Recently, I was speaking with my brother, who is launching his own digital marketing agency in Staunton, Virginia. We were discussing my ‘ideal client’ vs. his ‘ideal client’, and one of the things that I believe we both realized quite quickly while having this conversation, was whether your business is Fortune 500 or you’re a small mom and pop business – while the term inbound marketing seems to be a trending topic, not many small businesses think they can afford it.
Yet just because your business thinks they can’t afford an inbound marketing agency, it doesn’t mean you can’t begin to implement some foundation methods to help get your website quality traffic, build brand recognition, and begin to see leads from your efforts. So instead of worrying (at least today) about the huge amount of marketing your competitor down the street does, spending even a few minutes a day implementing these techniques will help better prepare both your website and your business for tomorrow.
1.) Own Your Domain
While many web designers may disagree, the reality has a website is better than having no website. If for goodness sake the worst thing you do is purchase your domain and then leave a coming soon sign up – at least you have protected your brand from any competition or threats purchasing your domain.
Web hosting companies like GoDaddy.com and 1and1.com are great first time solutions for domains. Why? Because both of these enterprises offer relatively domain purchases, and should you chose to later upgrade your website and host it with them as well, you still aren’t going to be out an arm and a leg.
2.) Start a Blog
Wait, Blair. You just told me to get a domain – don’t I have to build a website next? No. Whether you simply can’t afford a professional website right now or you don’t immediately have the time to even attempt one yourself – a free blog can suffice in the temporary. A free blog can help you begin to build brand awareness on the world wide web, can be a place you post new content, and can even include much deeper and ‘agency like’ approaches too once you’re comfortable. But today? Today just get a blog.
There are a million websites that offer free blogging templates and content management systems (where you go to write your content). While I personally would recommend wordpress.org because it provides an easy transition later down the road (we’ll talk about that another time), simply do a Google search for: “free blog websites” and you will find a slew.
3.) Start Writing
Yeah, yeah. You’re not a writer. Neither were most the inbound marketing pro’s in the world today. But they learned quickly how to write, and how to optimize the content.
Today, however, don’t focus on the 2nd half of that statement. Today – focus on what you think someone who is looking for a business like yours would search for. What is a pain point – a problem – that someone might search for if they were to try and find the offer your business has? Whether it’s ‘car accident and back pain’ to land on a Chiropractor’s website, ‘DIY Home Improvement Ideas’ to land on a freelancer construction’s page in your area, or ‘what to look for in a potential daycare’ – think about what exactly the questions your target demographic is asking.
It’s not hard to write if you think about it in a list – and that is something many inbound agencies are known for (ahem). So just think about your potential client or customer’s pain point, and then solve it for them in a list.
- Back Pain Relief – X Ways to Relieve Back Pain after a Car Accident
- 7 DIY Plumbing Hacks for Cracked or Frozen Pipes overnight
- 10 Things to Look for When Finding Infant Daycare As a New Parent
Find topics that are highly searched – (use Google search – it is your friend), that are topics that your audience (match their voices!) wants to hear from, and that that would be something worth reading. It’s not just another boring list – but it’s something that is of valuable – but quickly – readable. (And can later be re-purposed into a vlog, or podcast).
I wasn’t a writer either – but I learned to write at first by simply utilizing this simple technique. (And trust me, if you start writing today, no matter what, it will help your website and business later.)
4.) Be Social
Perhaps we should have clarified in step 1 the importance of owning your brand’s name across all channels – not just your actual domain. Social media channels are no different!
Making sure you are able to register and hold your business or brand’s name across social channels doesn’t have to be hard either – there are tools out there like KnowEm who will check across all major social media channels to see if your brand’s name is available. If it is? Lock it up now – at least on the major channels that are relevant to your demographic. Typically, however, I would recommend any ‘DIY inbound marketing’ client to secure their domain + Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, YouTube to begin – and then once you’ve got those rocking you can start looking at the suggestions KnowEm offers to see where to go next.
Once you’ve claimed your page names (and please oh please, make sure you are claiming business pages on Facebook, not just personal pages), you can begin to appropriately fill out the details about your company or business.
But the REAL reason any small business should get social? To share your content! Once you’ve begun to write your content, you can start sharing this content that you are writing across your social media channels as a way to get brand awareness, to generate potential new leads, and to get traffic to your website.
While I wish I could scream and shout at every and any business the importance of inbound marketing – I know that startups and small business budgets are real. But by simply implementing the above 4 steps, you’ve set a great groundwork to help kick-start your brand or company’s efforts into the lead generation world of inbound marketing.
Check back on Monday, April 25, when I discuss the next 6 steps an any small business can do to implement inbound marketing – including the call to actions, email campaigns, search engine optimization, and more!
*Bonus Offer* For anyone who completes steps 1 and 2 I am offering a free 30-minute consultation to help you come up with 3 potential content topics you can begin to write! Just fill out the form below, and I will be in touch to set up our call!