Hack Your Small Business Inbound Marketing Strategy

Inbound marketing is a complete online marketing strategy for small business owners.

It’s a cost-effective way to bring leads to your business through the internet.

Because it works on a more passive level, it allows you to leverage your time better.

You’ll spend less time searching for new leads and more time finding ways to engage with your target market.

That means spending more time talking about what you know best.

But if you want your small business’ inbound marketing strategy to be successful, you need to improve it whenever you can.

I’ve put together a few hacks to help you do just that.

Inbound Marketing Is All-Or-Nothing

Small business owners tend to toe into inbound marketing.

There’s a lot involved in an effective inbound strategy, and that puts a big strain on their time.

They know it’s important to market their small business online, however, so they attempt to take on some of it.

Maybe it’s the Facebook page or some Instagram shots.

But they don’t have a complete strategy in place.

If this describes you, congratulations on understanding the importance of marketing online and on taking the initiative to get started.

However, what you’re soon going to realize, if you haven’t already, is that you’re doing what feels like a lot of work for little-to-no return.

That’s because you’re only working a piece of the puzzle.

You need to have a complete inbound strategy in place if you want it to benefit your small business.

Because that takes so much time, you might want to figure out if you can handle it yourself or if outsourcing is a better choice.

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Small Business Owners Can Boost Their Existing Inbound Marketing Strategy

You need to have an inbound marketing strategy in place before you tackle any of the hacks we’re going to discuss.

These aren’t meant to use instead of inbound marketing strategies, but rather to build and improve them.

If you haven’t started your small business’ inbound marketing strategy yet, you’re going to want to start there.

However, if you have the right stuff in place, these hacks are going to help make it better.

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Establish Your Small Business And Brand Online

If you want your small business’ inbound marketing to work, you need to have all your bases covered.

Because inbound marketing has so many moving pieces, you’ll need to make sure you have all the right ones in play.

Let’s consider this for a second.

Your small business can’t succeed in any form of online marketing if it isn’t online.

That should be a no-brainer.

Online marketing doesn't work if your business isn't online. Click To Tweet

But what does your small business need to make an inbound marketing strategy work?

Well, there are a few basic elements you’ll have to put in place.

Here are the basics:

  1. Put your website in place.
    Without a website, your audience will have no place to come back to from your content.
    Its absence will hurt your credibility and your chances of earning leads.
  2. Get a Facebook Business page.
    Everyone checks Facebook to see if you’re real.
    They want to see something active and accurate.
    Facebook is also the largest audience for your small business’ online marketing, which makes it the most likely place people will see you first.
  3. Build your personal LinkedIn profile.
    People on LinkedIn are interested in networking with and learning from people.
    Business pages don’t do as well.
    However, if you establish yourself as an authority in your industry there, they’ll listen to you.
  4. Develop a solid lead funnel.
    In the end, you’ll need people to come back to your site.
    When they do, you’ll want to convert as many of them as possible into leads.
    You’re not going to do that without a complete lead funnel in place.
  5. Plan your content.
    Whether through social media or your blog, you’ll need content.
    Plan what you’re going to share, how often, and how it will all fit together.

These are the things you need to make sure your small business inbound marketing strategy works.

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Create In-Depth Content Relevant To Your Small Business’ Target Audience

Notice that the last thing you need above is a content plan.

Content is key to all of marketing.

Here’s a little secret: excellent content can draw your audience’s attention away from anything.

Think about how often you’re drawn into one of your many content apps.

Be it Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, or anything else, you constantly want to see the latest from the people and brands you follow.

When you create the same, in-depth content for your small business, your target audience will get hooked the same way.

That hook is what creates leads through a proper inbound marketing strategy.

People want content that fully answers their questions. Click To Tweet

Blog articles do it more powerfully than anything else.

These long-form content gems have a huge impact on your website traffic.

They’re what draw people in from search and social media, and they continue to do so long after you first publish them.

That’s part of what makes them such a powerful medium.

However, they’re also critical for your small business’ inbound marketing strategy to work.

It’s blog content that provides the stage for all the components of inbound marketing.

From delivered value to attached calls-to-action to SEO, blog articles are at the center of it all.

And, for everything attached to each blog article to work, your articles need to explode with value for your target audience.

That means more information and more of “the secret sauce” need to fill up your articles.

They should be long-form, in-depth, and provide real solutions.

That’s what will build your small business’ inbound marketing strategy.

If You Liked This, Read  6 Smart Blogging Strategies
Repurpose Your Small Business’ Existing Content As Micro Content

If you’re creating solid blog content, it’s going to take a lot of time.

3-4 hours on average.

Although Orbit Media found that about 13% of bloggers are spending 6+ hours.

Either way, you want that time spent to go as far as possible.

You also need to support that blog content with social posts.

The best way to do that is to master the art of micro content.

Micro content is the small bits of content shared across social channels.

It’s the 240-character tweet, shared Facebook post, or viral meme that your audience can consume quickly and easily reshare.

Micro content is what initially catches your audience's attention. Click To Tweet

There are two basic ways to go about creating micro content.

  1. Develop new, unique, and interesting content for every micro-post.
  2. Draw from existing long-form content and divide it into digestible pieces.

If you’re spending that full 6 hours on a blog post, the second is easier and more efficient.

Reach into the information contained in your blog articles and pull out content “nuggets”, or standalone ideas that you can share in small format.

Convert them into images, quotes, memes, and even short audio and video clips to share on your social channels.

It’s important to remember that every social network has a unique content “language” and that your micro content should fit the network it’s being shared to.

By drawing from existing content, you can guarantee quality.

