Peter Drucker famously said every business has two major functions — innovation and marketing. Businesses create unique value through innovation and then bring that value to their customers through marketing.
But here’s the thing — innovation and marketing overlap. Businesses need to innovate their marketing just as much as they need to market their innovations.
We truly live in the Digital Age. Email, Internet, GPS, smartphones, social media and wearable tech are only a few of the game-changing developments that have revolutionized the way we live, think and buy.
Gartner predicts by 2020 customers will manage 85% of their relationships without talking to a human. This means consumers are doing their own research and making their own decisions before speaking with anyone from your business.
In the digital age, businesses need to adjust their strategy for the “pull economy.” In a pull economy, successful companies do not find their consumers — they are found by their consumers.
Getting Started in Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is a digital marketing ideology aimed at finding success in the pull economy. By using a combination of modern marketing methods and robust analytics, successful inbound marketing builds an online presence that can be directly tied back to revenue.
Our agency uses Hubspot to execute social, search and content strategies, and we constantly monitor those campaigns to refine our strategy. No more wondering if your marketing is working. Hubspot’s campaign tracking allows businesses to analyze web traffic, leads and customers in order to track marketing goals.
Word-Of-Mouth Marketing Goes Digital
Many businesses see a great amount of success through simple word-of-mouth and referrals, and that’s great! Businesses that rely on their customers to tell other customers how awesome they are must rock. And we’re not saying word-of-mouth/referral marketing is not effective — what we are saying is that word-of-mouth marketing is changing.
Consumers are not just talking to one another at the dinner table or the workplace — they are carrying conversation on social media, review websites, forums and more. Here’s the punchline for how you can carry your move your marketing into the digital age:
The best way for businesses to get started in inbound marketing is to help consumers carry their conversations online.
You think your business had a lot of referrals before? Wait until you see what a strong Yelp profile can do. Wait until you see how a strong content strategy can make customers love you even more. Wait you until you see how social media and SEO guarantees consumers searching for your business will find you. We’ve covered “why.” Now we cover “how.” Here is what you can do right now to move your marketing online.
Register Your Business Online
Creating accounts on key business directories is the first step for any business. The following are benefits of listing your business on key business directories:
- 89% of customers use online reviews to make a purchasing decision. Business directories are the most trafficked websites for reading business reviews, so having a place for customers to rate your business is critical for giving online proof of credibility for your business. Additionally, consumers can reference online reviews in word-of-mouth referrals.
- As a business, you can link to online reviews or pull them onto your website as testimonials. Consumers visiting your website will be more inclined to give you their business when they see positive reviews from current customers.
- Google uses business directory information to pull your business’s name, address and phone number directly into search results. This makes key business information easily accessible by consumers.
- Listing business information adds inbound links to your website, which boosts your search engine rankings.
Below we have linked to some of the most important business directories. Registration is free, so follow the links to create an account:
- Google My Business (Note you will have to create a Google account if you do not have one already – follow those steps here)
- Angie’s List
- Trip Advisor (If you are an food/entertainment/tourist destination)
Create Social Media Profiles For Your Business
Another great way to carry conversations online is through social media. We recommend creating accounts on these platforms:
- Google+ (You created this with your Google My Business Page)
- LinkedIn (especially for B2B marketing)
- Instagram (especially for targeting consumers under the age of 35)
Some general tips for your social media profiles:
- Post at least three times a week to your social media platforms
- Post content related to your business
- Avoid “those topics” — politics, religion, profanity, innuendo etc.*
- Post diverse content — articles, videos, photos, etc.
- Promote company content (which we will talk about next)
Publish Company Content
Creating content may be the single most important digital marketing action you can take to succeed in inbound marketing.
When we say “content,” we mean blog articles, videos, podcasts, ebooks, whitepapers, infographics, case studies and any other way you can package information to market your business. This blog post, animation and ebook are all example of content we created for our website.
We recommend all businesses blog regularly (publish at least one post per week). Create content answering the questions most consumers have. Not sure what to write about? Ask your customers. Post on social media asking your followers what questions they have related to your business or industry. You may even call customers you know well and interview them.
In addition to blogging, we recommend creating other types of content, like videos and ebooks. Videos can provide a company overview, demonstrate a product, explain a process or capture office antics. Ebooks are a great avenue for your business to provide detailed expert advice on an industry-related topic. No, you don’t have to write a novel! Most Ebooks generally run between 10 and 20 pages, while whitepapers are normally 5-10 pages.
We wish we could say digital marketing is simple, but there are a lot of moving parts. Don’t be intimidated though, as the rewards for businesses that act on these best practices see incredible return on investment. The best part is you don’t have to do this alone. Give Horton Florida a call today to move your marketing into the digital age (239) 495-7967