By: Sam Zastrow
on Monday, January 07, 2013
Starting a digital or inbound marketing campaign can be a bit scary for a small business. In a world where consumers hear thousands of messages from hundreds of businesses each day, how can you make your message standout without breaking the bank?
The good news is, inbound marketing focuses on delivering your message only to those who are actually interested
. Even better, you don't need
to invest a ton of time and money to start driving qualified prospects to your site and entering them into your inbound sales funnel
In fact, by following the three simple steps below, you can start a simple marketing campaign for only a few hundred dollars and a few hours time a month in commitments.
1. Start and Regularly Update a Business Blog
Any sustainable digital marketing campaign starts with quality content. Smartly written, optimized blog posts drive people to your site via search engines who actually want
to learn more about some aspect of your business or industry. If people like them enough, they'll share them with their friends via social media and you'll drive even more interested prospects to your site.
If your site's content management system doesn't already have a blogging component, consult an expert before trying to implement one yourself; it can be a tricky process that varies considerably from case to case.
Once you're all set up from technical standpoint, you'll actually have to do the writing. Start with one blog post a week, and try to add more as you get more comfortable with the process. For post topic ideas, jot down questions you get from customers and potential customers and simply answer them with a blog post. If one person has a question about your business or industry, chances are lots of others do to.
2. Create at Least One Piece of Premium Content or Identify a Premium Offer
Once you've started creating search-optimized blog posts, prospects will start finding your site via Google and other search engines. These prospects need to be converted to leads so your business can start generating sales.
The best way to do this is offering them a more robust piece of content or directing them to some kind of offer they can claim. For B2Bs, this usually means creating an eBook, whitepaper or video series visitors can download in exchange for lead information (more on this in a minute). If these options sound right for your business, write the piece or find someone to write it for (or with) you. It's a good idea to hire or contract a designer to put the finishing touches on your premium content offering.
For B2Cs, it's a little more simple. You can simply create a web-only coupon or run a web-only promotion to which you can direct visitors. Whichever option you choose, you'll need to do a few things on your website (and elsewhere) to make this conversion as easy as possible ...
3. Tie Your Offer to a Landing Page and Implement Calls-to-Action
To convert a prospect reading a blog post on your site to a lead who has downloaded your premium offer, you need to create a landing page. A landing page is a page on your website where prospects who click a call-to-action on your site can go to and exchange information about themselves (lead information like name, email address, company, etc.) for the offer you have in place. It's a conversion page.
You can create a landing page using a do-it-yourself service like Unbounce
, or invest in marketing software like HubSpot
. It's a bit pricey, but HubSpot really streamlines inbound marketing efforts, including the final step to a basic inbound marketing campaign: call-to-action implementation.
The most important type of call-to-action is the one that should appear in the sidebar (or elsewhere) on your internal website pages, as shown on the right-hand side of the presentation slide above.
Whether you use HubSpot or contract a designer/coder to implement your call-to-action, don't limit yourself to these traditional CTAs. Use in-text calls-to-action that invite readers to your landing pages with a link. There are plenty of other ways to drive traffic to landing pages, which you can read more about here
Once you've started this process, there isn't much upkeep apart from continually writing blog posts. Once you're comfortable with it or want to to add muscle to your inbound campaign, consider diving into social media or adding other pieces of premium content with corresponding landing pages and calls-to-action.