Creating an inbound marketing strategy can have huge, positive effects on any type of business out there. I've personally seen all of the small business clients I've worked with here in Orlando, Miami and Tampa, Florida go from minimal organic traffic to sometimes triple or quadruple growth. Growing traffic is one thing, but actually having the right strategies in place for when those potential customers get to your site is also very important.
In order to streamline and get a more successful start to implementing an inbound marketing strategy to your business, there are several things to consider first.
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Should I use a marketing automation software? (Disclosure: I'm a Certified Hubspot Partner)
- What makes your business different than your competition?
- Are you willing to dedicate 5 hours a week to have a "publisher" mentality for your business?
Here are 3 steps to setting your business up for Inbound Marketing success.
1: Make sure your website is set up to capture leads.
All the traffic in the world is pointless unless you have clear Calls to Actions located throughout your site. You you should make it as easy as possible for someone to contact you via email, telephone, to connect on social channels, to download more info, etc. Do you have calls to actions in each post or every page? Remember that when you're using proper inbound marketing strategies, most people wont come to your site via the homepage, they'll find you through an organic blog post, video or landing page which will take them deep into your site.
Notice how a Hubspot client uses simple, relevant Call to Actions in the middle of each blog post.
2: Create great and consistent content.
One question I hear a lot is, "How do I make time for creating content?" and "Where do I start?". The simple answers are this. As a small business owner, you probably already know all of the questions your customers are asking. You already know the answers. Why not start there? (If you don't know all of the questions, start doing research.) The first batch of content should literally answer any possible question that one would ever ask about your company, product or service. Offer up comparisons to your competitors. "vs" blog posts are loved by the search engines as well as your potential customers doing research.
Consistency is the key. Dedicate one hour a day to creating content. People will judge your business by the lack of production of content. There are also a ton of 3rd party companies and people that will physically write for you. (never directly post that content, I would proof read several times and add your own personality and flair to it before it goes out). Two of the companies I'v used before are wordsforless.com and zerys.com.
Think User Experience first.... then SEO. What if you get someone to your site but they get an awkward feeling while reading your content that its made specifically for the search engines. Today, social media plays a huge role in search engine algorithms, so when you create relevant, awesome and helpful content, people will reward you by sharing it across their social network which will ultimately increase its visibility and ranking on Google, Yahoo and Bing. (This also leads to the other point of making your content as easily share-able as possible).
Overwhelmed with the concept of creating a Content Calendar? Don't even know what that means? It's ok. The concept there is to organize, strategically all of your content into schedules so its better managed dependent of the many facets of your business. My solution to that for a small business owner is doing this: Create 12 topics that are related to your business. Each month, focus solely on that topic for ALL of your content marketing efforts. That way, it makes it easier for you to know what to focus on. If you're using a marketing automation software, which I recommend, you'll know what pieces of content or topics resonate better with your audience. You'll then be able to make more of that same type of content. Take a look at the Content Marketing Institute for great ideas on content marketing.
3: Stay active where your prospects are
Are most of your clients on LinkedIn? Specific niche websites? Find out where they hang out, interact, ask questions and get very active THERE. Most of my clients have had tons of success in creating their own LinkedIn Group specific to a broad topic or simply curating 3rd party content. Doing so will keep your business and face fresh on their mind for the one day when they are ready to pull the trigger for a service like yours. Who will they think of first?
Of course, there are many more tips and strategies to creating an inbound marketing strategy but I'll leave that up to you in your comments below.