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The Inbound Marketing Race: Where Do I Start?

Where do I start? Many marketers standing at the starting line of inbound marketing ask themselves this question. So did Laura Neufelder in a forum thread on InboundMarketing.com .

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One of the best pieces of advice Laura received came from Alyce Lindquist , another inbound marketing rookie. "I recommend learning by immersion! Start small, but just start," wrote Alyce.

Here are some of the other insights I found in the forum:

Focus on Buyer Personas

Create a mental picture of your target audience and its interests, hobbies and activities. Where does this persona live? What does she or he like to read? Such questions will guide you in creating the right content for your readership. As David Meerman Scott wrote , targeting the right buyer persona is a determining factor in your online marketing initiatives.

"Developing a good understanding of the customer will do a lot to help you refine and focus your re-design to appeal to things they might like or would be looking for," commented on the forum thread Steve Early . In the end, identifying buyer personas will define not only your website redesign and content creation, but also your product promotion strategy.

Analyze Existing Pages

Website analytics is one of the first factors marketers should consider when starting their online marketing campaigns. Before you change anything, Simon Mason wrote, check the inbound links on your existing pages. "Otherwise you could lose all the linkjuice you are already getting," he noted .

By monitoring the analytics for your existing pages you will know what has worked for you in the past and how to expand it. This is especially helpful in determining a successful keyword strategy. Thus, you can optimize your site for the low-hanging fruit and produce great ROI.

Blog Consistently

Get your employees passionate about blogging and have them start writing remarkable and regular content. In order to engage with potential leads, industry leaders and other bloggers you need have a blog that encourages conversations. "Without interesting content to link to, you'll just be sharing other people's content on your network which is important for growing it, but it won't get you traffic," wrote Brian Rogers.

What will get you traffic, however, is the quality and consistency of your blog posts. Create a regular blogging schedule and make sure authors are following it. This will create a sense of anticipation in your readers and encourage other thought leaders to interact with you.

Follow Best Practices

In order to become a good leader, you have to first be a good follower. There are different industry-specific successes that you can learn from. Adapt best practices to your marketing initiatives but make sure you keep your own voice.

Companies such as the Roger Smith Hotel and Whole Foods are great examples, and demonstrate different approach to successful inbound marketing. Observe their strategies and decide if they can work for you, too.

Photo Credit: Jon_Marshall

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