Every great fisherman (or even a decent one) knows that in order to catch the fish he’s after, he needs to use the right bait. Moreover, he also needs to cast his line in the right spot at the right time. Essentially, the fisherman needs to be sure that what he’s offering is of value to the fish, so the fish will come to him (instead of him jumping in the river, Gollum-style).
The same could be said about the relationship between branding and inbound marketing. According to HubSpot’s Brian Halligan, inbound marketing is a relatively new strategy that focuses on creating accessible channels for already-interested consumers to connect with brands or organizations. Examples of inbound marketing include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), RSS feeds, white papers, eBooks, and blogs, all of which are meant to attract consumers with meaningful content and improve visibility via online search engines.
The key is good content. If you enter the marketing game with content that is consistently interesting and valuable to your consumers, they will come to you. Traditional outbound marketing, like direct mailers and email blasts, is rendered less and less relevant.
Of course, the umbrella encompassing your entire marketing strategy is your brand, the value of which cannot be underestimated. In fact, your brand and your customers’ loyalty is the very reason people will follow through with your inbound marketing strategy. Your brand is defined by everything you are and everything you do: your look, your voice, your content, and your strategy—all of which help your customers and potential customers to form an opinion of who you are. That opinion will determine whether or not your audience decides to interact with you.
So when you’re trying to reel in the big catch, brand your inbound marketing tools accordingly. Design your blog with the appropriate brand colors and related images. Make your eBooks an extension of your brand’s aesthetic, and make sure those white papers are unmistakably marked with your brand’s fonts and logo. This way when you’re winding back for that big cast, all you have to do is release and let the fish come to you. It’s reel-y quite simple.