Is Inbound Marketing Right For Your Small Business? Guest Author If you are a small business owner or a marketing agency who isn’t seeing the quality or quantity of leads needed to achieve your business goals, inbound marketing may be the solution. What is inbound marketing, and how does it differ from the traditional marketing efforts you may already be using? While your focus may be on reaching out to your potential customer base, inbound marketing is different because it will make your customers reach out to you to learn more about the products and services you offer. Inbound Marketing May Fit Because… This kind of marketing is more important today than it has been in the past, especially when you consider the improved technologies in ad blockers and the increased awareness of do-not-call lists. Today 87% of people in the US are online, and the majority of social media users will log-in daily. With 320 million people in this country active online and many more internationally, today’s consumers are likely to turn to this avenue when they have a need they wish to fulfill. It Doesn’t Cost a Lot of Money Think of your online presence as a top-earning salesperson who never goes off the clock. Starting a blog is much cheaper than investing in the creation of commercials and billboards, and the money you spend getting this just right will mean you will potentially be able to close many deals from a single effort. While traditional marketing efforts like cold calls, print ads, and mailers also traditionally have a high rate of failure, inbound marketing can allow you to save 62 percent over the methods you are most likely already using, and with more successful results. You Will Have Evergreen Content Evergreen trees always look fresh because they have leaves throughout the year, and there’s no reason your content can’t also be perpetually fresh and sustainable. Unlike other marketing and promotions, there is no shelf life for this kind of content when it comes to driving traffic to your site. Most blogs and social media posts will still be visible long after they are posted, but well-crafted evergreen content will stay relevant long after it’s hit the internet. This will allow your traffic to bloom and grow over time. The People You Encounter Are Most Likely Interested One problem with traditional outbound marketing is when you do connect with your customers, they may not be ready to buy. With inbound marketing, you won’t have to hope the stars have aligned just right because your customers will seek you out when they need your products and services. You will be able to use search engine optimization, social media, and other avenues to make it easy for them to find you when the time is right, which will eliminate much of the guesswork. Inbound Marketing May Not Fit Because… While inbound marketing has made a stark difference for many companies, it is not right for every situation. Consider the following reasons it might not work for you before you take the next step. You Will Need Web Experts The web can be a more productive new channel for many business types, but you may need to hire new people or invest in effective tools to help fill any capacity gaps and to fulfill your marketing capabilities. If you are ready to get serious about improving your online marketing performance, it literally pays to work with professionals in SEO, in digital media, and in web design, web development, strategists, and social media pros, because their expertise and experience will save you from potentially costly marketing mistakes. It Can Be Time Consuming Unfortunately, there is no magic wand you can wave if you want to get your inbound marketing campaign just right, but the time you invest will be well worth the effort. To get the best results from your inbound marketing efforts, you will need to spend time creating unique and innovative campaigns, generating quality and effective content, and waiting for customers to come to you. You can expect to devote many hours each week to this process on an ongoing basis. Businesses That Reap The Benefits Of Inbound Marketing You must have the right kind of business for inbound marketing to work. Companies most successful in inbound are those that tend to have long, complex buyer’s journeys and a customer lifetime value (CLV) over $500. Now, you may be surprised by just how versatile inbound is because everyone from online retailers to lawyers, health care professionals, bookkeepers, insurance agents, real estate agents, stylists, and many other professionals are all using inbound marketing with fantastic results. Most small and medium businesses do not have huge advertising budgets, so they are looking for ways to cut marketing costs. If you are looking for ways to increase traffic, conversions, and sales while building your customer base by getting the most bang for your marketing buck, then inbound marketing makes sense for you. About the Author ShaDrena Simon is a digital strategist, inbound marketing expert, and resident graphic designer for Yokel Local Internet Marketing, an inbound marketing agency that helps business scale online through a customized system. Find Yokel Local Facebook and Twitter.