I have a promise for you. This is not just another article on Inbound Marketing. It contains TIPS and resources that you can use to make your small business marketing more effective as soon as you finish reading. So read on and learn one or two new things that can boost your business results.
Inbound marketing has been around for a few years. The concept behind inbound marketing the simple. Use the Internet to attract people to your website. Offer them a piece of information or education which they “buy” with their email and name. This concept is much more palatable than interrupting customers. TV commercials, robot-calls, and SPAM email are prime examples of interruptive or push marketing.
With inbound (pull marketing) you have the opportunity to build or nurture a relationship with real people so that when they’re ready to buy your product or service is top of mind.
Important to know is inbound may be the most cost-effective marketing method available to small businesses today. In fact, some very large businesses exist to help customers do inbound marketing. The largest of these companies include Hubspot, Infusionsoft, and Marketo. Their growth is an endorsement of the inbound marketing philosophy and results.
One of the cool things about inbound marketing is that it has a definite process. It's comprised of methods and repeatable processes that work over and over. Once you set up your system and processes just ad fresh content and campaigns. Viola! You have a marketing machine.
At the beginning of this article, we discussed that inbound marketing is used to attract people, your target customer, to your website. There are several ways do this.
- Content is the bedrock of Inbound Marketing. The content of your website should educate and inform your readers. By doing this, you are going to be in a position to sell them when they are ready. Not everybody is ready to buy the first time they visit your website. Inbound Marketing helps to build a relationship with prospects - so you are "top of mind" when they are ready to buy.
TIP: Write more than 600 words and more if you can. We recommend building a Cornerstone Content strategy. Cornerstone blogs are 900+ words and link together with other blogs and pages to form a "web" of related content. *You will find an example of Cornerstone Content map on the page link above.
- Search engine optimization or SEO Marketing is the art of science of developing the right content (what people are looking for) and ensuring that your content is "seen" by the search engines. We use SEO to choose blog topics, to make sure they are focused on topics readers want to know more about. I would be a shame to spend time and effort writing about something few people even care about wouldn't it?
TIP: Having pages, including blogs on your website with no traffic, can actually hurt your SEO. It's not enough that the content is relevant, you must have traffic to those pages so be sure and recycle your blogs from time to time.
- Blogging is a powerful way to deliver content over time. Blogging weekly or bi-monthly is a way to keep your website visitors up-to-date on your content. It can be more casual than a webpage, so it is a more approachable way to reach out. What most people do not know is that each blog post is a new page to the search engines. They see your website as active and over time, relevant.
TIP: Map out a content calendar of interrelated topics so you have a content strategy. Start with a bulleted outline of the sections you are going to write about and you'll find it much easier to write your blogs. SUPER TIP: Once you have your outline, use your computers dictation to "write" each section. Many folks find it easier to talk than write their content. Then it's a snap to do the final edits!
- Social Media is a business setting is like having your own radio station. You need to build an audience, entertain them and sell them (a little). Social media outlets are called channels for a reason. Different businesses will use different channels for different reasons. LinkedIn has different uses and function that Facebook as one example. Ultimately, we use social media to promote the content of our blogs and create engaged relationships with our audience. We encourage you to read the article about The Three Stages of Social Media.
TIP: Even if you don't think Facebook is your top channel, make sure you have an active page. Over 60% of people look to see if you are on Facebook before doing business with a company. Also, properly done Facebook book ads are economical and effective.
- Paid Ads are available as part of the Google paid search product, Adwords. The social media channels like Facebook also have paid ads. These can be a powerful way to accelerate sales when done well. Facebook ads can be less expensive than Adwords. These tools allow you to target specific audiences and should be part of your Inbound Marketing strategy.
TIP: Pay per click ads are frequently more expensive and less effective than contextual ads which target people as they view websites related to your ad.
- Including website information on traditional advertising campaigns. This often overlooked and very effective. Many companies are doing smaller traditional campaigns by driving traffic to their website. This just makes sense.
TIP: Use an email signature program to create a knockout email signature with links to all your social media and website. Here is an example of a free one from HubSpot.
Do as many of these things to attract traffic to your website as practical. Small businesses do not have the time to do all these in an effective manner. It may be worthwhile to hire an inbound marketing agency to help pull this together.
A good inbound marketer needs to understand SEO, social media, blogging, and Internet ads . They also have to excel in interactive web design, lead capture and nurturing. If they are proficient in tools a company like HubSpot provides, all the better. The whole point is to drive relevant traffic to your website so that they opt into the buying cycle so that you can put your best foot forward.
Inbound marketing requires good communication with prospects and customers. This is an important skill and ” bonus opportunity” for small businesses. Larger businesses have a much harder time creating conversations engagements and relationships with leads and customers . It’s important for small businesses to exercise every advantage they have in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace .
Inbound marketing is an opportunity for small business to excel and outdo their competition....promise!