In the past, if you owned a small, or even medium-size, business, you may have been able to get away with very little marketing. Well those days are gone. Not only do you need to market nowadays (no matter what size business you own) but you need to be involved in many different types of marketing. They are all a part of your marketing strategy.
The changing approach to marketing for your business
In days gone by, the marketing approach that business owners used was outbound marketing. With outbound marketing, the advertiser placed ads in various places (print ads, television, radio, etc). Although that marketing approach worked for a long time, eventually, the target audience got smart and learned how to block the ads in various ways. Of course, that left the business owners with a really big problem.
A newer (and probably more effective approach in this digital technology age) is inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is the opposite of outbound marketing.
Because they are coming to you willingly, they are prequalified and; therefore, they are customers who suit your business needs more closely. There are several different ways that you are able to reach your customers and to positively influence them.
You can interact with your target audience over the Internet, through the various social media channels that you have chosen for your particular business, and various other means of online communication. The truth is that business people nowadays are too busy and too impatient to spend a lot of time on anyone or anything. If you can interact with them quickly and effectively, they will listen to you and they will keep coming back for more. It is a win-win situation.
Take advantage of what is in front of you
Most likely, by now, you recognize the importance of interacting with your target audience (and anyone connected to your target audience) online. Online interactions give you to opportunity to reach a very large number of people in the shortest amount of time possible. However, it is very important for you to understand clearly that even though you are involved with inbound marketing for your business and if you are seeing positive results from your marketing efforts, that in no way means that you should abandon your outbound marketing efforts.
Traditional marketing is still very important and you should still retain that as part of your overall marketing strategy. In fact, the two types of marketing should work together and, if you work them correctly, you will see that they have a synergy that is very powerful and that achieves the results that you are hoping to achieve. Some of the marketing strategies that you will definitely not want to abandon are word-of-mouth, referral, and just plain open communication. They will all take you very far.
The good thing about inbound marketing is that it will not eat into your budget very much at all. In many cases, you can achieve results from your inbound marketing efforts without spending any money at all. Of course, the price that you will have to pay is not in dollars. It is in time and effort, which are definitely valuable commodities for you as well. There are many different ways in which you can make a positive difference through your online marketing strategy.
- Become an influencer via online marketing: You need to realize (if you haven’t realized already) that social media is an extremely powerful and influential tool. It behooves you to make the most of it and to leverage all that you can of social media for your business. You may (or you may not) be surprised at how much you can achieve through your social media efforts.
- Increase your list of customers through your social media channels: The most popular social media channels can help you to increase your list of customers. If your branding is strong, which it definitely should be at this point, those social media channels will work in your favor. The fact is that people really want to interact through social media. It is quick, effective, and fun and many people are really interested in being a part of the whole social media scene.
- Pay close attention to analytics: It is essential that you track your business’s progress extremely carefully. One of the many reasons why analytics are so important is that they allow you to understand what you are doing right and what isn’t working. They also allow you to identify trends and you can continue to hone what you are doing and you will see that the results will be positive.
- Influence people so that they become loyal to your brand: Content really is king when it comes to your business’s success. People are not only interested in what you have to say but they are also extremely excited to tell you (and anyone else who is listening) what they think. They want to feel as though you value their opinions. And, why not? It is a human quality to want to be accepted and appreciated.
- Position yourself so that you are top of mind for other people: Again, this goes back to the importance of content. If you share top-quality content with people on interesting, relevant topics, there is no doubt that people will be very interested in what you have to say and in how you say it. In fact, they will probably want to keep coming back for more and they will be excited about sharing your words with people whom they know and trust. That is exactly what you want to happen.
When it comes to your marketing strategy for your business, it is important to remember that both traditional marketing and inbound marketing are important and your marketing strategy will be the most successful if you can use both marketing approaches together. Together, they will create an incredible buzz that people will not soon forget. If your story is sincere and told with heart, people will listen to what you have to say with pleasure. Together, there will be no stopping you!
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies. Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. He also reduced company travel and travel costs by introducing and implementing various collaboration technologies.
His expertise includes business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.
Mr. Cohn is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).