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1 Big vision for small business. Internet Marketing on a Ramen Noodle Budget A Guide to Small Business Internet Marketing This guide helps small business owners create a marketing campaign based on tried and true Inbound marketing tactics. This book anwsers questions like How do I create an internet presence that actually benifits my business? and Why are my marketing campaigns not really drawing in an audience?.

2 Table of Contents Introduction 3 Inbound Marketing 5 Pivot your mind set 10 Respect your audience 10 Create amazing content with your target audience in mind 11 Getting found on the internet 11 Blogging 12 Search Engine Optimization 13 Social Media 14 How it all ties together 15 What to expect from this approach 16 Get more help with this approach 17

3 Introduction Internet marketing is kind of a loaded term. A lot of small business owners shy away from it because it s become such a monster and it s hard to know which path to take. On the other hand most small business owners know they need a presence on the internet and not having one could be detrimental to their brand and company. During the early days of the internet it was easy to create an internet presence: Set up a domain name with a functional website and people will find you. Now it s much more complicated and if you take the old tactic your website analytics are going to be giving you a big fat zero for a long time. So the question becomes: How do I create an internet presence that actually benifits my business? You will get a lot of experts trying to convince you to do things like: Do a direct mail push to drive traffic to your website with a special offer. Buy ad space on website with high traffic websites. Send out frequent sales s. Buy print ads in appropriate magazines. Buy social ads on social networks. A lot of these things may work, if you have an astronomically large marketing budget The fact that you are reading Internet Marketing on a Ramen Noodle Budget tells me that probably isn t the case. Most of those tactics are interruption based (Also known as Outbound) marketing tactics which have been decreasing in effectiveness for many years now. That means you have to spend more money on them to see the same amount of returns you would have seen even a couple years ago. Just getting in front of people isn t enough these days. Interruption based marketing just isn t as effective as it used to be in the pre-internet days. The internet has changed the way people consume, research, and shop. Some might even say:

4 Audiences everywhere are tough. They don t have time to be bored or brow beaten by orthodox, old-fashioned advertising. We need to stop interrupting what people are interested in & be what people are interested in. CRAIG DAVIS CHIEF CREATIVE OFFICER, WORLDWIDE J. WALTER THOMPSON (WORLD S 4TH LARGEST AD AGENCY) 86% of people skip TV ads 44% of direct mail is never opened decline in tech 46% trade show spending Sources: The Guardian, August 2010, TSEA.org, March 2009, & EPA.gov, November 2010

5 Audiences are getting more and more adept at stopping unwanted advertisements. We have spam filters on our , skip through television commercials, mute online commercials, there are even applications that block online ads (Yeah you should get one of these! They are awesome). There are people out there that are almost 100% immune to traditional advertising and there are more and more of these people every day! I know, I know, this is not what you wanted to hear. You wanted me to show you how easy it is to create a powerful internet presence. Well that s not exactly what s going to happen, growing an internet presence isn t a three step process and anyone who tells you that is probably trying to sell you a bad product. What I am going to do is show you the most efficient paths to grow your internet presence, so you don t have to waste buckets of money trying this tactic and that tactic based on what this expert and that expert says. I will also give you the resources to get you started in the right direction. So lets get to it! Inbound Marketing In my previous statement I said that more and more people are becoming immune or resistant to traditional advertising. The keyword there is traditional advertising. This could mean different things to you so I ll define what I mean. Traditional Advertising(aka Outbound Marketing): Direct mail, telemarketing, trade shows, television/radio ads, print/publication ads. So what tactics are working in the contemporary world where more and more people are blocking out these Outbound marketing messages? Small business owner meet Inbound marketing. You may know Inbound marketing but have never really considered it marketing before now. You ve probably

6 heard of blogging before, but did you know having an effective blog can drive a high amount of traffic to your website and be a powerful asset in generating leads? You d have to be living under a rock to not hear about social networks like Facebook and Twitter but did you know they can be an incredibly cost efficient marketing option for your small business? Did you know that Youtube creates web traffic that is six times more likely to buy your product than any other source of traffic (Source: socialtriggers.com/video-trafficreplay). You may be asking yourself, That thing that I watch silly videos of talking dogs on can get me highly qualified traffic to my website?!, and the answer is a resounding YES. What do all these marketing avenues have in common? They are all permission based marketing. No one is forcing people to read a blog, but they choose to because the content on the blog has value to them. No one is forcing you to Follow a business on Twitter but you do because you are certain that following them will provide you with value through what they share. Users aren t required to watch that Youtube video, they do it because they see value in it or they trust the person that shared it with them. The main thing to remember in determining if something is Inbound or Outbound marketing is: Is my marketing interrupting the user from what they are doing or is my marketing what the user wants to be doing?. Marketers who are already practicing inbound marketing have been ahead of the curve for quite a while now and more and more people are taking notice of these new tactics. There are quite a few statistics to back up it s effectiveness. I ll share a few of these with you here:

