What is Inbound Marketing and Why Does My Small Business Need It?

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When is the last time you really paid attention to an advertisement, a commercial, or a flyer you received in the mail?

It’s probably been a while, hasn’t it?

But even though as a consumer, you ignore these forms of marketing, are you still using these strategies to attract customers to your business? Are you desperately hoping that your consumers aren’t throwing them right in the trash like you do with another company’s traditional marketing materials?

While we like to hope that our traditional marketing is different than all the others that are looked over, thrown away, or fast-forwarded through, they’re not.

We need to do something different.

What Should Small Businesses Do When Traditional Marketing Doesn’t Work Anymore?

Traditional marketing forms, including flyers, commercials, and print advertisements, all focus on interrupting the target audience’s day-to-day life and pushing them to make a purchase or a connection. It screams, “Hey, look at this product! Don’t you need it?” 

But because technology has given us the opportunity to skip through commercials and read content online, the need for traditional advertisements is shrinking. For many people, that's a good thing - because traditional marketing was expensive.

But if you're a small business owner, you're probably sitting there thinking "Now Erica - How the hell am I supposed to market if I can't use traditional marketing strategies?"

I'm here to tell you. Inbound marketing. 

What is Inbound Marketing?

Unlike traditional marketing, inbound marketing looks at how to sneak its way into the target audience's life without coming out and saying "I'm an advertisement." 

Instead of attempting to disrupt the target audience's day-to-day activities, inbound marketing looks at how it can fit into their daily searches, articles, and other online activities. It serves to answer questions, help identify problems, and provide solutions that can make life easier - all without directly selling a product. 

How Do You Use Inbound Marketing?

Inbound marketing uses blog posts, social media posts, websites and more to help draw customers to discover more information from you and your company. Instead of using these avenues to directly sell a product or service, they provide general and expert information to attract the right leads to the website. 

Once the visitor reaches the website, the goal is to turn them into a "lead." Changing from a visitor to a lead tells you that the individual on your site is indicating interest in your products or services. 

As they move through the sales funnel, you continue to provide them with quality information and expertise until they decide they would like to make a purchase. 

Why Does Inbound Marketing Work?

If you have doubts about inbound marketing, you're not alone. The process of inbound marketing can be much more complicated than simply designing a flyer and sending it off in the mail - but it pays off. 

Because traditional marketing avenues are expensive and usually random, the return on your investment is usually small. When you're sending a message out to the masses, you're spending money to reach as many individuals as possible in hopes that your target audience will find their way to your ads. 

But with inbound marketing, you're using technology and softwares to directly reach your audience. Because you're putting the decisions back into the hands of the buyer, you're giving the appearance of the "helpful expert" instead of the "sketchy salesman." 

People like to feel like they're in control. Customers want to feel like they chose your product, not like they were sold to. They want to know that there is value in what you're offering and inbound marketing allows you to show them that. 

 

If you are looking to get started with inbound marketing, send me an email
As a Hubspot Inbound Certified Marketer, I can work with you to develop a strategy that gets your business off the ground.