The growing acceptance and implementation of inbound marketing represents a definitive shift in the way businesses are approaching sales and advertising. Instead of running after customers and looking for ways to make them open their wallets, smaller companies in particular have recognized the value of creating and sharing valuable content in order to encourage potential leads and to make current customers come back for more.

sales onlineIn other words, it’s a way of doing business that is based on “giving,” something that very much flies in the face of the traditional business model. For this reason, smaller companies are coming out ahead and leveraging content creation channels, such as blogging, videos, imagery, and even audio along side social media, to level the playing field against their bigger competitors.

If you are new to the ideas behind inbound marketing for your own business, then here is a rundown of the major themes:

Focus on Content Creation and Promotion. You create targeted content that answers your customer’s most pressing questions and needs, and you make a concerted effort to share that content in ways that will get it noticed by your target audience.

Marketing as an Organic Process. Your customers will go through stages as they interact with your company, and at each stage you need different marketing actions and approaches. It’s as if you want your marketing efforts to “grow” and mature with your customers.

The Power of Personalization. Without realizing it, many of your customers are already be getting bombarded with personalized content and promotional offers every time they go online. This trend cannot be ignored. As you learn more about your customers over time, you can better personalize your messages to fit their specific needs.

Multi-channel Efforts. Inbound marketing is inherently multi-channeled because it is based on reaching people where they already are, in the channel where they will most want to interact with you.

Big Integration. The platforms that support your content creation, promotion, calls-to-action, and customer support as well as the analytics tools you have in place to keep tabs on it all, must work together like a well-oiled machine. This allows you to focus on publishing the right content in the right place at the right time.

In short, inbound marketing is definitely a new way of doing business. But, it presents a great deal of opportunity to smaller companies that understand that in order to encourage the interest and investment of their customers, they need to give in order to receive.