Why You Should be Using Inbound Marketing Tactics to Build Your Small Business

Why You Should be Using Inbound Marketing Tactics to Build Your Small Business

Most small business owners aren’t marketing in the year in which they’re operating — words of wisdom from online marketing guru and venture capitalist, Gary Vaynerchuk.

Many entrepreneurs are still spending the bulk of their advertising dollars in traditional media such as print, radio and ad mail. But as he illustrates, if a carload of people are driving past your billboard, the driver has his eyes on the road, the rest are surfing their mobile devices. So your investment is lost on them!

The same goes for newspaper advertising. Browse through your local daily and you’ll notice that it’s mostly editorial. Gone are the days when ads balanced out the news. Papers are running half-page ads promoting their inbound marketing and SEO services. That’s because we’re accessing our news online and in real time. So why would we wait 24 hours for it to arrive on our doorstep? And why would we invest our advertising dollars in redundant media?

Change Is Hard

To be fair, the online marketing landscape is changing so quickly and radically that it’s hard for many small business owners to keep up.

Those I talk to feel like they’ve got one foot on the dock and the other in the boat. They know they’re not spending their advertising dollars as effectively as they could be, but at the same it’s easier to stick with what they know.

If they’ve been in business for at least a decade, print brochures and newspaper ads, radio spots and ad mail are still their go-to media. And the bulk of their annual marketing spends that are directed by commissioned media reps who push contracts across the desk — or coffee-shop table — to be signed without a spec of strategic planning.

The result is shotgun marketing. The bang can be big but short-lived. The reach can be wide and broadly targeted. But the disconnect with your consumer is real. So one must do this repeatedly to convince a consumer to connect. Traditional media makes it so much harder to convert a cold lead into an engaged consumer.

Change Is Good

Conversely, if your potential customer is browsing online to find a solution that fits their needs, effective targeting can mean they’re only a click or two away from landing on your website and providing you with their email address. Just like that a cold lead converts into a valuable prospect and you build your business.

Cost-wise, it’s hard to print anything – from business cards to billboard – without spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars. If you’re not aware of how much you can buy in online ads and social media with the same amount of money, you’d be smart to find out.

Change Is Constant

Take some advice from someone who started her career BEFORE computers and mobile devices – at work and at home. Never stop learning and exploring.

The internet offers a wealth of resources and tactics to tap into. With a bit of time and tech, you too can become an effective inbound marketer. If you’re part of a team, ask the youngest in your circle for advice – they’re consuming these online tools with their morning cappuccino.

Smart business owners will hire an inbound marketing professional to help navigate the options, develop strategy and roll out tactics that cost less and target better. User analytics will prove where your money is best spent.

So change has come – big-time. Start inbound marketing today!

Inbound Marketing: How Much Will It Cost Me?

Inbound Marketing: How Much Will It Cost Me?

It’s never easy to talk about money — but in business it’s always top of mind. So when I put a call out for questions, it was the first one that came in: “How much does inbound marketing cost?”

Quick answer: “Much less than traditional media.”

I just checked in with a peer who’d hosted a booth at a regional trade show. Their spot wasn’t the greatest. Geographically they were pushing the limits of connecting to their target market. And it cost $2000. My first thought was she could have bought a lot of social media with that kind of money!

Shift Your Budget

Add up your marketing budget for last year. If you’ve been investing in print, TV or radio, I guarantee you’ll reach a more targeted market with less money by switching to inbound marketing. And if you’ve been using snail mail to deliver your print promotions, then your savings increase exponentially.

By shifting your spend towards an inbound strategy, you’ll leverage the best of social media: free platforms and low-cost engagement tools to reach an ever-expanding, organically grown network of family, friends and business connections. That’s why it’s also called viral marketing.

Time Versus Money

Social media works best when you share content that provides solutions to the problems your customers are looking to fix. It’s about the soft sell — building community by sharing online resources that engage and inform your buyers.

If you’re comfortable creating and uploading your own content (text, images and video), with a bit of training you’ll save money by doing much of the work yourself. If you don’t have the time or inclination to do so, then we can help by setting up a monthly media calendar and sharing quality content on your behalf.

Geared to Your Business

To get started you need the basics: a bit of a plan, a good website and an active presence on the social media platforms where your buyers hang out.

Once we draft your marketing plan you’ll want to update it annually. Your biggest investment will be your website, so think of it as a long-term spend that will serve you well for several years. Then set a fixed monthly budget (time and/or money) to cover social media posts and branded emails to keep your business top-of-mind.

Remember, we’re shifting your spend to get more bang for your buck – from traditional offline marketing to measurable inbound marketing tactics.

By doing it right, inbound marketing is sure to pay off!