Small and Medium business owners have relied on radio jingles, local magazine advertisements, direct mailers, and newspaper inserts for generating interest about their products and services. But these methods or tactics do not work anymore, and they can cost the SMB owners a bomb. With challenges like cost pressures and increasing competition, SMB owners need to look for alternatives for promoting their business. Enter Inbound Marketing. What is Inbound Marketing? Inbound Marketing is a method that uses the power of useful content to drive attention towards brands and their products. This method was developed by Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan of HubSpot. The Inbound Methodology – The Flywheel Model
More details on how the Inbound Marketing works, please refer to this article. Why do SMB owners need to have a closer look at Inbound Marketing? SMB owners consistently face various challenges like budget constraints, lack of workforce for marketing, and increasing competition. Inbound Marketing can be the real differentiator for SMBs, and it can help any type of business irrespective of industry or category of products. It can help SMB owners to stand out from the crowd and build a community of prospects and customers. The best part about Inbound Methodology is that once you understand the basic concepts of how it works, it is customizable for your business with ease. And with the right tactics in place, you can build a community and expect a steady inflow of interests and leads for your business.
How can Inbound Marketing help SMBs? With the knowledge of how Inbound Methodology works, let us go ahead and see how it can help your SMB in the long term: Bootstrap Your Brand Building Inbound Marketing can help SMB owners to build their brand cost-effectively. Even though the traditional inbound marketing tools can cost anywhere from $300 onwards, there are cost-effective alternatives to them. For example, HubSpot has launched its starter pack at $50 per month recently. Every SMB owner can use these tools to build their brand effortlessly. Even if you do not want to depend on these tools for building your brand, you can still go ahead and execute your Inbound Marketing strategy. You can select the right inbound tactics and execute them cost-effectively using stand-alone tools. For example, let us take email marketing. You do not need an Inbound Marketing software to run the same. There are plenty of tools like Mailchimp, Klenty, GetResponse, etc. that can help you run your programs.
Understand Your Customers Well Every Inbound Marketing strategy kicks off with a Buyer Persona Exercise. Buyer personas are the fictional representations of your ideal prospect or customer that focuses on their demographics, goals, challenges, content consumption preferences, etc. These personas supply in-depth information about your prospects and help in designing your strategy to attract them. So, while building your Inbound Marketing strategy, you will get a clear picture of your target audience via buyer personas. This information is gold for every SMB owner as it helps in developing the right offers and communication for grabbing attention. This deep understanding of the target audience helps to develop the right content that will resonate with them as well. Build an Active Community Around Your Brand Content and Social Media are the two integral components of every Inbound Marketing strategy. While executing your inbound strategy, you will have to pay special attention to producing the right content for your audience and connect with them on their preferred social media channel. Social media channels, by their sheer user base, are the perfect destination to meet your prospects and customers. As an SMB owner, when you start creating the right content and sharing it via social channels, you are set for building an active community on those channels. Your community will support you when you are authentic with your communication and are available to them whenever they need you. The most important thing to note here is the power of the community can help you survive the toughest of times like the current pandemic situation. Steady Flow of Leads and Interests As your Inbound strategy helps in building a community for your brand, it can be a steady source of leads for your products and services. Your community, once formed, can also boost your venture via word of mouth. As your inbound strategy will rely on the content you prepare for your audience, they will help you propagate the same as well. With your community aligned to your mission and vision, it brings multiple benefits for your business. Along with the increased interest in your products, they can also be your beta testers for new launches. They can also be part of your feedback and improvement processes. Establish Thought Leadership You would have got the point that good quality content is the cornerstone of every Inbound Marketing strategy. While adopting this methodology, you should focus on creating quality content for your ideal target audience. This content should address their challenges and help them overcome whatever they are struggling with. This content can take any form and shape as per your audience's preferences - written, audio, or video, etc. When you produce authentic content showcasing your brand, you can become a thought leader for your business area or location, or industry. Your thought leadership can be your biggest asset in the long run. So focus on producing content that helps your audience in their preferred formats. Stand Out From The Crowd If you take any industry or business area, the competition will blow your mind. Every business area is overpopulated with players who compete with each other on price and product differentiation etc. It is tough for SMB owners to stand out from the crowd in most scenarios. Your inbound marketing strategy can help you accomplish the same. When you go the inbound way, your tactics will help you easily stand out from the rest of the players. Your content will establish you as a serious player or venture that cares about the audience more than anyone else. Your community-building efforts and social media engagement will earn you a special place in your audience's mind. Be a Trustworthy Brand for Your Audience Every SMB owner struggles with earning the trust of their audience. Without the trust factor, it is tough for businesses to survive in today's arena with such stiff competition. An audience with unshakeable confidence and trust in your brand can be your biggest asset in the long run. So how do you earn the trust of your audience? By existing for them and showcasing your care for them. You can be empathetic to your target audience by aligning your inbound strategy with their goals and challenges. Strive to solve their challenges via your content, tactics, and every move. Be available for them at the right channels of their choice and solve their queries like no other brand. Period. Final Thoughts Inbound Marketing is a methodology that every SMB owner can adopt and customize as per their audience and their needs. Always remember to do thorough research on your audience while building your buyer personas as that can bring rewards in multiple folds. Every content you prepare should address your audience's challenges or entertain them at least. Executing an Inbound Marketing strategy can take time and effort, but it is all worthwhile for your business in the long term. It will help you in these multiple ways, and you will be able to build a trustworthy brand backed by raving fans soon.