That is a question we get posed so often, we almost want to have a canned response. Or at least, we wish we could.
It usually starts with a potential client calling our offices and asking us a few questions about our services, our prices, how we work, etc. And then the question is posed:
“Well, we know we need a _____ (be it a website, a Facebook page, a social media strategy, a blog, or any other high-tech marketing apparatus) – Now what?”
See, most businesses identify the need for a website, blog, social media strategy or anything else by the fact that “so and so” told them to, or “everyone else” does. Most of you, honestly, don’t know exactly why you need it.
But that isn’t true, you say.
You know exactly why you need that website linked with Twitter and Facebook, with a built in blog. Because it will bring you more customers.
GREAT! And how will it do that?
Websites and social media are part of “Inbound Marketing”.
Your old ways of marketing – TV and print ads, direct mail, flashing banners and tradeshows – those are “Outbound” forms of marketing. They work by disrupting the lives of those they come in contact with, forcing them to pay attention, and for a small number they get enough attention to actually sell a product.
The new way of marketing – using those websites, blogs, social media accounts, and more – are “Inbound” forms of marketing. Instead of interrupting, you’re inviting. You just go out and find where your ideal customers are already hanging out, provide them with some useful content (blog posts, articles, free reports, info) and ask them to come visit you.
When they do, you offer them even more content to link up with you – Follow, Tweet, Like, and subscribe. You get their trust, and their contact details. You send them more content – and then mention that you have paid resources available.
It is called a lead generation system, and every business should be using one.
I’m sure you’ve heard of lead generation before, maybe even using the internet – but it usually involved a form for a “free consultation” and some form of disruption marketing like banner ads, Pay Per Click, or direct mail. I’ll tell you…
Those leads will be 10x colder than those who found you on their own, in their “neighborhood”, and choose to give their information to you.
Want some proof before you start changing your strategy?
Let’s take a look at a report published by HubSpot.Some startling statistics for you :
Companies who allocate more than 50% of their lead generation budget to inbound marketing experience a 61% average lower cost-per-lead. The exact numbers? $84/lead for inbound vs. $220/lead for outbound. Can you afford to spend $220 per lead?
The same study found that for most businesses, even though marketing costs were lower for those who used inbound techniques, the inbound techniques accounted for more than 50% of all leads generated by all businesses (both inbound and outbound dominant.)
5 years ago, blogs were an easy tool to ignore. No one knew how to use the internet to generate leads and revenue aside from banner advertising (more outbound, disruptive advertising). MySpace and Facebook were competing for attention from individuals, and hadn’t yet figured out how to generate revenue from businesses effectively.
Today, ignoring the above statistics could mean a rocky road ahead for your business.
Even those of you who traditionally believe that social media is only for products geared towards young people are in for a real eye opener in the coming years. With smartphones permeating every last safe hold of society, small business owners are the fastest growing segment of Twitter users. The over 25 age group accounts for 50%+ of all Facebook users.
Think about this statistic from a recent Website Magazine advertisement : 20 million people visit WalMart stores around the world every day…
… and 250 million people visit Facebook in the same time period.
If you ignore a market that vast, that readily and willingly interacts with commercial interests – often seeking purchase information and reviews through those channels – then your business will eventually fall behind in “the new economy.”
So, we’ve described why you should pay attention to social media. We know why you need an online presence.
You know you need a website – now what?
Now you call us. We can take your business and develop a complete online branding and social media strategy, create a brand, website, blog, and social media presence based on those ideas, and help your business join the ranks of inbound-marketing dominated businesses.
The future of marketing is here, now. You need to stop trying to start your own conversation. People are already out there, talking about you and your business.
Join the conversation.