We’ve reached an age where most businesses now have a website of some kind, because it’s just become expected. Whether you’re a Fortune 500 corporate behemoth or a tiny hole-in-the-wall burger joint, you can set up a website with just a little bit of money and a broadband connection.
But even though thousands of businesses are now online, a new problem has risen up: too many business websites are being treated as afterthoughts. You might think your website is basically like an old-school yellow pages ad: you just need to provide a brief blurb of information, your address and phone number. If the customer wants to know more, they can give you a call or visit the store. You’ve essentially made your website into an online brochure.
But today’s consumer is looking for so much more. Think about the average American; we don’t pick up the phone for anything anymore. We do everything online: get the news, contact our friends, pay our bills and even watch our favorite TV shows. Naturally, we now expect much more from a business website. We want information, coupons and/or multimedia content (like videos).
Another benefit of putting more effort into your site: more leads. This is the whole central hub that is at the core of inbound marketing strategies.
Providing value to your visitors
The first step in the inbound marketing formula is to “attract” visitors to your website. How is an online brochure going to accomplish that? Instead, you need to have constantly updated, relevant, keyword-laden content that is going to bring visitors in as the result of Google searches. And you provide that content in the form of blog articles.
It might seem like a strange idea for a company to have its own blog, but it’s becoming an increasingly common feature on business websites. This blog is going to be a reliable source of information for your potential customers. Every week, you’re going to post content that is related to topics and issues in your market.
At this point, you might be wondering, “what’s in it for me?” Well, every visitor that comes to your site is another potential lead. And as your traffic rises, so does your site’s relevance with Google’s algorithms. Momentum has a major impact on traffic, and as your site trends up, you’ll achieve higher traffic at a faster pace. And that means more and more lead opportunities.
Making the critical transition from visitor to lead
So now that you have all this traffic, what are you going to do with it? Again, content is the answer. You must create “content offers", which are basically more in-depth pieces of informative content (e.g. eBooks, case studies, white papers). The reason these are more in-depth is because you’re not going to give them to your visitors for nothing. In exchange, they’ll have to provide you with contact information.
If your content offers are worthwhile, this is an easy proposition for the visitor. Providing contact information doesn’t cost them anything, so they’re basically getting something for free. But in reality, they’ve actually just agreed to become a lead for your business. Therefore, it behooves you to create really dynamic, interesting content offers. Without them, you’re not going to generate the amount of leads your company deserves.
Just the tip of the iceberg
There’s a lot more to the inbound marketing formula than what we’ve discussed here, but if you want to get started, check out our free eBook: