How is your small business in Northern California attracting customers? Maybe you’re still leveraging old traditional marketing like television, radio, billboards and direct mail. While these certainly still have their place, an inbound marketing strategy can lead you down the path of becoming a successful small business in Northern California and help you create a Passion and Provision company. It’s proving to be the most effective way to come full circle and turn the perfect type of strangers into customers and promoters of your small business. These strangers don’t know you yet, but they are looking for exactly what you have to offer.
1. Inbound marketing pulls people to what you have to offer
Inbound marketing focuses on creating quality content that attracts people to your small business, where they naturally want to be based on their behavior online (HubSpot). It pulls people to the product or service you offer instead of pushing the product or service on them. It works because you are catering to their needs and answering the questions they are searching for online.
Attracting strangers online and turning them into visitors is the first stage of an inbound marketing strategy. Once you’ve captured leads you can begin nurturing them through the buyer’s journey. Once you have converted warm leads you make the close and they become customers. Then it’s up to you to delight them so they become promoters and referrers for your small business.
2. Blogging provides education
The purpose of blogging is to educate people so they are more empowered to make a decision. Your prospective customer is doing research to learn more about a topic or get an answer to a problem they have. You want to talk about them and their needs and not about yourself and how great your small business is (although knowing your message and integrating that is important too!). Providing useful, quality content through consistent blog articles will attract visitors to your website and entice them to learn more about your small business.
Fact: Companies who blog 15 times a month generate 5 times more traffic. (HubSpot)
3. Your website is an around-the-clock employee
Your website acts as a 24/7/365 employee for your small business. It should provide a remarkable user experience for the visitors who come by. They should be able to easily find what attracted them in the first place, and be guided closer to becoming a lead. This is accomplished by designing a site that is easy to navigate, with no bright, shiny objects to distract, and also speaks to your buyer personas. You’ve caught them – and now you want keep them. The pages on your site should be optimized for your visitors first and search engines second, using a well-defined SEO strategy.
Fact: Website conversion rate is nearly 6 times higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters (2.9% vs 0.5%). (Kapost June 2014)
4. SEO & keywords get your small business found online
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is about doing research to learn the words and phrases (keywords) people are using on the internet to find information and answers to their questions. Once you know what these are related to your specific industry and niche, you can start to use them in your blog articles and website pages. The more you use them, the more Google and other search engines will start to recognize that your business is becoming an expert in that area and will start to make you more accessible on the search engine result pages.
The key is context. You want to write for people first and search engines second. It’s not so much about getting the actual target word or phrase noticed, but by using it in a natural way so it’s relevant in the context people are searching. For example, you want to know more about the history of Apple computers. You type in “history of apple.” It’s the difference between getting information about the history of Apple computers or the Garden of Eden or Johnny Appleseed. If Apple Inc. has done its job well, it will show up in the results.
Fact: SEO is the top channel for sales conversions, with 15% of marketers reporting it produces above average conversion rates in 2013. (HubSpot)
5. Social media gets you interacting
Social media can actually play into all parts of an inbound marketing strategy. When it comes to attracting strangers to your website it’s important to have a social strategy so that you are posting to your target business personas on the right social networks they use. Then you should create accounts there, choosing when and what to post, engage with them, and provide quality content. For example, pushing your blog articles out to social media.
Fact: 27% of total U.S. internet time is spent on social networking sites. (Experian)
Attracting the perfect online strangers to become visitors to your company website is the first stage of an inbound marketing strategy. It helps reinforce the system, pieces and parts that lead to becoming a successful small business, while providing for the needs of yourself and your employees – and being engaged while doing it. That’s what a Passion & Provision company looks like. If you’d like to get started, Half a Bubble Out provides inbound marketing for Northern California small businesses and would love to help.