Most startups dream of achieving the kind of growth that takes them from 0 organic traffic to 100,000 visitors per month in less than a year. However, no company starts with millions of dollars in their marketing budget, and that’s OK!
For a lot of startups and small businesses, an effective inbound marketing and sales strategy is the missing piece to their success puzzle.
In fact, a recent survey showed that the biggest marketing challenge in the next year ranked by small businesses is acquiring new customers. This is followed by gaining new leads, increasing web traffic, improving social media and boosting conversions.
As someone who speaks with small business owners and CMOs almost daily, a lack of time, expertise and resources can often hold businesses back from seeing short-term and long-term growth.
I see some businesses making the most of just a few marketing activities like advertising or SEO, but unfortunately, their results fall short of achieving more leads and sales. Focusing on too little is a waste of valuable time and money.
It’s important to take the time to put a more comprehensive marketing plan as well as SMART goals in place. That way, you have a defined blueprint that will help you build a cohesive brand identity and deliver the results you want—and yes, that can include growing your revenue to $1 million or more a year.
Here I give you some key points on how to start.
1. Do yourself a huge favor: get a marketing automation platform
Some companies throw away a large portion of their marketing budgets on processes or CRM tools that just don’t provide the capabilities to properly organize, track and nurture leads.
Get a marketing automation tool that manages marketing efforts and sales funnels. HubSpot, for example, helps you streamline all sales and marketing processes—from following up with leads, nurturing prospects, and customer segmentation to creating a range of inbound marketing assets like conversion pages, forms, automated workflows and calls-to-action (CTAs).
Marketing automation tools allow you to personalize and better manage relationships with every lead, prospect and customer, delivering a great return on investment.
2. Think strategically, build a plan
A plan helps you have a clear focus on your goals and how to achieve them. But inbound marketing is never an isolated strategy. It involves many different elements that fuel your growth—social media, SEO, email marketing and workflows, content marketing, advertising and so on. They all play key roles in a successful marketing strategy.
3. Your copy needs to rock
Always keep your customers in mind in everything you do. Whether you’re sending emails, creating blog posts, social media posts or any other ungated content—remember to provide value. People don’t want to open and read things that shove sales or offers down their throats. Produce high quality and engaging content that resonates with your prospects and that speaks to their interests and goals.
That’s why creating buyer personas is such an important part of the inbound marketing process—they help you ensure that all your marketing efforts are tailored to your buyer’s needs. Learn more about buyer personas in our previous article here.
4. Manage qualified leads properly
A lot of time and energy can be wasted on leads that are either not interested in buying from you or don’t have the authority to make the deal (B2B marketing)—or both. Determining early on whether or not the products and services you offer are what the buyer needs can be simplified by creating a contact management and segmentation strategy. This loops us back to setting up a marketing automation platform that can help with lead nurturing and qualification.
5. Get people interested
Putting your brand in front of your ideal customer is a huge value for any business. It helps make your job that much easier when people find your brand, products and services and learn about you before deciding to buy from you.
Tactics to increase your brand visibility and awareness cover a number of efforts such as keywords, improving your SEO, creating value, blogging, regularly posting on social media, personifying your brand, experimenting with Google Ads or running Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn ads, optimizing your website for mobile, etc.
Here’s a great example of a company that generated their first million dollars in ROI in less than a year. Uncover the marketing strategy my team and I implemented for them in this case study: