By Robert Dempsey, Contributing {grow} Columnist

Despite the huge growth of eCommerce, most business is done by people, with people and for people … and is therefore built on relationships. You have relatively few options when it comes to building a relationship with new customers:

  1. Meet them in person
  2. Meet them over the phone
  3. Meet them online using proactive contact on social media
  4. Provide helpful, informative and entertaining content that will bring them to YOU

The first 3 out of 4 items on that list are scalable only by adding people to your team, requires constant personal attention, and are time-intensive.

Now here’s a question for you: how many people can you talk with on the phone in a given day? If a phone call with a potential customer takes one hour, at most you could do perhaps 8 calls a day if you break for lunch and do nothing else. So you can start to form relationships with 8 people a day.

Option four seems like a really good idea, doesn’t it?  That’s called inbound marketing. A single blog post, for example, has the potential to reach hundreds, thousands and beyond. And what’s even better, you don’t have to be the one doing all of that sharing.

The bottom line is that inbound marketing through smart content allows you to build relationships with more people than ever before possible.  It allows you to possibly connect with people around the world that were unavailable by any other means.  And it works to build those relationships for you 24×7 – without adding people. That my friend is awesome.

So what is this “smart content?”  A blog post is just a blog post, but smart content can take many forms as long it is a targeted, mindful attempt to connect with the needs and wants of high potential customers.

I think smart content must cover seven different bases to be effective. Let’s see if you agree …

  1. It must be created for your ideal customer and use their language
  2. It should be helpful, informative, entertaining, or some combination
  3. It must be created on a consistent basis
  4. It should be able to be spread quickly and easily via sharing and syndication
  5. Every piece of content should be linked to at least one of your products and services
  6. Direct marketing 101 - always include a call to action
  7. It must be measurable and produce a return on investment

Well, that’s a lot isn’t it?  But it takes a lot to cut through the clutter these days and it’s probably going to be worth it for your sales effort. Do you agree?

Robert Dempsey is the Itinerant Entrepreneur. He combines technology, psychology, and marketing to help his clients build their empires using strategic marketing. You can find him at http://BuildMeAnEmpire.com

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