When you are building your small business, you have countless things to do every single day. Many freelancers and small business owners mistakenly think that they don’t really have time to do “marketing”—until their sales funnel is empty with no new or repeat business on the horizon. It is important to realize that marketing is something that should be done every single day — like brushing your teeth.
The purpose of marketing is to keep that sales funnel full of leads; yet it is also important to keep the proper balance when working your business, because you also have to provide products or services to the customers or clients you gained from your marketing efforts.
When you realize that most people are inundated with over 2,000 marketing messages per day, how can you be sure that your message is heard? So which types of marketing activities will give you the best return on your marketing time, money and efforts? There are two main kinds of marketing: inbound and outbound.
Most people are familiar with outbound marketing—the one-way activities that many business owners use to generate sales leads: cold calling, major market radio, TV, and print ads, email blasts to everyone with a heartbeat, unfocused direct mail—throwing out just about any or everything and hoping that something will stick. Outbound marketing is considered “interruption-based”, the intended audience is interrupted by the messages at any time.
Inbound marketing, on the other hand, is considered “permission-based”. Marketing activities that invite people to seek you out — people who are already looking for your products and services. Your website is your most important inbound marketing tool — most people use a search engine when doing product or service research; you will be found if you are visible on the search engines. The people who do find you will be the ones most likely at least interested in hearing what you have to say about your business through the information you provide on your website and blog. Because it is their decision to seek you out, it is seen as permission-based instead of interruption-based, and they are more likely to become a good lead for you.
Take some time to look at the websites of the companies that offer products or services that you are interested in; start with the Kashoo Small Business Accounting website! Is the website inviting and interesting? Does it give you information about the product or service? Does it educate you about related ideas or issues? Does the website offer value as well as a sales pitch? When you find websites with those characteristics, they are good models for the website for your business; and good examples of inbound marketing efforts.