Inbound Marketing Best Practices for Small Business

Posted by Cydne Stewart Apr 21, 2015

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Content marketing and the inbound methodology are not for everyone, but those who are willing to put in the work benefit highly. Could your company earn more revenue with killer content, video marketing and simple application of inbound marketing analytics?

For some businesses, ditching the archaic ways of outbound marketing can be a difficult concept to swallow. Knowing your website visitors will see promotional pop-up ads your marketing team has put time and effort into developing can be comforting in a sense. No matter where that customer is on your website their actions will trigger a strategically placed pop up ad touting your latest sales promotion.

Pop-up ads, although effective at notifying your website visitors of a promotion, offer, or other content can leave a sour taste in the mouths of your site visitors. This unpleasant experience of interruption and force-fed advertising has caused consumers to tread softly around brands who use these tactics.

So, how do you go above and beyond for each of your website visitors, and position your brand to generate more leads without exhausting your marketing budget with expensive PPC (pay-per-click) ads?

Content marketing paired with the inbound marketing methodology is your answer and here’s why.

Content marketers can use thought leadership and industry specifics to enlighten, educate, and engage customers. This engagement process is forward progress for any company looking to establish brand recognition and increased revenue generation.

The content you create should be developed around the inbound marketing methodology. Let's review best practices to get your content development machine primed and ready to produce measurable marketing progress.

Develop buyer personas: A buyer persona is a tool used internally to help inform and guide the content creation process. This document contains information about typical buyers for your company and should be used as a living document, always updated and constantly changing. Because more and more consumer decisions are happening prior to the first touch from anyone within a particular company, it is imperative to understand what is going on in the decision process prior to that crucial first contact. These buyer personas will become very useful in a multifaceted way, so take your time and understand the different levels of consumers within your brand's community.

Optimize content: Within the world of content marketing it is easy to become a slave to the search engine. Understanding where and when Google or any other search engine will index your content or how your content will measure up to the beastly ever-changing algorithm can be a headache and the last thing on a small business owner’s mind. A tip here is to optimize first for the buyer personas you have created. If you have taken the time to develop the proper customer persona profiles, this should become second nature.

Think about it this way. If you were going to purchase a gift for your best friend, how would you do so? If you care enough about this person, you would want to remember if they had mentioned any wants or needs recently. You may think about how they live or possibly what you could purchase to make them smile or make their life easier. Think about optimizing content as if you were gifting to your best friend. Understand what your website visitors and buyer personas want, like, or need and create content that will fill that gap and be the best gift they have received.

Make your content interesting: Understanding the pain points, needs and objectives of a lead or potential customer is imperative in the content development process. It is necessary to show the benefits rather than tell them about the benefits. The marketing assets your company creates should be well branded but not brand-centric. Content should always be customer-centric. Relate with your community through demonstrations, video interviews, and webinars. You should use other means of content communication to better settle with your readership, build relationships, and the future sales interactions will develop along the way.

Utilize PPC to advertise content offers: Banner ads and PPC ads are not against the inbound marketing methodology and a lot of companies successfully integrate these advertisements into their content marketing strategy, but only for content offers. Why is this you may ask? It is rather simple. Content offers are not big hairy scary ads that scream “I only want your money!” A content marketing offer delivered in an advertisement can be much more effective at building relationships, brand recognition, and most importantly trust. It is not about the sale but about communicating the proper information to your content community to better inform them of your product offers and how your brand will best suit their lifestyle and needs.

Stay current with industry specific information and updates: It is imperative to position your brand as one that is an industry-level thought leader. If you are not providing up-to-date information on your latest products or industry news, how can you expect to build trust and community engagement?

Use social media as a distribution highway: Social media is a hot spot right now. Although many individuals are using social media as a spectator sport, it is still a breeding ground for information exchange, collaboration, and networking. All of the amenities included in your online social media community can be amplified with a proper content marketing strategy and the practical application of the inbound marketing methodology. It is important to note that your community may or may not be on every platform. Understanding the orientation of your projects, and the habits of your community are important when delivering content to social media.

Establish a process: Develop a process for all of the inbound marketing best practices. Identify who will be in charge of what tasks, how the progression will work, and establish a check and balance system to ensure nothing slips through the cracks.

Content marketing and the application of the inbound marketing methodology can seem tedious and time-consuming. If you apply all of the best practices in your marketing and advertising budget, you can bet your return on investment, customer engagement, and brand position will all benefit. Take your small business marketing to the next level and apply these best practices to your inbound marketing campaign strategy and watch the momentum build.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing

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