The old ways of marketing are over. Traditional forms of marketing are dependent on interrupting consumers with a sales pitch that is more focused on the marketer than the consumer (don’t you hate when the traditional type happens to you). Another problem with traditional type marketing is that it often is just ignored (think junk mail, or how you Tivo and fast forward through commercials).
Inbound marketing is a connected economy way to attract new prospects, leads, and customers to your website by allowing them to consume the information they want, when they want to consume it. This method vs the traditional way is skewed more towards the consumer. Two benefits of inbound vs traditional marketing are
- inbound marketing attracts the right person (because you’ve done a super job of creating a buyer persona) to your website, and…
- the inbound process allows a consume to walk through the buying cycle at their own pace as they consume content on your site (yes you’ll need to produce all types of content, and lots of it)
Inbound Marketings 4 Processes
Listed below are brief descriptions of the four critical parts to the inbound process your small business will need to master.
1. Attract Visitors to Your Small Business Website
To get lots of visitors to your business websites static pages, as well as it’s content pages are well optimized (known as SEO). Yea I know, that’s old news. But the mistake that many small business owners make when optimizing their site is they optimize for search engines but not their ideal buyer. The first way to attract visitors to your site is by website optimization. In the inbound marketing world this still refers to search engine optimization (SEO).
Take this nifty blog post for example; It’s optimized for small business owners, or marketing managers looking to learn more about inbound marketing.
Once your business site is SEO optimized it is time to consider your content strategy. Blogging on a regular basis is the easiest, fastest, and most efficient way for an owner, or marketing manager to get content in front of prospects. But it’s certainly not the only way. We also suggest doing things like video, podcast, or info graphics. Regardless of the content type by serving up fresh, relevant content you will attract more visitors to your site.
Side Note: A common mistake many small businesses make is that they produce and publish their content directly to social media platforms. They do this because social media promotion is fast and initially free, but in doing so many small businesses fall prey to to what I like to call the Facebook Crack Pipe. DON’T DO THIS! Instead once a your content is up on your business website use social media to distribute it around the web.
Once a visitor has arrived at your business site it is time to convert them into leads. Your content is the best way to convert visitors. Offer free ebooks, white papers or webinars in exchange for your visitors’ email and contact information. The content that you offer should lead your prospects through the sales cycle.
Use strong calls to action (CTA) to get your prospects to the next stage of the sales process. Make sure you you have a separate landing page for each of your free content offers.
Email is still the most efficient way to move a lead towards a closed sales. The inbound process is providing the lead with the information they want to move them through the various stages of the sales funnel. Think of each email you send as an opportunity to add value to your prospective client, to have them begin to think of your company as a strategic partner in their process. Be sure to include calls to action/CTA’s, and links to other resources of information they might find helpful.
The inbound process doesn’t end when you make the sale. Now is the time your business gets in the business of delighting your customers and converting them into promoters. When customers are happy they will tell others about your company. Serving your customers should be the number one priority of every employee.
You need to stay in contact with your customers to find out what they like about your product or service and what their concerns are. Continue to educate them the entire time they are your customers. By providing valuable information on a continual basis you will not only keep your company in front of your customers but you will answer many questions they may have.
Inbound marketing is a process that every small business can begin to implement today and quickly see results.