Does being a small business prevent you from taking on larger competitors?
How about going head-to-head with companies that have millions of dollars to advertise and market themselves? If they are in the same business as you, it can be intimidating — some might even say ‘‘impossible’’ for you to compete. However, with inbound marketing, you can compete with anyone.
Let’s take for example the cruise ship industry. We see their advertising on TV and in print. In fact, we’re bombarded with it. There’s a wide variety of cruise choices from companies with large fleets and huge ships with all the amenities one can imagine.
Now let’s say you operate a one-ship regional cruise line that sails up and down a particular river. How do you compete with these behemoths? With inbound marketing.
Instead of spending gobs of dollars on mail that doesn’t get opened (unasked for – starts with J, rhymes with bunk, mail) or newspaper inserts that look like ads, or magazine inserts that prevent you from turning the pages, or television commercials that show up during Sunday’s game, you begin writing about the perks associated with being a regular visitor to the ports you visit.
You write about the destinations your guests go to at each port. Suppose you interview recent guests before, during and after their cruise – and record them on video. Guests just like the ones you’re hoping to get more of. And, let’s say you share these articles on your blog and through social media. Next you post your videos to YouTube and begin a live podcast (we’ll call them ‘‘postcards from the river’’) while under sail.
Now, people who conduct web (Google, Bing, etc.) searches interested in the part of the country where your ship sails start to see, hear, and read your content (and reviews, and postcards) on your website and through social media. If nothing else, people will marvel at your efficiency! You’ve effectively targeted your marketing toward only potential customers who are interested in your area – and on a shoestring budget compared to the cruise ship mega-brands.
Small boats out maneuver large ships every time
In contrast to push marketing, or advertising that interrupts, businesses that use inbound marketing communicate with people who are curious about their products and services and allow them to get the information they need when they want it. It’s accessible to those looking for what you have and for those who want to learn more about it.
Back on your website, one page talks about pricing and another provides tips to vacationers about what to pack for this particular experience. Virtual ship tours, online cabin selection, images galore… I could go on and on.
Your small budget for content marketing allows you to zero in on cruise enthusiasts who are looking for what only you offer – which originally appeared to be similar, but in reality is much different than your competition.
Not only do you stand out among the clutter of cruise ship offerings, you communicate in a way that makes your cruise personal, you approachable, and your company unique to the kind of customer who is looking for your type of service and experience. To put it another way, you won’t be wasting marketing and advertising dollars on people who are unlikely to ever buy your product.
As your content attracts prospects, you will find that you develop a relationship with the visitors to your site and you will be able to answer their specific questions and nurture their progress on whether to purchase. Instead of one-way communication – with no proof of measurement — inbound marketing encourages a two-way conversation that can be measured at each step. As you interact with potential customers, through your website and social media, you can gauge what is working and where to make changes accordingly.
Based on the popularity of the some of the content you’ve already produced, you may decide to ratchet up some of the best performing pieces with a targeted, paid, social media campaign.
Nearly 90 percent of buyers skip TV ads today. About 45 percent of direct mail remains unopened. In contrast, inbound marketing allows you to tailor campaigns to a specific audience and convert them into customers at a fraction of the cost of traditional marketing. The same tools can be used to retain customers.
You might confront an army of Goliaths every day. Inbound marketing provides you with the tools to – if not slay them – successfully compete and build relationships with customers who want exactly what you offer.
The results might surprise you. Download the charts now.
If you’d like to better understand how to communicate with potential customers and generate more leads for your business for less money, while measuring the effectiveness of your marketing dollars, contact Crest for an educational marketing assessment.
Have you taken on a larger competitor and won? Tell us about it. Share what’s worked for you in the Comments section below. A real person reads and responds to all comments.
- At Crest, we help companies
- Create content that separates them from their competition
- Become subject matter experts in their field
- Measure the effectiveness of their marketing $$
- Generate a consistent pipeline of high-quality leads for less
- Turn clients into evangelists