How well is your website performing in terms of bringing in new leads, boosting sales, and helping your business grow? If it’s not having as much of an impact as you would like, it’s time to look at your inbound marketing. Making improvements in this area can have a dramatic effect on how well your website serves your business needs.
What Is Inbound Marketing?
It’s easiest to define inbound marketing by contrasting it with outbound marketing. Let’s say you want to get an up-close look at some birds. If you go hunting for birds with a shotgun, that’s outbound marketing. It’s a scattershot approach and may scare off far more birds than it takes down. Inbound marketing is like putting a bird feeder in your front yard and letting the birds come to you. Cold calling, email blasts, and paid ads are all examples of outbound marketing while blogging, social media engagement, and content marketing in general are inbound. Let’s look at what happens with your website when inbound marketing is on target.
Benefit #1: More Inbound Traffic from Organic Searches
Inbound marketing and SEO are not mutually exclusive concepts. In fact, they can and should work hand in hand. Whether you are publishing blog posts, podcasts, infographics, white papers, or videos on your site, some of the most effective inbound marketing content is designed around targeted keywords. Prospective buyers may feel like they have stumbled across this content by accident while searching for an answer to a specific question or problem. However, behind the scenes this content has been carefully optimized to rank well for your target audience. For example, a consulting company in the workplace safety and health sector might post an informational report with the keyword “cost of forklift accidents”. It’s a safe bet that some of the people searching for info on this topic are doing so because their company has experienced a recent safety incident—and these readers would make excellent prospects.
Benefit #2: Higher Brand Awareness and Inbound Links
While outbound marketing is often used to build brand awareness, inbound marketing also plays an important role in this area. Creating highly sharable content (even when it’s not specifically focused on your products or services) boosts exposure for your brand and can increase the number of reputable sites and platforms that link back to your site. Guest blogging and writing educational content for industry publications can provide valuable inbound links to your website from highly relevant sources. But social media is often the easiest place to start in terms of building brand awareness. Now that search engines are taking “social signals” such as likes, comments, and shares into account in terms of ranking, the more engagement you can inspire, the better.
Benefit #3: Increased Conversions on Your Site
This is the most critical metric for any business website. It’s far more important than the number of visitors you receive. If you offer free educational resources on your site, visitors stay longer. That’s great for reducing your bounce rate (another factor search engines weigh in determining the relevance of your site). But inbound marketing should do more than that. Most B2B websites convert only a tiny percentage of visitors into leads. Your inbound marketing should establish trust so that it attracts visitors who are ready to make a next step—even if it’s a small one. Consider distributing an educational blog post or podcast that links back to a landing page where visitors can download a helpful white paper, report, or checklist in exchange for their email address. That’s a fresh lead your marketing and sales people can cultivate, and a perfect example of how your website can deliver value for your business.
Benefit #4: Continuous Improvement for Your Site
What about performance over the long term? In some ways, a higher volume of traffic can be beneficial even if people aren’t doing what you want when they are on the site right now. Because at least you will have enough data to analyze. Inbound marketing gives you many streams of inbound traffic to mine for insights, determining what works and doesn’t work on your website. Be sure to use a customized link for each piece of inbound content (free link shortening services like bit.ly can help). That way, you don’t just see an increase in hits and wonder where they are coming from. Once these visitors are on your site, you can also see how they interact with various pages and identify areas for improvement in the text, layout, page load times, and more.
Are you ready to improve your inbound marketing and enjoy better performance on your website? Contact the team at Web Revelation for a consultation today.