Effectively marketing and growing your business can be challenging. Especially businesses with limited marketing resources which often run into problems when trying to compete with bigger brands for their audience's limited attention span. Couple that with a rising ineffectiveness of traditional advertising, and the problems connected to local businesses marketing become obvious.
Fortunately, a number of strategies have arisen that allow even small, local businesses with limited budgets to compete with larger competitors in a way that actually draws in audiences. Perhaps the most effective of these is inbound marketing which allows for automation.
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The inbound philosophy emphasizes drawing in potential customers with relevant and interesting content. Once they sign up for more information, these visitors are slowly nurtured toward becoming customers with more high-quality, customized content. Because of the emphasis on credibility and relevance over promotional messaging, inbound marketing has the potential for significantly higher ROI than its traditional, outbound alternatives.
That is, of course, as long as you can build a comprehensive and effective inbound marketing strategy. Especially in the competitive market of Sydney, that strategy will be essential for success. With the below 7 steps, you can get started in that endeavor.
1) Know Your Audience
Any effective marketing campaign, inbound or not, has to start with thorough audience analysis. That means not just understanding the demographic of your customers, but also their preferences, pain points, and habits.
One tool that can be immensely beneficial for this step is persona development. Buyer personas are hypothetical ideal customers, who personify your audience research and increase the relevance of your marketing. Effective persona development can lay the groundwork for your next step.
2) Choose Your Channels
Next, it's time to determine exactly how you want to reach your audience. Inbound marketing typically takes advantage of a wide range of content-based channels, including:
- social media
- and much more.
Of course, even within these channels, you have choices to make. Each of these choices should be made specifically with your audience in mind. Choosing your ideal social media channel, for example, needs to be based on audience demographics and preferences.
3) Allocate Your Budget
Once you know your marketing mix, it's time to allocate your budget. A pure inbound marketing strategy requires little to no advertising money; instead, all of your efforts on social media and via blogging are designed to organically attract engagement and web visitors.
That said, this type of pure inbound marketing strategy can take time to develop and optimize for results. Most small businesses don't have a year to wait, so it might make sense to supplement your efforts with paid advertising.
For instance, a great blog post could be promoted via search engines and social media for extra exposure to your target audience. This guide can help you get started in correctly allocating your digital marketing budget.
4) Build Your Content Calendar
Next, it's time to build your content calendar. Inbound marketing is based on building quality content for your website, blog, and social media, but you can only accomplish that goal if you publish that content strategically.
Your audience, for instance, may have preferences on when they like to read new content or log into Facebook or Instagram. Regular content is also key, especially as you get started in the inbound approach. By building a content calendar, you can ensure that the foundation of your inbound marketing is strategic in terms of both topics and scheduling.
5) Optimize Your Website
Of course, getting your audience to your website is only the first step. Once they arrive as web visitors, you have to drive them toward giving you their contact information to enter the lead nurturing phase of inbound marketing.
That, in turn, requires a website optimized for conversions. Each page should have a logical 'next' step, which your audience should be able to easily see thanks to well-designed call to action buttons. Gated content, such as webinars and whitepapers, should offer your visitors value in return for their contact information.
Optimizing your website goes beyond conversions, as well. Search engine optimization is a crucial component of any inbound marketing strategy. A thorough, SEO-focused audit and overhaul of your online presence will maximize your visitors, who through your conversion optimization will have a great chance of becoming customers.
6) Embrace Marketing Automation
What happens when a web visitor turns into a lead? Now, the inbound marketing fun is just getting started. Research suggests that only a quarter of all leads that enter your database are actually ready for a sale. The rest needs careful, relevant, and personalized communication to slowly nudge them toward that sales qualification.
Marketing automation is your solution to to that task. Through automated email messages, you can keep in touch with your potential customers as they get closer to a buying decision. You build credibility, only gradually becoming more direct in your sales calls. According to a recent study, 77% of businesses who embrace marketing automation see their lead to customer conversions increase.
7) Implement an Evaluation Structure
Finally, no inbound marketing strategy is complete without the ability to thoroughly evaluate your effort. This philosophy requires a complete shift from more traditional marketing efforts, and understanding the success of that shift is crucial in making sure the change in approach is actually beneficial.
First, determine your most relevant key performance indicators. Then, based on these indicators, set goals that you want to see your inbound marketing strategy achieve, such as web visits, lead conversions, and customer conversions.
Finally, set regular intervals at which you can check in to evaluate your progress toward these goals. If you are falling short of your preferred pace, make adjustments to get back on track and improve your marketing.
Executed the right way, inbound marketing has the potential for immense success across industries. When you want to reach Sydney audiences, it's worth a try to level the playing field and compete against your biggest brand rivals. The above seven steps can get you started in creating an inbound marketing strategy designed to succeed and grow your business.