For some business owners the idea of affordable Internet marketing seems deceptive. Sure, they know that much of what can be done online is free. And they know that marketing on the Internet is no longer an option for pretty much any business. But they have also been burned far too many times to really believe that idea any longer.
The good news is that, yes, Internet marketing can be affordable and the better news is that you don't have to do it yourself.
The Best Path to Affordable Internet Marketing
The truth is that the term "Internet Marketing" is so broad and so vague that it can - and does - mean many things to many people. And to make it more frustrating, even the term "affordable" is relative since what might be considered affordable to a 100-employee company grossing a million dollars a year would be unthinkably extravagant for the mom-and-pop sandwich shop located across the street.
Because Internet marketing is such a broad field, it tends to be a bewildering jungle of tactics, options, and strategies that can leave an average business owner simply frustrated. The questions can seem to be endless:
- Do I need to buy advertising?
- What about a business blog?
- Should I be sending emails?
- How do I find customers online?
- Does my type of business need to be online?
- Will I need to update my website?
And on, and on...
So, What Kind of Affordable Internet Marketing Do I Need?
That's actually a great question and it's the place where you want to start. If we were to view the marketing realm from, say, a 30,000 foot vantage point we would see that there are essentially two approaches: the more traditional "outbound" marketing approach and the more recent "inbound" marketing.
Outbound marketing can be effective still. Even on the Internet. However, because it typically involves paying for advertising, space, time, etc. it is rarely considered "affordable". And, many would argue, it pits your business head-to-head with every other business fighting for attention on the Internet space. The reality of outbound marketing is that,more often than not, those with the biggest budgets win.
Why Inbound Marketing is Affordable Internet Marketing
So, what is inbound marketing anyway? Unfortunately, it is still a somewhat fuzzy concept to many business owners and even a few marketers. For a great synopsis we can look to Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, the company that coined the term "inbound marketing". He once defined it this way:
Inbound Marketing is the opposite of traditional outbound marketing (advertising, direct mail/phone, tradeshows, etc.), where you interrupt your way into your people's lives. Instead of interrupting, Inbound Marketing pulls prospects into and down through your sales funnel in a new and natural way based on how they search for information and make purchase decisions today.
How does it compare, then, with other approaches to marketing your business?
One way to look at the relationship of inbound marketing and the classic outbound approach is to see inbound as a new approach to Promotion.
Promotion is typically comprised of all of the methods and channels of communication that marketers use to provide information about their product. This usually includes print and broadcast advertising, publicity and public relations, and other types of sales promotion. And it usually means trying to interrupt your audience from whatever they happen to be reading or watching in order to get their attention.
An inbound marketing strategy, on the other hand, takes a bit of an indirect approach to capturing the attention of your prospects. By providing great content that helps to solve their problems and answer their questions, the inbound marketing approach "promotes" your product or service by drawing your visitors to your website.
The foundation and backbone of an effective inbound marketing strategy is content. High-quality, relevant, and consistent content is the key to attracting, winning and keeping prospects, leads, and customers. This content can take the form of blog posts, ebooks or white papers, video, email and even the pages on your website.
A big challenge for many business owners is how to best create and publish this never-ending need for fresh content? The next bigger challenge is how to best distribute and use the content in order to actually implement a real marketing strategy?
This is where the "affordable" aspect comes into play when we speak of affordable Internet marketing. It is certainly true that a business owner or marketing manager could generate all of their own content, develop an inbound marketing plan, and implement it all by themselves. But the truth is that it takes time and it takes a number of skills and knowledge that most business owners don't have already, or don't have the time to acquire.
One of the best solutions for this challenge is to hire a local inbound marketing agency to mange and execute your Internet marketing for you. Because the plan can be custom fit to your business size and your particular needs, the cost to you for outsourcing can be comfortably affordable.
Who's Your Local Inbound Marketing Agency?
The best news of all, of course, is that as an owner or a marketer strapped for time and resources, you don't have to go it alone. In fact, it often is a much more cost-effective and strategically superior option to outsource your content marketing efforts to a professional agency that specializes in inbound marketing.
Achieving your affordable Internet marketing objectives with an inbound marketing strategy also takes time. And it won't happen with a few blog posts or great ebook. People will need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. But without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met.
Content and inbound marketing work day in and day out. Once you post a blog article or upload a Slideshare piece, it is always there, working to educate and compel people to become leads. And when they do come to you, they are educated, informed, and much more likely to make the decision to buy.
Get your Free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session to help you make an informed decision or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.