Inbound marketing is the most effective way to create leads for your online business. The point of inbound marketing is to draw the attention of potential customers, by making it easy to find and through content that customers will be interested in.
Inbound marketing has become more and more important as older traditional marketing tools have become less useful for an online business and businesses in general. They’ve not become irrelevant, but the focus of marketers has somewhat shifted in a more inbound direction.
It is now easier than ever to communicate with your customers, especially with the rise of social media. which can lead to a better word of mouth spread of your business.
Old marketing is a very one way street style of marketing. Selling to bought email addresses, cold calling and TV ads aren’t as effective anymore, as people are able to block these means of communication.
This has led to the old marketing styles to change the way they do things, trying to make TV Ads shareable and interactive, by adding hashtags and using entertainment and/or education to get people to watch their content.Inbound marketing is marketing that is interactive and goes two ways. People aren’t obviously targeted directly, but mostly indirectly.
What does inbound marketing entail?
The point is to attract as much relevant traffic to the site as possible. We want to be able to turn them into leads and then into satisfied customers that are likely to recommend us further to others. To be able to target these people specifically we have to do our research and create ourselves a buyer persona.
The best way to create content is by starting a blog. It is the single most effective way to bring people onto your website through content creation. Yes, I am a little bit biased when it comes to this, as it’s a big part of my job description. To attract people to your site it’s important you create either informative content surrounding the industry you operate in, or educational material, as this will also help retain customers, or a mixture of both!
Another good way is to create pages that are optimised to speak to your ideal customer. Create content on your pages that will make people want to look at your site and content that is helpful and brings customers in to want to see more.
Infographics are a good way to get people to share content that you have created. Visual content always does very well and has the potential to get around quite quickly. They always seem a little bit complicated to create if you don’t have much experience with graphic design, but there are free tools available that can help you easily create them, such as Infogram.
Something that tends to do well and gets a lot of views are White Papers. They are a little trickier to create, but they are normally very informative and educational, which makes it great content for marketing.
If you are a talented speaker and think you can generate leads using this to your advantage then maybe a Podcast or a Vlog (Video Log) is exactly what you need to generate some interest in your online business. Many people enjoy listening to podcasts on their way to work, or they enjoy watching Vlogs lying in bed before they go to sleep.
Other options include eBooks and Opt-In Email Lists.
Whatever content you create it’s great if the content is shareable or offers opportunities for discussion.
Other forms of inbound marketing that are important
A very important aspect of inbound marketing is SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). We all know the complications and frustrations that come with optimising your site just right, but a well optimised site will pay for itself. Search engines are most likely going to be the first point of interest for potential customers, so ranking well is of crucial importance.
The next important form of inbound marketing is social media. Social media has revolutionised the marketing world. It has never been so easy to connect with customers, but it also hasn’t ever been so easy for customers to connect with you at all times of the day.
Social media offers you the opportunity to share all the content you create and have the possibility to reach a large group of people that equally have the possibility of sharing the content with others, potentially giving you a huge reach at very little investment.
The one option that does always cost you money is Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. It can prove to be a little bit of a minefield if you don’t know exactly what to do, as it can rack up a high bill very quickly if you aren’t carefully monitoring the keywords and your budget, but once it has been correctly set up, it will bring you a continuous stream of customers. It’s then all about making sure that your outgoing costs aren’t exceeding your income.
There are some other ways of bringing people in that aren’t content related, such as Sponsorships and community building.
It’s all about finding what works for you
As a small business starting off the sheer amount of options might feel a little overwhelming, but it’s all about striking a balance. To start off find the the things that you feel like you can do well and start doing as much of those as possible and once that has turned into a routine you are able to add further means of marketing into your mix to fit your time schedule, your budget and your business size.