Despite our cultural obsession with baby geniuses—college students who launch tech companies right out of their dormitories—the fact is that baby boomers are now behind a large proportion of startups, and are becoming more entrepreneurial than ever before.
According to the Bureau of Labor statistics, the self-employment rate for adults over 54 is 16.4 percent, and research by the Kauffman Foundation suggests that entrepreneurship among this group will continue to surge. Some boomers are launching startups to bolster their retirement nest eggs. Others simply don’t want to retire yet—they are passionate about what they do and want to leverage their years of experience to grow their own enterprises.
To successfully market their ideas, baby boomer entrepreneurs will need to look beyond the traditional marketing strategies they grew up with, such as print and broadcast advertising, direct mail and telemarketing. These methods can still work to generate business, but from a consumer’s perspective, they represent unwanted interruptions, and often are not tailored to the individual’s unique needs. And from a business perspective, these strategies usually require a significant investment.
In recent years, the Internet has enabled an alternative approach, in which a business creates content to attract visitors to its website and collect information from the visitors that will allow the company to tailor its marketing to various types of people to convert visitors into customers. This approach is referred to as inbound marketing. If you’re not a marketing guru, this may be a new concept, but don’t let the jargon scare you. Inbound marketing isn’t complicated: if you have a website, then you’ve already started the journey. Here are the 3 stages of inbound marketing.
1. Get Found
The first step of inbound marketing is attracting visitors to your site. Here are some proven ways to do it:
Search Engine Optimization SEO: Many customers start the buying process at a search engine, so your site should be listed as prominently as possible. At a minimum, you should regularly analyze and edit your content to make sure you’re using appropriate keywords.
Blogging: The best way to attract new visitors to your site is by publishing a blog that provides relevant and credible information. Companies that blog get 55% more leads than those that don’t.
Social Media: When people go online, they’re interacting with friends and sharing content on social media. These sites provide a great opportunity to expand visibility of your company and drive more visitors to your site.
Content Marketing: In addition to publishing a blog, think about creating other content, such as white papers, webinars and videos that provide valuable information to attract visitors.
2. Convert Your Visitors
As you start attracting visitors to your website, your goal obviously will be to convert them into paying customers. Here are a few ideas:
Calls to Action: When you develop new content for your site, you’ll need to create a call to action that encourages the visitors to act (e.g. “Download the Whitepaper”). Other possible calls to action could be “Request a Consultation” or “Get Product Sample.” The offer you’re making must fulfill the needs of your visitors for the call to action to work.
Landing Pages: When website visitors click on a call to action, they should be sent to a landing page. This is where prospects submit information about themselves, which will help you determine whether they are a good sales lead or not..
Email Marketing: You will get many leads that aren’t immediately converted into customers. One effective way to nurture a longer-term relationship with these people is through a series of emails providing content targeted to their interests.
You should measure outcomes at every stage of your marketing strategy to figure out ways to make it more efficient and determine the return on your time and investment In addition to looking at common metrics, such as number of unique visitors, page visits and click-through, you should also monitor:
Conversion Rates: The percentage of people who convert from visitors to leads or from leads to customers.
Benchmarks: Benchmarks are data used to measure your marketing performance against peers. For example, conversion rate benchmarks allow you to see how your own conversion rates compare to those of similar companies.
Content Performance: You want to see how well each type of content you produce is attracting people to your website so you can get better and better at providing content that works for you.