All the Ways Inbound Marketing Will Grow Your Small Business
One particularly damaging myth that is hurting businesses everywhere, is how inbound marketing is strictly for the realm of large businesses with an established consumer base. In reality, small business inbound marketing is vital for creating a strong user base for your product or service.
What is Inbound Marketing?
If you could have a frank discussion with your consumers, exchanging information about their needs for advice and advocacy, would you jump at the opportunity?
Inbound marketing makes this a reality. By starting conversations with your target market, you can win their loyalty and advocacy, creating a mutually beneficial relationship. This strategy builds and engages your fan base more efficiently than traditional advertising.
Common inbound marketing techniques include SEO, social media conversations and content marketing. All of these techniques have their place as long as you understand your marketing objectives.
Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing
Inbound and outbound marketing are very different techniques with very different aims.
Outbound marketing focuses on talking to your consumers. Common outbound marketing strategies include television, radio and print ads, as well as tradeshow visits and cold calls. In outbound marketing, you are seeking out consumers and delivering them your message.
On the other hand, inbound marketing focuses on starting conversations with your consumers.
Inbound marketing is not a one-way street. Whether you are conversing with consumers on social media, communicating helpful information through a blog or teaching users through an infographic, inbound marketing creates incentive for consumers to talk back and share.
How Inbound Marketing Helps Small Businesses
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that your business isn’t big enough to need inbound marketing.
Even if you are just starting out, small business inbound marketing can help you in a number of ways.
Saving on Marketing Costs
Inbound marketing is one of the most inexpensive ways to promote your business. Starting a conversation on Twitter or writing a blog post costs only the time it takes to type out your thoughts.
Techniques like these are important because they open up new marketing strategies for companies that may not have the budget for traditional advertising. For a small business, inbound marketing can be the best way to build an audience from nothing.
Of course there are platforms such as Hootsuite and Moz which help with social analytics and SEO, respectively, and those platforms do cost money. Luckily, the benefits of strong inbound marketing far outweigh the costs of intelligence platforms, and these services are in no way necessary to start inbound marketing.
Engaging with Consumers
At its core, inbound marketing is personal. That’s the reason it connects with consumers, and that’s the reason it can be so powerful.
When you ask questions on Twitter or provide helpful advice on your blog, you are prompting users to engage directly with your business. This strategy eliminates the cold, impersonal feeling of paid advertisements, and lets you focus on individual consumers and their needs.
Creating Brand Advocates
Having productive online conversations is a great way to create brand advocates. If consumers feel like you offer content that directly benefits them in some way, they will be more likely to share that content with friends and coworkers.
Small Business Inbound Marketing Strategies
The internet provides many simple ways for a small business to do inbound marketing. Keep in mind that consistency is key with all strategies of marketing. Consumers like to see that your business is actively participating in the larger online conversation.
Create Share-Worthy Content
Content marketing is the top of the conversion funnel when it comes to inbound strategies. Whether you are writing blogs, creating infographics or uploading videos, your content should provide unique value to the consumers who engage with it.
With inbound marketing, your strategy is not just to draw users to your page. Instead, you want to engage those users once they arrive, and provide helpful advice that they won’t find anywhere else.
Increase Your Small Business’s Social Media Presence
Creating unique content is a great way to incentivize consumers to share your ideas on social media. If your blog or video channel provides unique insights in your field, social users will already have reason to pass your content around.
From there, it’s simply a matter of engaging with your users.
Did consumers enjoy your content? Why or why not?
Maybe another agency has shared your advice? Thank them and give a shout-out in your own feed.
Tighten Up Your Company’s On-Page SEO
Going over your existing content to optimize it for better search engine performance is a good way to start your inbound marketing efforts. Consumers who find your content through organic search will be more likely to engage with it, because they are already seeking out content just like yours.