When you ask someone with a successful social media presence how to build your own audience, the answer most often is, “Write a blog post, tweet it to your following, and share it on Facebook and LinkedIn.” But what if you do not have many followers on Twitter or Facebook Fans? Recently, my young marketing company decided to start over – completely from scratch. We wanted to see if we could generate leads using inbound marketing in 30 days. Here is how we did it.

Week 1: Create a Story

You as a consumer and as a business person are completely inundated with information. Whether you are checking your email, reading your favorite blogs, online magazines and websites, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, there is information everywhere. You receive so much information on a day-to-day basis that you don’t have time to consume all of it. When was the last time you had everything read in your RSS reader, or your inbox had 0 unread messages? I’m guessing it’s been a while. Your customers and your audience are also suffering from information overload. Think about what you read – whether it pertains to your business or not. It’s the stories that resonate with you the most. Whether it’s a blog post on how to grow your business, or news relating to your favorite football team, or the heartfelt story of a mother reunited with her child. Determine what your story is for each marketing activity. As part of our 30 day strategy we created a webinar to be the main piece of content promoted during the month.

Create a Landing Page

Before you start publishing content in the form of a blog, or networking on Twitter or Facebook you need to create a landing page. Every person who comes to your website is a prospective customer. I hear many business owners say “I only have 500 people a month visiting my site, how can I get more traffic?” When I ask how many visitors became customers of the business, very often the answer is none. What would happen to you business if 20% of all web traffic turned into paying customers? Instead of asking “How do I increase blog traffic” you should ask “How do I turn that traffic into customers?”

Week 2: Content Development

After writing great content pertaining to your story, you need an audience to read it. In order to grow our audience, we would email our most helpful posts to friends and ask them to share it with their friends. Please do not abuse your contacts. Only send a few posts, otherwise, you risk becoming a bit of a spammer and annoying. Even if you do not have a large following on Facebook, Twitter, etc., chances are that you are in contact with someone who is highly connected, who will be happy to share helpful information with their network. Make sure that your content is easy for them to share. Finally, creating content is an ongoing process. Even as you start to adopt other inbound marketing strategies, creating content, such as a blog is a continuous effort.

Week 3: Public Relations

We found many blogs, looking for guest posters and fresh content. If your story is compelling and unique, chances are they will allow you to leverage their network and help you grow your audience and expand your reach. By pitching the story we created in week one to various blogs and friends, we have been able to set up a few guest posts over the course of these 30 days. We get the benefit of expanded reach, and they get the benefit of fresh voices.

News Release We have also submitted a news release announcing a webinar where we will share this story with small and mid-sized business owners. However, instead of emailing the news release to journalists, we used the online distribution service PRWeb. This will help with our search rankings and increase the visibility of our story as it gets picked up by various news aggregation sites.

Week 4: Paid Advertisements in Facebook

Our final focus is on PPC advertising. However, instead of using Adwords, we decided to use Facebook’s advertising platform. There are two main reasons for this. First, it is cheaper. We are in a competitive space, and Adwords clicks would be well over $1.00 per click to get onto the first page. Second, Facebook ads will help you develop your buyer persona. You have visibility on things like age, gender, likes, and job titles that you are unable to see using Google Adwords. This will help us target our ads more precisely, increasing the efficiency of our campaign.

Results

At the start of this plan we started with exactly one visitor to our website. When we presented our webinar at the end of the 30 days, we had over 1200 visitors to our landing page, website and blog. There were 107 registrants to the webinar and we have already given out four proposals. Finally, due to our PR efforts, we’ve been featured on 2 blogs, and contributed to an article on Entrepreneur.com.

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