Local business owners face numerous challenges when marketing their businesses. There are plenty of advertising avenues they can go down, but these can cost a significant chunk of money, and small business owners are usually operating on tight marketing budgets. In past years, owners have experimented with outbound marketing techniques like email blasts, print magazine and newspaper advertising and cold calling. In today’s Web-connected world, those techniques are showing signs of inefficiency. Seen through the lens of today’s data-rich analytics, these methods don’t account for how customers are buying.

Outbound Marketing

Outbound marketing is a traditional marketing style. A company sends out a message through TV commercials, print advertisements, cold calls or email blasts. Seeking out the customer used to be the only way business was done, but now customers are the ones initiating the conversation. This one-way communication from company to customers is slowly fading, due to an ever-increasing array of information sources for company products and services. For current product info, today’s customers turn to the Web for product review sites, recommendations on social networks and a more rounded overall consumer info view.

There are still benefits to cold-calling and outbound marketing tactics, but a company needs to integrate a more subtle form of marketing to keep customers engaged. This is a major phase of change in the buying process, and as a result, business owners need to adapt to this increasing inbound marketing and become a resource for its prospects.

Inbound Marketing

Like sign made with social media icons

Inbound marketing tactfully enables your current and potential customers to find your business. Social media is the best platform to market your brand without encroaching on customers. A business with an engaging and relevant online presence with draw in customers in a natural way. Blogging on your site, sharing discounts and insights on social networks, speaking at conferences, hosting webinars— these are all ways that customers can find your business online.

By increasing your inbound marketing efforts, you get engaged customers who are actively seeking what your business offers. According to data gathered by Mashable, inbound marketing is cheaper and more effective. That’s a great start to the company-customer relationship right there. By creating useful content online, customers can naturally share and talk about your company. This method helps to produce more cost-effective leads for your business.

Develop a company page on Facebook, and search Facebook Graph Search for interest of your customers. Get involved and show interest. Becoming active in social media marketing can elevate the numbers of your community of customers who value your product or service. Look to Twitter, Vine, Pinterest and other social sites as well that fit your overall business purpose.

Business Growth

Make sure to hit the fundamentals for your business. One-on-one customer visits are still fruitful, even in the age of Google Hangouts and Skype calls. Keep your finances in order and don’t neglect small business accounting software or services. Keeping on top of your finances can help you organize and plan future business goals. Find the right opportunity to make the personal visit. Combine with a nearby conference or another customer visit. Be prudent with your resources.

Do it right, at a good quality with consistent output in the form of articles, blog posts and videos. After all, you want your products, services and insights to shine. Be vigilant over the content as well, making sure it matches your company’s overall tone and purpose.