Organic Growth and Effective Inbound Marketing
In 2008, Deborah Stewart, M.Ed., launched a WordPress blog and a Facebook page under the brand of “Teach Preschool.” After a year I asked if she’d ever looked at her website statistics and the answer was an emphatic “no.” She did not want to because she didn’t want to be disappointed. We looked—she wasn’t. Today that initial effort has grown into a brand that is recognized and regularly followed each month by Early Childhood Education professionals and parents in virtually every country of the world.
Content is King
In my career, I started building websites and analyzing site traffic back in the late 90s working for a Big Six accounting firm. Many of the things learned in that experience and in every engagement since have proven true for Teach Preschool today. The fundamental keys to successful inbound marketing are:
- Quality content (focused on your target audience)
- Fresh content (regular updates are critical as long as they are quality)
- Volume of content (the number of quality articles as opposed to the length of the articles—shorter articles are better)
- Well-formed pages as dictated by the rules of the day (the rules are constantly evolving based upon advances in technology in the social and search spaces)
But these things alone are only part of the keys to success. In every story like Deborah’s, it has been my observation that the things which truly produce results were the intangible aspects of what is brought to the table for users. Her intangible keys to success were:
- Knowing her audience and understanding their keys to success
- A well-defined and unwavering mission, which focused on that audience
- Being a hub for people who share her passion for that mission and that audience
- The ability to recognize and quickly course correct when moving away from that mission or that audience in a non-strategic fashion
- Cultivating a nurturing and positive environment in all of her web properties
While the lists above seem reasonable enough, the lynchpin (in my observations) to her success has been hard work over an extended period of time. Any company’s inbound marketing strategy is only as effective as the resources and time committed to its execution. In the case of Teach Preschool, one person, Deborah, created a network that has had 4.9 million visits and over 13 million page views since we started tracking her data in October of 2010. There are many challenges that companies face when attempting to embrace all of the facets of inbound marketing (like social networking), but the potential rewards are such that overcoming these barriers should be the top priority for any organization.
Sound Off: What inbound marketing strategies do you employ? Is content the primary focus of your marketing strategy?