If you’re like most business owners, you probably know how it goes.
You don’t just wear one hat. You probably have to fill more than one crucial role within your organization. One minute you’re dealing with a customer. The next minute you’re training an employee. You may even also have to be the accountant and the janitor.
Despite having to wear all these different hats at once, you still have to somehow find the time to grow your business by bringing in new opportunities. In this article, we will look at how you can add the value of inbound marketing to your business over time, without adding too much more to your already chalked-full work schedule.
Many businesses struggle properly prioritize their marketing efforts to take care of their more pressing needs at the time. But when you are operating on limited time, it’s more important to devote your time and resources to spending it on what will yield the biggest return.
In a perfect world, a complete inbound marketing strategy is the best thing to help your small business grow.
While there are many different aspects of inbound, it's not that difficult to understand. Primarily, inbound marketing and sales are about addressing the pain points of your target audience.
Sure, with all the different channels at your disposal and the difficulty in implementing inbound, it can be overwhelming – especially when you don’t have enterprise level resources. But the key is to get started and expand your strategy as you can.
One of the best ways to go about breaking it down is by splitting your strategy into phases.
What is Inbound Marketing?
At its core, inbound marketing focuses on attracting visitors to your business opposed to interrupting them with your messages. Think the difference between a prospect finding you online vs. you finding the prospect and cold calling them.
Inbound marketing gains the attention of your prospects using messaging (content) that directly addresses their pain points. Then the inbound nurturing process helps convert them into customers.
Phase 1: Create Content for Your Prospects
This phase is NOT just about creating content. A 3-year-old could draw squiggly lines with a crayon, post it to the internet (or the fridge in this case) and that could be considered “content.”
You want to create content that adds value. And by adds value, we mean adds value to your audience and not you (nurturing your prospects to customers is where you’ll see the value of your content). Anything that your buyer persona sees as adding value to them should be your primary focus!
A good place to start is by brainstorming a few content ideas that your buyer persona would search for.
Some common types might include blogs, webinars, case studies, white papers, and videos.
Phase 2: Optimize Your Website with On-Page SEO
So you’ve created all this valuable content, but now what? Well, Phase 2 includes optimizing the three most important areas of your website: on-page SEO, Usability, and Conversions.
On-Page SEO: Having a site that users can find through search engines is a must. And SEO is the foundation of how you accomplish that. Essential on-page SEO elements you’ll want to include are a page title, clean URL, meta description, and alt text for starters.
Usability: Having a site that focuses on user-friendly design is also a must. This includes having a clear navigation, so users know how to explore your website intuitively. Also, have a focused strategy for each page with the content around one subject.
Conversions: Website traffic is great! But having traffic won’t do you much if you can’t convert it into concrete leads to follow up with and nurture. This involves creating elements that your audience can engage with, building off all that awesome content you created in Phase 1. You’ll want to add call-to-actions, have conversion-focused landing pages, and highlight the next steps for your prospects to take.
Phase 3: Promote Your Content
If you thought Phase 1 and 2 were going to be involved, welcome to Phase 3. If you can push through and figure out this stage, then you will reap the huge rewards that accompany it.
Developing a strong local SEO and social presence is critical for most small business. Start by claiming your local directory listings on sites like Yelp, Google My Business, and Manta. If you are blogging monthly, also schedule corresponding social posts to go out with the blog. Don’t over promote, though; find the happy balance (or risk annoying your prospects).
A good rule of thumb is to follow the 80/20 rule: dedicate 80 percent of your social posts to engage with your audience and use 20 percent of your social content for brand promotion.
Phase 4: Review and Improve
Here is where you can (setup and) look at your Google Analytics account to see how successful Phase 1-3 were. How much traffic are you getting? How much of that traffic are you converting into contacts?
Knowing what's working and what's not will save you time and money by allowing you to focus on where to improve. Consider these questions:
- How are visitors finding our website?
- Are these visitors converting into leads?
- Which calls-to-action are receiving high click-through rate and which ones are not?
- How can we improve our calls to action, landing pages and content offers to try and increase conversion rates?
Through these four phases, you can then start connecting with your audience by determining where they are and how you can add value and be of assistance to them.
If you are looking to get started with inbound, check out our resource center for other useful marketing information. It's full of free knowledge for you to download and learn how to grow your business.
We know you’re busy, but your message deserves to be heard. We also know if you schedule some time to add inbound marketing to your small business plan, you’ll be glad you did in the long run.