inbound marketing tips

Successful Inbound Marketing For SMB’s (aka Small – Medium Sized Businesses)

July 19, 2014

By Annie Ellicott

If you are a small or medium business, how are you using “inbound marketing” to drive qualified traffic back to your site for leads and sales conversions?

Enterprise businesses are able to tap into pools of current customer relationships to mine these for incremental business. They can leverage these longstanding relationships at the customer segment level to create relevant and engaging campaigns and content which drive increased interaction around an incremental sell opportunity and ultimately, stronger enterprise brand affinity and loyalty. Their challenge is in remaining relevant with a segment-oriented (vs customer-specific) campaign. The upside however, is that there are clear economies of scale here from a marketing spending and ROI standpoint.

Small and medium businesses must take a very different path to inbound marketing success. Smaller businesses often succeed by building on one-to-one relationships over time with customers. Their challenge is not so much being relevant at the individual customer level but in their ability to capture leads effectively and achieve reach and impact with a limited marketing budget.  Too often small and medium businesses associate increased traffic with success when capturing leads they can nurture and remarket to is actually a much more important goal. There is no doubt that this is a challenge which must be addressed by SMB once they have made the commitment to inbound – despite being short on time and dollars. Their strategies for inbound marketing must therefore be carefully developed and use “break the mold” tactics in terms of the visibility and influence of their campaigns. Fewer campaigns, but bigger impact, with a focus on lead capture.

Here are some additional examples (from the travel industry) of inbound marketing for SMB businesses – done well:

Destination specific operators and outfitters:

–          Offer free destination-specific download (latest highlights, FAQ’s) or private video incentive to capture email for remarketing.

–          Offer exclusive online-only discount offer merchandised via email (house list), social media, site visitors with landing page for email capture.

–          Use a site blog to merchandise wrap-around experiences/benefits in destination (curated content). Use blog subscription sign up, destination guide or destination partner offer for email capture.

–         Use teaser itineraries for the destination (by trip type) with call-to-action conversion capture for full itinerary download.

–          Segment email lists and outbound communication to focus on different customer segments (customer type).

–          Define a process for assigning leads by campaign to the sales team for conversion tracking (or link via CRM).

–          Ask for reviews post-trip to remind customers of their experience.

–          Offer incentives, sharable content by tour group/date for customers and question-based cues so that clients can share their tips and recommendations for other travelers.

Global Destination operators:

–          Offer free destination-specific download (latest highlights, FAQ’s) or private video incentive to capture email for remarketing.

–          Use destination-specific sweepstakes to segment email list by destination.

–          Create a “Which destination is right for you?” travel quiz for new visitors with email capture.

–          Use site blog categories to merchandise destination-specific content highlighting additional benefits of visiting each destination market (curated content). Use travel industry partner offer, destination-specific travel guide or blog subscription sign up for email capture.

–          Use teaser itineraries for each destination with call-to-action conversion capture for full itinerary download.

–          Add downloadable “tips on traveling to destination x” or “other things to see and do in destination x” with email capture.

–          Segment email lists and outbound communication to focus on different customer segments by destination/customer type

–          Define a process for assigning leads by campaign to the sales team for conversion tracking (or link via CRM).

–          Ask for reviews post-trip to remind customers of their experience.

–          Offer incentives for repeat customers to post brand/operator reviews.

–          Offer incentives, sharable content by destination and question-based cues for (destination-specific) clients to share their tips and recommendations for other travelers.

What are your approaches to inbound marketing that have worked for you? Tell us on Facebook!