Inbound Marketing is more than just Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). In the past good SEO website designs primarily focused on optimising a website for search engines, Inbound Marketing is all about Customer Optimisation. Gone are the days when you developed content for the purpose of ranking and attracting visitors, nowadays it’s all about turning strangers into customers. SEO has not gone away, it’s just a small part of the inbound marketing process. The driving force today is to create user and customer focused content that your audience seeks, needs and wants. Timing is very important, as a Inbound Agency we know it’s all about having the right content at the right time. SEO does aid this process because it helps you to define clear keyword planning and goals, along with making sure your website is easily accessible for search engine indexing. But without good quality user focused content that is designed to turn strangers into customers, SEO is useless. Inbound marketing has superseded SEO and has become the best strategy for converting strangers into customers.
“Google is severely punishing website owners who produce thin, duplicate content that serves no purpose other than to manipulate the search engine results pages (SERPS).”
Your website should be about your customers, building content that seeks to answer your customers basic needs and questions. This includes having content that is attractive to individuals, in the right online marketing channel, and appropriate to where they exist in the buyers journey. We define this as ‘Inbound Marketing’.
Online Marketing Channels
Blogs, Social Media and Website pages are types of online marketing channels. When we combine these channels with SEO we can then carefully create content with user orientated keywords, apply strategic internal linking, external linking and stealth linking (links that attract visitors by means other than search engines).
Converting Strangers into Leads & Customers with Customer Optimisation
Now you are attracting strangers to your website, you need to begin to convert them into leads. One way to do this is to begin to collect their personal data, such as email address with some form of ‘call to action’ and landing page. However, few will just give you their email address without some form of mutual exchange. You will need to entice them by offering content in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, top tips or sneak previews. For example, we have a client who offers exclusive police recruitment materials that is designed to educate individuals joining the UK police service. They sell sample application form answers that helps individuals devise their own answers to the tough application form competency questions and so on. This page has an exclusive call to action button where individuals who are not ready to buy can gain a sneak peek at the material in exchange for supplying their name and email address on a landing page. The purpose is to gather such information, so they can send useful emails that build trust and helps them become customers.
Call to action and landing pages need to be very simple and free from any distractions that could prevent a potential lead from providing you their details. This means they should be free of any links, menus or any other content. Once they have completed your call to action form, you can then direct them or suggest other content on your website.
Tip: make sure you can segment any customer database into the various stages of the buyers journey. This will allow you to close leads by sending personal emails, with the right message and at the right time.
Converting Leads into Customers
Now we have a database that is segmented into customers and which stage they are in the buyers journey, we can begin to close these leads and convert them into customers.
Email marketing, tweets, facebook posts etc are all types of marketing channels that can be used to convert leads into customers. As a general rule of thumb, it’s best to use the same marketing channel to close as you used during the lead generation stage for that particular individual. So if someone reached out to you via twitter, it’s best to communicate with them via this medium.
Once a successful transaction has taken place and a lead has become a customer, customer optimisation does not stop there. You want to encourage repeat business by ensuring that your customers are delighted.
Encouraging Repeat Business
Just because a lead has become a customer, you should never just leave it there. Customers still have expectations and require after sales care. Inbound Marketing allows you to continually engage with customers to ensure that they are satisfied with their purchase. You should continue to market to them using the same marketing channels as previously used. Examples of marketing communications can include: user guides, how to instructions, after sales support and servicing instructions, videos and much more. You can also encourage upselling by introducing new products and services. Too many companies simply stop marketing once the transaction has been completed. This presents a great opportunity for your business to stand out. Embrace inbound marketing because Inbound Marketing is the new SEO.
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.