In mastering social content types, you can guarantee people will consume it.

That’s going to create the top-of-funnel content for your small business’ inbound marketing strategy.

If You Liked This, Read  How To Maximize Your Marketing Micro Content
Master Modern Small Business SEO Tactics

In the old days of the internet, SEO was all about keywords.

The idea was to cram as many relevant keywords and related keywords onto the same page as possible.

As time moved on, every page became dedicated to one keyword, then one key phrase.

And SEO keeps evolving to help prevent people from gaming the system.

Google’s goal is to present the searcher with the right information for their search query.

Its algorithm is designed to minimize our ability to mess with that.

Gaming the system is bad for everyone. Click To Tweet

However, that same algorithm can help bring your content to the front.

The key is in understanding how to assure that your content is quality, valuable, and relevant to the things your target audience wants to know.

Modern SEO is no longer about how many times you can fill the content on the page with the right keyword.

It’s about how well you can prove you’ve got the right information.

The content we’ve already talked about is instrumental in that process.

But there are other things you need to pay attention to as well.

For starters, stop focusing on the number one, page one spot.

There just isn’t enough room for everyone there.

Your position in the SERPs is going to change daily.

In some cases, it will change on the hour.

Your goal is to keep making improvements that go towards the things that matter.

Google cares about

  • Relevance
  • Search Intent
  • Association
  • Engagement
  • Credibility

If you’re doing things with your content to improve those areas, you’ll be ok.

When you’re damaging them, you need a new strategy.

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Focus On Developing Engagement With Your Small Business’ Audience

Having people like and follow your content feels awesome.

Those numbers give you a boost to your ego and make you feel like you’re on the right track.

If you aren’t careful, though, you’ll get lost in them and fail long-term.

Likes and followers are false metrics.

Especially followers.

You need to focus on how many viewers you have that are engaged with your content.

The only people really paying attention are the ones who are engaged. Click To Tweet

And you need to create content that gets them to engage.

When people take the time to leave comments on your content, they’re really paying attention to what you shared.

If they’re paying attention, you have a chance of earning them as a lead for your small business.

It helps if you focus on producing content that encourages interaction.

Surprisingly, though, it’s something most small businesses aren’t doing.

They focus on sales pitches instead of interactive content.

But how are you going to sell to someone who isn’t looking?

That’s why engagement is so valuable.

So, what do you do?

Some simple tactics include:

  • Entertain your audience.
  • Personalize the audience experience.
  • Tap into trending ideas.
  • Create an interactive live event.
  • Ask for the audience to vote.
  • Run a contest.

By giving your audience a reason to engage they’re far more likely to.

That causes them to invest further in your content, which helps assure they see your small business’ inbound marketing efforts.

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Develop A Small Business Video Content Strategy

Video is huge.

It’s not just a place where your business can produce content, either.

It’s a viable business plan all on its own.

The popularity of video is what makes it a great way to hack your small business’ inbound marketing strategy.

Video content spreads your small business’ message in a way that more people understand.

Video content is undeniably effective. Click To Tweet

Getting started with video is a straightforward process.

Like any other form of content, you need to plan out what you’re going to do.

Figure out what your content will be about, how often you’ll produce it, in what format you’ll focus on, and how you’ll promote it.

Some content formats you can consider include:

  • Listicles
  • Product Videos
  • How-Tos
  • Case Studies
  • Behind The Scenes
  • Interviews

You’ll also want to think about the video format:

  • The Talk – This is you, talking about your topic, facing the camera. Nothing fancy.
  • The Voiceover – This format allows you to use stock video or other clips instead of your face.
  • Kinetic Typography – This voiceover format uses dynamic text for the imagery.
  • The Cartoon – An animated video using your voiceover.

These formats are going to help different audiences ingest the information you present.

That’s going to help determine how successful your content is.

However, with people watching over 5 billion videos on YouTube every day, your exposure will improve no matter what.

If you have a great video content strategy, that new audience will be exposed to your small business’ inbound marketing strategy.

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Give Your Small Business Its Own Podcast

I love podcasting.

I’ve been recording a small business marketing podcast for almost a year now.

Every week I produce a new episode chalked full of marketing tips, tricks, how-tos, and advice.

It’s provided some great exposure for us, as well as a great addition to our inbound marketing strategy.

I speak from a wealth of experience when I tell you that you should add it to yours.

Podcasts are 100 percent going to be the next big content platform. Click To Tweet

Podcasting has great benefits that help grow your small business.

  • Podcasts introduce your business to a new audience.
  • They strengthen your audience’s trust in your brand.
  • Podcasting helps define your small business as an industry authority.
  • Podcasts build better brand awareness.
  • A great podcast can put you ahead of your competition.

These benefits go above and beyond the benefits podcasting provides to a great inbound marketing strategy.

By adding audio content, you’re expanding your reach further, which is a huge benefit.

That new audience your small business gains will inevitably discover all the content you create.

They’ll become loyal fans, which will directly translate to brand advocates.

You’ll build an incredibly strong relationship with your audience just by translating content to audio format.

That means your small business’ inbound marketing strategy will inevitably work better to bring leads to you.

If You Liked This, Read  The Small Business Guide To Podcasting

Inbound Marketing Can Be Easier For Small Business Owners

You don’t need to struggle.

Following the basics of an inbound marketing strategy, then augmenting it with these tips, you should be able to grow your results rapidly.

Collect the data on the changes you make so you know what’s working and what’s not.

Make new changes often.

Align what you’re doing with your goals.

Above all, focus on the ways you can deliver more value to your audience.

If you always remember that, you’ll always get great results from your small business’ inbound marketing strategy.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.