Inbound Marketing Lessons Learned

by Chris Tam & Kathy Wang

Our blog was by far our most effective tool of inbound marketing and during the initial phase of growth was the top landing page for our site, versus the actual website itself.

What was great about blogging as an inbound marketing tool:

Blog posts are easily shared. All we needed was a few “influencers” on the web to find our content interesting, pass it along, and we got huge spikes in traffic. Though our traffic figures eventually stabilized after these “spikes,” each time our content was shared, some of the new readers to our site stayed, explored, and checked out our main landing page.

You can also use blogs to help “exchange” traffic. It was difficult for us to convince a successful blogger or content producer to plug heroiQ or include a link to us on their site - after all, our main landing page isn’t going to be a muddled list of a bunch of links. But a blog is perfect for that - we would link our blog posts to other blogs we liked, and some of them in turn did the same for us - “sharing traffic.”

Blogs are continually updated. If someone were to just go to every day, they would see the same content, over and over again. There’s nothing dynamic about a landing page like that. Conversely, our blog was updated on average five times a week, so readers knew that they could come back and always see new content (and then perhaps wander back over to our main landing page). It’s also a great way to get yourself bookmarked - we currently have 450 subscribers on Google Reader alone.

What wasn’t so great about blogging as an inbound marketing tool:

Content, especially original content, is hard. It isn’t an easy task to continually entertain your audience with unique and original content, and anonymous readers on the internet are some of the most picky. They aren’t like your friends, who may stick around out of politeness - bore them a few times, and you’ll find yourself un-bookmarked.

It can be difficult to commercialize your main product: Successful inbound marketing blogs - such as OK Cupid’s for example - offer interesting content that’s easily shared. But it can be difficult to lead readers from your blog directly back to your site. Blogs can and will increase general traffic to your site. But to do anything above and beyond that through your blog is difficult. Readers hate “gimmicks” or feeling that they’re being used or pushed too hard to try out your product. OK Cupid usually never includes links to sign up for its dating site on its enormously successful blog posts for this reason. We encountered the same difficulty.

But isn’t blogging dead? (see here, here, and here)

Blogging is far from dead. In our experience, Twitter and Facebook were also useful tools - we utilized both and generated a following on both platforms. But the end goal was to lead these users back to the heroiQ site - and our draw ended up being our blog posts! It’s hard to keep putting up the same link ( and expect your Twitter/Facebook followers to keep clicking. You need to continuous, new, fresh content - blogs are perfect for that.

See all these spikes? They were from blog posts!


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