Yes, even the smallest microbusiness (from the mom-and-pop venture to the solo entrepreneur) can afford to market like the big guys and gals. We often associate marketing with print and TV ads, but effective marketing no longer depends on expensive advertising buys and media campaigns. When you use inexpensive digital tools—such as social media, Google Analytics, and platforms that make it easy for even a novice to create a website—you can focus your resources on creativity and content. It’s never been easier to create broad awareness of your product or service with very little investment.
Using print advertisements and commercials to build awareness about your product or service is called outbound marketing while employing social media, your website, and Google Analytics is an example of inbound marketing.
What’s the difference?
The remarkable distinctions between inbound and outbound marketing demonstrate just how inbound marketing can benefit a microbusiness that doesn’t have a large marketing budget.
Inbound = Permissive Marketing
With permissive marketing, people welcome you into their lives by:
- following you on social media,
- subscribing to your blog, or
- clicking through a call-to-action on your website.
These prospects are indicating that they want to hear your message and they’re interested in your product or service. This permission offers you a huge advantage as a businessperson: you can utilize additional digital tools such as Google Analytics to see the number of people who are opting into your marketing messages. If they come into contact with the messages on your website, it's probably because something (maybe a mention about your product in a friend’s social media post) sparked their curiosity and led them to you. They’ll demonstrate further interest when they click on your page’s call to action, and they’ll often be willing to provide their names and email addresses.
Once they’ve opted into your email list, you’ll have the opportunity to send them personalized messages that further promote your business or product. If your marketing objective is to convert leads into purchases, this is a good tactic: if your prospect continues to demonstrate interest by remaining on your email list, your chances of convincing them to make a purchase will be much higher.
Outbound = Interruptive Marketing
Outbound marketing is interruptive: messages are pushed to people at times when they may not be interested in hearing them. One example is television commercials. People who record programs have the option to skip the commercials, and since most viewers do just that, outbound marketers are often unable to accurately measure how many people saw their commercials.
Advantages of Inbound Marketing
By contrast, for micro businesses, inbound marketing is not only more affordable than outbound marketing; it also provides ways to track the results of your efforts. It allows you to view—in great detail—how many people your message reached and how successful you were at accomplishing your goals for that particular message. For example, let’s say your objective was to get people to engage with your brand, and your goal was to have X number of people see your message. Google Analytics allows you to view the outcomes easily.
Easy and Affordable Ways to Use Inbound Marketing for Your Micro Business
In the call-to-action above from Evernote’s website, the title immediately demonstrates that they understand a busy person’s dilemma of trying to “remember everything.” The text beneath the title further emphasises Evernote has a product that is of personal value to you by “simplifying” a way for you to remember everything, with their project management app. Just two fields to add your email and a password contribute to the ease of signing up.
Creatively designed calls to action on your website result in higher click-through rates.
Social Media Posts Example:
Social media posts (for example, on your Facebook business page or your Instagram page) that highlight the unique value of your service could prompt people to visit your website to learn more.
In the social media post above basic tenets of effective social media post are followed: 1) Title – The title is easy to read and catchy—even a bit funny. 2) Photo – In the photo, the product is central, high quality, stands out uniquely and is directly tied to the title’s theme.
Having great blog content will help to drive up the number of repeat visits to your website. Iyobu keeps this in mind with blog content that speaks directly to the needs of micro businesses.