Online-marketingWhen you’re running a small business in this kind of economy, you don’t have room for unwise or overspending. Every dollar has to be accounted for and if allocated for marketing purposes, should make a nice return on investment (ROI) for you. Generally speaking, the more targeted your marketing efforts are, the more success you are going to have not only generating leads, but generating leads that end up in conversions.

Three Inbound Marketing Techniques for Small Businesses that Won’t Break your Bank

The secret to generating these kind of leads without overspending on your advertising budget is called inbound marketing. Inbound marketing is simply marketing techniques that make it easier for your audience to find you, as opposed to you going out to find them (outbound marketing). One of the reasons inbound marketing is so successful is the rise of the search engine and the way it’s defined how we find things we are looking for. From recipes to remedies to the latest products—advertisers are spending less money because they simply make it easier for their audience to find them.

Here are three ways that you can use inbound marketing to increase your leads and ultimately, your sales:

1. Social Media Networks. Social media is all the rage right now with internet marketers and with good reason—it works. Not only are most social media networks absolutely free to use, they are also relatively simple to get the hang of. This means that you can start getting your word out there with content and posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Tumblr right now. In fact, the sooner you get your social media out there, the faster you can integrate it into your marketing strategy, thus fully optimizing your lead generation. Of course, social media networks are easy to use, but complicated to master, so there are social media managers out there that can help you—or completely run it for you—run your social media sites. You can also choose to “boost” posts which increase your audience without organic growth. This is more of your typical “pay for advertising” than inbound marketing, but the results are undeniably positive.

2. Blogging. Blogging gives you a great way to increase your audience while connecting with them at the same time. By providing useful content, your audience will check into your website more often. They will also see you as an authority figure in the industry and be more likely to listen to your suggestions such as buying your product. Blogs can be free if you set them up and write them yourself, but many small businesses have their blog set up on their website and then “outsource” the blogging to freelance writers who know tricks like building backlinks, creating keyword and SEO copy or writing content that will go viral. For this setup and outsourcing, you will have to pay a minimal fee, but you’ll make more money from sales because of the blogs if you hire the right people.

3. Website Traffic. Finally, there is good old website traffic. There are two main ways to get web traffic to your site: paid and organic. Organic traffic comes from things like SEO content on the site (which can be in the form of blogs), reviews, keywords, etc. Essentially, anything not paid for through the search engine itself. Organic search results last much longer but take longer to achieve and are more difficult as well. Paid search results net you faster, surer results, but no real long term value. They are good for getting your sales up quickly for a little while, but if you’re constantly paying for them, you’re cutting into that profit.

Profitable Online Marketing Techniques

Of course, there are many more techniques that small businesses can use for internet marketing. What it really boils down to is your budget and your want. If you have the budget for larger marketing systems and don’t have the want to do any of it on your own, you can hire a marketing company to get your website more traffic and conversions. On the other hand, if you have no money in the budget but a lot of free time on your hands, you might consider running your own online marketing campaigns.

Still, no matter which route you choose to go, it’s important that you understand a few critical components of online marketing for small businesses.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/