What Is Inbound Marketing?
Inbound marketing is the process of capturing online opportunities while they are seeking a solution for a problem that your product/service solves, rather than you presenting an unsolicited message (outbound marketing). This means intercepting your potential customer while on their buyer’s journey, so that they learn about your service and then seek you out when they’re ready to buy or receive more information. The core of inbound marketing is often SEO, because when your potential customer’s looking to buy or learn more information, they’ll often turn to Google. Ranking highly in Google and other search engines can be a great way to intercept your potential customer and get in front of them when they’re in a buying mentality. Another example is social media, which enables you to share your content with your audience and become top-of-mind with them.
Traditional Marketing vs Inbound Marketing
Marketing has changed dramatically in the past decade. This change can be tracked back to the trend in consumer behavior that the Internet enabled. Historically, consumers were less able to seek out information, so it was the job of the marketer to identify a group of people that wanted a service, and then to reach out to them with information. This process had a low conversion rate, because many people were not actually in need of that product or service at the time the message was received.
In the past decade, traditional marketing has been on the decline, and inbound marketing is the new gold standard. The Internet empowers consumers to seek out information: now, when they want something, a potential customer will go online first to do research. Once they have identified a solution for their need, they look for a provider based on their buying criteria.
A strong inbound marketing campaign can deliver a highly targeted audience that is looking for what you offer. Inbound marketing is also more popular with consumers, because it doesn’t push unsolicited information at the wrong time. With media channels and advertising at an all-time high it is more important than ever to reach customers when they actually need you, so you are helping them solve a problem rather than forcing an advertising message. Timing makes all the difference.
What Goes Into a Successful Inbound Campaign?
There are many elements that can go into a successful inbound marketing campaign. Some of the factors that we find lead to a winning campaign are search engine optimization, a well-designed website, content marketing, conversation rate optimization, social media, and for the ambitious business owner a paid advertising campaign.
Search Engine Optimization
SEO if often the core of inbound marketing. If your customers are searching for what you offer on Google and you’re not showing up, then your chances of converting them into buyers are slim. With a strong SEO campaign, you can attract a large number of high-quality leads that are likely to convert. In order to develop a strong SEO campaign, it’s important to have high-quality content on your site that speaks to your audience’s needs. It’s also important to have a healthy site on a technical level, in order to show search engines that your site is well-designed and a good destination for users.
You can learn more about the stages of a successful SEO campaign, or get a free SEO audit of your site from our talented team here.
Having a compelling and well-designed website is vital for inbound marketing. Your website is a key destination for users, whether they find you on social media or via SEO or by paid advertising. It should offer them the information they’re looking for and persuade them to take action—whether that action is buying a product or downloading a whitepaper.
SEO begins with a strong website, because your site needs high-quality on-page content and to be free of technical errors. Unfortunately, many web developers don’t understand or focus on SEO. This is understandable, since web development and SEO are both complex fields with a lot to learn—but it does mean that you should be wary of a web development firm that offers SEO unless they’re true experts in SEO. We have in-house web developers and also contract with professional web development firms, enabling us to marry true expertise in SEO and website development.
You can see one of our web development success stories here (LINK TO HC). If you’re looking to build or rebuild your website, give us a call.
Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO)
The goal of your website should be to persuade users to take an action, whether that’s to inquire about your services, make a purchase, or subscribe to your email list. Conversion rate optimization is the art of better persuading your audience visitors to take these actions, in order to bring in more conversions from the same number of visitors. It’s important to optimize your call to action (CTA) buttons and use actionable language (ex. ‘let’s get started!’) in order to nudge your visitors into action. It’s also important to make your site easy to navigate so that users can find what they’re looking for, and also to understand their psychology and concerns so that you can overcome any objections they might have to signing up with you.
After we’ve helped clients grow their traffic substantially, we’ll often add a focus on CRO in order to help them grow their bottom line even more and maximize the impact of that new traffic. You can see one of our success stories here. If you’re looking to improve your conversion rate and bring in more revenue from the same number of visitors, give us a call.
Social media has become so popular that having a business profile on several platforms is often a must. Social media lets you build an audience that has opted in to hearing from you and that you can reach out to every day. It’s also a powerful way to receive feedback from customers, whether they’re happy or disgruntled; enabling you to better fit your product to your market.
If you’re looking to enhance your social media program, we offer several programs. Contact us to learn more.
Paid Advertising (Pay-Per-Click)
While some argue PPC is not inbound marketing, it does in fact involve presenting relevant information to people when they are seeking that information, and by this standard can fit into the inbound marketing channel.
Paid advertising isn’t an essential part of inbound marketing, but it can be a good way to deliver strong results in a short time frame. By using targeted paid advertisements, you can reach your target persona and drive traffic to your website. Typically paid advertising will mean pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns on Google Adwords, Bing, Yahoo, and also potentially social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
Once you have optimized your website and conversion funnel, a PPC campaign can be a good way to drive traffic into your conversion funnel.
Grow Your Traffic and Boost Your Bottom Line
An inbound marketing campaign can be a powerful way to increase targeted traffic to your website, convert that traffic into revenue, and grow your bottom line. We’ve worked with a variety of clients to grow their organic traffic and conversion rate by double and even triple digits.
If you’re interested in an inbound marketing solution, give us a call. We can help.