Throughout my career as a small business owner, I had the same marketing and productivity questions that my clients ask me today. I have been there—and I know what you are going through. You work long hours, have a great product, but your revenue just isn’t enough.
To correct this situation, inbound marketing is a must—and it doesn’t end there.
Marketing process—what’s in a word?
What do I mean by inbound and outbound marketing? A lot of small business owners are confused about web lingo. Conversions, lead generation, inbound and outbound marketing are all terms used to discuss getting more customers for your business, and increasing your revenue:
- Inbound marketing: From a computer, or via mobile, the web is usually the first place people look for information about goods and services. Your website is a critical piece of your marketing strategy. Inbound marketing attracts people already interested in your topic, product, or process. By offering informative blogs, tips, and other fresh data, your website works to convert website visitors to clients. To do this, your website should consists of search-engine-optimized (SEO) content, design, and keywords.
- Outbound marketing: Outbound marketing also helps you fill the top of your sales funnel. Think of the traditional methods, like cold calling, email campaigns, business and client networking, advertising, and referrals. These are important tools that may be more appropriate for your product or service than inbound marketing.
- Lead generation: Inbound and outbound marketing work to create active leads, or potential clients.
- Conversion: The process of turning an active lead into a paying customer is a conversion. For some businesses, conversion may take forms other than making a cash sale.
The importance of positioning
For you to allocate resources to marketing strategies, it is important to know your position—in the market, in the business lifecycle, and in your industry. A big part of my work with clients is helping them see their position, as well as what direction they need to go to achieve their revenue goals.
Once you have the bigger picture, you can drill down into techniques to help your bottom line. A super report from Hubspot offers marketing strategy information from the last half of 2015. Some key points of the report include:
- Inbound marketing is the top tactic for companies and small businesses. For companies with between one and 200 employees, vigorous use of inbound marketing and web strategies builds their brand and profile and keeps marketing costs down. Larger companies with deeper resources tend to employ inbound and outbound strategies more evenly.
- Small- and medium-sized businesses are growing—and looking for cost-effective ways to increase leads. But the priority is on turning those leads into paying customers. For entrepreneurs, you have to be able to measure the return on your marketing dollars—and prove your ROI for the budget spend.
- Inbound marketing works across industry, including non-profit, B2B, and B2C. Traditional outbound marketing methods cost more and achieve less ROI when compared to inbound marketing.
- The creation of inbound marketing content, like blogs, articles, whitepapers, and tip sheets is moving out of the business and into the hands of freelance writers and agencies. This makes sense as lean marketing and production strategies call for the right people doing the best job. As I have said before—make sure you are doing the job only you can do. When appropriate, outsource the responsibilities better suited to others, like content creation.
- Prime marketing strategies have already shifted. More than 55 percent of businesses who earned higher ROI on their marketing budget in 2015 say paid advertising, whether in broadcast, print, or social media, is the most overrated marketing path at present.
- Successful marketing means using both CRM and marketing automation systems.
You have a lot of leads—and then what?
With the rush to generate leads, some entrepreneurs forget to close. I am a big fan of marketing automation and CRM software, to identify, nurture, and convert leads. When marketing and sales teams are coordinated, the same software helps me maintain those clients and fine-tune my services to better obtain and serve customers. Internal service level agreements (SLAs) define responsibilities and outcomes for both groups.
Whether your marketing and sales teams are sizeable, or small, cooperation is fundamental to business growth and success. I work every day with entrepreneurs that have misaligned marketing and sales priorities. We explore ROI on all marketing efforts, and create the right plans to make sure your inbound marketing ultimately brings in the revenue you want.
When you have a question about marketing automation, or you need someone to reboot your marketing strategy, call me at 585-633-7563.
Yours in profit,