If you want to make your business a magnet to customers so that you won’t be disrupting them but rather they would naturally come to your business, you have to employ inbound marketing. Inbound marketing can be the most effective marketing strategy for small business owners. It’s fun, creative, and have long-lasting effects to your business. So if you want to make sure that your small business will grow, survive, and attain long-lasting success, here are 50 inbound marketing tips for small businesses that you may try to adopt and execute.
1. Understand that inbound marketing is the process of turning potential customers into promoters. It’s one of the most effective marketing strategies that give long-lasting results for small business owners, but it requires patience, dedication, hard work, and passion to successfully implement.
2. Motivate and inspire yourself to fundamentally and passionately choose inbound marketing as your way of promoting and growing your business. You should not do it with force. You’ve got to love doing it!
3. Hire hardworking and motivated workers who will help you produce the high-quality and excellent products you will be promoting using inbound marketing.
4. Establish quality control management to ensure that your products and services are high-quality and will satisfy your customers. Make a product that has the qualities to promote itself.
5. Establish your products’ price according to your market segmentation. Make your price attractive to your target customers.
6. Build a minimalist but complete company website to make it more efficiently accessible and comprehensible by your customers online.
7. Form the best marketing team, who are dynamic and dedicated, to execute your inbound marketing campaign.
8. Do a market research to establish your target customers and understand their demographics, needs, wants, behaviors, and lifestyles. Utilize available data provided by third-party sources, such as publicly published consumer data and Census.
9. Do a competition research and analyze your competitors to make sure that you will be offering the best products (better than your competitors) to customers.
10. Do competitive research on your competitors’ online marketing campaigns, strategies, techniques, tactics, and styles to know “what’s in” and “what’s not” when it comes to business promotion. Avoid mistakes that other marketers are making. Utilize online competitive research tools, such as Alexa.com, Open Site Explorer, and Google’s search engine.
11. Make an actionable marketing plan to establish your steps, procedures, and objectives. Make it cohesive for both your short-term and long-term marketing goals.
12. Give financial importance to your inbound marketing campaign. Invest money to fund it.
13. Create a blog and publish useful content (i.e., articles, infographics, white papers, tools, eBooks, podcasts, and videos) for your target audience or customers.
14. Make your blog and website user-friendly, and SEO them to become more discoverable by search engine users who are looking for your information.
15. Make your blog and website responsive or mobile-friendly to become more accessible by mobile users.
16. Encourage your blog’s audience to leave comments and questions on your posts, and answer them.
17. Create a Facebook page for your business. Regularly share relevant and useful posts to attract followers. Utilize good images and interesting headlines to earn more likes and engagements. And to keep your followers, always reply and answer their concerns.
18. Create a Twitter account for your business. Consistently tweet important information to your followers. Have friendly and useful interactions with them. Moreover, don’t forget to use hashtag to relay your messages to the right audience.
19. Create a Google+ page for your business. Share helpful posts to your circles. Interact with their posts. And yes, you may do regular hangout to talk with your circles or customers.
20. Create a LinkedIn profile for your company and share useful updates to your network. You can also join relevant groups where you can help professionals and potential customers who need your business.
21. Create a Youtube Channel for your business and upload useful and informational videos for your target audience.
22. Create a Pinterest account for your business. There, you can constantly share interesting, relevant and useful images or infographics to inspire and educate your target audience.
23. Claim your business location on Foursquare and offer exciting deals to your customers.
24. Join Slideshare.net, Docstoc, Scribd and other file sharing sites to share informational and useful presentations to your target audience.
25. Contribute highly useful articles to relevant blogs and websites in your industry to expand your audience and earn more authority or influence.
26. Join other online communities and tribes on the Internet that are relevant to your niche and be a helpful member to them.
27. Create your online community to provide a useful place on the Internet for your costumers. It can be an online forum in your website, Facebook group, Google+ community or LinkedIn group.
28. Make your marketing messages short, simple and easy to understand. Remember that today’s people are too busy and always on the go. Thus, you have to make sure that they can get your complete message in the fastest way.
29. Be honest when communicating with your audience and deliver what you’ve promised. Never fool and trap your customers just to get their attention. Don’t create misleading headlines. It will destroy their trust and confidence in you.
30. Analyze your web traffic and SEO reports (e.g., Google Analytics and Webmaster Tools) to improve your targeting and planning for your next search marketing campaign.
31. Analyze your social media signals (e.g., Facebook, Google+ and Twitter Insights) to make sure that your audience are positively interacting with your business and brand.
32. Include calls-to-actions in your website, blog, and social media pages to specifically guide potential customers to more interesting customer decisions.
33. Run contests to engage your potential and existing customers. It’s also one good way to reward them with interesting prizes.
34. Recognize your loyal customers. Give them a spotlight on your website, blog, and social media pages.
35. Conduct free webinars to share your knowledge and expertise to your target audience.
36. Be a keynote speaker and share your expertise, experience, and inspirations to a live audience.
37. Although advertising can be a form of outbound marketing, you can make your advertising campaign more entertaining and educational to put an inbound marketing mix on it.
38. Make your marketing materials more creative and useful to customers. For example, design your business card to be a bottle opener.
39. Keep on building your personal brand. If you have an established personal brand, you business brand will follow.
40. Have a research and development (R&D) effort in your business to produce innovative products. Remember that people are attractive to products that are first in the market.
41. Consider meeting your online customers personally to make them realize that you’re also accessible offline.
42. Consider interacting with your offline customers on the Internet to make them realize that you’re also accessible online.
43. Be generous to your customers. Give discounts, freebies, and extra services to help your customers save more money. The word “free” is truly a magnet to customers.
44. Manage your online reputation. Address your customers’ negative feedback, sincerely apologize for your mistakes, and make sure they would become happier this time.
45. Constantly train your employees and salespeople to be more professionally attractive to customers.
46. Help other business owners and entrepreneurs like you. If you’re helpful to the business community, your business would be loved, not only by your customers, but also by you fellow entrepreneurs.
47. Have a cause, save our environment, and be with your customers at times when they needed your help the most.
48. Be flexible. Not all your expectations about your customers will happen. Have contingency plans to make sure that you can always keep your customers’ trust.
49. Make your customers feel valued and special. Treat them like your friends and keep that relationship alive through constant conversation and helping. Remember that inbound marketing is not about getting customers’ attention but it is about giving attention to your customers.
50. Finally, always provide extraordinary products and solutions to your customers in order to wow them. It’s the best way to turn them into loyal customers who tell their great experiences about your business to their friends and to everyone.
Remember that these are only tips. Just like the tips of the icebergs, there are still a lot of great things to be explored in the world of inbound marketing. Hence, you have to continue experimenting and learning more ways to make your customers happy and turn them into your own promoters.
Photo courtesy of Geralt