You’ve finally done it: you’ve turned your dream of becoming an entrepreneur into a reality. Your small business is up and running, and you’ve never been happier to achieve one of your life’s goals… now what?
Owning a small business is a joy that everyone should experience at some point in their lives, however making your business your career takes more than a few small sales a week. While this may satisfy you in the beginning, you’ll soon realize that revenue is necessary to keep your dream alive, as we all need some kind of income to survive in today’s world. If your small business is nothing more than a side project to your day job, you’re probably satisfied with the few sales you’re already making, however those who are looking to take their business into the stratosphere will need to spend some time on inbound marketing in order to achieve higher conversion rates.
Inbound marketing is made up of four very distinct steps:
Unlike traditional outbound marketing methods (such as cold calls and television ads), inbound marketing works by reaching out to the right audience through content. This makes outreach the first step of the inbound marketing strategy. Start your outreach program by creating content that is relevant to strangers in your field, individuals who may be browsing the web for content related to your products. If you sell skin care products, post blogs that talk about the importance of skin care in order to attract readers with a vested interest in your product. Once internet users click on your post, they are converted into readers, making you one step closer to making a sale.
Oftentimes, readers are referred to as leads. This is not always the case. In order to turn readers into leads, you’ll need to direct your readers back to your products. Let’s use the skin care example again: if you create a post titled “The Top 5 Products for Acne Treatment,” be sure to list 5 products that are available in your store. Customers with a need for acne treatment will be those interested in reading the post, and by including links to acne treatment that your store carries, these readers will turn into leads. They will be more likely to purchase from your store than another if you offer the top 5 acne treatment products directly from the blog you posted, giving you a great advantage over your competitors. During this step, you’ll want to get the contact information of your reader. Include a prompt that asks for their email, offering them a free gift in return. By getting your reader’s email, you can continue to inform them of new products or deals they may be interested in, thanks to their previous interest in your already-existing articles.
After your readers have clicked on your links and provided you with their contact information, they are turned into leads. You’ve made it halfway through the process of earning yourself a new loyal customer, but you’ve still made no revenue from your efforts. Now is the most important step of inbound marketing: closing the sale.
Not all customers will purchase a product the first time they visit your store. There are a number of reasons a lead may not make a purchase the first time they visit your store, but this does not mean they do not retain an interest in your product. It’s up to you to convince them of why they need your products, which can be done through intuitive email marketing tactics. Remind your leads by email of their visit to your store, and never let them forget that your store exists (without scaring them away, of course). This must be done tactfully, as an over abundance of marketing emails may land you in the lead’s spam folder. Offer them free shipping, a first-time coupon, or a free gift to persuade them and close the deal. With the right tactics, you’ll be able to convert many of your leads into customers, which over time will result in higher revenue for your business.
Making sales is the key to running a succesful business, but your inbound marketing tactics shouldn’t stop there. After you’ve delivered a quality product to your customer, ask them to leave a postive review of the product on your website for other customers to read. This will improve your reputation and legitimacy, making it easier for you to convert future leads into customers. In addition, providing each and every customer with a quality product and shopping experience will make them more likely to purchase from you again, which in turn will result in more consistent revenue. Continue sending emails to your customers, recommending products or deals they may be interested in.
Inbound marketing is a cycle, and can be mastered by following the steps above. The idea is to attract a targeted audience with a vested interest in your product, in order to achieve the highest converstion rate possible. By improving your outreach and conversion rate, you can begin improving your revenue, turning your small business into a booming profit center with just a bit of time and effort.