Why Inbound Marketing?

Used to be when you had a product or service to sell, you figured out how to tell the world. You took your product to the marketplace (farmer’s market) or you bought or begged attention (advertising, public relations) or bugged people into trying your product (sales, direct mail, telemarketing, etc). It was you who went after customers.

For authors and publishers, that meant all the above, plus whirlwind tours of the country appearing on radio and television shows, holding book signings, conducting readings at local libraries, trekking to local bookstores with signed copies in hand, and meeting and greeting as many people as possible. All  that was what one of my favorite social media marketers, Hubspot, calls “interruption marketing.”

In today’s world, marketing your product, your service or your newest book can be accomplished far less expensively, more effectively and with more widespread impact via “inbound marketing” (another Hubspot term). Inbound marketing creates opportunities for customers to come to you.

In today’s world, the Internet and all its tools – search engines like Google and Yahoo!, blogs, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube, etc. – are available to nearly all your customers 24 hours a day. They shop when they want, eliminating your trying to be in 7 different places all at the same time. Better than all the promotional activities you could possibly buy are recommendations from your customers’ friends shared instantaneously over the World Wide Web.

Key to your inbound marketing strategy are your blog and/or website that can be read anytime night or day, on any computer with Internet access, in venues from home offices to coffee shops to airports to offices. With your blog’s RSS feed or email subscription enabled, customers and potential customers can follow your every update at their leisure. And if you provide downloadable chapters or entire ebooks, if you videotape yourself passionately discussing the subject of your latest work, people will find you. They will talk about you.

Building your online presence, platform or following is an ongoing process, it’s a journey of discovery, of learning and growing. Be encouraged, however – none of this is rocket science. That’s already been accomplished. You and I have easy-to-use tools like WordPress.com, Blogspot.com and Typepad.com for blogs, YouTube.com and Tangle.com for distributing videos, and virtual blog tours for promoting your book. You can send news releases to media around the world in minutes, you can create and post book trailers, you can conduct contests and free copy giveaways online. And customers can buy you book online – from you, from amazon.com or their favorite bookstore.

If you’re a New Leaf Publishing Group author, you’ve already received your 2009 Author’s Guide and many of you have reported you’re at work building your online platform. If you’re not yet a New Leaf Publishing Group author and would like a copy, email robert@newleafpress.net and I’ll send you one.

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