7 More than half of marketers INCREASED their inbound marketing budget 54% in % Increased Budget No Change 11% Decreased Sources: Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing Report, 2011

8 channels cost less than any outbound channel. 55% 47% 39% 36% 33% Inbound marketing costs 27% 62% LESS 19% per lead than outbound marketing Social Media Blogs Outbound: $373 Average Cost per Lead Trade Shows Pay Per Click (Web Ads) Direct Mail Telemarketing Search Engine Optimization Inbound: $143 Average Cost per Lead Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing Report, 2011

9 3 out of 4 inbound marketing channels cost less than any outbound channel. 55% 47% 39% 36% 33% 27% 19% Trade Shows Pay Per Click (Web Ads) Direct Mail Telemarketing Search Engine Optimization Social Media Blogs Source: Hubspot State of Inbound Marketing Report, 2011

10 As you can see more and more marketers are jumping on the inbound marketing bandwagon. You will also notice that it s significantly cheaper to use inbound marketing tactics than outbound. This is great for the small business owner! Now you can make sure you are dedicating your meager marketing dollars in the right spots. This type of marketing requires a significant shift in thought process though. This shift may seem counter intuitive to outbound marketing mindset, which is basically Get your message in front of as many people possible and hope some bite, but I m confident you will catch on quickly! Pivot your mind set Adjust from an outbound to an inbound mind set. Respect your audience A lot of small businesses fail at inbound marketing because they do not respect their audience. When someone signs up for your list or clicks the Like button on Facebook that are saying, I want you to market to me because I value content/thoughts/message.. This is huge! Sure the action of signing up or clicking Like isn t that hard but it s the implied agreement that is made between the brand/company and the user of You provide me with something of value and I ll allow you to continually send me marketing messages. I cannot stress how important it is to respect this agreement. Consumers are very quick to click the unsubscribe button at the first sign on inconvenience or simple annoyance. Personally I ve probably unsubscribed to two thirds of the lists I ve subscribed to in my life. Why? They failed to provide me with valuable information or it felt like they were spamming me with sales s. Your audience respects you so respect your audience enough to only give them valuable content.

11 Create amazing content with your target audience in mind The internet is all about sharing. Google s algorithm of how it ranks your site is based on how many people share your content, Youtube videos often go viral over night because of massive amounts of people sharing them, Liking something through Facebook shares it with all your friends. It s very important to get your audience actively sharing your content. How do we make sure they are sharing our content? By creating content so good they can t help but share it! It sounds simple but it may take a lot of trial and error. The bottom line is to remember it s ALL about your audience. Try several different approaches and see which ones work and keep doing that! It may be that what your audience really loves is quick videos of your employee s working on a project and explaining their process or it may be that they love DIY guides and are willing to share those with all their friends. Luckily we live in an age where the resources are almost endless and it s easy to create this kind of content on a tight budget. Getting found on the internet At this point you may be saying This seems great, but what about the specifics? Where does this audience come from? And how do I make sure my content gets found?. Well here is your answer: Blogging, SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social Media.

12 Blogging Honestly I could write a whole other book about blogging by itself (and I probably will) but for this book I ll just give you the basics. There are tons of free blogging resources out there Blogger, Wordpress, Tumblr, that host a blog for you and give you simple, intuitive tools to create a dynamic blog. I m sure the bigger question is: Why should I blog? Here are a few reasons: Blogs give you a platform for sharing your content. Just posting a video on Youtube isn t optimal positioning for your content, but posting it on youtube and hosting it on your blog means you have almost twice the eyes on your content. With your content on your blog you keep people engaged with your website for a longer period of time. Greatly increases your SEO efforts. Google and other search engines love sites with depth to them. A lot of small businesses are content with basically a landing page with a few supporting pages, these sites have almost no chance at getting found in search engines when they are competing with sites with several dozen to several hundred pages. Gives you a chance to interact and get feedback from your audience. Most blogs have comment sections which are great opportunities for getting feedback from your audience. This interaction is key for knowing what content to create in the future.

