In the ever-changing world of digital marketing, many phrases and buzzwords exist. It can be challenging to decide where to focus your attention to set your business up for online success.
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for business marketing, some strategies will resonate better with small businesses like those in the BlogPaws community. One such approach is Inbound Marketing, a strategy focused on creating compelling online content to attract and connect with your ideal customer.
In this blog post, we will explore the basics of Inbound Marketing, including what it is, how it differs from Outbound Marketing, its benefits, and how you can create an effective inbound marketing plan for your small pet business today!
What is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound Marketing is a digital marketing strategy that focuses on creating high-quality content (such as blogs, videos, and social media posts) to attract your ideal customer. Trust and interest are built as your potential customer comes across your content. This also effectively filters out your ideal customer, allowing you to focus on nurturing those who are more likely to be interested in purchasing your product or service.
Does this apply to bloggers or just product/service-based small pet businesses? The short answer is YES to all of the above.
For those interested in building an online business as a professional blogger, your content is your product. This means you can use inbound marketing content like social media posts to attract your ideal reader and, ideally, a long-term member of your online audience.
Outbound Marketing vs Inbound Marketing
The most significant difference between outbound and inbound marketing is how you approach your potential client.
Most traditional marketing tactics focus on Outbound Marketing. You are focused on reaching a broad audience, pushing your message, and hoping to connect with those interested in your product or service. This includes cold calling, billboards, attending tradeshows, TV and radio ads, or direct mail campaigns.
Marketing this way can be expensive, as you effectively ” throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks.” By investing in marketing to a broad audience, you are inevitably spending a portion of your marketing budget reaching out to people who don’t fit your ideal target audience. As a result, your cost per lead or cost per sale will be much higher.
On the other hand, Inbound Marketing focuses on creating and publishing valuable content online that will attract your ideal audience and pull them into your sales funnel. Those that enter your sales funnel will mostly (or completely) fit into your target audience, allowing you to dedicate your marketing budget to building a relationship with those more likely to purchase.
Benefits of Inbound Marketing
Obviously, the goal of any strategic marketing plan is to increase sales and achieve your business goals. But why should small pet business owners focus on inbound marketing? How can inbound marketing efforts increase your chance of success? Here are a few benefits to consider…
Reduced Marketing Costs
There is a good chance that marketing makes up a significant portion of your budget. So, it comes as no surprise that many business owners are searching for a way to reduce those costs while still reaching their prospective clients. By strategically targeting your marketing dollars toward those more likely to purchase, you increase the likelihood of receiving a higher return on your investment.
Build Trust and Authority
If you are focused on digital marketing (which I am sure you are if you’re reading this), you already know that Google is pushing for four key factors in high-performing content – Experience, Expertise, Authoritativeness, and Trustworthiness. This means both on your website directly and in relation to your overall online persona.
With this form of marketing focusing so heavily on the creation of high-quality content, a strategic inbound marketing plan will not only attract your ideal customer but also position you as an authority in your niche. This level of trust can also increase your sales conversion rate. For example, if someone can see that you are an authority on senior dog care, they are more likely to trust your products for their dog’s care.
Increases Brand Awareness
Your marketing efforts will build more than just your personal online persona – this is also an excellent opportunity to establish better brand awareness.
Inbound Marketing is focused on sharing valuable content that interests and benefits your ideal customer. This means that each time someone comes across your brand name or logo, it will be in relation to something that showcases you in a light of trust, authority, and credibility.
It’s also an opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality, making you more relatable without compromising the quality of the content you are publishing.
Finally, this marketing style is a great way to differentiate yourself from the negative stigma associated with the “spam” approach of many outbound marketing tactics. People are increasingly annoyed by having marketing messages thrown in their faces uninvited, like through cold-emailing and cold-calling. This can turn off someone who otherwise may have been a customer from learning more about your business. Instead, with inbound marketing, your audience is inviting you into a conversation.
Effectively Use All Marketing Channels
Many online business owners will start accounts on all the most popular social media platforms without a strategic plan for how these accounts will feed into a greater sales funnel. As a result, we put a lot of time into creating content and building a following without reaping the benefits of those efforts.
You can put these platforms to work by applying an Inbound Marketing focus. For example, instead of just creating Instagram Reels to build your Instagram audience, you will now create Reels to attract your ideal customers and direct them into your sales funnel, where you will nurture your relationship and, ultimately, make a sale. In addition to social media, you can incorporate your blog posts, YouTube videos, email marketing efforts, and more into your greater inbound marketing funnel.
How to Set Up Your Inbound Marketing Sales Funnel
The first thing to consider when building your inbound marketing funnel (or any marketing funnel, for that matter) is your ideal customer. Are you clear on who you are trying to reach with your marketing efforts? If not, I recommend starting your journey with Inbound Marketing by building a detailed buyer persona.
Once you understand who you are trying to reach, take a moment to put yourself in their shoes. What topics are they interested in that could draw their attention?
For example, if you are trying to reach dog parents caring for senior pups, they may be interested in content that addresses topics like arthritis and canine dementia. If you are an interior designer focusing on creating functional and stylish cat shelf displays, you may wish to create content discussing the purpose of cat enrichment or specific behaviors, like scratching, and why they are essential for your cat’s health and well-being.
Your inbound marketing strategy should focus on two key factors: Creating content that will attract your ideal audience and positioning this content to best reach them. Ask yourself a few questions:
- Does your ideal customer spend most of their time on a specific social media platform?
- Are you including a compelling call-to-action on your social media posts and videos?
- Do you have an effective social media bio that will direct those interested from your profile to your website?
- Is your inbound marketing plan more focused on long-form content, like blog posts? If so, are you creating article briefs focusing on relevant SEO keywords?
Most importantly, you must ensure that your plan includes a path that will lead your ideal customer from discovering your inbound marketing-focused content to learning more about your products/services and why they should be interested in purchasing.
Final Thoughts: Inbound Marketing and Your Pet Business
As you sit down and prepare your marketing plan for Q1 2024 (which you should be working on if not already completed), consider incorporating Inbound Marketing. This is an effective way to maximize your marketing budget, establish authority, and boost your sales – all critical factors in your small pet business’s success!
Remember, it’s not just about focusing on the dollars and cents. Instead, this will position you as an expert and go-to person in your niche.
Are you using any Inbound Marketing strategies in your business? If so, we’d love to hear what’s working for you and what areas you hope to improve in 2024!
About the Author: Britt Kascjak is a freelance writer and content creator with a background in digital and social media marketing. In addition to being the BlogPaws Director of Content & SEO, she also runs her own personal blogs Shed Happens, The Kas Pack, and Lucifer the Rescue Pup. When she’s not working, she can be found volunteering in the rescue space, camping, hiking, canoeing, or spending time with her 3 dogs and 2 cats.