Small business owner happy about her inbound marketing ROI

As a small business owner, you may have grown your operation on the back of traditional marketing strategies like cold calling, email blasts and local promotions to get the word out about your services. These tactics can be effective, but they also tend to be costly. That’s where inbound marketing can really help change how you grow your business operation.

When we discuss inbound marketing tactics with business owners, they’re often concerned about the costs involved in changing their core marketing strategies. This is a reasonable concern. However, it’s one that stems from an outbound marketing methodology.

ROI from Outbound Marketing vs Inbound Marketing

The average cost of using traditional outbound marketing channels like running an ad on the radio, TV or in a local newspaper are significantly more expensive than inbound marketing channels.

On top of that, it’s not easy to calculate your ROI from these outbound marketing channels. You may be able to serve up your ads to your target customer base, but you aren’t reaching them at a point where they are likely to take a desired action.

Investing in inbound marketing can and will provide a fantastic ROI for your business! Sure, the initial investment isn’t going to be cheap, but it really shouldn’t be. The businesses that are getting fantastic ROI’s from inbound marketing tactics have realized that cutting corners won’t cut it.

They’ve invested in a great looking website and found a quality agency to run their social media marketing and search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. In contrast to traditional outbound marketing channels, you can easily track and analyze every aspect of your inbound marketing campaign.

This way, you won’t be wasting your marketing budget on channels that aren’t actually pulling in leads for your business. The effectiveness of this approach is so significant that businesses using inbound marketing have found it costs around 60% less per qualified lead compared to outbound marketing!

Pretty impressive right?

Small business owner happy about her inbound marketing ROI

We understand that you might not be ready to hire an inbound marketing agency just yet. However, we’ve compiled seven inbound marketing tactics that can and will change your business for the better!

These are all possible to do on your own if you’re ready to get started right away.

1) Identify 1-2 Keywords to Optimize Your Site Around

Search engine optimization plays a critical role in any inbound marketing campaign. If you are familiar with SEO, then you’ve likely heard about keyword research. This is the practice of identifying keywords that are relevant to your business, so that you can incorporate these throughout your website and start gaining relevant traffic.

Keep in mind that the best practice for keywords has changed. You obviously don’t want to stuff keywords into your content, but you do want to build content that is tailored to longtail keywords relevant to your business and industry.

When starting out, we recommend that you identify a core group of longtail keywords to focus on. Many sites try to rank too many keywords. The odds that you will rank well for all of these is pretty low (depending on your industry). We’ve found that it’s much more effective to optimize your website for a smaller grouping of high value keywords.

Once you’ve identified these prime targets, you can start creating pages that specifically target the keywords. A great example is LessAccounting, a company that provides accounting software for small businesses and is competing with big brands like Quickbooks.

LessAccounting ranks higher well for relative keywords in their industry

They’ve done a great job honing in on their keyword focus and now rank above huge sites like for queries like “accounting tips for small business owners.”

2) Create a Lead Magnet for Your Website

How likely are you to sign up for a website’s newsletter or to create a profile if they were to ask you straight away on their website? Odds are that you wouldn’t be very interested. Now, what if they were asking for your email in exchange for an E book that shows you how to create a successful Facebook marketing campaign in your industry? That sounds a little more enticing, right?

These free resources and guides are known as lead magnets and can be extremely valuable for your business. Not only can it help capture a lot more leads, but it can also drive a ton of qualified traffic to your website and helps build trust with visitors.

Here are some great lead magnet examples you should check out for inspiration.

Be sure that your lead magnet make sense for your website and business. It should be specific and speak to your target audience.

3) Create More Compelling Calls-to-Action (CTA)

You’ve put a lot of work to drive more traffic to your site, but what’s happening when visitors get there? Are they making the desired actions? If you’re website can’t convert, you’ve got a serious problem.

Unfortunately, this is something that many small business website haven’t gotten right– implementing a compelling call-to-action (CTA).

Snapshot of a great call-to-action on a small business website

Have you invested a lot of time in developing your website’s blog? Then your CTA should make it easy it easy for interested visitors to subscribe. Perhaps you have a landing page that includes a form for capturing contact information from leads.

