“Customers, are much more active today in their shopping and browsing then ever before because they have been empowered with choices and the information necessary to buy with confidence.”
They read reviews, blog posts, social page content, and do their own research to determine which vendor is the best fit for their needs. However most companies miss sales opportunities by approaching their target audiences in a similar fashion.
Whether they are selling a product or a service, it is a given that in today’s modern marketing culture there is an established website in place for potential customers to learn about the company and what it has to offer. But, there are hundreds of companies online doing the same thing, and selling similar things.
Because of the vast changes in how customers shop, research, and purchase goods and services, a website alone is simply no longer enough. Attracting the right inbound traffic for your business requires a well thought out marketing plan – specifically an inbound marketing strategy that helps you attract genuine leads to your website.
The majority of consumers today use search engines to find what they are looking for and rarely venture past the first few search results, let alone all the way to page 2 or page 3. By developing a powerful inbound marketing strategy and getting your website to rank well for keywords that matter most to your customers you can generate far more leads that convert into sales and increased revenue for your business.
The Three Inbound Marketing Strategies
The purpose of inbound marketing is to create shareable, meaningful, high-quality content which will attract a specific audience, who then has the potential to become a frequent visitor and a devoted customer. There are three key strategies you need to effectively execute if you expect to attract the right traffic for your business: Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Blogging, and Social Media Sharing.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Search Engine Optimization is a vital component of inbound marketing, as it increases your visibility in search results. Successfully mastering SEO increases your website’s search engine ranking for keywords that matter most to your audience and will positively affect the flow of quality traffic to your website.
We won’t go into SEO specifics in this article but here are a few things you should be doing to improve your ranking in search engines, especially if you are just starting out. These are easy, non-technical suggestions that will help any website increase traffic over time. You should:
- Make sure your content is well-written and that it is targeting the proper keywords for your audience. Think about this from the customer’s perspective not only your own and make sure the typical phrases or keywords they would use when searching to find a product or service you offer are being utilized.
- Make sure all web pages include unique and descriptive text that is utilizing the proper keywords you selected. Many websites optimize one page and use those optimization choices for every page on their site. This more than likely will hurt rather than help your efforts. Create unique content for each page and use a unique set of relevant keywords and descriptions to let the web page stand on it’s own two feet.
- Promote your web pages individually by telling other relevant websites about your website to attract more inbound links. This can be done by promoting your website through social media, commenting on blog articles that are relevant to what you offer, and much more. Make sure when you promote a particular product or service you share the link which directs the visitor to that product or service specifically. Nothing turns users away faster than talking about a product, sharing a link, and having it send the visitor to your home page. Don’t make them work harder to learn more.
To learn more about SEO and to get a comprehensive overview, check out these articles:
- The Complete Guide to Web Design for Business Owners
- The 5 Best On-Page Techniques to Maximize Search Engine Visibility
Now that you’ve garnered exposure and traffic through SEO, it’s time to take those leads and turn them into devoted customers. You need to provide people with quality content, or else they will turn away as fast as they arrived if your website has nothing worth sticking around to read or engage with. Think about developing a proper content strategy too, instead of randomly or arbitrarily creating blog content lacking a central focus or theme.
Inbound marketing relies heavily on high quality blogging and content creation and it is not just your existing clientele who should benefit. Your blogs should provide potential customers with solutions, answers, insight, and resourceful information they can access and utilize regularly which helps build your company’s authority and credibility in your industry. Your blog should be the blog they turn to for applicable answers to specific problems. This won’t happen if your blog content is poorly written, rarely updated, or not developed with the target customer in mind. Use strong keywords to attract the right audience and keep the activities on your blogs and social media accounts engaging, positive, and helpful. Always aim to help.
Though blogging offers a more content-friendly platform, Tweets, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+ posts as well as email messages also inspire conversation, build rapport, and engage with your target audience. Creating content for business related purposes no matter which delivery method you choose should always remain relevant and educational in nature. Make sure to provide potential customers with relevant information and valuable solutions to gain their trust. Demonstrate your knowledge and expertise of what it is you’re selling, and keep the blog posts coming!
Always remember, customers and prospects should both feel well-informed and confident when making a purchase from your company that the relationship and your commitment to their satisfaction does not stop at the point of purchase.
Social Media Sharing
Social Media can be a powerful weapon in your inbound marketing arsenal when used to share and promote high-quality content on your website. Social media produces even more exposure for your business by allowing hundreds or thousands of social followers to read, consume, share, and recommend your website, your business, and your products and services to all of their followers as well. Putting your website in front of a huge network of potential prospects who would have otherwise never found your content can be a major game changer for your business. If your content is worth sharing, and targeting the right audience, people will share it. This is an extremely powerful way to generate avid readers of your blog and buyers of your goods.
In addition to setting up social profiles on the most relevant social sites for your business, also consider joining relevant forums or groups. LinkedIn for example has thousands of both public and private groups that can be a major source of new targeted traffic for your website. Find a group that could benefit from what you offer, and develop helpful ways to share those ideas and suggestions with the group when applicable.
Social Media over time has become a major ranking factor for your website. Many search engines now even index social posts as well as your web pages which gives you even more opportunities to rank for specific keywords, topics, and more. Make a dedicated effort to building your social following, and engaging with followers on a regular basis. Develop a “personality” that suits your business and use this model to develop rapport with followers. New followers will generate more traffic which increases your relevance, authority, and improves your search engine ranking. As with SEO and Blogging, make sure keywords are utilized properly in your posts to interest the right audience.
Inbound marketing strategies create a loop of endless growth so long as your business dedicates itself to continually working on your inbound marketing strategies. Websites today, and marketing your business online are no longer a “set it and forget it” strategy. The only thing that sets you apart from the hundreds or thousands of other companies selling or doing exactly what you do is what you give back to your audience in return for their business or their interest in your business.
Your business undoubtedly will hit a few road bumps along the way that could deter you from developing an inbound marketing strategy such as:
- handling the technical aspects of SEO
- doing proper keyword research
- updating or upgrading your website to be more appealing or useful to the end user
- creating content or simply coming up with new content ideas every week
- keeping up with social networking, posting, commenting, engaging with followers
- examining and making future marketing decisions based on the numbers and data you compile from your efforts thus far
Most business owners are busy running their business. And their staff members each have their own set of responsibilities that also help the company function properly day to day. Unless you have a marketing expert on staff, its more than likely the thought of developing an inbound marketing strategy internally is discouraging. Or even if you can swing that portion, actually implementing and executing the plan might be where your company sees the greatest likelihood of failure. Weigh the pros and cons of developing and executing an inbound marketing strategy in-house and also consider how hiring a professional inbound marketing agency might be beneficial as well.
If you are interested in learning more about inbound marketing, developing a strategy of your own, or speaking to a qualified representative about what executing inbound for your business would look like, we would be happy to discuss with you further.
We love helping our readers learn more about the power of the modern inbound marketing methodology!