Chris Owen

Written by Chris Owen

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Inbound Marketing for Small Businesses

If you own a small business then you need to attract an audience to view and, hopefully, buy your products and services. One of the fundamental keys to turning a window shopper into an over the counter buyer is ensuring that you’re offering them exactly what they’re looking for.

This is essentially what being in business is all about, and through a combination of customer satisfaction and word of mouth, your products and services should be flying off the shelves quicker than one penny buns in a baker’s shop.

The same can certainly be said for small businesses operating online and if you’ve yet to discover the virtues of inbound marketing then right here is where you find out more.

Creating content that is going to attract your target audience means that you’re just a click away from a call to action or an actual sale. This process is all about turning curious people you haven’t met yet into customers, and if they’re happy with their experience then they will often spread the word and help you attract more business along the way.

If you’re still not convinced as to the importance of inbound marketing for small businesses then below are a few more reasons why this method certainly outweighs traditional alternatives.

Inbound marketing costs less than outbound options

If you take into consideration the costs involved in traditional marketing i.e. printing, mailing, and advertising, and weigh them against inbound choices, then you can rest assured which side is going to get the thumbs up from your accountant. A solid content strategy is all that’s required to make inbound marketing pay for itself, with blogs, SEO and social media all adding to the online mix for attracting an ideal audience. Even if you’re employing a PPC strategy this is still much more cost effective than offline advertising and from social pages to banner adverts, getting someone to click through to your site is a sure-fire means of making your money work right where it’s needed.

Inbound marketing enables small businesses to interact with their customers

Inbound marketing also offers small businesses the chance to listen and learn from their customers in a way that outbound methods could only dream of. In the past advertising was seen as a means of keeping up with the competition with little or no means of recording results. By providing comment boxes on blog posts, specialist forums and two-way channels of communication, small businesses can act upon and respond to their audience’s needs almost immediately as well as monitoring what motivates and drives them to a sale.

Inbound marketing can reach the right readership

The essence of inbound marketing is that people are coming to you not the other way round. There’s nothing worse than receiving a call or having a sales person knock at your door when you least expect it, which is why you’re much more likely to find a happier response to your sales team when it’s been initiated the other way round. By aiming your message at an already on-board target audience you’re half way to receiving a positive outcome and if you can continue to produce compelling blog posts and engaging content then you’ll be able to keep ’em coming back for more.

Small businesses should employ a softer approach to marketing

As a small business, it’s vital not to put off potential customers with an aggressive or intrusive approach to a sale which is why inbound marketing is seen as a much more attractive proposition. By producing informative and useful documents, infographics that really stand out, and blog posts that are packed full of handy hints and free information, you’re not selling to your customers by being pushy, you’re attracting them under their own steam.

Inbound marketing helps small businesses spread the word

One of the key areas that small businesses need to promote their products and services is word of mouth and thanks to today’s fast moving communication channels good experiences can be shared at the click of a button. Spreading the word about an awesome blog post, funny video or a unique image is just what people like to do and if you can aim to turn your readers into promoters then the job is most definitely a good ‘un.

Small businesses should shout about their personality

Every small business wants to stand out from the crowd and the chance to operate online certainly gives website owners the chance to do so. SEO, social pages and blogging all present an ability to promote who you are and what your business stands for and from climbing the SERP’s to building and developing your brand identity, inbound marketing enables small businesses to gain an edge on much larger competitors.

The four most important methods of inbound marketing

Below are the four main inbound marketing methods that every small business needs to employ online and if you’re intending to attract the right audience before converting them to a sale then these present the perfect means to do just that…

  • Blogging – this is one of the most important starter points for an inbound marketing campaign as it helps to cement your brand’s identity as well as appealing to a specific audience. Educational and useful content is essential for providing a platform that people want to return to and if you can engage and encourage feedback then this is an excellent way to find out more about your customers and your business.
  • Search engine optimisation – if you’re online then you need to be found. SEO provides the best way for new visitors to discover what you have to offer and if your website’s not appearing in a search engine’s results when someone asks a question or types in specific terms or keywords related to your business, then you need to employ an expert to ensure it does.
  • Web page content – as every page on your website is a possible entry point, each one needs to be treated with the respect and the content that it deserves. Providing useful content that engages and helps is exactly what you need to be doing and if you can work along the premise that your content should be a guiding light for those lost on the web then you should be sailing under blue skies in no time at all.
  • Social settings – so you’ve got the content and the blog posts but how are you going to communicate the fact to potential readers? Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter et al are all ideal playgrounds from where to shout about your latest blog post, content update or special offer which is why you definitely need to keep these social platforms primed and productive as part of your inbound strategy.

Why inbound marketing is crucial to small businesses

Inbound marketing is an essential part of every small business’ armoury and provides an invaluable chance to engage, convert and form a loyal customer base that will both buy your products and help to promote them to other like-minded peers. Inbound marketing doesn’t happen overnight and there’s no one solution to definitely making it work. Time, patience and a clear strategy should all be deployed before and during the process and if you can listen to feedback and act accordingly then there’s no reason why this marketing strategy can’t turn into the gift that keeps on giving.