Inbound marketing: if you’re running an SME or start-up business, chances are you’ve heard those two words quite a bit already. You’ve probably been assured, by numerous blogs, experts and business associates, that inbound marketing is the future of branding and every second you’re not involved, your business is losing money.
Unless you are a content marketer or social media manager, this has probably left you with a pretty crucial question (and one that I get asked all the time): how does a business owner who doesn’t know digital marketing from a hole in the wall utilise inbound marketing techniques?
Unlike traditional outbound marketing strategies (advertising, promotional campaigns etc.) the great thing about inbound strategies is that they generally don’t require much knowledge of marketing. Here’s the thing: inbound techniques will usually revolve around making you and your team expert voices in your field. Once this has been established, customers will organically come to you when they need your service, as they will identify you as an innovative, reliable company. Good news, eh?!
As long as you have some sort of expertise in your field and are prepared to put the work into transferring that expertise into content, there are lots of inbound approaches you can take.
1. The free guide
Create a free guide that is relevant to your industry, packed with accessible, compelling information that will be of practical use to your customer base. Then offer it free of charge and promote it like crazy. If you’re short on time or hate the writing bit, hire a copywriter. If you’re going it alone, get it edited, checked and re-checked by someone who is blessed with a touch of tough love – plus an eye for detail (I offer editing services too btw). The thing with written literature that’s either totally indigestible, dull or littered with spelling mistakes – is that just conveys a lack of brand quality. Avoid mistakes; they undermine the greatness of your product or service from the outset – and that is not a good look.
2. Make yourself the brand
Marketing in the internet age is driven by personalities. If you can associate yourself, your face and your name completely with your company, than any good press you can get will directly benefit your product’s branding. I’m a firm believer in the anti-salesy approach. As a consumer, it’s something that massively turns me off – whereas a non-pressured, friendly approach gets me hooked. You don’t always need to be pushing your products – just putting yourself out there as an engaging, interesting personality will help create better awareness.
3. Become a guest blogger
As well as producing relevant content for your own sites and blogs, it’s a smart idea to get involved with other sites that hold sway over your target market. If you can make a name for yourself as an authoritative voice on the websites followed by your demographic, you will be drawing more and more good attention back to your brand.
Inbound marketing opens up a lot of doors for the business with a small advertising budget and lots of ambition. If you want to get involved, these three simple strategies are a good place to begin.