For years, inbound marketing has been considered one of the most efficient ways to promote brands, attract prospects, and turn them into loyal customers. However, a business owner trying to market products or services must know not only how to manage certain inbound areas – such as search engine optimisation (SEO), content creation, and lead generation and nurturing – but also how the inbound marketing process works if he or she wants to achieve success. Though many blog posts and articles explain the what, the why, and the how of inbound, only a few of them offer information about its mechanism of action. To help you make the most of inbound marketing, this post gives you valuable insights into its inner-workings.
By now, you probably have a functional website. The next thing you should do is to develop a blog. Why? Because blogging remains one of the most practical and powerful ways to distribute content and bring new, qualified prospects to your site. Since search engines use sophisticated crawlers and algorithms to find, browse, index, and rank new web pages, posting high-quality, unique, eye-catching content regularly increases your chances of getting found online.
According to industry watchers, blogging can increase website traffic by 55 percent, inbound links by 97 percent, and indexed pages by 400 percent. Considering that nearly 70 percent of Internet users belong to a forum or social network, it is also important to complement your web pages with following/share buttons and comment forms if you want to stay in touch with your prospects and build brand awareness.
Traffic generation requires a lot of planning along with a focus on key tactics that can increase not only the amount of visitors to your site, but also the conversion rate. The most important tactics associated with traffic generation are:
- SEO – If your blog or website does not get much traffic, you may need to revise your SEO strategy. Are you using the most relevant keywords and key phrases? Have you included them strategically in your backend code and content to ensure that your website will appear in search engine result pages? Do you adjust your SEO strategy regularly based on specific metrics, such as site ranking and traffic frequency? If you pay attention to all these points, your site will most likely be included in search results when related searches are conducted.
- Content creation – Content creation provides businesses with the opportunity to drive traffic to their websites and turn prospects into leads and loyal customers. Whilst the number of pages on a website is limited by the number of products and services a company provides, the number of blog posts is virtually infinite, allowing businesses to generate and increase traffic continuously.
- Social media – Not only social media platforms, such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Tweeter, and Pinterest, facilitate brand exposure and drive traffic to online businesses; they also enable business owners to engage with prospects, generate leads, and gain customers. Proactive social media strategies, such as posting content to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+, are bound to drive traffic to your website.
It is very important to identify and implement the best tactics for engaging visitors, regardless of their position in the sales funnel. For instance, a person who visits your blog may not be ready to buy your products or services yet. However, you must find a way to persuade that person to come back for more, with the hope that he or she will become a customer. Responsive design focusing on intuitive, gratifying experiences for everyone – including people on the go – along with high-quality, easy-to-navigate, personalised content are key elements that usually encourage readers to come back consistently and share your content.
Calls to action
Calls to action, or CTAs, define one of the most lucrative elements a site owner can use to drive traffic to landing pages and encourage lead generation. The goal of CTAs is to get visitors click buttons or links, which take them to landing pages where they are required to submit certain information. The secret behind developing effective CTAs is to create buttons or text that users can notice easily. For instance, you can use contrasting colours and numbers instead of words. When crafting your CTAs, it is also essential to indicate specific actions for users to take, pay attention to button or link positions, and ensure that all buttons and links work properly.
Once you have developed effective CTAs for your website or blog, you need to create adequate landing pages in order to boost your conversion rates. Since landing pages require visitors to provide information in exchange for your offers, you must ensure that your offers are valuable enough to persuade visitors to take the next step, and also that your landing pages are optimised for lead generation. This indirectly means that landing pages must include valuable, relevant, and useful information about your offers, along with on-page conversion items – such as sign-up forms – which visitors can use to sign-up for your offers.
The sign-up form can be used not only to offer something valuable to your site visitors, but also to get something valuable for your business; namely, comprehensive information about your prospects and leads. By going beyond typical contact information and requiring visitors to provide details about their countries, companies, and job roles, you can delve deeper into potential buyer personas, which is critical for your overall inbound marketing strategy.
Lead nurturing campaigns are very important for a company trying to convert leads into customers. Providing educational information, such as industry news, trend reports, and how-to content, via emails is one of the easiest ways to nurture leads and move them down the sales funnel. But to create a truly efficient lead nurturing strategy, you need to consider your marketing goals along with the actions you want your leads to take, BEFORE creating your emails. While general information relating to your niche can help you fill your sales pipeline with qualified leads, special offers on your products and services – such as free consultations and preferential pricing – are more efficient when trying to build trust and credibility with the people interested in your products or services. In a nutshell, an efficient lead-nurturing campaign can help you get more customers, whilst allowing your sales team to spend less time convincing people to buy your products or services.
Now that you know these things, you can easily understand the inner workings of inbound marketing. But somehow, more important than this is to know that the inbound marketing process repeats itself over and over again, allowing for easy replication of business success.