Inbound Marketing Frequently Asked Questions
Despite being the most successful online marketing strategy employed today, many companies small and large are unaware of how inbound marketing works (photo via HubSpot), how they can execute an inbound marketing campaign, what the costs are and what the expected return on investment is.
Essentially, inbound marketing is the art of getting people to your website and converting them into a lead, customer, or subscriber that you can market to going forward and eventually turn into a customer.
Why is it called ‘Inbound’?
It’s simple, you’re give people on the Internet a reason to come to your website. You do this by creating amazing articles, web pages, video, audio and visuals. You incorporate your social media voice and brand to form a compelling online presence. You optimize everything to rank high on search engines because Google is the number one way people begin their online shopping.
The converse of this process is you buy traffic. While AdWords and sponsored posts can be very successful (and many people include them in inbound marketing campaigns), not all businesses have the budget or necessary goal tracking in place. As I also like to say, ads disappear – with content, you’re building permanent value.
What tools are used in an inbound marketing campaign?
To cut to the chase – social profiles, email lists, blogs/webpages, website analytics tracking, search engine optimization, ebooks, call-to-action graphics and landing pages.
What are ebooks?
Creating ebooks is a way to meet the customer in the middle. You provide information and value that they’re looking for and they agree to be contacted by you or your sales team directly or through email.
An ebook filled with information about how your product works, or filled with case studies they can read has a high chance of being downloaded by the web visitor who is looking at your website The cost to download this ebook is contact information – an email, phone number, city, company – whatever you need. You just make a required field on your contact forms.
The beauty of it all is that the ebook they’re going to download is written by you – meaning you can sell them on your products as they read. Highlight your customer reviews, great deals on pricing, reinforce the value of your product and be the trusted expert that you are. Here’s an example from HubSpot below.
What are landing pages?
We’ve all seen a beautiful looking page like this (here’s are 34 more examples).
Online advertising with landing pages typically can mean a conversion rate improvement of at least 25%. A conversion is when the person visiting your website buys your product or submits contact information and qualifies as a lead. Testing variations of a landing page can double your conversion rate, as you refine weaknesses in ad copy and layout. For this reason, building and monitoring landing pages has a lot of value.
Source: Omniture. Article: Conversion Economics 101.
What is a Call-to-Action?
A call-to-action (CTA) is anything in the realm of, “Download now,” “Call ###-#### for a free quote,” “Follow us on Twitter @$^%&^$.”
It’s not complicated at all, but you’d be surprised at the difference it makes in leading to conversions (web visitors that actually take that action.) CTA placement is also key. Here’s a great example below (“stay informed). When you’re working with your web designer, make sure they set up a strong CTA on your home page above the fold.
How does SEO work with inbound marketing?
If you create marketable articles, web pages, photos and videos it only makes sense to search optimize them. Give your content a chance to be found through Google, the largest referrer of traffic on the web. By learning what phrases your customers are typing into Google, you can create articles that match their exact search query, rank on page one, and guarantee yourself months of traffic from just one 1000 word article. How’s that for ROI?
Once the web visitor is on your site, things like your landing pages, ebook, CTA’s and UX come into play.
What’s the best way to email market?
In a word: subtly. Don’t promote your product, promote value. Share, teach, educate – make yourself a resource. Create subject lines that entice people to click and not trash. Don’t try to hit the home run (sale) on the first date (email). With inbound marketing, you’ll employ lead nurturing campaigns. Sharing your content via email is also a great way to accumulate page views and comments (good for SEO) and social shares (also good for SEO).
According to HubSpot, the industry leader in inbound marketing,“50% of leads are qualified but not ready to buy. So if you are not nurturing them, you are simply burning money. Lead nurturing is all about understanding the nuances of your leads’ timing and needs. It enables marketers to establish contact fast and stay top of mind for prospects.”
How does social media incorporate into your inbound marketing campaign?
Social media is another one of my favorite online marketing tools because there’s so much you can do to show you’re awesome. Share infographics, cool videos, have a sense of humor, news jack things that are trending and relate them to your product or industry.
Doing all of this will build your following so that when you are ready to share content or news about your product, you’ll have more reach and gain more web traffic. Social shares are a key part of ranking on Google, so being active on social media across multiple channels and platforms is doubly important.