The biggest objections we hear from small business owners about adding more inbound tactics to their marketing mix is the time and money it takes to do it. Truth is, there is never enough time or money when you own your own business. But, if you take a look at your current activities that take up your time and money, I know you can swap them out with cloud-based technology that will save you time and money in the long (and short) run. The infographic below shows some interesting data about small and medium sized businesses and cloud computing.
Here are our three top places where we've seen time and money saved by switching to cloud services, allowing more of both precious resources to be spent on inbound marketing:
CRM Software: One of our clients was using a popular CRM software that was hosted on a server they owned and kept in their office. Often, when I talked with the VP of Marketing (one of the many hats she wore), she was either spending time upgrading the software, trying to resolve remote access issues for employees or on the phone with tech support trying to solve a reporting issue. On the money side, she also purchased extra equipment for the remote access, firewall and backup and had to pay an IT professional to maintain and troubleshoot the server. We talked her into switching to Salesforce.com so she could spend more time on marketing activities (her own estimation was that she spent 16 hours per month on average). Additionally, she was spending a total of about $5,000 a year between upgrades, IT support and hardware. The equivalent Salesforce subscription is about $125/month, actually giving her more functionality than she had before for about $1,500 a year.
Website Building: This same client was spending money each month for website hosting and a proprietary website management system with the company that designed and built the website (which was additional thousands of dollars). With the same monthly payment, she switched to a cloud-based website management system called Hubspot that also includes built-in inbound marketing functionality. There are also less-expensive website building services such as SquareSpace and Jimdo (we are affiliates, fans and customers of all three). Hubspot's all-in-one solution also saves time because you can manage all your internet marketing activities in one place.
Phone Service: One of our business partners, Advantage List Marketing, was paying the local telephone company for several different land lines including a dedicated fax line. We looked into cloud-based services and chose Phone.com (we are also an affiliate, fan and customer) for both their service and ours. They saved about $300 a month, keeping their same numbers and adding routing functionality that allows certain numbers to ring anywhere you want. This makes it easier to not miss a customer's call no matter where you are.
So, while it might seem like you don't have the time or money, we think you do. We'll gladly help you find more of each if you give us a call or drop us an email. In the meantime, check out the infographic put together by Rackspace that points to the fact that you can use the cloud to stand toe-to-toe with larger companies: