The biggest challenge for a small business is attracting customers and making them come back for more. Typically, this is where marketing comes in, and there are two ways to do it. The traditional way to market your small business is to advertising through media like TV, radio, and newspaper to spread your message to a large audience. This way, you try to find customers who are ready to buy your product, and advertisements attempt to have them buy your product immediately. This is called outbound marketing. (Another form of outbound marketing is telemarketing: you reach out to potential customers via phone, introduce your products, and offer them special promotions to buy immediately.)
Introducing inbound marketing.
Over the years, the evolution of media and rise of the internet has rendered outbound marketing gradually less effective. This is where inbound marketing comes in. With the use of the internet and social media, businesses can now market differently. Inbound marketing lets potential customers find you by attracting them with valuable content disseminated through social media platforms and blogs. The content serves to educate and build trust, rather than ask for a purchase.
But is inbound marketing effective even for small businesses? Wouldn’t it be easier, and less time-consuming to simply stick to the traditional method of spreading the word about your business?
Inbound marketing is, in fact, the perfect way to start marketing your business. It is relatively easier and less expensive to setup, and you will be able to reach more people if you do it right. According to data from the International Telecommunication Union, the year 2015 ended with an estimated 3.2 million billion people gaining access to the Internet. As of March 31, 2017, Facebook statistics report that there are 1.94 billion active monthly users of the social media platform all over the world. Imagine having that kind of reach! But before you get carried away, here are a few simple things that you need to make inbound marketing work for your small business.
(1) Set up a website.
In the real world, when you want to start a business, one of the things that you need to set up first is an office or workspace. In the digital world, you need the same thing. Your website contains all the information about your company: the history, management, products and services offered, latest updates, how to contact you, and so much more. To set up your website, you need to buy a domain name, sign up with a web host and design your site. This is very similar to registering your business name, finding and renting a workspace, and designing your workspace in the physical world. Having a great website is key to a successful inbound marketing campaign.
(2) Set up your social media accounts.
Your social media accounts should match those of your target audience. Facebook and LinkedIn are perfect basics across any industry, but you should also consider using Instagram for beautiful photos of your products, a YouTube for videos and tutorials, or a Twitter for reaching influencers and B2B prospects. Setting up a Google+ and Pinterest account also helps. By actively posting through the right social media platforms, you can connect with your audience and build interest in your brand.
(3) Set up a blog and prepare informative and valuable content.
In order to attract interest to your business, the strategy that inbound marketing employs is different from outbound marketing. You don’t blatantly advertise your products and services, and you don’t immediately confront your target market to choose you over your competitors. Instead, you allow them to like you, trust you, and eventually choose you over others by offering valuable information to them through articles, photos, video tutorials and other blog posts.
This is where having a strong blog and content marketing strategy comes in; you should be proving that you are able to provide useful content to your target buyers. By building interest through information, you establish credibility and authority in your field. When that audience is ready to buy, they already know and trust you for your expertise, and it’s easier to convince them to buy. Essentially, it’s all about them.
(4) Make sure that your content can be found by using search engine optimization.
Using the right keywords in building your content will make it easier for people who need your services to find you when they search online. Build site links to strengthen your site and make Google rank your site higher. This is a long-term effort that involves actively writing, thoughtfully targeting, and building a network that works together.
Inbound marketing may not be as straightforward as outbound marketing, but it gets the job done. To get the most effective results, research and clearly define your target personas so that you can effectively create the right content for them.
Gemma Reeves is a seasoned writer who enjoys creating helpful articles and interesting stories. She has worked with several clients across different industries such as advertising, online marketing, technology, healthcare, family matters, and more. She is also an aspiring entrepreneur who is engaged in assisting other aspiring entrepreneurs in finding the best office space for their business.
Check out her company here: FindMyWorkspace