Let’s be honest. Most people who talk about inbound marketing have no clue.

They are either people who are trying to sell you something or those who, having recently taken a course, are chancing their way into a relatively new and confusing industry.

This, among many other reasons, is why I have long been slightly sceptical of the practice as a whole.  Since I first saw one of those ugly (but oddly high converting) sales letters proclaiming the powers of SEO, Facebook and Twitter, I’ve been calling bulls##t.

But what I have been finding recently  is that underneath the steaming pile, there is actually a lot of value here. But you really do have to do the legwork to find it.

The big mistake that I, and a lot of people, make when they first encounter inbound marketing is that of listening to the wrong people. The so called gurus and charlatans who profess miracles for just $67. Inbound marketing is actually very effective when you impose a few marketing fundamentals on your understanding and implementation of it, and have the right mindset from the beginning.

Below, I will share some of the most useful things that I have learned on my inbound marketing journey, that may help you get the best out of it.

1. SEO is the foundation of a well structured inbound marketing campaign

This is where you should really focus your energies. Everything else in your inbound marketing campaign is relatively inconsistent and cannot always be relied on. But, SEO can be your meat and potatoes if you do it right. Don’t fall for the silly tricks and fast money mentality. Build a firm foundation by genuinely providing value to others with well written guest posts and sharable content on your site and you will be rewarded with backlinks and traffic. Also make sure to the keep your site well structured and readable for search engines and humans alike.

I have read 1,000s of seo articles and tutorials and really, this is what it all boils down to.

2. Social Media only works once you have leverage.

Following the 10,000 people who follow you and tweeting every 20 minutes is not going to help you grow your business. But doing unique things and directing people to follow you for more of it, will. Social media’s purpose is for people to keep up with you. But you have to grab their imagination first, so that they know why they should be keeping up with you. Once you do that, then you will grow your following. Additionally you will then also benefit from the network effects that give social media its value.

3. Social Media Marketing, for the most part is a zero sum game.

Research has shown the conversion rates, click throughs and overall general performance of most social advertising to be disastrous. With clickthroughs on Facebook being almost 10 times less than that of Google. It is probably wise not to dedicate too much of your resources to this channel.

I do have an odd suspicion  that Twitter’s advertising platform may perform quite well in future though, as I have clicked and been impressed by quite a few of the instream ads that I have seen from them. But, like anything with social media, only time will tell how this plays out.

4. Consistensy breeds luck

If you make one video a month and hope to go viral, your chances are pretty slim, but if you make one video a day and make it really good each time, then your chances of going viral are a lot higher. Virality can be tamed by consistent effort. Put simply, eventually, if you keep posting good stuff. Someone, somewhere will submit it to reddit.

5. There are no shortcuts. It is still hard work.

The most important thing I have learned with all of my attempts at inbound marketing is that you really do get out what you put in. You have to rid yourself of the toxic fast money mindset if you are to gain anything in this field. But, if you do, then the rewards are huge.

Do you have any insights that you have learned from your inbound marketing experiences?

Let me know in the comments!

About Tapha:
Tapha is an entrepreneur and the founder of MyAppTemplates.com, a site that provides custom iPhone app templates to people who cannot afford to spend $1,000s on their iPhone app design.