Inbound Marketing is the art of grabbing the attention of a customer, by having remarkable content that is easy to find. In this article I demonstrate ways in which a small business can grasp the basics of Inbound Marketing and improve their website by attracting visitors/strangers, generating leads and generating new customers.
We begin with the importance of understanding your customers. It’s good practice to develop a buyer persona; a fictional customer who has needs, wants and goals. You want to learn how your customers use the internet to search, what keywords and phrases do they use? What are their concerns? What are they trying to troubleshoot? What information do they typically need to consider a purchase?
Ultimately, you need to map out a buyers journey, from start to finish. Hubspot, a leading provider of Inbound Marketing Software defines a buyers journey as follows:
You can learn more about creating buyer personas and building content that drives organic traffic
Google Webmaster Tools and Google Adwords are two very useful tools that help you learn and gauge typical phrases and keywords that your customers use in their search queries. Typically a business could easily establish a list of 100+ words and phrases that customers use, and it’s this list combined with your understanding of the buyers journey, that will determine content, pages and articles. You should also carry out market research and identify which websites in your sector are performing and examine their sites in detail. Look at what pages they have in the Google index using a simple Google search command ‘site:yourcompetitorswebaddress’ an example of this command using my website address can be found here:
When you have a good understanding of your customers and your competitors strengths and weaknesses, you can then begin to produce good quality content for your own website.
The content on your website is absolutely key. You cannot begin to attract strangers to your website and convert them to leads and customers unless the content on your website is SEO accessible, tailored to their specific needs, and fulfills a genuine purpose that they actually want. But, even then, good content may not lead to new customers, unless you entice them and actually ask for the transaction. This is where appropriate call to action buttons and landing pages come into effect, as these will help you turn strangers into leads. More on these later in the article…
When it comes to search, being ‘pretty’ and having a website that looks great is not always best… some of the best performing website on Google look terrible, but they have good quality articles / text that is easily accessible.
So what is good content?
Having established a buyer persona, your content should then be divided into three key areas:
A typical scenario in the awareness stage could be: My website is not bringing me any leads, why is this?
Your content could then feature articles along the lines of:
- 25 reasons why your website may not be performing.
- 15 most common website errors that prevent lead generation.
- 10 reasons why your website visitors are not becoming customers.
A typical scenario in the consideration stage could be: I have identified that my website lacks any useful content, SEO and inbound marketing. What are the options for me to fix this?
Your content could then feature articles along the lines of:
- 10 reasons why you should hire an inbound marketing company
- What is SEO and how will my website benefit?
- 20 link building strategies designed to attract customers to your website
- Inbound marketing DIY versus using a professional inbound marketing company
A typical scenario in the decision stage could be: I have identified three possible solutions that could help me. Company A charge £££ and provide some useful information and case studies.
- How we compare to other local inbound marketing companies.
- 3 inbound marketing and SEO case studies
- How a £500 inbound marketing investment generated £35k in sales
By devising content that reaches out to individuals that are in the different stages of the buyers journey, this will allow to to begin to have the right content at the right time.
“Good content encourages strangers to move through the buyers journey”
Content in the awareness stage should encourage readers to move to the consideration stage. Content in the consideration stage should encourage readers to move into the decision making stage. And finally, your decision making content should encourage individuals to become customers. Of course, the content in any of the stages do not necessarily need to be web content. These can be in formats that require individuals to sign up or complete an online form to receive the document. This again would be achieved by having appropriate call to action links and buttons, as well as carefully planned landing pages.
Segmenting your data
It is important that you are able to separate and distinguish your leads based on where they are in the buyers journey. A simple way to do this is to have any completed forms sent to differing email accounts based on the buyers journey. Or if you have the expertise, simply separate them in a database. This is so you can remarket to them and send them appropriate content that meets their needs and where they are in the buyers journey. It’s all about having the right content at the right time…
What is a call to action button?
A Call to Action (CTA) is a button or link placed in a prominent place on a webpage that is designed to drive strangers into leads by allowing them to complete a form on a landing page. Typically a CTA is a link between normal website content and a page/document/pdf etc of higher value that a stranger is interested enough in to part with some of their personal details. It really needs to be compelling because few individuals will part with their personal data unless there is something of value in exchange.
CTA’s examples are:
- Get your £10 discount voucher here
- Start your free trial here
- Make an appointment
- Get a free consultation
CTA best practice includes:
- Action orientated with phrases such as register or download
- CTA should be highly visible and easy to locate (above the fold is recommended)
- Be contrasting in colour so they stand out from the page
- Should feature 5 words or less
What are landing pages?
Typically all pages on your website could be classified as landing pages because a stranger could land on any of them depending on their search query. However, we define a landing page as a specific page that contains a form that exists to capture visitor’s personal data.
Despite popular belief, visitors to your website do not always enter your site via the home page. This is because Google indexes many pages on your website and the content on the page will determine which page Google serves in their index, based on the query. This is why it’s very important to determine a full list of keyphrases and words and then build individual pages and articles around these phrases. So if you were in the business of providing beauty treatments, you would be better to build individual pages around each treatment, rather than listing all of your treatments on a single page. Unique page/article titles are absolutely essential, see our SEO for beginners and novices to learn more about page titles and other on-page SEO ranking factors.
Because a landing page involves the website visitor completing an online form, there are several best practice guidelines:
- Keep landing pages short and only ask for personal data that is absolutely essential.
- Landing pages should be free of clutter and if possible remove all other links or temptations.
- Only include content that is absolutely essential. It would be okay to include bullet points that serve as reminders and benefits of them completing the form.
What you should do now
If you are serious about having a great website, you should read my blog, it’s packed with ideas and suggestions to help improve your site.
And if you have any comments or questions about this article, contact me.