As technology changes, so does almost everything else in the business world. The way that people communicate and connect with one another has evolved immensely in the last decade, let alone the last few years. Many industries are forced to adapt to these technological changes in order to advance, whether it is to keep up with the market or to keep up with the competition – and where marketing is concerned, it is definitely both.
Many companies like sticking to their tried and true methods of marketing, even if the results aren’t the same as they used to be. So why should you consider inbound marketing for your business? Inbound marketing has one main goal: lead generation. When it comes to amassing new clients and customers, generating qualified leads is your best friend. But there are plenty of other advantages to implementing inbound campaigns as a part of your marketing strategy, without compromising your business in order to adapt.
Times Are Changing, and so is Marketing
Because the ways we communicate has changed so drastically, so has marketing. Since marketing aims to engage in a conversation with potential clients, one of the best ways to foster that conversation is by keeping up with the digital age. This doesn’t mean that you will have to sacrifice the values of your business or what your business is about in order to make the leap. Since there are plenty of ways to customize how your business modernizes itself, you can still retain a sense of individuality and charm.
What this actually means is that you might want to rethink age-old marketing methods like flyers, cold-calling or even commercial slots on television. Since paying bills online has become the norm, most people barely sift through what they get in the mail before throwing it away.. Cold-calling is a no-go, too. Fewer people have land lines and anyone can easily block unknown numbers and callers with 800 numbers from their smart phones. Even commercials are a gamble. While huge companies like Coca-Cola still benefit from product placement and commercial time, many smaller businesses really don’t benefit from spending money on commercials, given just how much people DVR their favorite shows or prefer online streaming to get their entertainment.
It Costs Less
Printing out flyers and paying local stations to air your commercial costs big bucks. If you cut back on these old school marketing methods, you can save a lot of money – and in regards to flyers, pamphlets and cards, you’ll be saving the environment, too!
Instead, you’ll want to get several other things to carry your company into the future: a mobile-friendly website, the right social media accounts, and a blog.
Social media accounts are free to make, though there are some added advertising features that may cost some extra dough, but only if you’re interested. They are relatively low-cost, and chances are you probably won’t even need them. As far as websites go, there are plenty of free designs out there for you to use and play around with, but if you want more features or a sleeker design, then you may have to shell out some cash. The draw, however, is that these higher quality options consist one-time fees and often include features that can be reused, repurposed and updated as needed. It definitely beats redesigning and reprinting an entire fleet of flyers, right?
Also, the old adage “time is money” is really no joke. Finding the time to make thousands of individual cold-calls, write, cast and film a commercial, or even find places where you can tout printed material can cost you a lot more than you think. Once you have a website up and running, it doesn’t take nearly as much time to keep it updated and running smoothly.
You Get an Edge on the Competition
Even if you aren’t sure that your business is ready to take the leap into the digital age, your competition certainly will be. So many entrepreneurs, business owners and freelancers are jumping at the opportunity to gain more leads. If everyone else gets ahead, where does that leave you?
Not only are more businesses incorporating inbound marketing, but less and less people are interested in older, tired forms of marketing as well. This means that many of your potential clients are not finding you, even if they could really benefit from your products or services. If you don’t have what it takes to get their attention but your competitor does, even if they provide a slightly different service or are not as good of a fit as you might be, the prospect may go with the competitor over you – and that’s because they may not even know that you exist!
Strong Web Presence
Speaking of knowing whether you exist, a great way to establish your brand is with a strong web presence. Inbound marketing can bolster what you offer to the web ten fold. The internet is usually how your clients will find out about you and determine whether or not they want to use your products or services.
Since inbound marketing includes blog post material, you can bolster your website so that it is more than just a static billboard. f your website can offer information beyond simply outlining what it is that you do, you are more likely to draw in clients and customers by piquing their curiosity or by answering a question that they have about your particular field of expertise.
This is a great way to generate leads, especially if you offer some free materials or make relevant posts on social media that act a precursor for what you can truly provide as a business. For instance, if you can interest someone in a free PDF download, you can get their email and see if they are interested in similar material. If you have a Facebook page, potential clients and current customers can write on your wall so that you can answer their questions and concerns directly. This makes you appear more personable, and gives others a good sense of your customer service before engaging with you.
People can often tell when someone has the sole desire to sell them something. By engaging with prospects in conversation, you can learn more about what people may want from you and how you can help them instead of bombarding potential customers with the fact that you are selling something. By being helpful and personable, prospects are more likely to look into what you offer and genuinely consider your solutions.
You Can Be Found Organically
Being found is a huge advantage. When people are looking for a potential service or product, they often type a general description into their search bar and trust Google to give them the best results. Having a quality webpage, being available on social media and having relevant search engine optimized blog posts will guarantee you more web traction, especially from people who were brought your site via Google.
This is a great way to attract people who are actively looking for the services that you offer. Being easily searchable and offering quality content at the other end of that blue Google link is a sure way to draw someone in.
You Build a Reliable Reputation
All of these aspects of inbound marketing will help you build a solid foundation to grow your business long-term. Covering all of your bases is essential. If you provide quality blog or article content, people will be more likely to trust what services you offer or products that you provide. By being active on social media, your business can gain a bit of its own personality and allow you to answer questions and comments directly. By offering relevant, useful material and engaging in conversations with your customers and potential clients, you not only build a strong web presence but you establish a reliable one.
Being present and offering quality service encourages happy customers to share your page, your posts and your material – enabling your customers lot of the marketing for you. But you need to build up to this point, and the best way to do that is by integrating inbound marketing into your business growth plan.