February 27, 2019, by Erik Larson

How To Get More Inbound Interest

Techniques proven by businesses can work for EDOs too

Ever heard of inbound? In business this term-of-art is now a standard for growing a customer base. Coined by Hubspot co-founder Brian Halligan, inbound is a cost-efficient and extremely effective way to generate interest online, then cultivate that interest with the right content, building trust with your prospect along the way.

We like to think of business attraction programs in the same way. As more and more of the world begins their research on Google, delivering fresh, current content via your website is key to catching this prospect at the right moment.

As a data-oriented firm, we've seen this work really well by telling a data story. One that is "alive" with frequent updates, and builds trust with robust data that paint a compelling picture.

Below are a few ideas on how to use data as an inbound content delivery strategy. And how this will lead to more inbound interest in your community.

Data stories as inbound engines

  1. Pre-amble on cost effectiveness
    For starters, when you look at options to promote a community, the most expensive involve people, time, and travel. Events are probably the most resource-intensive way to promote something. You could argue this is still a necessary dimension of marketing, and it certainly has value. However, inbound marketing is now well proven, and doesn't involve airplanes, consultants, or expense accounts. Moreover, your inbound program is always working, even when you (or your consultants) are not.

  2. Emphasis on web and mobile
    As more of the workforce is comprised of millenials, the preferences of your target audience (site selectors, for one) are evolving along with it. These preferences are strongly biased towards the use of Google as a primary information source, and the venue is increasingly mobile and tablet. This means your data story needs to be responsive, and display cleanly and easily across all devices. GIS applications are not particularly suited to someone not on a full-size browser.

    Screenshot of an eImpact data story on an iPad

  3. Current is key
    To get noticed in searches and to delight your audience once they're looking at your content, you must provide the latest and greatest data and narrative, and refresh it often. Who has time for this? Well, few organizations do. That's why data automation and a remote team keeping their eye on things really help fill out your capacity and ability to offer current content.

    Screenshot of eImpact's data forecasting

  4. Measure and improve!
    Inherent in any inbound strategy is the need for continual improvement, based on measureable results. Something working really well bears repeating; approaches coming in under the bar should potentially be scrapped. eImpact recently added built-in viewer analytics to all its reports for this reason. Now you can track engagement down to the individual email level!

    Screenshot of eImpact's built-in inbound analytics

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