This is an extension of tips provided for the CIO article “13 ways to make your inbound marketing stand out.” The tip used there is below along with 4 other ways to make your inbound marketing efforts more successful.
It seems like traditional marketing methods like direct mail and trade shows have gone the way of the landline telephone. Inbound marketing (digital marketing, online marketing, or whatever else you might want to call it) is all the rage, and companies are increasingly devoting more and more of their budgets to it. Seems like everybody’s doing it!
But just like that good old landline, more people than you think are still hanging onto their old marketing ways, particularly in the SMB (small-medium business) realm. According to Smart Insights, 1 in 5 small to medium sized businesses did not plan to use digital marketing at all in 2017. Despite the advantages, the complexity and the sheer number of channels to keep on top of proves to be overwhelming for smaller companies.
As a result, they’re missing out on the advantages of inbound marketing, including the ability to reach a larger, more targeted audience and reduce marketing costs. If this is you, have no fear. I’m going to give you 5 easy ways to jump start your inbound marketing campaign.
1. Start with your goals
Inbound marketing is a vast undertaking and encompasses many things. No business, especially an SMB, can do it all. You need to narrow it down to the activities that will be most beneficial to your business.
So how do you know where you should be spending your time? Well, first you need to know what you’re hoping to get out of it. Want more website traffic? You’ll probably want to focus on SEO and paid ads. Want to raise brand awareness? Content and social media marketing may be a better use of your time.
If you skip this crucial step, you’ll just be spinning your wheels. Set your goals so you can ensure you will get ROI from your efforts.
2. Know your audience
You should create profiles (commonly known as buyer personas) to make sure everything you do, particularly in content and social media, resonates with your target audience. These personas should include demographics (location, age, gender, education, occupation, etc.), which social networks they frequent, and more.
Most importantly, your personas should zero in on your audience’s goals and challenges. These factors should inform everything you do, from choosing which products/services to offer to what kind of content you provide.
Like setting goals, developing buyer personas helps ensure you are spending your limited time on efforts that will actually bear fruit. You can’t be everywhere, and you can’t please everyone in the world. Buyer personas help you figure out which networks and what type of content will work for the audience you really want.
Automation sometimes gets a bad rep, particularly in social media. After all, people want to interact with other people, not machines, right?
True. But you simply can’t keep up in digital marketing without some automation. You want to be able to post multiple times a day at the times when your audience is most likely to interact with your content. Even if those times all happen to fall during your working hours (and they often don’t), are you really going to stop everything you’re doing to post several times a day?
It’s fine to automate things like the times your blog posts will be published and your social media posts. But, don't go crazy. You should always engage personally with people who follow you and who like or comment on your posts.
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when you start with inbound marketing. Offline marketing materials can find new life online. For instance, a newsletter you mailed out to subscribers can be turned into an email newsletter and broken down into blog posts. Pamphlets and product specs can form the basis of pages on your website.
Take a look at your vault of old marketing materials. You’ll likely be surprised what can be reused online, saving you a ton of time and effort.
4. Be patient and persistent
Inbound marketing is a long game. While you can get some quick wins (particularly with pay-per-click advertising and some SEO tactics), it’s going to take some time to see real growth. Don’t pull the plug because you don’t see results right away.
Your goal should be long-term, sustainable growth. This takes patience, time, and an ongoing strategy. When you do see results, you’re not done. You need to keep going. Digital growth results stop when you stop investing time in them.