If you have a small business and you want to maximize your returns, paying attention to inbound marketing is critical. First, let’s examine what it is and how inbound marketing can help your small business.

A Bit About Inbound Marketing

Inbound marketing is more about your customers than you. It is about providing them with content that is valuable to them and, in that way, getting them interested in visiting your website.

So it is not so much about selling your product but providing information that gets them to take action. That action is to visit your site and see what else you have to offer. You would link the content to a landing page that is designed to collect leads.

This could be by offering them a free download or showing them an interesting video, etc. It allows you to break the ice and make that initial contact. From then on, you can nurture those leads in a more traditional manner.

The key to inbound marketing is that it is not pushing your agenda. You are providing clients with information that they find useful, in the arena that they are most comfortable in. So, it is not shoving advertising down their throats or spamming them.

Getting the Best Results with Inbound Marketing

It was your clever blog post, or guest post, or social media post that got them onto your website. But, while it is useful to have visitors, tons of visitors mean nothing if they aren’t converting into sales.

In order to sell to people, you need to get them to trust you. Considering the anonymity of the medium, that can be a hard task to accomplish. A visitor is not just going to hand over their email address because you ask them to.

They want to know what is in it for them first. This normally means providing them with a piece of high-value content in exchange for their email address. So, for example, maybe you could provide them with an eBook related to what your business does.

So, if you sell steak knives, perhaps an eBook of steak recipes would be a good idea. If you are an insurance broker, maybe a checklist to help them take inventory of their household contents, for example.

Think of something that your target audience might pay money for. Then create content around that. Follow the three rules – useful, high quality and interesting. Then you just give it away. It could not be easier than that.

Once you have that all-important email address, you have a way to build a relationship with the client. That does not mean spamming them with sales emails, by the way. That means providing more information that they may find useful and maybe, once in a while, casually mentioning a product that you are promoting.

Inbound marketing is about getting the client to want to come to you, not trying to drag them in kicking and screaming.

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Rebecca Shipley
Rebecca Shipley is a marketing analyst turned writer who loves covering small business marketing, sales, and branding topics. A self-proclaimed "data nerd" Rebecca loves digging in and finding trends that can be used to improve marketing and sales strategies. Connect with Rebecca on about.me .

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