5 Inbound Marketing Tips to Grow Your Business
Inbound marketing refers to the strategy of using content (such as blog posts, videos, eBooks and other valuable reference materials) and search engine optimization (SEO) to draw customers to your business, as opposed to outbound techniques like cold calling and email marketing.
While outbound marketing is an effective way to find new customers and maintain relationships with existing ones, inbound marketing is quickly becoming the best way to reach people you don't know and who don't know you, but who are looking for the products and services you offer.
These five inbound marketing tips will help you grow your business using the power of the Internet.
Employ Strong Site Design
One of the basics of inbound marketing is having a helpful, useful Web site that makes it easy for customers to find the information they need. A site that's easy to use will bring customers back, and good design is critical for this. Start with a Web design program such as Adobe Dreamweaver or NetObjects Fusion and learn how to create great-looking, easy-to-navigate sites. You can also use Web-based tools like WordPress to help build your site and manage the content.
Remember Search Engine Optimization
Once your Web site is live, you need to make sure customers can find it. SEO will help with that. When you "optimize" your site for search engines, you're trying to control how well your site ranks when a potential customer searches for a product or service you sell, or asks a question related to your business or expertise.
There are many ways to optimize your Web site, including cross-linking and using keywords, but there are no shortcuts; never trust anyone who claims to be able to improve your site's ranking considerably without adding high-quality, relevant content to the site.
Start by maintaining a blog and posting to it often. If you don't know what to write about, look for other businesses that are creating content and see what they're doing. For instance, if you're a contractor, you can write about what customers should look for in high-quality homes. Ask your vendors and suppliers to link to your site in exchange for you writing about their products and linking back to them. This combination of content and linking should improve your SEO quickly.
Promote Your Site and Content
You can create the nicest Web site and write the best blog post, but unless you promote them, they'll stay hidden. Include a link to your Web site in the default signature field of your email and your social media profiles. When you've created a new blog post, share it on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social sites you use, not to mention in your email marketing messages. Connect with others in your industry, and see if any of your peers will share your blog post with their networks.
More Content Is Key
Just as you want to expand your business, you want to expand your content offerings. Start looking through your blog for common themes you've written about. Can you put together a short eBook about what consumers need to know about home inspections using content you've already written? This has real value, and since you're using existing content, it won't even take a lot of time. Better yet, it will give prospective customers more assurance that you are an expert in your field.
You can also create tools for customers, such as a mortgage calculator or a design template that they can use when decorating their home. Providing these items on a regular basis will give you a steady flow of Web site visitors.
Measure and Monitor
Do you know where your inbound traffic is coming from? Use a tool like Google Analytics to keep tabs on which sources are driving people to your Web site, and take advantage of that information. With Google Analytics, youll get an in-depth peek into just who is visiting your Web site, what kind of content theyre looking for, how long theyre staying on your site before going elsewhere, what theyre clicking and, most important, whether theyre converting into customers. This will help you refine your strategy, and will also help you experiment along the way.
For example, if you see that Facebook or Twitter are driving most of your traffic, you can devote more attention to engaging there. If Web searches are accounting for a good percentage, you can discover the specific words that people are using to find you, and then incorporate them into your content moving forward. You can't act if you don't know, so take the steps necessary to learn more.
The Bottom Line
Building your Web site and drawing traffic is the core of these inbound marketing tips. By creating interest in your Web content, you can bring in customers motivated to spend money on your product or service and then hook them with your expertise. Using these inbound marketing tips is a fantastic method to grow your business.