As a small business owner, you need to be aware of marketing practices and techniques that can help grow your business without breaking the bank.  Enter inbound marketing.  Inbound marketing allows you to build your business using less expensive, outbound marketing channels.

What is inbound marketing?

Inbound marketing is a term coined by HubSpot’s CEO, Brian Halligan.  Inbound marketing is about attracting clients to your product or service through marketing instead of outbound marketing or pushing your product or service out to them.  In other words, earning a prospects’ attention instead of buying or bugging your prospects for it.

Inbound marketing involves 3 integrated components – SEO, social media and content – with the main focus being on content.  Content such as e-books, white papers, blog articles, videos, etc. are optimized to be found online and shared through social networking channels.  The key is to produce content that establishes your business as a leader in the industry so that clients seek you out for information and to purchase your product or service.

Decrease marketing costs while increasing business.

When you consider that outbound marketing includes channels such as television, radio, trade shows, print ads and cold calling it is obvious to see why digital content like blog articles and white papers would be a cheaper alternative.  According to HubSpot, “Inbound Marketing cost 61% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing”.  That is a huge savings, especially for small business.

On top of that, inbound marketing tends to be more targeted and trackable with the use of forms, cookies, ads and other digital tracking methods, downloads and subscriptions.

Implementing inbound marketing

There are a few ways to start using inbound marketing to grow your business.  We’ll cover 3 briefly here…

  1. What most businesses try to do is the DIY method – or the do-it-yourself method.  They try to blog, build a Facebook page and compile other valuable content.  But what tends to happen is  that, already maxed out time-wise, they grow frustrated with the difficulty of producing content consistently, the apparent long-term investment vs the short-term sales process, and they give.180x150 Marketing Evaluation
  2. Another approach is by using an all-in-one software platform such as the one produced by HubSpot to help produce, optimize and distribute content.  While the HubSpot solution does ease the burden by keeping everything on one dashboard, the onus is still on the business to produce content on a consistent basis.
  3. The last option is for businesses to outsource the content production.  If you’re a relatively big company, you can accomplish this in-house.  But if you’re a small or medium-sized business with a tighter budget, outsourcing can save you a lot of money.  With a contract digital marketing consultant, you can avoid the healthcare costs, benefits, overtime, training and learning curve needed to do inbound marketing in-house.  These consultants work with you to produce, optimize, distribute and manage content on behalf of your business.  They are typically skilled in the various channels to do so or can quickly learn and use the platform of your choice.

Inbound marketing helps level the playing field for businesses by giving small or medium-sized businesses the opportunity to attract prospects at lesser costs.  While bigger companies tend to have the money and staff to do inbound marketing, they have more legal and policy hoops to jump through in implementing it – giving smaller, more nimble businesses the ability to adapt and take on the digital world faster.

The question is not whether or not your business should adopt inbound marketing methodology, but whether or not it’ll survive if it doesn’t.  Word on the street is that it wouldn’t so get started on your inbound marketing plan today.

* The HubSpot links are affiliate links. *