Want More Leads? Inbound Strategies Are the Answer!

     

Published: November 8, 2018

Even just a few years ago, many businesses used their websites as little more than advanced business cards. There may have been a couple of pages that described products and services along with a page of contact information and that was that.

Today’s businesses know that getting leads means having a website that works like a well-oiled, lead-generating machine. A design overhaul will only get you so far. Instead, you need to take a step back and look at your marketing plan and how it relates to your website. Inbound marketing is your ticket to success, and here’s a few ways you should be incorporating inbound strategies into your website.

A Shifting Buying Cycle

Most consumers are already 57 percent of the way through the buying cycle before they ever make direct contact with a salesperson. What that means to you is that your website has to be prepared to do at least half of the work on your behalf so the prospect is nice and warm when they’re ready to get in touch.

An inbound marketing strategy is one that attracts the right kind of traffic to your website, gives them the information they need to start making a purchase decision, and then convert that visitor into a qualified lead who is ready for sales. To do this, there are 4 essential aspects of your website to address.

1. Your Audience

Who are you talking to? In many cases, businesses want to generalize their messaging to reach a broad audience. However, being general usually also means being uninteresting and failing to speak to the most important needs of your reader. You’ll get much better results when you clearly define a specific audience, and then tailor your messaging to them.

Creating a clear target market using buyer personas is the solution. A buyer persona is a realistic representation of your ideal customer for different segments of your market. You build them by using existing data from your customer database along with research focused on behaviors and needs, and web analytics.

It might be a bit of extra work, but buyer personas are the only way to have laser-focused messaging that gets results.

2. Consistent Branding

More than just a company name and a logo, your company’s branding gives people insight into what to expect when choosing your products and services and helps to define how you are different from the competition. It represents your company values, sets the tone for your future, and helps determine how people will perceive your company.

Branding also helps create recognition for your company, and that sets the foundation for building trust over time. If you are instantly recognizable from your product packaging, on-site visuals, printed materials, advertising, and every page of your website, your image starts to become embedded in the minds of your prospects.

3. Your Content Strategy

The content on your website, from product pages to blogs, is how you’re communicating with potential customers every day. More than just words on a page, your content needs to have a strategy if it’s to be effective--and that strategy doesn’t have anything to do with sales.

First, your content should be able to establish you as a leader in your industry. This is how you set yourself apart from the competition. You want to be seen as the go-to place for information, help, and new technologies rather than just another vendor. Take a look at what your competitors are doing to make sure you’re staying ahead of the curve.

Another thing your content should be doing is helping your prospects solve problems. In many cases, the solution to their problem is likely to be purchasing your products and solutions, but that’s not what people want to hear right out of the gate! Instead, you want to gently lead prospects to reach that conclusion by getting into the “how” and the “why” of your solutions. Be helpful. Be informative. Be simple or complex, depending on your audience. But, do not be a pushy salesperson.

Lastly, your content needs to be divided among the stages of the buying cycle. For those in the earliest stages--or the top of the funnel--you’re talking to people who are just starting to gather information on the topic. The middle stages--or middle of the funnel--consist of people who have narrowed down their options and are comparing and contrasting. The end stage--or bottom of the funnel--are people who are ready to buy and just need a few roadblocks eliminated.

If content is starting to look a little complex, then it’s easy to see why you need a strategy for it!

4. User Experience

The biggest problem with your website is probably how familiar you are with it. To you, everything probably looks great and seems easy to navigate, but it’s impossible to see it with fresh eyes once you’re in that deep.

On the other hand, new visitors to your website probably aren’t going to spend more than a few seconds before deciding whether they’ve found the right place or whether they’re going to click “back” and return to Google and try again. To keep your visitors’ attention, considering their experience every step of the way is critical.

First, you want people to get where they are going with the fewest number of clicks possible. Distraction is the enemy! Start by putting things where people want: a footer at the bottom of the page with a roundup of important pages, a big menu at the top of the page for main navigation, and links throughout your text to keep people moving along through your site.

Second, you want people to be able to interact easily with your site no matter what type of device they’re using. Responsive design is the simple answer as it provides a customized view for nearly every screen without having to manage multiple sites for different devices.

Lastly, the “look and feel” of your site must be consistent from page to page, and should be consistent with the rest of your branding. A style guide will help define these elements, including fonts, colors, sizes, imagery, and more.

There’s a lot more that goes on to perfect the user experience, but these are the basics that cannot be ignored.

Inbound: Customer Centered Marketing

The common thread that runs through each of these points is your customers. Everything you do must be centered around their needs, preferences, and habits. Remember, you’re trying to set a path for people who are on their own looking for solutions on the web. This path needs to be comfortable, easy to navigate, visually appealing, and packed with helpful information along the way. When you start with a deep dive into who your target audience is and then focus your efforts on what they want to achieve, you’ll start seeing results in the form of more leads and better sales.

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Tags: inbound marketing
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