"What’s the point?"
We hear it all the time. As much as we talk about how beneficial inbound marketing can be, some people aren’t sold on it. I like to think of it less as a lack of understanding and more as a failure of imagination, because the questions we get aren’t about how it works but about whether it can benefit their business.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been told “well, that might work for other people, but we just don’t get clients that way.” It’s not just that they don’t see a clear path to conversion; they doubt that using the inbound methodology for content and social media marketing will bring in the clients they’re after.
“Nobody is using my website that way,” I hear. “I can’t see this being worth my time and money.”
You know what I hear when they say that? I hear “I don’t understand how powerful the internet is. I don’t know my website’s potential. I’m stuck using antiquated client acquisition models, and I can’t imagine any other way of doing business.”
Too many businesses (especially professional enterprises like law firms) treat their website like nothing so much as a giant business card. It lists their services, their contact information, and maybe says a little bit about their staff. But it doesn’t do anything. It just confirms they exist and helps people get in touch via traditional channels.
You might as well just list your name and phone number and be done with it, if that’s all you want. But it shouldn’t be.
If you really think inbound marketing can’t help you, then you’re saying that you aren’t interested in being found in the 131 billion searches conducted every month. That you don’t care if people looking for your services find you. That you aren’t concerned if the single largest informational network in human history is ignoring your existence.
Maybe you’re getting plenty of business from referrals, and maybe your business is “doing well enough.” But nobody starts a firm because they want it to “do well enough.” You started it because you were hungry. You wanted it to grow. Your business was lean, keen, and tenacious in pursuit of the next opportunity. So why are you sitting fat and happy when there’s a planet full of potential clients outside your small referral network with no idea you exist at all? You’re letting money slip through your fingers because you’re doing nothing to grasp it.
Inbound marketing is all about making sure that people can find you when they need you. You may not get clients from your website. But you could, and the fact that you don’t is limiting your business.
Think about it. When you build your customer base on referrals, you’re building a base with limited exposure to your services. You aren’t encouraging your clients to make use of a greater portion of your offerings because you haven’t made yourself an indispensable part of their lives. Your website is just a business card. Why would they ever come back?
Set yourself a goal, and become their go-to source for everything about your business. If you’re a law firm, you want to be their trusted source for legal information. If you’re an accountancy, you’d better be providing great accounting advice all year round, so that they don’t just turn to you when the taxman cometh. Do the work – become their partner, their friend, and their companion in your area of expertise, and they’ll keep coming back to you when they need someone to do what you do.
When you build that reputation, driven by organic linking, social sharing, and web visits, everything improves. Your PageRank gets higher, which means you turn up in search more frequently. Your social accounts get healthier, meaning your name gets more exposure and your business gets in front of more eyes. And all this translates into a long-term strategy for growth because you’re growing your potential pool of clients. You’d simply be working with a larger number of people who are aware of who you are, what you do – and who already trust you to do it well.
What would that be worth to you?