What is inbound marketing?
Inbound marketing is different from outbound marketing in that the goal is not to make the phone ring or the door to swing immediately. Those goals are best accomplished by different forms of advertising. Instead, the goal is to create a relationship with your target market establishing you as a caring expert providing for their needs.
Why is everyone talking about inbound marketing?
If people in your target market have a relationship with your business, they are more likely to buy from, recommend, and remain loyal to you. Done successfully, prospects begin to trust your brand, and will ask you to contact them at the beginning of their buying cycle. (That’s the inbound part. They ask for you.)
What does it look like?
It looks like lots of things, and together those things make up an inbound marketing plan. Inbound marketing is largely built on various social media platforms to establish the personality and expertise of your business, with the ultimate goal of trusted relationships and website visits. Memes, articles (like this one), photos, quotes and stories appearing online where your target market interacts place your business in front of the right people. Post regularly, and give great advice and information. If your target market finds your business entertaining and informative, they’ll follow you. And then they’ll visit your website.
My website is part of my inbound marketing?
Yes, and there are some key factors to making your website generate great leads and business for you:
You need a great landing page.
When your prospect enters your website, they want to be engaged on page one. If they aren’t, they will “bounce” or leave quickly without interacting. You need great graphics, very engaging content, some video, and some personality where you want people to enter your site.
For more on how to build a strong foundation for your business, click here.
A Squeeze Page helps.
A “Squeeze Page” asks visitors to your site to opt in to receive desired information. While you can host many different types of content on your squeeze page, some will prove more valuable to your specific business than others. Try several types, and notice the different prospects they attract. Prime types of squeeze page content offers include:
White Paper Collection
Templates / Design Aids
If you are going to ask for a user’s email address, it should be necessary for the offer. Asking for an email address in exchange for a download file or video seems sketchy. Email them a link to the content, making the clear point that only subscribers receive key content.
Just a note: Pop-up squeeze boxes annoy people, and I don’t recommend them. Let the landing page be clear about its intentions. That floating “subscribe now” bubble usually causes more prospects to bounce than to opt in.
Give the people what they want.
But not all of it. People should be able to find most of what they’re looking for, and be intrigued enough about the rest to opt in. People need a reason to reach out to you or provide their contact info. The call to action must be direct, and immediately (or nearly immediately) beneficial to your visitor. List a special offer of introductory pricing IF they call or fill in the contact form. Offer a free consultation for the same exchange. Ultimately inbound marketing needs to attract and engage, or it’s really just more awareness marketing.
You need a FAQ page or video.
After landing pages, FAQ pages are the second most visited areas of any website (says Google, February 2016). Once your prospect enters your site, they will have questions about both your industry, your business, and what it’s like to interact with you personally. They are a captive audience! Give them the answers they need in a very friendly, non-jargony way. Simple explanations are easily remembered, and build confidence and trust in your prospective buyer.
Your site needs to load quickly on all devices.
If your site is over 2 years old, it isn’t loading fast enough for folks looking for you on tablets and phones. Google recommends a page load time of 1/3 of a second or less. It may sound extreme, but it affects how search engines rank you, and how many people will bounce from your site without reading a word!
Once they’ve entered your site, they are looking to be impressed enough to take this relationship to the next level. If they want to get to know you on an individual level, make it easy for them! The Contact Us form helps you build a list of leads. Reach out to your prospect within 4 hours if at all possible. The Click to Call button is for folks who have found your on their phone, and are ready to move forward with you now. Don’t make them have to click around some more to find your number and then dial it! One click should be all they need to do.
Do I have to do this now?
What do you think? I guarantee you at least one important competitor is working on it or already doing it now.
Sounds like this will make life easier for my sales reps.
Yup. If you have a great reputation in the community, and reps can point to how transparent your business practice is, they’ll close more deals. It’s the difference between working with a total stranger and working with a friend. Friends are better.
For info on how good leave-behind sales collateral drives better sales results, click here.