What is inbound marketing? Inbound marketing is about attracting customers by offering value to them, often in the shape of content they care about.
Let us tell you the secret to 5 keys to attracting potential customers to your business using local inbound marketing.
1. Ensure your business listings are accurate
If you think your Yellow Pages listing will lead new customers to you, you’ve got another thing coming.
Most clients search on their phones when they need something urgently, and people need to be able to find you when they search for what you sell.
There are over 70+ online directories: Android devices are set to search Google, while Apple Maps searches Yelp. Mobile searches are growing and you need to be listed correctly (with the same name and same address) so that when a customer whips out their smartphone to look for "gluten-free brunch" or "immigration lawyer", your information shows up first.
PRO TIP "Near me" searches are on the rise, as smartphones' GPS capabilities make it easier for customs to search just in their vicinity. Make sure you post your address clearly, ideally using google maps or another such system. For example, a client may search for: "Italian restaurant near me." Be there with a clear address, a good photo, and bells and whistles.
2. Provide value with a great company website
Your website should be your best salesperson - after all, it works 24/7 and doesn’t ask for a commission! Use your website to anticipate your customer's questions and concerns - this is how a solid content marketing strategy will bring you new customers.
For example, if you own a hunting goods shop, make sure your website answers customers’ most pressing questions, such as:- "What do I need to purchase a gun in Nebraska?"- "How should I store my fishing rods in the winter?"
Everybody else will be advertising roughly the same wares as you, but you will have the advantage of offering valuable information, establishing yourself as an expert, and standing out in searches.
PRO TIP If you want to position yourself locally, be sure to use geography tags anywhere you can in your website. For example by saying, "#1 Car Wash in Tulsa, Oklahoma • Voted by Reader's Choice Awards" or “Yukon, Oklahoma’s finest baked goods.”
3. Showcase your community involvement via social media
Facebook is a true force of nature when it comes to engaging with potential customers, however, they have recently started limiting what's visible on people's news feeds.
Since news feeds are more customizable, budgeting for some paid social media would be wise - you have the advantage of being able to filter and focus by age, gender, location, interests and a host of other options, making sure your messages are as finely targeted as a laser pointer.
A great aspect of social media is how it invites conversation and discussion; use this to your advantage and stand out from the competition. Be sure to respond to every review, Positive & Negative: positive reviews should be widely showcased and shared, while negative reviews should be dealt with quickly and professionally to ensure the client’s satisfaction… and hopefully turn them into a good review and satisfaction story.
Engage your community: target local bloggers & readers in what you share. Use local slang, landmarks and customs to create a sense of familiarity and belonging, and try to attract and befriend local influencers to further establish your local brand.
4. Define a digital marketing budget
As the old adage goes, “you have to spend money to make money.” If you invest wisely, a little advertising budget can go a very long way, especially when it comes to digital marketing, where you can target your audience with immense precision.
A good system to use for allocating your digital marketing budget is PPC (pay per click), which means that you only spend money when someone actually clicks on your ad. While Google Ads are the best known platform, Google isn't the only option. Don't forget about Bing and Yahoo!
Over time, fine tuning your PPC can lead to understanding your customer acquisition costs (CAC) and conversion rates (CRO).
What is CAC?
CAC stands for Customer Acquisition Cost, and is one way of measuring how effective your marketing is. For example, if you spent $20 on marketing in a month and acquired 20 customers, you divide $20 by 20 and get $1 as your CAC - the average spent on acquiring one customer.
What is CRO?
CRO is an internet marketing term meaning Conversion Rate Optimization, and in brief it is a system for turning website visitors into customers (“converting”), or to make them do what you want them to (sign up for a newsletter, give their email, etc.)
5. Engage your existing customers
It's far easier & cost effective to keep an existing customer coming back than to acquire a new one. There are many tools you can use to make your existing customers feel loved and to increase their loyalty: Facebook Custom Audiences, Email Marketing and marketing automation are just some ways in which you can continue engaging these customers. Good news: many of these systems are automated, and therefore require a very small effort on your part.
Think of ways in which to keep your existing customers: perhaps you could implement a referral program or create a monthly special offer “for existing customers only”? Share your retention message with your existing customers via an e-mail newsletter or by retargeting on social media.
Are you wondering just how to make a successful inbound marketing campaign? Or perhaps you've been practicing inbound marketing for a while and just need a second opinion.
Ashley Quintana, M.S., B.A.
Ashley Quintana is a co-founder of BridgeRev. In her role, she develops, leads, and executes digital marketing strategies for the company’s growing client base, including a Fortune 500 subsidiary and an NBA basketball team. Ashley’s work can be found in the Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Science, and she is an OKC.biz 40 Under 40 honoree for her leadership in business and community. She frequently speaks at universities, churches, and conferences on marketing, diversity, and business.