Thursday, October 10, 2013

Inbound Marketing for eCommerce

Inbound Marketing is really comprised of three main elements: strategy & integration, marketing tactics and culture. 
1. Inbound Marketing Strategy & Integration
The Inbound Marketing philosophy, on a high level, is to focus on attracting people who are actively seeking (and excited for) information about your industry. It's about helping people answer questions and give small solutions to the questions they may have and integrating all your marketing efforts to incorporate this philosophy, in order to help those people through their buying journey.

This strategy is free from pushing messages out and interrupting people when they aren't interested in learning. This is basically the complete opposite of what we traditionally think of for marketing (banner ads, sales focused emails, TV and print ads). 
2. Inbound Marketing Tactics
When the rubber hits the road and you move to implementation, tactics like SEO, social, email, blogging and premium content shine through. All of this must be framed within the genuine, transparent and helpful methodologies of Inbound Marketing. Additionally, all of these tactics are interconnected and should flow together in a coherent way, as opposed to being fragmented and treated as separate activities (which is how most companies treat them).

How Can eCommerce Sites Start Leveraging Inbound Marketing?
Once you've bought into Inbound Marketing and recognized the pre-transactional conversion, the next step is to think about how to implement an Inbound Marketing strategy within your eCommerce site.
My argument would be to first start with the culture portion of the equation and work with others within your organization to break down some of those departmental walls, to build a culture around Inbound Marketing. This is no easy task. However, to do Inbound Marketing correctly, this truly is the first step.
Next, it's time to start setting up your Inbound Marketing strategy. I'd first encourage you to take time to really research and learn more about the Inbound Marketing philosophy so you have a clear idea moving forward.
In my last ClickZ column, "Creating an Inbound Marketing Content Strategy,"I overviewed the general first steps to creating an Inbound Marketing strategy, starting with persona creation and content mapping. 

After you've learned about Inbound Marketing philosophy and have created a solid Inbound Marketing strategy focused around your personas, you can then move into the tactics to make the magic happen. 
Examples of eCommerce Inbound Marketing Tactics
Jack Threads is a daily deals, insider club-style ecommerce site in the street and urban clothing industry. Since their launch, they have exploded in popularity and are growing month over month.
A few months back, Jack Threads expanded their offerings and launched "The Crosby Press," which offers their audience fashion tips and upcoming style trends.

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