Not long ago if you had car trouble the only way you could contact a family member, friend or tow service was to locate a payphone. Researching a topic meant thumbing through those encyclopedias you bought from the neighbor’s son or taking a trip across town to the local library. Now with cell phones coupled with the internet you can actually solve both problems in a few seconds. Times have definitely changed.

The same can be said of marketing. In the past the only choice one had to promote a product or service was through expensive advertising campaigns, time consuming cold calling efforts or scattered direct mailing campaigns i.e. outbound marketing. The future is here and the future is inbound marketing. With very little startup cost combined with a dash of patience, your business can achieve new heights with this ultra-targeted marketing strategy.

1) Research your audience
If you are an electrician, sitting down for a couple of hours to produce a five-star blog post on the best used cars for college students is a complete waste of time. You want to attract traffic that can be converted into paying customers. Invest a little time in researching your customer base. Discover issues your potential clients are trying to solve and then mold your content into life-saving solutions

2) Content is king
The key to inbound marketing is the creation of captivating content on your website that is tailored specifically for your audience. The vehicle or vehicles you choose to convey your message is up to you. Whether it be a blog, podcast, video, eBook or a combination of the aforementioned, the information included must be pertinent.

3) Prepare then share
Once you have determined your audience and crafted convincing content it’s time to share your information. Discover which social media circles your potential clients frequent and share your hard work.

4) Engage with a call to action
Convince your targeted website visitors to become active. Get extra creative here because passive readers do not equal paying customers. Take time to craft an eBook that your audience will have to download — or hire someone to do the job for you. Compel your potential clients to fill out a form that will enable you to email them targeted information. If you have a product, offer a free trial or if your business of choice is service related, provide a chance for a free consultation. No matter which option you choose, make sure you engage by inspiring potential clients to take action.

It’s true that classic outbound marketing can achieve quick results but can be costly, conversely inbound marketing can be relatively inexpensive but takes time and effort to attain your goals. So patience is definitely in order. But if you follow the above steps and do your homework, inbound marketing will net results worth the wait.