Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past several years, you know smartphone has become an essential part of our everyday lives.
Especially so with Millennials, who are known to check their phone 150 times a day, and Generation Y, 85% of which owns smartphones.
They wake up with it, sleep with it and they can’t leave home without it!
As such, people kind of expect that you have a website if you are running a business.
If you don’t, you would be leaving a lot of money on the table.
Today a little over 70% of businesses have a website. But many of them also spend a lot of money on more traditional form of advertisements such as newspaper and magazine ads, TV or radio commercial (outbound marketing).
But just having a website doesn’t mean they are all taking full advantage of it.
Many businesses are not quite convinced that Inbound Marketing, or content-based marketing is worth it and think it’s too time-consuming. So, they keep spending big budget on outbound marketing just because that’s how it’s been done for many years.
But they need to know that nowadays everything is shifting toward digital, especially mobile. People watch less TV, read books and news on mobiles.
Inbound Marketing is a type of marketing where you attract potential customers with interesting content.
Whether blog post, YouTube video or social media, you create informative and educational content for website visitors with the intent to eventually turn them into customers.
Also, interactive nature of the Internet and social media allows you to establish relationships with potential customers.
Even if they don’t become customers immediately, they will enjoy the content and you are providing so much value.
So, the content acts as a magnet that attracts people, nurture leads and converts sales.
Getting ranked in search engines takes time, but you reap the long-term benefits.
By definition, Outbound Marketing is a traditional method of advertising such as TV commercial, magazine ads, billboards and Direct Mail.
I know you’ve seen them everywhere.
But the thing about outbound is, although it is still widely used today, a lot of people consider it outdated.
Think about a TV commercial you’ve seen during the commercial break of your favorite TV show or billboards up on top of the building on a busy street you’ve always walked down.
Chances are very high that you are not interested in those products.
You wonder why advertisers put them out there, don’t you?
You are kind of forced to see it or watch it in the case of TV.
According to NewsCred, 86% of people skip television ads.
Advertisers just send you a message but consumers are just not interested in it.
With Inbound, visitors are the ones who find you. If they choose to visit your site, they can do so and keep reading an article or watch a video. You are not forcing it.
As you can see, Inbound seems to make all the sense as people have a control over what they want to see.
But what makes Inbound Marketing so effective?
Let’s take a look.
Although SEO can take time to see results, content-based marketing is much more cost-effective.
According to Demand Metric, Inbound marketing costs 62% less per lead than traditional outbound marketing.
Why is this the case?
If you create relevant content that matches your buyer personas, there will be more visitors who are going to be engaged in your content and that would result in more leads and sales.
Unlike paid ad, search engine optimized posts will be online for the foreseeable future.
On the other hand, paid ad will be online for only as long as the time period you paid for. It’s going to be only temporary and the expenses will keep piling up as time goes on.
Not only that, there is no guarantee the traffic you get with this type of ad is going to be quality traffic, meaning a lot of them may take only a passing interest in your offering.
It’s pointless to get a lot of traffic and see no sales.
The simplest and easiest way to start creating content is through blogging.
Creating social media accounts doesn’t cost a thing, so stacking social media marketing efforts on top of blogging alone can go a long way if done properly.
Creating video and podcast will take a little more technical skills and budget, but it will not break the bank.
Email marketing is an essential channel if you want to grow your business.
A study reveals more people use email every day (91%) compared to the number of people who use social media on a daily basis: 57% of people use Facebook each day and 14% for Twitter.
So, combine all these different formats and you will have a lot of different options to get your content out there.
Years ago if you wanted to create a website, you had to be able to code, but not anymore.
Today CMS (Content Management System) like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal gives you ability to create a website in a few simple steps.
In addition to web design, if you want to start a business, you need other skills and tools such as:
Over the past several years, we have seen more and more online tools pop up on the market that let you manage your business efficiently. Some of them are even free in a limited capacity and you can choose to upgrade according to your needs at an affordable price.
If you feel you lack any of these skills, you don’t have to do it all by yourself. You can outsource it, but doing it yourself as much as possible will sure save some budget.
Many of these tools are user-friendly and help you stay productive and scale your business
As a small business owner, you know getting quality traffic and leads ?is one of the biggest challenges.
And you wonder how you are going to compete against big brands that dominate search engine results.
But it is still possible to rank well if you have well-planned strategies.
For example, your products may not be overly popular ones in your marketplace but you have a small and loyal fan base.
It may be difficult to even have a physical shop and put print advertisements out there like larger companies do. But having a shop online will enable you to manage your business at lower cost.
Research your niche, identify your target audience and analyze the competition.
Then research keywords, use long-tail keywords and start creating content.
Like I said, writing content takes time, but with proper SEO techniques, social media marketing, email marketing and other proper strategies, you still have a chance to make it work.
Do you think your SEO knowledge is too shaky?
You can learn basic SEO and more for free here on Rankwatch.
Content is the backbone of content marketing, which is a part of inbound marketing. Your content is meant to educate or help readers.
It’s soft-sell as opposed to hard-sell.
If they can learn something from your content, you would be offering a lot of value without asking anything in return. And you will build trust.
You may not see immediate ROI, but they will feel they want to visit your site again and that will create a long-term relationship.
Speaking of quality, Brian Dean of Backlinko publishes a blog post only once a month. Yet, his article gets shared a lot.
This is the type of quality you want and it’s a great example you should emulate.
If you can create that kind of quality and value, people are going to want more and more from you!
So, what’s great about all these content-based marketing is, unlike conventional advertising methods such as TV commercial, billboards, Direct Mail, magazine and newspaper ads, you can interact with your audience.
As a result, you can establish relationships with potential customers even before they buy anything and show them that you care about them.
Like I talked about a TV commercial and billboards earlier, this type of advertising is not quite targeted and doesn’t encourage communication.
According to Hubspot, 84% of millennials don’t trust traditional advertising. While there is still a place for conventional advertising, it would be foolish not to take full advantage of ever growing opportunities the Internet has created.