13 Search Engine Optimization SEO is a scary term for most people simply because most SEO experts make it sound so complex that you couldn t possibly do it yourself. The reality is that it s really not that complicated. It can be if you are trying to build niche sites and get them ranked really high in google for a specific long tail keyword (Oh no here we go!), but chances are you aren t looking to do that. Search engine optimization is usually nothing more than making sure files are named correctly, you are using specific terms fairly often and including these terms in key spots. That s basically it! Okay, it s a little more complex than that but not much. The advantages of learning a little bit about SEO are: Get found for multiple keywords. There are tons of small keywords that thousands of people are searching for but have very little competition in the rankings. A simple blog post can, surprisingly quickly, rank your website for that keyword and suddenly you are attracting hundreds more viewers! Generate highly qualified traffic. The people who are finding you through search are highly qualified leads because they are probably already somewhat interested in what you are selling. For example, someone who is searching for How to fix a bike chain and stumbles across your site where you explain how to fix a bike chain and you re sell other bike equipment including chains is much more likely to buy product than the person who just got home and sets his/her mail on the table and sees your direct mail ad.

14 Social Media Marketing with social media is still somewhat new. Social networks are still popping up here and there, each with their own quirks and demographics. It s hard to know which ones will stay and which will go and which ones you should be on. The thing you should always keep in mind is this: you should be where your audience is at and cut everything else out. Even though Facebook and Twitter are some of the giants of social networks that doesn t mean you should focus on those only. Many small business have used niche networks like Instagram and Pinterest to expand their customer base because the demographic of the network and the company so closely aligned. Here are a few things having an active presence on social networks can do: Provides another arm to share your content. Some users may not want to give up their to you but they are alright with following you on a social network. Increased sharing. Your audience is much more likely to share something they see on their network s news feed than if they read it on a blog post because the nature of social networks is to share what you like.

15 How it all ties together Blogging without SEO and Social Media is like a naked molerat, it s moving but it certainly isn t very attractive. It s the same for Social Media without Blogging. The thing about all these marketing tools is they don t really work by themselves, you need all three to really make the whole engine move. Social Media needs blogging because you need content to share to direct users to your site. Blogging needs Social Media and SEO otherwise it s just a billboard in a desert because no one is reading it. When all three are working together it really is a beautiful thing and you will be shocked by the results. Search Engine Optimization Website Blogging Social Media

16 What to expect from this approach You should expect exponential growth, just not overnight! The one true advantage of outbound marketing is it achieves results much faster than inbound marketing. If you send a direct mail campaign out you probably will see some results very quickly, but those results may not be qualified leads or cost efficient and your conversion rate will probably be very low. If you throw up a blog with several posts that are SEO optimized and send updates about them out to your social networks you aren t going to see substantial growth for a little while. What you can expect is, after an appropriate amount of time, people will continue find your blog posts through search engines and the posts will continue to drive traffic to your site for as long as the site is alive. You could potentially get hundreds of thousands of views on a single blog post over time. You can t really say that for that direct mail campaign you sent out a while back! While this inbound approach may not get the most immediate results if you are consistent and don t quit you will start seeing results and the snowball effect of your efforts. For good examples of this snowball effect check out Pat Flynn s story at smartpassiveincome.com. You will notice he says the same thing: This doesn t happen overnight, but it does happen with some persistence. This is also not an effortless approach. It does take effort to craft posts and figure out what people like and what they don t like. Obviously it s considerably more challenging to create a website that supports a blog rather than a couple page deep brochure website. The effort can pay off though when you are passively driving traffic to your site and generat-

17 ing leads without very much monetary investment as well as connecting with your customers and learning what they want (which can lead you to additional forms of profit). I hope you can see the value in this marketing approach and it helps to clear the air of all the poor advice that is floating around out there. To get advice or find resources for taking action on specific ideas like Blogging or Social Media head over to Imbuemarketing.com. Get more help with this approach At Imbue we specialize in helping small businesses grow while working within their budgets. If you are having trouble with anything talked about in this ebook you can head over to our website for additional resources or contact us at if you have any questions. We are a full service marketing group who can take care of all your marketing needs.

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