The term “inbound marketing” seems to be taking the world by storm…and for good reason. Inbound marketing is the practice of pulling in visitors to your website and then converting them into leads. There’s a process and a system for doing this the right way, so let’s look at the critical components of a successful inbound marketing strategy.
1. Defining Your Audience
Before you run off to create content, you have to know who you’re creating it for. In order to become a trusted advisor and an expert in the eyes of your target market, you have to understand their pains, their challenges and their content desires. What type of information will help them make a buying decision? What type of information will solve their problems? These are the questions you need to answer and identify before you begin.
Without blogging, your inbound marketing strategy will fail. Creating great content is the single most important aspect of inbound marketing today. Our partners over at HubSpot found that businesses who blog more than 20 times per month get over 5X more traffic than businesses that blog less than four times per month. If that doesn’t show you the importance of blogging, I’m not sure what will!
3. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is still important today even though social media is coming on strong. Ensuring you have the right keywords in the right places in your blog posts, website pages, videos and social profiles is what determines whether you get found by your target audience or not.
4. Social Media
Social media is becoming more important, and not just from a communication standpoint. It’s also becoming important due to the impact on ranking your content. If a piece of content is shared 500 times vs. 50 times, search engines will put more weight on the piece of content that was shared more. The “shares” are telling the search engines that this piece of content is more important.
5. Offer Development
Your ability to create compelling offers will determine much of your ability to convert leads on your website. Now that we’ve gone to all the trouble of blogging, SEO and social media, we’ve got some traffic to our website and we need to be able to convert it. Creating items of value that your target audience is interested in will give you the opportunity to exchange information. You give them an e-book, whitepaper, webinar or free consulation in exchange for their contact information. Prospects will only give up information if they feel they are getting something of true value.
6. Calls to Action
Call-to-action buttons catch the eyes of our visitors. They quickly and clearly tell the visitor what “offer” we have for them. Calls to action should be placed above the fold and should tie in to the content on the web page or blog post. These little (or big) buttons are the transition from visitors to leads.
7. Landing Pages
Landing pages are conversion pages. They don’t have any navigation and have one purpose and one purpose only…to convert visitors into leads! These pages give visitors a quick summary of all the value they will be receiving if they fill out a form and give up their information. Landing pages should have bullet points and they should be easy to scan quickly in order to move the visitor into action. To give you some more data, HubSpot also found that businesses with more than 40 landing pages convert 12 times as many leads as businesses with 1-5 landing pages. If a business has 40 landing pages, that probably means they have a lot of specific offers to match up with their content. This means that their offers are more appealing to visitors, which causes a large increase in conversion.
8. Lead Nurturing
Lead nurturing is the practice of sending automated email campaigns to leads that have filled out a form on your website. Lead nurturing emails should contain more valuable information that is related to the offer and landing page your lead converted on. The goal of these campaigns is to move a lead down the sales funnel and into your sales process.
9. Inbound Sales Process
Inbound leads that download e-books need to be handled differently that leads requesting a quote or coming through your “Contact Us” page. These leads are in research mode and need to be handled a bit more gently. Having a sales process in place that enables salespeople to call and add value and ask how they can help will greatly improve your chances of moving these “top of the funnel” leads down into the middle and bottom of the funnel.
“If you can not measure it, you can not improve it.” We love this quote by Lord Kelvin. Today, we have so many tools at our disposal that enable small- and medium-sized businesses to measure our marketing activities. Ten or 20 years ago, these types of technologies were much more expensive and it wasn’t realistic for most businesses to implement. Today, we need to measure everything in order to identify the parts of our strategy that are working and the parts that are not. Constant improvement is possibly the most important part of your inbound marketing strategy.
Want to know where you stand with inbound marketing?