Traditionally, marketers have bought ad space in mainstream media like television, radio, magazines, and newspapers. This is almost always a push marketing – meaning beyond turning the page or changing the channel, the viewer has no interaction with your advertisement. It’s being “pushed” to them.
As a small business owner with a limited local marketing budget, it’s hard to run commercials and print ads in heavy rotation. That’s the beauty of inbound marketing.
Back in the early 2000’s, blogging hit the scene and slowly evolved from personal diary-like entries, to news stories and commentary, to articles written by experts looking to sell their services or expertise. This content is picked up by search engines, shared by other users via social media, and promoted by means such as email newsletters. This content acts as a magnet to “pull” visitors in, hence the name “inbound marketing”.
Mashable said it best:
Inbound marketing focuses on earning, not buying, a person’s attention, which is done through social media and engaging content, such as blogs, podcasts and white papers. This content is interesting, informative and adds value, creating a positive connection in the eyes of the consumer, thus making him more likely to engage your brand and buy the product. So it costs less and has better a ROI.
Here’s a great info graphic from the same article: Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing.
You can build YOUR inbound marketing program by utilizing the following tactics:
- Create a blog on your business website and create relevant, engaging posts on a regular basis.
- Share your posts on Facebook, Google+, and Twitter.
- Re-share your posts on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter! (It’s a good chance that not all of your followers saw it the first time.)
- Submit your content to social bookmarking & news sites such as StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg and Reddit.
- Create an RSS feed for your site and use a service such as Feedburner.
- Create an email marketing database and send a regular newsletter to the list. Include at least one original article in the email as an incentive to sign up for your mailings!
Follow these tips faithfully and you’ll have a solid foundation for building an even more robust inbound marketing program for your small business.