With the rise of Web 2.0, personal branding has become a must for entrepreneurs to stand apart from their competitors and attract their ideal clients. This year, personal branding will continue to be a vital part of your personal marketing efforts, but you will also hear about the importance of utilizing a new brand strategy called inbound marketing to continue building your credibility within your industry.
Inbound marketing, also known as content marketing, is a concept that has been popularized by the Internet because it is a marketing strategy that magnetizes Brand Anchor customers to you, rather than forcing your sales message out to them. In a recent study conducted by Marketing Sherpa, the biggest budget increases for marketers are expected this year will be for inbound marketing. A successful campaign would result with your website to ranking high in Google and other search engine results, generate buzz and engagement through social media, and attracts warm leads to your website by offering valuable content like free resources and tools, rather than having to resort to traditional outbound marketing techniques such paid advertisements.
Here are 5 steps to creating a successful inbound marketing campaign to enhance your personal branding and brand strategy efforts.
1. Employ Proper On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The first step to building your brand through successful inbound marketing is ensuring that your website is properly search engine optimized. If you’re going to attract customers naturally, also known as creating organic traffic, you’re going to need to make sure that Google and other search engines are ranking you highly for your keywords. When focusing on keywords relating to your brand, ensure that they are located within your domain name, the titles of your pages and blog posts, and in the body of your content with a moderate density.
By using proper keyword placement and providing your visitors with unique content, you will push up your website and web pages within search results. When someone types in one of your keywords, you want your site to be what comes up on the first page of search results, preferably in the #1 spot. Keep in mind that there is more to earning a high-ranking than just on-page SEO, but this is the foundation for the rest of your brand strategy efforts.
2. Use Anchor Text Links
Anchor text is simply a link containing your chosen keywords. This makes the link more powerful and provides a positive effect on your personal branding since you will be closely associated with those keywords. While anchor text links are typically used as a form of off-page SEO involving back links, they can also be a very powerful part of your inbound marketing strategy within your own site by directing visitors to special offers, relevant information or to a landing page.
3. Provide Strong Calls to Action
This inbound marketing strategy goes hand in hand with anchor links. If you want your visitors to do something, you can’t be passive about it. You must give them clear instructions and tell them exactly what to do. This is a very basic form of copywriting, but it works wonders for conversions, if done correctly. If you’re selling something, use calls to action like “Click Here to Get Your Free E-Book Today!” or “Don’t Wait! This Offer Won’t Last Forever! Click Here NOW!” A strong call to action gives clear instructions, instills a sense of urgency and gives your visitors an enticing reason to click your links.
4. Hire a Copywriter
Developing an inbound marketing campaign can be time consuming for even the most experienced writer. Consider hiring a professional copywriter. Copywriters have developed the skill of getting readers to act using the written word and can help to shape visitors’ thoughts, perceptions and emotions to present your brand in a positive way.
In the print world, hiring a copywriter can cost thousands of dollars. The good news is that, on the Internet, you often can find copywriters for much cheaper at sites like Elance, Guru or the Warriors for Hire section of the Warrior Forum. When you hire a copywriter, ensure that they understand your personal branding strategy thoroughly before they begin writing content for your inbound marketing campaign.
5. Use Social Media
Sites like Facebook, Twitter and Digg are extremely popular and are more than just a way to form social groups. Incorporating social media into your inbound marketing campaign will not only help generate traffic to your website but, when done properly, it is a great personal branding tool to get the word out on who you are and what makes you different from everyone else.