Just this past week I was asked by an acquaintance, who owns a small technology company, if I had any tips on inexpensive ways to promote their business. She described to me some of the traditional marketing methods that they were currently doing. But said they had a limited marketing budget and she just wasn’t sure what else they could be doing to get the word out about their unique services.
Having been knee-deep in the world of inbound marketing for the past year, I immediately asked her some pertinent questions about her digital marketing. After a few minutes, it was clear that she was missing very easily implemented ways to promote her business through inbound marketing – for free. It made me realize that although inbound is growing exponentially every year, some businesses just don’t know where to start. And although it would be wonderful if all businesses could focus on the six core components of inbound marketing from the get-go, that isn’t always possible. So, if you are like my acquaintance and are just looking for a few small ways to get started in inbound, check out the tips below.
You are probably tired of hearing about the importance of blogging. But the fact is, B2B companies that blog only 1-2x/month generate 70% more leads than those who don’t blog (HubSpot). And If you are just getting started, the idea of regular blogging may seem completely unattainable, but there are tricks you can use to make sure that your blogging pays off in spades (or SQLs):
- Come up with all your blog titles at once. Check out this blog about how to create hundreds of blog titles in just a few hours.
- Write down all your ideas. Have a designated area where you can jot down blog topic ideas. Make sure to add a few bullet points like any links and any thoughts that ran through your mind when you decided that it would be a good topic to cover.
- Use an editorial calendar. Once you have all your topics lay them out in an editorial calendar. This tool allows you to set deadlines, divide up the dates between team members, and plan ahead. Depending on how you set it up, you can include the author, their topic, the keywords they’re targeting, and the campaign that this blog post is a part of. It helps you plan in advance, as well as hold everyone accountable for their deadlines.
- Write about what you know. When you first start blogging, the process can take a few hours. Research, writing, proofing, SEO optimization, and getting it formatted all take time. But if you focus on writing about topics that you are familiar with, it can cut that time in half.
- Get guest writers. Guest blogging is a great way to enhance your business reputation as a thought leader. Getting guest posts published on top sites in your niche can secure backlinks from influential and authoritative websites – which can also raise your own blog’s search rankings. And vice-versa, if you are able to get a well-respected blogger to guest blog on your site, you will draw in an entirely new crowd of followers.
- Use different mediums in your blog. When possible, include videos or audio. Other content, such as quotes, charts, embedded social media, and infographics are also terrific ways to convey the message and make your post easier to read. Lists are also very popular in blog content, likely because they are easy to scan and digest. Studies have shown that content with compelling visual elements and graphics can generate up to 94 percent more views.
- Make it a habit. Like most any task we do at work if you make blogging part of your weekly routine it becomes just that, a routine.
Personally, I’m a social media junky. It’s where I get 95% of my news, business information, and check in with friends and family. For small to medium businesses, it’s an ideal – and free – way to share your content with hundreds of other social media junkies, just like me, who may be in need of your service or product.
- Pick your platform. YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – with so many platforms to choose from, how can you select which is most appropriate for your business? (HINT: If you are a B2B business, you must be active on LinkedIn.) The answer is simple. Create a company profile where your followers, or target followers, are most active. Do not create profiles across ten different platforms and then splash the same content across them all! I can’t emphasize this enough. Each network serves a very specific function and, to some degree, each post you publish should be tailored appropriately.
- Be Active. It’s one thing to create your profile, but unlike “The Field of Dreams” if you build it, it doesn’t mean they will come. You have to engage – in other words, be social. Appropriate post frequency across platforms will vary. The ‘sweet spot’ for your company may deviate from what research suggests and will take some time to identify. According to the LinkedIn small business guide, just 20 posts per month will reach 60% of your audience on LinkedIn.
- Post wisely. We have a rule here at Alaniz Marketing when it comes to posting on social media. It’s the 10/4/1 rule. Basically, it helps us know how often to post specific types of content – 10 educational posts from other authorities in our field, four educational posts from our organization, and one landing page offering premium content. (HINT: Social media is an awesome place to share your blog content. And don’t just share it once. Rewrite your tweet or headline and send it out several times. The social media world moves so fast if you only post once you may miss your target audience)
Calls to Action (CTAs)
Effective calls-to-action (CTAs) are one of the most useful tools in your marketing toolbox. A CTA is a button, image, or link strategically placed to encourage prospective customers to take a certain action, that action being to click on the CTA. When we say CTA, we’re referring to the entire package of content – text, graphics, and button – that make up a composite design.
- What’s on the other end of a CTA? CTAs lead your prospective customers to a landing page where they should be enticed to trade their information (i.e.name, email, job position) for your premium educational content (i.e eBook, whitepaper, case study etc.). This not only gives you important information that you can use for future marketing but if your content is relevant, it will keep that prospect coming back.
- CTA Placement. If you are just starting out in inbound marketing you have two main places you want to add your CTAs: blogs and web pages. There are different schools of thought about actual placement on the page; above the fold, right-hand side, left-hand side, bottom, etc. This is something you will have to test to see where you get the results.
Inbound marketing has many layers and the three tips above are literally just the surface of what you can do with inbound. If you are interested in learning more about how inbound marketing can help your organization, subscribe to our blog.