By Susan Tucker
The concept of inbound marketing is no longer a new one. Sure, it could be called a variety of names such as relationship marketing or permission marketing, but the concept of “attract not distract” has been gaining traction over the past several years – as consumers have began driving the boat on what they want to purchase and when.
However, small business owners often have limited time and budget, making it hard to “do it all.” It begs the question, “how can I tell that it’s time to invest in modern marketing techniques?”
Here are seven signs it might time to invest in inbound marketing.
Sales Have Slowly Declined Over the Past Several Years
Do you find yourself saying things like, “back in the ’90’s business was BOOMING!” Well, yeah, I’m sure it was. That was before everyone could find anything they wanted online. All it took back then was a store sign, a few newspaper ads and BAM… customers! Sadly, it’s not as easy to get customers as it was back “in the day.”
Customers are researching online. In fact, the majority of sales are “closed” before a customer even walks through the door!
Your Sales Team is Tired of Leaving Voicemails
Does anyone answer their phone anymore? It’s annoying, right? I used to be in sales and let me tell you, leaving voicemails all day (to not have anyone return your call) makes you feel like chopped liver. No one wants to talk to a sales rep. Sorry.
What customers want is to make their own decision on what to buy and when.
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Your Website Was Last Updated in 2004
Remember the days when the word “Google” was not a verb? Or when every website had “flashy” home pages or were simply online catalogs? [Blech!] Thank goodness, the user experience has been so enhanced. For consumers, websites have transformed in a way that makes browsing, shopping and researching super easy. But, does your website align with the consumer-driven market?
Everyday your website should attract new visitors.
Heck, You Don’t Even Know How to Update Your Website
Ok, maybe you HAVE updated your website since 2004… or, was it your “web guy”? I’m shocked at how many small business owners do not have control over their own websites these days. Over the past 10 years, Content Management Systems (CMS) websites have gained in popularity, putting the control back into your hands. Sure, we all need some sort of expert advice and set up for professional looking sites, but having the ability to make copy updates – or even blogs! – is super important for staying current.
You may like: [Infographic] Google’s SEO Changes from 2003 to Now
Your Customers Keep Asking for Your Twitter Handle
I’ll bet you thought that social media would soon pass and you would not need to jump on the bandwagon. (You did, didn’t you? Go ahead, admit it, I won’t judge.) Well, clearly, that’s not the case. The people have spoken (and continue to speak in 140 characters or less) and social networking sites are here to stay! Your customers WANT to connect with you through social media. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to engage on every single site, but you should go where your customers area and hang out with them there.
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No One Reads Your Emails Anymore
Remember when you used to send out a monthly newsletter and your click through rate was 40-50%? You may have even gotten response and sales from it! Yeah, those were fun times. Well, email has changed drastically. (Really focus on what I’m about to tell you) … You can’t – I repeat – you can not do that any longer. Yes, email is a SUPER important part of your marketing, but you have make it relevant to your readers. Strategic email sends? Um, yes!
You make like: How Relationship Marketing Grows a Local Customer Base
You Have Run the Same Print Ad for the Past 5 Years
If you’re still doing print advertising – and in some cases, it does work! – and you have not updated your ad, you are missing out on valuable connections with your customers. Let me explain…. when people see your ad, they’re like Oh, cool, ABC Tree Company looks nice, then they flip the page and forget it. Why not update your ad with a CTA that drives folks to a specific landing page on your website, and collect their contact information? Oh, wait, was that over your head? Sorry. Maybe it really is time for you to invest in inbound marketing.