The most affordable - and effective - approach to Internet marketing is with inbound tactics. But without a solid strategy your results will be less than stellar.
There is a temptation for small business owners and marketers to simply rely on "word-of-mouth" and referrals through social media channels. For too many, this is what constitutes their "affordable" Internet marketing approach. The problem is that, first off, not that many people are probably going to talk about your business.
There is a saying in the business world that “no one cares about your business as much as you do.” This is probably true and, consequently, not many other people are going to care enough about your business to talk about it. Certainly not as much as you would like them to.
A passive approach will not work in this media-saturated, noisy and over-crowded marketing world. Merely posting on social media sites is not enough. You have to have a strategy and an action plan to implement that strategy.
The good news is that an inbound marketing strategy is essentially your ticket to affordable Internet marketing. AND... it only needs a documented plan to carry it out.
People WILL Talk About Your Business - If You Get Them To
People who like your company - and those that work for your company - can become your "best" evangelists, besides yourself.
Being the chief evangelist for your own company is not a new or novel concept. Business owners have been doing it for a few centuries at least. But today it has become easier than ever to recruit help. Lot's of help!
One of the great things about the Internet is social media and the exponential reach of these digital “word-of-mouth” channels. Today you can talk up your business on a multitude of platforms that never before existed. In addition, the rise of social media ranking sites like Yelp and Rate A BIz have created venues for customer input that is simple to use and immediately online.
Posting reviews and testimonials has become a standard practice among clients and customers. And. in fact, an entire industry has now erupted around curating, indexing, promoting and leveraging reviews and testimonials. Smart business owners are making full use of this form of "marketing" potential.
In addition, the content your company publishes on your blog, or with eBooks, SlideShares, or videos, can be seen by potentially millions of people. And the net effect is that what you put out there is multiplied exponentially as it is linked to and shared by others.
And, ultimately, the goal is to see some of those "million" come to your website, or your store, and become a customer.
Affordable Inbound Marketing Means Getting Strategic
If you are the chief evangelist for your company – and possibly the only one evangelizing right now – then it stands to reason that you should make inbound marketing a priority and a major function in your business.
And that requires a strategy and plan to carry it out.
Every business is unique - even in the same industry. So the details of a marketing plan will be somewhat different for every business. Part of this is dictated by your available resources, both financial and staff. Some things you can outsource, others are best done in-house, and some things you may not want to do.
But once you have developed and documented your plan, the key is to stick with it until your inbound marketing strategy is fully implemented. Then you will see results, all the while tracking key metrics to help keep things on track.
Know What You Want To Say - Then Say It
The first key is to know what your message is going to be.
In other words, what is it about your business that is unique and valuable to your prospects?
Do you know? Good. Write it down. Read it out loud. Practice your message and be able to relate it with boldness and from the heart.
Imagine for a moment that all you really had to work with was one billboard on a busy freeway and nothing else. Commuters are driving by every day and they have only a few seconds to see your sign.
What is the one thing you want them to remember?
What is the most important impression you want people to have of your business? Your challenge is to clarify that impression, articulate it, and make it your own.
Then impart that to and instill it into your staff. Make it a message that is easy to take in, easy to remember, and easy to share. This is going to be the underlying message in all your content, all your marketing, and all your promotion.
Besides, if it’s worth saying, it’s worth saying well and saying with boldness!
A Sample Inbound Marketing Plan
In order to make things a bit easier, we have put together this visual guide to help you with a sample marketing plan:
In addition to your documented marketing plan, you will need to focus on three key elements to make things happen.
An effective inbound strategy for affordable Internet marketing require the following:
Decide early on which channels, or platforms, you will use to talk about your company and how you will optimize them. This is called 'distribution'. The smaller your business, the smaller your staff and budget, the fewer channels you should focus on.
The great thing about an inbound marketing strategy is that you can be highly successful by leveraging only a handful of distribution channels such as blogging and email marketing.
2. Getting Help
Don’t settle for doing this alone. Recruit your staff! They have abilities and, hopefully, the willingness to promote and evangelize your business as well. This means you will need to determine what channels they will use and how they'll optimize them.
Just because you are the owner doesn't mean you have to do it all. In fact, because you are the owner you shouldn't do it all since that's not the most productive approach to your role as a leader.
3. Recruiting "Converts"
There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking others to promote you and your company. Elicit the help of your customers, your vendors and suppliers, your friends, colleagues and even your family. Anyone and everyone that knows your business is a potential evangelist. Enlist them, boost them, and remember to thank them profusely and repeatedly when they do talk you up.
And this last tactic is especially critical when you are a local business.
Getting More Help Affordable Internet Marketing
The approach of inbound marketing holds great promise for your business. Getting your message out there is, in many ways, far easier than ever before. But achieving your marketing objectives with an inbound marketing strategy does take some time. It won't happen with a just few blog posts or one email campaign.
People need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. Yet, without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met.
The good news is that you don't have to figure out alone. In fact, one of the best investments you can make with your marketing budget is to partner with a solid firm like BroadVision marketing.
Click on the button below to get your free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session so you can make an informed decision, or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.