It's another new year, so there's a new set of resolutions. New Year's resolutions get a bad rap, mostly because they are so easily broken. Unfortunately, broken is how many websites rang in the new year. Broken, not as in they aren't loading or you can't navigate from one page to another, but broken in terms of performing properly to help drive business results.
If you aren't familiar with the term inbound marketing, now is the time to learn what it's about because this year is going to be a big year for it. Inbound marketing is based on the concept of earning the attention of prospects, making yourself easy to be found and drawing customers to your website by producing content customers value.
Online marketing has continued to evolve over the years, but many small businesses have not been prepared to take full advantage of their websites to help drive new business. Inbound marketing is a strategic way of bringing prospects to you as opposed to going out and soliciting them via traditional sales methods.
The advantages of inbound marketing are two fold:
1) It is more cost effective - Inbound marketing can allow you to reduce the amount of money spent on traditional advertising, generate better brand recognition on a budget and increase the performance of all of your existing marketing efforts.
2) It turns marketing expenses into marketing assets - Inbound marketing is about generating content that has a shelf life. When you produce high quality content, it can be reused, repurposed and repackaged in different ways. Most money spent on marketing is one time use only.
3 Resolutions You Need to Implement on Your Website This Year
1) Get your Blog Roll On, Consistently - Many small businesses make a valid attempt at starting a blog because they hear great things about it such as how it can help drive traffic from search engines or how it can help position their company as an expert in its field. The reality is that many businesses are ill-prepared to consistently produce quality blog content.
This year, it's time to find the time to update your blog on a consistent basis. If you don't have time for blogging, then you must be so busy with new business that it's not worth your attention. Unfortunately, that's usually not the case and certainly not the way to help generate more profits. I don't care what you say about how busy you are already, you can always use more business if you want to grow.
As an expert in your field, you are well positioned to write helpful articles with tips and advice that will attract new customers. If you aren't the best writer, simply have someone else take a look over your words before you publish or have someone take dictation and then you can review the final piece before publishing it. Blogging consistently is a cornerstone to successful inbound marketing and needs to be part of your new year action plan.
2) And... ACTION! - Video is becoming more ubiquitous online. With the explosion of broadband and the popularity of Youtube (did you know it's the second largest search engine?), video is quickly positioning itself as a great way to educate and entertain an online audience.
While people are becoming more inundated with information online and are getting fatigued with so much reading, video can help better engage your prospects. Video can actually serve as an automated sales person for your website. Take the most common questions you get as part of your customer selling process and turn them into a video.
The video doesn't have to be Hollywood quality, but make it relevant, make sure the sound quality is good and that it's shot in high definition. A nice camera and audio setup can be had for under $1,000 nowadays. With one sale, many businesses will more than make back that investment.
3) It's Time for a Website Redesign - Are you still limping along with a website built more than a couple of years ago? If so, your website is an Internet dinosaur. Technology changes so fast and new best practices emerge so it's a good idea to consider a new coat of paint on your website every couple of years.
A proper inbound marketing campaign isn't going to do you any good if your website doesn't easily convert visitors into prospects. New design styles can make your website better at capturing leads which can turn into new business opportunities.
Website management systems can make it easy to implement future redesigns quickly and inexpensively so if you're still working with a static website that you can't easily update yourself with basic content changes, then it may be time for a complete website overhaul.
Inbound marketing is a new way of looking at lead generation and can complement your existing marketing efforts. But without it, it's going to be very difficult to compete in the digital era.
Want some examples of inbound marketing? If you've read this article, there's one right here, and here's another. Signup for The BV Buzz, to get access to more tips and advice to help grow your business by utilizing the power of the Internet and you'll see cost effective inbound marketing in action.
About the author Mark Cenicola is the president and CEO of BannerView.com, developers of BannerOS, the software that helps companies turn their websites into powerful business tools. Mark is also the author of the book "The Banner Brand – Small Business Success Comes from a Banner Brand – Build it on a Budget." Read Mark's full biography. You can find him plussing on Google+, as well as tweeting on Twitter and starring in videos for the company's YouTube channel.