What is Inbound Marketing and How Can Small Business Leverage it?
We all know small business owners wear more than one hat. From dealing with HR, media relations, and marketing to customer support and bookkeeping, the list is long. According to a marketing tactics survey by Infusionsoft, “nearly half of small business owners handle marketing efforts on their own.” Amidst all the responsibilities, it often becomes unrealistic to prioritize inbound marketing for small business above other day to day tasks. Developing an inbound marketing strategy is crucial for ensuring that your business gains visibility and traction online in order to be found by your potential customers. Given so many businesses are competing for the same eyeballs, it should top your chart of responsibilities to help ensure the success of your business.
Today, small business marketing is not the same as it was a decade ago. Outbound marketing efforts in the face of newspaper, TV ads, direct mail, and telemarketing are becoming less popular, and ineffective. As a matter of fact, statistics reflect that more than 200 million Americans have listed themselves on the ‘do not call’ registry, while around 86% of the people avoid watching TV ads. It proves that traditional outbound marketing has lost its luster as consumers continue moving towards the web to shop for their favorite products and services. It’s time to take advantage of inbound marketing for your small business!
Did you know that inbound marketing delivers around 54% more leads into the marketing funnel than old-school, traditional outbound marketing methods?
By definition, inbound marketing is a strategy that works on the principle of ‘pull-marketing’— a concept that is more of a permission-based approach — tactics that attract people to your site through compelling, relevant content as opposed to purely promotional, interruptive content pushed to the unsuspecting consumers.
So, how can you leverage inbound marketing to grow your small business?
First, it’s important that you understand who your buyer is — their needs, wants, preferences, and interests. Based on your research, develop a content marketing strategy that defines key objectives, provides solutions to buyer’s needs, and maps content to each of the buying stages.
Then start attracting strangers through informative and helpful content, when and where they are searching, that answers their needs, and helps them to make better and more informed decisions — all while building awareness and trust in your brand.
Types of Inbound Marketing for Small Business:
Search Engine Optimization
Most commonly known as SEO, it’s one of the most fundamental tools of an effective inbound marketing strategy. It’s a combination of various practices, including keyword research, content creation, and link building that ensure your content is found when buyers are searching. This combines optimizing your content as well as your website design. It also ensures your content is seen by the right target audience and generating quality leads.
81% of U.S. online consumers have stated they trust information and advice from blogs. This is one of the reasons why blogging is the most common form of inbound marketing. Blogging helps to attract visitors through educational content that drives traffic to your website. It’s crucial that you have a content marketing strategy and defined buyer personas in place in order to develop content that effectively addresses your buyers’ questions and needs when they are searching.
Did you know that 67% of the online adults make use of social media to share information? This is one of the most popular tools that you, as a small business owner cannot afford to miss. Social media enables you to be human, show the face of the business, and transparent with your audience. However, before you start sharing content of value you must understand the channels your audience is on. Your social media marketing strategy is a great place to reference what content your target audience gravitates towards, what they engage in, and what time of day they are active.
Keep in mind, visually rich posts including infographics, short marketing videos, and pictures have seen an increase in engagement than traditionally written posts. It’s also important to optimize your social content based on keywords you have defined as well as provide a link back to your website.
Convert strangers to leads through subscription-based content forms on your website. Once your content is viewed and trusted by your target audience, you can use resources like “tip of the week” or monthly newsletters to remain present. This helps in keeping your audience updated with the latest tips, trends, and offerings from your business.
Subscription-based content also offers an excellent opportunity to provide potential customers with exclusive information about your business’ products and services. Enable prospective customers the opportunity to opt-in to specific content topics that meet their needs and will be most useful and engaging to them. Be sure to capture lead information that you can share with your sales team, including: name, email, and phone number.
As a matter of fact, not everyone who interacts with your content is ready to be your customer. However, with inbound tactics like lead nurturing through email marketing, you can continue to educate prospective customers about valuable industry insights and trends within your industry that lead into highlights about your products and services. Lead nurturing enables you stay top-of-mind, without being to salesy, and when the time comes that they are ready to purchase a solution, your content will dominate their minds. Depending on your sales cycle, it can take several weeks or even months to nurture a lead to close so it’s important to have a library of content handy.
In short, inbound marketing is essential to helping small business owners organically increase awareness and attract new potential buyers without the high cost of traditional outbound marketing.
As a small business owner, if your company is looking to increase sales and has not yet invested in inbound marketing, it’s time to reboot your marketing strategy. It’s 2016, the market landscape is getting more competitive with social media and the web highly influencing how a buyer’s decisions are made as they have a wider platform to gain information.
If you want to begin attracting more leads through inbound marketing for your small business but don’t have the time or resources to get started, we would love to speak to you. Complete our contact form today to schedule a call.