Inbound Marketing Gains Momentum In Small Business

This week’s blog features a post written by Glenn Smith, the Owner and CEO of The Growth Coach in Houston, Texas.

Glenn is a member of The Growth Coach’s President’s Forum, is a mentor to new franchise owners and is a frequent speaker on the topics of leadership, business strategy, marketing and a wide variety of other business coaching-related subjects. He’s been recognized as the Coach of the Year by The Growth Coach and has received accolades for his work in his community. This year Glenn is serving as the Chairman-Elect for the Fort Bend Chamber of Commerce for 2013.

This post was originally part of Glenn’s “Monday is for Marketing” series. You can read more from his blog at http://www.thegrowthcoachhouston.com/blog/.

Inbound Marketing Gains Momentum In Small Business

Research this year reveals that 60% of all businesses are using some form of inbound marketing. Are you? The research data (which is generously provided by Hubspot) also suggests that many (if not most) business owners still are not clear about what inbound marketing really is. Today in our Monday is for Marketing feature I want to dive into this topic and offer some help to small businesses.

Most people would agree that there has been a tectonic shift in marketing methodologies over the past 5-10 years. New forms of technology and media have changed the way consumers gather and consume information, including marketing messages and product/services information! This has led to the emergence of what is now being called “inbound marketing.”

This concept was popularized by Seth Godin in his 1999 groundbreaking book Permission Marketing: Turning Strangers Into Friends and Friends Into Customers, although the term “inbound marketing” was not coined until 2005 by Hubspot’s Brian Halligan. Later, in 2009 Halligan, Dharmesh Shah, and David Meerman Scott published the popular book Inbound Marketing: Getting Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs.  Today both large and small businesses are catching on to this strategy and increasingly shifting their marketing efforts and budgets to inbound!

But what exactly is inbound marketing?

I like to think of inbound marketing as permission-based marketing. Inbound is where you first gain permission to market to the potential customer by delivering value before the sales opportunity!

Most traditional marketing is what Godin calls “interruption marketing.” This is where we buy, beg, or bug our way in front of people. This is typically what happens with most advertising (e.g. print ads, radio ads, TV ads, banner ads, etc.) In contrast, inbound marketing is where you reach out to potential customers and offer value in some way, typically through blogs, video (especially “How To” videos), ebooks, educational resources, free seminars, webinars, whitepapers, podcasts, free consultations, organic search, and social media.

Basically, by serving the potential customer in some way that adds value, we earn the privilege (and invitation) to market our products or services to them.

Now while inbound marketing is gaining momentum, the truth is that the majority of most marketing budgets are still going to traditional forms of advertising. However, inbound tactics are rising rapidly! Why? Because the research shows that inbound marketing leads generally have a much higher ROI. I’m seeing this with my own clients. Just last week one of my business owner clients shared with me that customers who come through “search” are significantly less expensive to acquire! Obviously he is now shifting more of his budget and attention to inbound strategies!

How does inbound marketing work?

Typically an inbound strategy has 5 components:

  1. Attract traffic
  2. Convert traffic into leads
  3. Convert leads into customers
  4. Turn customers into repeat, high-margin customers
  5. Analyze for continuous improvement

As a Texas based business coach I would like to help you. If you are in Sugar Land, Katy, or the Houston area and would like a complimentary 1-hour strategy session on how your business can leverage the power of inbound marketing, contact us or you can visit www.TheGrowthCoach.com to find a coach in your area. No pressure and no obligation. You can grow your business through inbound marketing!

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