In a recent session with a potential client, we talked about the various tools and tactics of effective inbound marketing. We covered a lot of ground in an hour, so on her way out the door this small business owner turned to me and asked: “If I can focus on only three tactics, what should they be?”
The answer is easy: Plan, Portal, Post.
Start With a Basic Plan
Every business needs an inbound marketing plan even if it’s only one page to start with. Focus on the coming year with an eye to the next two to four. Choose your marketing team, and engage them in a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats). Reflect on your goals, target markets, products and services, and the challenges you face building your brand.
Add a 12-month media calendar, and a block budget to track spending. Track your analytics, then update your marketing plan annually to record what works and what you need to change and improve to reap the benefits of a solid inbound marketing strategy.
Invest in a Responsive Website
About 50% of small businesses do not have a website, but it’s the smart entrepreneur who understands the need for an engaging online portal. While the upfront costs can be considerable, think of it as a long-term investment. If you build on a dynamic content management system, your code base should last at least five years.
With the ever-increasing use of mobile devices your portal must be responsive – which means the content reflows to adapt to various screen sizes from desktop through to mobile phone.
Once you launch your portal, remember that websites are organic entities – they must be fed to remain relevant and to increase your chances of rising to the top of various search engines. Make sure your web master optimizes your metadata – better yet, learn how to do the same as you add new content.
Share on Social Media
Social media is a powerful brand builder. Statistics show its users are more likely to buy from the businesses they follow than from those they don’t. Determine which social media platforms are most popular with your buyers based on their interests and relationships, and become an active player on that online hub.
Start with one social media network, scan for problems you can solve, then post meaningful advice. The first step is to earn trust – never overtly oversell. Share original content by linking back to your website whenever you can, but also promote access to relevant online resources that you find useful and engaging.
So there you have it: effective inbound marketing in three easy steps. Depending on where you are in your small business brand building, roll these tactics out concurrently or focus on one at a time.