Nobody likes price increases, and I’m certainly no different there. But there is one time when paying more *does* put a smile on my face.
I don’t know about you – but whenever I get that notification saying that I have to pay more this month than last because my list has grown – I get a warm happy feeling inside. It’s one of the few times that paying more is *good* news, because it means my list has grown – more people are interested in what I have to say, and I have more people I can market to directly and repeatedly (and with ActiveCampaign – intelligently using marketing automation flows).
Our list is growing at about 20% month over month right now, with no paid advertising, and no particular campaign running. This is long-term, organic growth that doesn’t require a particular launch, release, joint venture or any other kind of one-off promotional campaign. It’s just from the consistently growing traffic to our website from Google, social media and other websites who link to our content.
Our approach to growth is something you may have heard of before: inbound marketing.
What is Inbound?
Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.
Want some data to backup this belief?
The average cost per lead (potential customer) using inbound was 1/3 the cost of outbound-dominated organizations.
SEO leads (people who found you through a search engine like Google) are 8 times more likely to turn into customers than through outbound channels
Leads from other websites are 5 times more likely to turn into customers than outbound channels.
86% of people don’t watch TV ads (outbound)
44% of direct mail is never opened
2/3 of US citizens are on the FTC Do Not Call List
Usage of Marketing Automation Software (which promotes content marketing) is expected to rise 50% by 2015.
79% of online shoppers spend 1/2 of their time researching products
Content Marketing lets people find you on their schedule, not yours. When done right it’s educational, fun, informative, entertaining AND drives traffic to your site, and develops trust and likeability for you and your business without you having to actually be there!
So why isn’t everyone doing it?
2 reasons primarily: It can be difficult to set up (but it doesn’t need to be!), and: It involves work. And here’s where most small businesses fall off. There’s no free lunch. You need to put in some effort to get clients.
Think about what this means. You have an opportunity to reach thousands of people you could never hope to reach through any other medium. People who are ALREADY searching for someone just like you.
What work, exactly, will you need to do? You’ll need to talk about you, your business, your thoughts on your industry or market, market data, informational pieces for potential buyers.
You probably already talk to potential customers face to face about these things – now you can scale it over the internet. And you’ll need to do it regularly. There is a correlation between website traffic and posting frequency.
Content marketing is your online backbone – it’s where all your social media and search engine traffic should end up. It’s where anonymous website visitors start to get to know you, and decide if they might want to buy from you.
It’s also where you can take the relationship to the next stage. By offering them something of value, for free on your blog/website, they can choose to hear more from you.
Want some inspiration? Here are 11 small businesses that either avoided bankruptcy or became very successful by going full-out with an inbound marketing strategy.
If you’re an ActiveCampaign customer you already have one of the more powerful automation tools for the bottom of your funnel, now consider inbound to increase the top.