It’s been a long time since I talked about basic inbound marketing for a new small business owner. All the articles you have read on this blog are tiny pieces of the broad topic of inbound marketing, but is easy to lose the forest for the trees. So for right now let’s do a satellite 3D map search and look at what inbound marketing is.
I remember the days before computers and internet. For some of you that might seem like the Stone Age, but it really wasn’t that long ago. The grocery store I shopped at, the pharmacy I got medicine from when I was sick, my barber—all these people knew me, knew my name and really wanted to know how I was doing. Business was personal, complete with real, not virtual, assistance.
Not everything was that personal. There were newspapers, radio and television ads that seemed to interrupt what was going on. You know, we still have those television ads that are much louder than the show we were just watching. But for the most part small business owners like yourself would engage us as we walked into their establishment by offering help. We would enjoy our visit and found just what we were looking for. Then the business person would ask if we would like to get coupons and sales information mailed to our homes.
Businesses like Walgreens tries to portray themselves as the corner drug store between Happy and Healthy. Radio Shack offers every customer the opportunity to get on their mailing list. But we are not going to as many shops in reality as we used. People are using the internet to get answers to questions and to buy things without having to leave home. You probably have a business that is only online or you want to have an online presence.
That’s great. But there are a few problems. The first is that the noise of all the information, articles and businesses is louder than any single ad on television. How many times has you gone to a site to buy something and felt like you were dealing with a robot. I love Amazon, but they remind me of a catalog more than a business, even if they do welcome me by name.
Inbound Marketing enters stage just right
Enter inbound marketing. You want your visitors to feel like they are visiting a store or a service like people did in the Stone Age, complete with humans who want to make them feel at home while they are visiting. You wouldn’t yell at them if they were in a real store nor would you send Robbie the Robot out to serve them. Inbound marketing is a gentle way to engage, convert and nurture your guests. Don’t those sound like the way you would want to be treated? And that’s the point.
Here are 3 tips to making your potential customer feel at home:
- When you write articles for your blog, be friendly. Write as if you were sitting with a customer at Starbucks. OK, you are going to want to use better punctuation and grammar and those run on sentences, forget it. Use a conversational tone. Be engaging.
- Make your articles all about your guest. You wouldn’t want to visit someone who goes on about how wonderful they are, how superior their kids or products are or who wants to show you the slides from their last 10 vacations. I don’t know about you, but I would suddenly remember something I had to do or somewhere I had to go. On a website leaving very fast, called a bounce rate, is the equivalent of rushing from those slides. Everyone loves to talk about themselves and some problem they have. You want your articles to highlight their pain points.
- What do you and your guests have in common? For one thing, we have seen that they have pain points and what do you have? The solution. Give them some information that will help them see that you know what they need, you are an authority on fixing it and that you probably had the same problem before you found “the solution.” Offer them a free report that addresses the problem and give them some help on how to solve it. You don’t want to totally solve it, because you are a business person, after all, who has to make a living. But give them a very generous slice of solution.
Do you begin to see how inbound marketing is very much like things were in the Stone Age? Remembering that people are social and being friendly is social will help you determine how to engage, convert and nurture your guests into using your products or services. Is that forest a little clearer now? Please share your ideas on inbound marketing. Thanks.
Jaco Grobbelaar is the owner of BroadVision Marketing. BroadVision Marketing works with business owners to put in place inbound and outbound marketing strategies that consistently secure new clients. The BroadVision Marketing Training Center is located in Petaluma, CA and primarily serves companies in the San Francisco Bay area.
Jaco can be reached at email@example.com or 707.766.9778 or connect with Jaco on Facebook - www.facebook.com/broadvisionmarketing - and LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/JacoGrobbelaar.He can also be found at Jaco+.