A great CTA can make a world of difference in bridging the gap from site visitor to customer/subscriber/loyal brand fan. A crappy CTA, on the other hand, may confuse the visitors you drive to this page and lead to significant dropoff.

Click here for some tips on how you can improve your calls-to-action.

4) Implement an Email Pop-Up on Your Site

Odds are you have had at least one bad experience with popups on the internet. Frankly, they can be really annoying. So it may come as a surprise that this is an important inbound marketing tactic for your small business.

Fortunately, email opt-in pop-ups can be implemented in a way that doesn’t ruin the user’s experience and ultimately builds your email list.

This list of potential leads can become extremely valuable for your business. A great email opt-in can quickly build up your email list when combined with the other inbound marketing tactics listed in this post. Here’s a fantastic tutorial from Mailchimp on how to setup a successful opt-in pop-up on your website using their form builder.

If you’re using WordPress for your website, here’s a list of additional plugins that you can use to build your email list.

5) Start an Email Marketing Campaign

Once you’ve built up a solid email list, then it’s time to start your first email marketing campaign. This is an excellent way to keep customers and potential leads up-to-date about things you’re doing, upcoming sales and events. It’s also one of the best ways to nurture the type of relationship that turns leads into raving fans of your business.

Woman waits for an email from her favorite brand

Now, you might be wondering how much time it’s going to take to actually run an email marketing campaign and how you’ll be able to fit that into your busy schedule. This is why you’ll want to pick a great email service provider. They’ll allow you to upload your list of email subscribers and send automated emails to all of them.

Here are the email service providers we recommend trying out:

  • Mailchimp
  • Constant Contact
  • AWeber
  • GetResponse
  • Campaign Monitor
  • IContact

From timing to optimizing your messaging, there are a lot of best practices to familiarize yourself with. Remember, the emails should come off as personal and helpful, rather than spammy or aggressive. Email marketing should not be used as an easy way to simply pitch to potential clients. This will quickly disinterest them or even frustrate them.

Want to learn more about this inbound marketing tactic? Click here.

6) Work on Developing Your Online Brand

One of the best aspects of inbound marketing is that it can help you develop a great online brand for your business. There’s a lot of competition out there and people will use search engines and social media to learn more about a given company. If you’ve developed a good social following and invested in your website, this can easily separate you from your competitors.

Offering a great resource on your website and ranking well for related keywords will help position your business as a leader in your niche. Combine that with an effective social media marketing strategy and you’ll see your online brand grow!

Using inbound marketing to build your online brand will require a focused and multi-faceted approach. With clearly defined buyer personas, you can tailor your social messaging and content marketing to speak to the them. That will establish your business as a go-to resource amongst your target audience.

7) Use Social Media to Engage with Your Target Audience

Have you created social media profiles for your business? If you’ve picked the right social media channels to invest in, you can use them to interact with your target audience.

Quick disclaimer: social media shouldn’t be viewed as your primary source of conversions. Your optimized website and a genuine email marketing campaign will generate more. However, social media is still a critical aspect of your inbound marketing campaign.

Example of a social interaction from a brand

Building up your business’ presence on these social channels won’t be enough. You’ll want to find ways to engage with your followers– it’s called social media for a reason!

Wondering where to start? Just try asking questions and be sure to respond when followers ask you questions. Your social channel isn’t meant to be another one-way street where you promote things about your business. Be present and receptive!

Some of the most successful brands online take this a step further by constantly monitoring for any mention of their name. This gives them an instant way to join in on conversations and engage with people that have shown an interest in them. Interacting with interested social media users does a lot to personalize the brand and set it apart from their competitors.


As you can see, each of these inbound marketing tactics compliment each other. Plus, they can be applied to any business website regardless of the industry.

While these seven tactics can achieve a lot for your business, there are many other inbound marketing tactics that small businesses can use to great effect. If you have questions about how to get started, please leave a comment below or shoot us an email. We’d be happy to help!

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