To many businesses any competitive advantage is welcome and inbound marketing can be a game changer. But how do you know if inbound marketing is right for you?
As a small business owner, I understand the challenges of committing to a long term investment that may not pay dividends for several months. Having implemented inbound for my own company and the challenges it has presented, the end rewards are well worth the wait. So, if you are a small business owner considering inbound marketing for your business there are some key requirements to consider and determine if inbound is right for you.
Inbound marketing can take a couple of months to set up properly and then a couple more months to generate the sales leads you may be expecting. While many of our clients have seen triple digit increases in website visitors and key performance indicators, generating quality leads can take time. If you are not willing to wait 3-6 months for real results then inbound may not be a good fit for you. Smaller businesses may not have the budget to implement a full-scale digital communications plan. If you are one of these organizations, any effort is better than none. We recommend a phased approach to put all of the necessary elements in place that you can build on over time.
Many small businesses see inbound as a social media push and try to tackle it internally. Inbound is a strategic and tactical plan for communicating with people, one-to-one, online. It's a science of attracting and engaging prospective customers and pulling them through a funnel to improve your sales. Social media, blogging and SEO are just a couple of the tools used within the ecosystem. A good agency can help you to understand the entire ecosystem of inbound marketing that drives leads and sales. We see a lot of businesses that have tried to implement a social media storm only to spend a lot of time and effort with no results. You must have all of the components in place to truly see ROI.
Inbound marketing is like being at a networking event that never ends. The more you and your company talk, meet and exchange conversation the better the results. For 60 years businesses have engaged in sales and marketing practices that are no longer as effective as they used to be. Embracing today’s tools, strategies and tactics for growth require everyone to be on board, from the CEO to the broom pusher. Leadership must accept this and get involved. We recommend that everyone in the company be educated on what inbound marketing is and why it is important. Better yet, how everyone can be involved.
4. Expertise & Publishing
If you are like most businesses you and your team are experts at what you do. Whether you are the business owner or a recent college graduate, you most likely have expertise in something. Whether it be tips and tricks or simply an opinion, there are others out there that are interested in what you have to say. Many small businesses are not used to publishing content but when you do it changes the way you look at your customers and their needs. An example would be to produce content about every question a customer or prospect has ever asked you.
Small businesses have an incredible opportunity to become a very important resource for an entire community of people no matter how narrow your niche.
5. Teamwork & Tools
Whether your business is 1 person or 100 successful inbound marketing requires a team and tools to execute and measure your success. If you are a small business and cannot justify a monthly fee of $3000 or more, start small. We recommend that you consult with a proven inbound marketing agency and be up front. Tell them your budget and goals and let them help you to identify the key components for business growth. A good agency should be able to help you to slowly engage in inbound marketing and offer advise on how to measure your efforts.
Inbound marketing works. Period. I have seen it work for my business and I have seen it work for hundreds of other businesses. Like anything good, it takes time, rigor and knowledge. I highly recommend inbound marketing for any business, regardless of size. If you have the patience, understanding, culture, expertise and team you are well on your way to success.