Can Inbound Marketing Boost Sales for Your Small Business?

By Brooke Preston, Manta Contributor — September 23, 2016

Inbound marketing with web content is replacing cold calls, direct mail and old-media advertising. But outbound may be more useful for some small business owners.

There are two major categories of marketing: outbound and inbound. Outbound marketing is paid outreach to potential customers. Inbound marketing is the art of attracting customers to your company through your digital content.

Outbound marketing used to be the business standard. Cold calls, direct mail, trade shows, ads on TV and radio or in newspapers — the effectiveness of these marketing tactics has lessened in the digital age.

In general, custumers don’t like being advertised to; they would rather have a conversation with a company through social media platforms. Inbound and content marketing lets you interact more with new and existing customers — you can develop a relationship that prompts customers to call you when they’re ready to make a purchase.

For some small businesses, though, inbound marketing may not be effective. Is your business one of them? Answer these questions to decide:

  1. Do you really want more business? It sounds like a trick question, but some contractors and small firms may be at capacity, with no plans to expand. If your business comes from a few dependable sources (for instance, a general contractor who gets all their business from a large homebuilder), it may not make sense to invest time into cultivating new customers.
  2. Is everyone onboard? If you (and your management staff) don’t understand or buy into inbound marketing, it likely won’t work for you. Why? You’ll cripple the process second-guessing every cent and minute spent. If you think social media is overrated, blogs are a waste of time and podcasts are confusing (and you’re not open to changing that opinion), inbound marketing is probably not ideal for you.
  3. Do you have enough time? If you’re truly strapped for time, inbound marketing won’t work for a do-it-yourselfer — unless you’re able to hire a pro to handle marketing for you. Crafting high-quality digital content takes time and attention. No time and no budget to hire inbound marketing help? Look elsewhere for time- and cost-effective solutions, or work to carve out regular time in your schedule to devote to inbound marketing.

This story originally appeared here on Manta.com.