% the battle”.

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Felipe February 12, 2014 at 4:58 am

It a good thing that you mentioned about products being responsible for great marketing campaigns and not the other way around because I am in the process of finishing my product and I keep listening to some people telling me about marketing and marketing… and I keep telling them… wait… I want to create an amazing product… I will think about marketing later on.
Great tips by the way!

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David February 12, 2014 at 5:34 am

Hello Jason,
I read your blog post and I finally got the very powerful way of marketing strategy that will help me to boost my business. This technique can be used for any kind of website and to very helpful to capture the local business. Thanks for sharing this information.

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Travis February 19, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Great post. I am glad to see the focus on how great products are a much needed part of the equation. It seems like so many others worry about marketing so much that they have a bad product and are just being counterproductive trying to promote it.

I also really enjoyed the section about big content. Since content is all the rage, you have to go big or stay home to get any real results.

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Farooq February 23, 2014 at 7:05 am

Very helpful tips Jason especially for 2014 year.. most of digital marketers are confused

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Victorino Abrugar February 23, 2014 at 8:46 pm

Great tips Jason, as always! I gotta agree on building personal brand. Whether we own a small business or a big corporation, it’s important that our personal brand will be cohesive with our business brand. It takes time to build one’s personal brand, but once we succeed, our business brand follows.

I love how you illustrated examples on each of your point.

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Rokib February 28, 2014 at 3:39 am

Nice slide work. Helpful post for us who are newbies. I appreciate you that hard way is too effective, but hard way is to hard.

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Brian Jones March 3, 2014 at 1:18 am

Hi Jason thanks you very much this was very helpful and the way you have made it look very simple. I am fairly new to internet marketing this will help.

Thanks Again !!!!

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Marian March 11, 2014 at 11:45 pm

Design is very important. This is your first impression moment and should not be lacking because someone decides whether they will use your site or not within the first 10-20 seconds. and if they find your site horrible, atrocious design then they will look for other sites. Ranking is useless if your sites design sucks.

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Mukul Chugh March 23, 2014 at 6:35 am

Nice Post Bro

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Kurt Barker April 16, 2014 at 7:11 am

All of these tips are great, and after hearing them they just sound like “common sense”. Don’t get me wrong, that’s not a bad thing at all. In this day and age there are a lot of things that seem like common sense but we need to be reminded of. Content is king. Sometime, you do need to market correctly to ensure that your content gets noticed, but it’s the content that will keep people.

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P1 Traffic Machine April 20, 2014 at 1:45 am

Design is important and The content is the most important. I’m focusing on the content and maybe I got a little success. Nice Article

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Haritha Sen April 28, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Wow finally i got good article for inbound marketing tips and found many useful things for promoting my business..am focusing about SEO, your second tip was more useful for me..

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Gav May 10, 2014 at 2:09 am

Jason, with all the above mentioned valid points, I specially think this point of yours is so ture!
“Design is 50% of the battle”

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Meghan June 23, 2014 at 4:53 am

great presentation and thank you for sharing it !

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Alex Taylor July 8, 2014 at 2:30 am

People don’t share content that isn’t credible. Credibility gets mentioned in passing as something content needs, but little has been said about how to build it

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