It’s a misnomer that, in order to have success and a huge pipeline of leads, you need to excel at sales. The reality is that many small business owners hate the idea of selling, ultimately, because they have the wrong idea of it!
No worries—I’ve been there too! And despite all of the webinars, podcasts, and other training courses I’ve watched/attended, I just can’t get into the “sales” game. Some folks find it exciting to put together a sheet of prospects and cold call until you hit a home run, but I’m not that guy.
Chances are, you aren’t that guy/gal either.
So what now? Do we do what we did in the “old days” of the Internet, and simply build a website to have something to place on your business card?
There is an alternative to the cut-throat way of doing sales, and it is that which we specialize in here at NorthMac and that I am making the case for here. But first, allow me to preface with a few initial thoughts:
- There is nothing wrong with “traditional” sales, as long as your motivations are pure. I am simply contending that some are not built to use those methods.
- The approach I am advocating for will, in most cases, provide results much slower than the traditional sales method. If you’ve just lost your job and need to find work quickly, for example, you will want to hold off on this method and dive right into the traditional prospecting model.
- Finally, this is just simply not for everyone. Some people HATE doing the work I am advocating for here. Others, frankly, are just terrible at it. Others still hate it and/or are terrible at it, but realize it must be done. So, they hire companies like ours.
If nothing else is accomplished here, I hope you realize the value to be had in this way of thinking about marketing. Specifically, I am referring to what has been called inbound content marketing, authority marketing, permission marketing, thought leadership, trust-building, educational marketing, etc.
Each of these has a bit different spin. For instance, I’ve written here about why every small business owner should become a thought leader. This post and that one are similar at the surface—but different at practical levels, and thus offer a different set of benefits.
In a way, my blog as a whole has components of how to do this. You could not possibly cover it all in one post. Some of those articles include this one on email marketing, this one on free/paid content, and this one on sales funnels.
In this post, however, we’re looking at why—specifically, four very important benefits to small business growth that come along with inbound content marketing.
#1. Lead Generation is Automatic
The key word in this sort of marketing effort is inbound. This is in stark contrast to outbound marketing.
The difference may seem obvious, but I’ll assume you are a beginner and don’t know any different: Inbound marketing brings customers to you; outbound marketing takes you to the customer, often in a one-to-one setting.
So, here’s something to consider: You could spend an hour of your time writing a short, but authoritative blog post and post it to your website. Depending on your site traffic and social sharing skills, THOUSANDS could potentially see what you’ve written.
Or, you could spend an hour prospecting, only to receive 50 “no’s” on the other end. With a proper sales funnel set up, and good, consistent content your lead generation could become totally automatic—having more work than you ever need—in just a few years’ time (or less)!
#2. Prospects Become Loyal Followers
This is key.
What would it mean for your business if people were waiting for you to release a new piece of content?
I mean—really think. What could change for your business, your self-confidence, your ability to build trust, et cetera if people were actually happy to receive your marketing content?
That is the ultimate aim of inbound marketing.
By building an email list, starting a blog, starting a podcast, or crafting a social media strategy, you are making your content available in a variety of different ways. In doing so, you have made it possible for people to follow you—loyally.
Meaning, when they want advice on something you speak to, you become their go-to. It’s not uncommon at all for these followers to convert into customers. The more value you provide on the front-end, the more they will be willing to pay for the content you don’t make available for free.
#3. The Buying Decision is Easier
Piggybacking on my earlier comments, this type of marketing strategy makes the buying decision much easier for your customers.
Here are two realities if you don’t have an inbound marketing strategy: (1) Prospects will find someone else to follow. They will still find the value they need, somewhere, but it won’t be from your business. Guess who they’ll buy from? The person/business who gave them the value! (2) Even worse, the prospect may not be able to find the help they need at all!
This means, your failure to put content out there has resulted in a prospect’s failure to find the help they need.
What an opportunity! In what world is it not okay to provide value up-front to prospects so that they will, one day, willingly convert into customers without using intrusive marketing tactics?
The implications of this are astounding and can be incredible for your business.
#4. You’re Building an Authority Database
You may never write a book. You may never see yourself as a person who has a bunch of exclusive knowledge.
However, your knowledge is unique to your experience—and therefore, it should be shared!
It’s a good thing for your customers to pay and benefit directly from your knowledge on a subject matter. But, have you ever thought about how closed-minded that ultimately is? I don’t aim to offend—but did you go through years and years of learning and experience only to share it with the select few (in the broad context of life) who were willing to pay?
I wouldn’t think so.
People can benefit from what you have learned far beyond your immediate sphere of influence. But the larger you widen your sphere, the more opportunity for paid work!
If nothing else, why not write blog posts once a week for a year on a particular theme, and at the end of the year, compile those into a book? This is not only a new revenue stream, but books reach a potentially new audience entirely!
The possibilities of using your subject-matter authority to market your business are endless.
Though this method certainly does not preclude other traditional marketing efforts such as cold-calling, prospecting, etc., it does serve as an awesome addition to any holistic marketing strategy.
And, can become your entire marketing strategy if you have time to build your platform and the patience to see it through.
To your success!