If you’re a small business you don’t need to make a lot of noise about your brand to attract new business leads
It’s no longer about ‘shouty’ Outbound marketing; today it’s all about the subtleties of Inbound marketing.
“Boldthink” had a great way to describe Outbound Marketing – “interruptive media”. It was loud, it was ‘in your face’ and it served no other purpose other than to overload your senses with images and information regarding their product. Nothing else. There was nothing altruistic about it whatsoever!
Inbound Marketing, however, is much quieter and more subtle. It’s also much more cost-effective and has a greater Return on Investment than Outbound, as Hubspot indicated,
“The average cost per outbound lead is $346, compared to $135 per inbound lead”
There are various different stages of Inbound Marketing and this wonderful diagram from Hubspot, below, shows just what tools are used at what stage of the marketing process:
So starting from the beginning, how do you turn initial interest into loyal customers and even advocates of your brand?
Identifying your Ideal Client
I’ve talked in previous articles about the need to identify as soon as possible who your ‘ideal’ customer or client is. Who are you trying to attract to your website? What do they do? Where can you find them on the Internet?
Once you’ve got that, imagine yourselves in their shoes for a moment. Try and anticipate what difficulties or problems they are likely to encounter as a business and then set about devising strategies to solve those difficulties. You need to attract customers by providing them with useful information and content which will be of value to their business. This is the essential difference between Outbound and Inbound marketing.
It’s a question of attraction; of give and take. You want visitors to come to your website and in return you’ll give them something useful to take away. We see this going on outside every day.
One of the most useful tools in the marketer’s toolbox is the blog. Its usefulness cannot be underestimated as it’s the most efficient and effective way you’re going to attract new business leads.
If you’re still convinced about the need to blog, have a look at this fabulously beautiful Infographic posted from Social Media Today. It pretty much speaks for itself!
Aside from attracting new business customers and clients to your website with interesting articles, Google loves fresh new content on websites and adding new articles to your blog each week is a great way to achieve this. Ideally your blog should be housed within your website; don’t make the mistake I made initially by using a separate blogging platform as you will lose out on an awful lot of web traffic.
Blog Sharing Communities
As soon as you set up your blog you want to find an audience which will be interested in reading your articles. There’s no point in writing fabulous content if nobody can read it. You might as well be standing in the middle of a desert yelling at the top of your voice; nobody is going to hear or see you.
So find some blog sharing websites to join; they’re mostly free. Start getting to know other bloggers, join in with their conversations, comment on their blogs, share their articles and hopefully they might share yours with their friends and increase your reach.
I’ve looked into some recommended blog communities and have listed a mixture of UK and US-based websites here:
- The Business Zone – Blogs
- Bizitalk – find them on Twitter as #Bizitalk
- Biz Sugar
- Blog Engage
So you have your blog set up, you’re writing engaging content and you’re starting to get yourself known as a decent blogger. What can you do next?
You’ve already spent a good number of hours researching information for your blog, you have a load of facts and figures at your fingertips so don’t waste them on just one article. Use the material again and again in different forms. Recycle it.
Re-purpose your blog post into a PowerPoint presentation, for example. Take the key points of your article and insert it as text in your presentation, create some fabulous visual images, add a link to your website at the foot of each slide and submit your presentation to Slideshare to increase your reach.
I’ve got some ready-to-use PowerPoint templates and an instructional guide from the wonderful people at HubSpot to give away which will help you with the structure of your presentation. If you’d like copies just click on the button here …
Here’s a fabulous example of just how engaging and entertaining you can make your presentations. I came across this Slideshare from Ana Hoffman about a month ago and I’m always turning to it for inspiration. I absolutely love it! It’s not easy to make slides look this good so don’t despair; Ana has a real talent.
And don’t stop at a presentation. Recycle your content again and turn it into a webinar, a podcast or a PDF that can be downloaded and shared. These would make fabulous free gifts to offer your clients if they sign up to your blog, for example. More of that in a short while.
Share and Share Alike
Now you’ve created some great content you want to share it across as many social media platforms as you can to increase your visibility and attract potential customers to your website.
You don’t need to have a presence on every single social media site but make sure you are where your clients are likely to be because you want them to notice you. If they sell services to business, B2B, you’ll likely find them on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and / or Google+. If you sell a product, B2C, you might want to build up a presence on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.
When you come to promote your content don’t forget the general rule regarding sharing on social media platforms. Try and spend about 80% of your time promoting other people’s businesses and the remaining 20% of your time showcasing your own. If you bear that in mind you’ll soon find that your growing list of followers are sharing your beautiful blog posts, articles and presentations with their Twitter buddies, their Circles on Google+ and their connections on LinkedIn, thus widening your audience even more.
Converting your Followers
Now you’ve got everyone’s attention, they’re reading your business tips and articles and they’re flocking to your website, what are the next steps to take in the marketing process?
You need to find a way of converting all your visitors to business leads and ultimately paying customers.
You might already be doing it but some examples are:
- Inviting people to subscribe to your blog;
- Use Call-to-Action buttons to ask your visitors to do something, such as sign up for a free eBook or webinar;
- Use attractive landing pages to showcase what you’re offering your visitors after they’ve followed your ‘calls to action’.
In my blog post last week I showed you how easy it was to create your own Call-to-Action buttons.
As soon as somebody follows your instructions and clicks on your Call to Action button you want to send them to a ‘landing page’.
Ideally a new landing page should be created and tailored specifically for each new offer you’re making. They are a fabulous way of driving new business leads and building up your client base. The key information you need to obtain from a landing page is:
- the client’s name;
- email address; and
- what sort of business they have.
The latter point is incredibly helpful so that you can segment your client base and send out newsletters, updates and offers specifically for those people.
If you need to look into creating landing pages, here are a few suggested websites:
- HubSpot – my first port of call as they are absolute experts;
- Unbounce: will allow 30 days FREE trial!
Because this is such a massive subject, I’ll talk about the final two steps of Inbound Marketing next week: converting business leads into paying customers and caring for the client base you already have. This is so important but it’s often overlooked in an effort to achieve more business leads.
In the meantime, sign up below and receive regular articles and giveaways!
I have a fabulous Inbound Marketing Chart from Ana Hoffman to give to my lovely subscribers this week which shows you just about every possible way to drive traffic to your website; it’s incredibly detailed and it’s pretty too so print it off for your office wall!
Meantime have a fabulous day and I’ll see you all next week!