While this has officially been declared the year of the entrepreneur, starting a small business has actually never been harder. The tools are plentiful, the costs are low and the market seems huge – so what’s the problem?
The biggest problem small business owners face nowadays is standing out from the crowd and reaching out to their customers. A high quality product alone just won’t do – smart branding and active marketing are key to taking your business to the next level.
Huge, expensive marketing campaigns ran by large, corporation-like agencies are successful almost without exception. However, a campaign of that scale is extremely expensive, and is most often out of reach for an emerging small business.
That leaves you with the DIY marketing option. There are numerous tools and services you can use for free and use them as a base for all the marketing you do. Although there might be a slight chance you’ve got a knack for marketing that comes to you naturally, you’re probably not going to nail the first time.
Being able to promote your product, service or brand rather aggressively for a minuscule amount of money, combined with you being a novice to the trade, can never lead to good.
Inbound marketing is the safest, and probably the most efficient type of marketing you can use to promote your emerging small business. People are increasingly starting to steer clear from aggressive, one size fits all ads, and are becoming more and more interested in specific, targeted content.
That kind of content – company created, targets a specific audience – that’s the core of inbound marketing. It starts with a website, and includes, but is not limited to content marketing, SEO, blogging, social media and email marketing. Using these particular channels makes for a more effective campaign – one that’s bound to generate more leads. Traditional marketing techniques are considered to be disruptive and too pushy. This kind of marketing fits seamlessly into people’s UX when surfing the net.
Seeing how incredibly simple inbound marketing can be, it remains a mystery why so many business owners fail to focus more on it.
No need to spend a huge amount of time sweating over how to start your campaign either. We’ve got the 10 basic principles of inbound marketing right here – and you can start using them right now.
1. Know your audience
Whether or not your inbound marketing will be successful or not is determined by how well you know who your target audience is.
You’ll be able to create much better content when you know what your future customers like best. To do that, you must isolate a specific age group or gender, and find out as much as you can about them. Where do they live, where do they shop, what do they buy, what do they find funny, what do they read, etc. – these are all the things you should know before you start working on your content.
2. SEO your website
Nothing says trusting and reputable more than being the top ranked result on a search engine page. People are generally less interested in sponsored ads, so your best bet would be to optimize the content of your website so that it ranks high organically.
Providing people with the exact thing they’re looking for is the essence of inbound marketing, and a little bit of SEO can go a long way here.
3. Write blogs
No matter what industry you’re in, blogs are by far the best way to generate more traffic to your website and attract potential customers.
People interested in a certain topics want to hear what the professionals in the field have to say, and your blogs could be what sets you apart from the competition. They’re easy to read, easy to share, and make it easy to measure the engagement they receive.
A great way to gain integrity is to guest post. Sharing your thoughts or some of your previous content on similar websites and blogs could open your business up to a whole new audience.
4. Get active on social media
By now, you’ve probably found out where most of your audience is and what they like to see online. Posting targeted content on social media is by far the most direct way you can approach them without it being an obvious ad.
It’s free, it’s fun and incredibly efficient as you can start reaping its merits just seconds after you post something. The amount of traction your social media posts receive are always a pretty clear representation of how well your company will perform with that audience.
5. Add some email marketing too
Nobody likes having tons of spam mail crowding their inboxes. Poorly written email newsletters are bound to go straight to trash 10 out of 10 times.
However, a custom newsletter that provides real value to the customer can go a long way. Make sure your emails talk directly to the customer, are written in a friendly and approachable tone, and aren’t pushy or boring. Keep them limited to one per week and we guarantee they’ll never see the inside of the spam folder.
6. Always be available to your customers
Catering to your customers’ needs shouldn’t stop with a customized email. You should always be available for them to answer any questions, provide any additional info or just give them advice when shopping.
You don’t need a fifty-person call center to manage all these inquiries. Adding a live chat to your website will enable you to handle all the customer service aspects of your business. It will give you a direct and quick way to solve any issues, and will help you establish an unparalleled integrity and respect.
When you start a small business, being the CEO,CFO and COO already seems like too big of a stretch to manage. Adding a marketing executive to your already crowded portfolio looks like it’s downright impossible.
However, inbound marketing doesn’t require any particular set of skills or experience in order to be successful. The only thing you need is in-depth knowledge of your industry, an understanding of your customers and the passion to bring your vision to life.
Ready to take your company where it needs to be? Start your inbound marketing campaign by creating an amazing free website with SITE123, and watch your clients lining in for more.