Inbound Marketing : Is Your Business Missing the Boat?

Inbound Marketing

Let’s talk inbound marketing. It amazes me that many business owners are not harnessing the power of inbound marketing to generate sales and leads for their business. Inbound Marketing is marketing focusing on getting found by potential customers who are already looking for your service or product. Unlike most other forms of advertising it is most often not an interruption to what you are doing.

Inbound Marketing : Is Your Business Missing the Boat?

Inbound MarketingIncorporating Inbound Marketing is not as difficult as you might think! Here are a couple key components:

Blogs – There are many benefits to blogging. One of the primary benefits is that you are able to establish yourself as an expert in your field by sharing your knowledge through your blog.
Blogging can give you a real advantage over your competitors.

Let’s say my wife is looking for a new hair stylist. She would start her search online either via Facebook or Google. She may ask her friends on Facebook who they use or just search something like “Salon Greenville.” Out of the websites that she is referred to either by her Facebook friends or Google, if there is one that has a blog they will have a decided advantage. Why you ask? The hair stylist blog will consists of hair care and styling tips (Expertise) and depicts the personality of the stylist. We do business with people we know, like, and trust. The blog gives you the ability to build that relationship with your prospects and clients. Another advantage of the blog is that search engines love blogs. It adds more content (Keywords, Headlines, Links, etc) and search engine spiders will crawl your site more often if it is updated frequently.

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Advanced Tip Alert! – Add a call to action to your blog posts. Carrying over from the example I just used, let’s say Sally, the hair stylist, did a blog about how to care for color treated hair (not sure of the terminology hair pros use but I think that is right) and at the end of the post mentioned that thru the end of the month they are running a special on a special shampoo used on colored hair with a link to buy it form her online store. Cha- Ching!

Social Media – As I pointed out earlier, Facebook often acts as a referral source for many businesses. We trust the advice of our friends when seeking out products and services. So if my wife is referred to a stylist by one of her Facebook friends, she will be inclined (since she is already there) to see if they have a Facebook page. It would blow her mind if when she searched for the particular stylist and not only did they have a Facebook page, but today they where offering a free bottle of her favorite hair care product with the purchase of a cut and color. Winner! Winner! Chicken Dinner! She would be out the door and on the way to the stylist at light speed.

These are a couple of the elements of inbound marketing that can be effective for your business. I think you can see how search engine optimization and a professionally designed and optimized website would also aid in your quest to grow your leads and sales. There are numerous other elements and strategies that are employed with inbound marketing including video, landing pages, and email marketing. If you need assistance with your inbound marketing reach out to one of our heroes. We would love to talk with you and discuss how we can help you grow your customer base.

Doug Greathouse is the creative mind behind SuperHero Marketing, a web design and internet marketing firm that specializes in working with small businesses and optimizing their websites as marketing tools. Doug believes each small business owner deserves to have the same high level service and options as the big guys, and is able to optimize websites to generate leads, traffic and growth to your small business. superheromarketing.net. 

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What is the One Missing Key to Your Business Success?

business success

Just like humans, every business has weaknesses. In some cases business owners simply need to work on one or two areas to propel their business to amazing growth and profits. What is the one missing key to your business success?

One of my business ventures was a small service company with 130 employees. Our largest customer was a Ritz Carlton hotel, and the hotel chain was involved with the Malcolm Baldrige Process, a way for organizations to achieve outstanding results. Our leadership team decided to get involved with this process at a state level, and we hired a business coach to help us identify areas of improvement. We grew our profits by more than one thousand percent!

What is the Missing Key to Business Success

There are seven keys to business success according to the Baldrige criteria. Over the next few blog articles, I will be writing about these seven keys. How is your business doing in these areas? Growth normally requires things like small business loans and access to business credit lines but without these 7 keys you will not be managing that growth as effectively and efficiently as you could.

1. Leadership.

Most small businesses are strong in the area of leadership. It takes strong leaders to start and run business. However once your business is going, how do you keep the momentum going? Do you communicate a clear vision, strong values and a compelling mission? Is your team growing, learning and adjusting to the business environment?

2. Strategic Planning.

In my work with small business owners, many do not have a current business plan. That is a huge mistake, especially in this volatile business environment. For example, you would be surprised how many businesses are fortunate enough to get a small business loan but then they don’t use the funds for revenue-generating initiatives and the end result is just more debt and no new clients or business. Every business owner should have short and long term goals, and every employee should understand the goals. Consider all your stakeholders during your planning.

3. Customer Focus.

This area is also a strength for many small business owners. But as a business grows it is easy to lose touch with customers, and without customers your business is dead! Do you have ways of measuring customer satisfaction or dissatisfaction? Are you improving?

4. Measurement.

Speaking of measurement, do you know your business “stats?” In the same way that sports teams know statistics about players, coaches and their offense and defense, you need to track important information. Nearly everyone tracks sale and profits, but do you know the value of your business? What are your key business success factors? Do know how your numbers compared to competitors? You should.

5. Workforce Focus.

Many business owners struggle with finding good employees. Your employees are critical to your business success. Cutting edge leaders believe that their employees are more important than their customers. How do you attract and retain good people?

6. Operations Focus.

The way you deliver your product or service can make you or break you. If you can provide excellent products and services consistently every time, your customers will likely stay with you. Otherwise, you are “rolling the dice.” Wise business owners develop measurable processes that ensure a great customer experience with few exceptions.

7. Results.

This, of course, is the bottom line of all your efforts in business. Once you have determined what is important to measure and have established measures, how are you doing? Are your “stats” improving? How do they compare with your competition or industry? Are your sales and profits growing, or are you struggling like many small businesses? Is your business value growing?

Conclusion

After reviewing these seven keys, what are the top one or two areas that could use some attention in your business? Focus your efforts on the area where your business needs to improve. If you need help, don’t be afraid to seek it out.

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