What Is Inbound Marketing
Outbound or direct marketing is the strategy of pushing your message onto your audience using techniques like telemarketing, cold calling, trade shows, direct mail, email blasts, print and broadcast media ads.
These methods have become less effective in today’s world, as technology allows us to block advertising messages and people are doing more of their own research and listening to recommendations on social media to figure out which products and services they want to buy.
Inbound Search Engine Marketing Focuses on Getting Found by Prospects
Inbound search engine marketing allows you to pull in customers by creating content, optimizing that content for search engines, and promoting and sharing that content in social media; and is a more efficient and cost-effective marketing strategy.
Outbound marketing depends on the size of your wallet; Inbound marketing depends on the size of your brain. -HubSpot
SEO-driven leads have the highest lead-to-close rate (15%) among common lead generation sources.
Key Inbound Search Engine Marketing Strategies
A keyword is a word or phrase that a person enters into search engines like Google and Bing or social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find information on the Internet. By optimizing your website and social media profiles around the keywords that are relevant to your business, you can increase your chances of getting found by people searching with those keywords.
Keyword research is the process of discovering relevant keywords and keyword phrases to focus your SEO and PPC marketing campaigns on. There are several tools that help you discover potential keywords based on past search trends, search volumes, bid prices, and page content from related Web sites. These tools help you evaluate the relevance of the keyword to your business and the relative difficulty of ranking over your competition for the keyword.
Keyword research will help you understand how your online competition is using keywords, and will help you devise a strategy for choosing keywords that match your business well. The greater the volume of searches on a keyword, the more competitive it is, and the more difficult it will be to rank highly for that keyword. When optimizing your webpages for certain keywords, you will need to find a balance between relevance and difficulty.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
SEO is the practice of publishing and marketing information in a way to improve search engine understanding of Web site content. SEO copywriting is a style of writing and formatting information to increase the exposure to search queries by enhancing the relevance of the document to the search engine criteria and algorithm.
There are over 200 factors used by the search engines use to match your webpage content with keywords that people use to find information on the Internet. SEO can be divided into two categories: on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO is includes page titles, page descriptions, page headings, anchor link text, image alt tags, and the URL structure of your website.
Use page titles with keywords: Because 60% of all organic clicks go to the top three organic search results, you need to do everything you can to nail one of those top spots. Optimize your page titles and use compelling meta data to get off on the right foot.
Create unique page descriptions: 75% of users never go further than the first page of search results. You’ve got to do what you can to stand out in the pack of results, and compelling page descriptions is a good place to start.
Optimize your image alt tags: 70% of the links search users click on are organic – not paid. Using keyword-rich alt text can help you rank higher so that you can capture some of that delicious organic traffic for yourself.
Off-page SEO includes the quality of inbound links to your webpage, social connections and interactions, and the perceived authority of your website. Off-page SEO is more difficult to control, but is believed to account for a greater percentage of your overall search engine ranking.
Blogging and Publishing Online
Did you know that companies that blog get 55% more web traffic and 70% more leads than those that don’t? Blogging is the best way there is to reach your target audience with the useful, educational information they’re out there looking for. Not to mention how much it helps your search rankings.
Content marketing and blogging for business is creating and sharing engaging and informative content in your blogs, articles, videos and social media updates to inform and educate your audience. Not only does content marketing and blogging show how the people at a company think and what is important to them, but it provides regularly updated, keyword-rich content that search engines like.
A blog makes your website more dynamic by automatically injecting new content every time an article is published.
Social Media Sharing
Social media marketing is a key driver of relationship building, content distribution, and brand visibility online; and for most businesses, the major social media marketing platforms are Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Google Plus.
Your intial focus when getting involved with social media should be to establish connections, build relationships, and engage in conversations with customers, prospects and your community of advocates.
According to a recent Business.com survey, 55% of Buyers Search for Information on Social Media. Your customers are there, your competition is there, your employees and new hires expect it — your business needs to include social media. Here are the major players:
LinkedIn is a very useful tool for most business people to: research and connect with prospective clients, expand your business network, identify and connect with new hires and business partners, build awareness of your company, announce product or service offerings, position your company in the marketplace, and keep tabs on the competition. B2B companies are more likely to acquire customers through LinkedIn.
Twitter is one of the most powerful social networks for your business, and CEOs who tweet tend to be held in high regard. Twitter can be used to drive traffic to your website, monitor your brand on Twitter, promote events and online conversations about them, establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry, and expand your network.
Facebook serves as a powerful platform for building a community of advocates and increasing word-of-mouth marketing, particularly among B2C companies in the retail industry.
Google+ has started to affect social media marketing, and is becoming increasingly integrated with search engine rankings as well. Within six months of its launch, over 40% of marketers consider Google Plus “useful,” “important” or “critical.” Optimize your business presence on Google+ by sharing photos, recommending links, segmenting your messages among different audiences, publishing remarkable content and enabling video conferencing on the platform.
As you are generating more website traffic through creating, optimizing, and promoting useful online marketing content, you need to capture and convert leads with lead capture forms on specially-designed landing pages.
Conversion means getting customers to take actions you want them to take, such as requesting an ebook, sending an e-mail or buying a product.
Lead capture forms are one method of collecting information about potential customers, such as name, email and phone number in return for something of value, such as an event registration, white paper or demo.
In today’s economy, business owners care about growing revenue and profits. You want to know the impact of each marketing investment, and compare those results to established goals.
Online Marketing metrics have been transformed by the abundance of information available on websites and social networks, and now make it possible to quantify how campaigns and programs deliver value in line with company revenue objectives.
With the appropriate Web analytics codes activated on your website landing pages and conversion forms, you can determine the best performing campaigns, traffic sources, landing pages, offers, keywords and forms.
For each business objective – awareness, branding, referral traffic, lead generation, sales and marketing cohesiveness – there are different sets of Online marketing data generated by your online marketing tactics and campaigns that you will want to watch.
Powerful Marketing Metrics
Awareness and branding metrics focus on how well you’re doing driving traffic to your website, how well your keywords rank on the search engines, and how well your social media and link building efforts translating into a worthwhile amount of referral traffic.
Lead generation metrics focus on conversions – actions you want visitors to take – and the conversion rate performance of your landing pages. If lead generation is your focus, then you will want to track and pay more attention to conversion rate data pertaining to how well your landing pages and forms are resulting in event registrations, information requests, media downloads, and other key online marketing and lead generation metrics.
Sales and marketing cohesiveness metrics focus on how well your lead generation and lead nurturing strategies are resulting in high-quality, sales-ready leads that convert to customers, enabling you to make sure the right types of leads are getting handed off to sales.
Watching the online marketing metrics that matter the most to your goals allows for replication of success – doing more of what’s working for your organization – and continually testing and tweaking to improve performance.
Search Engine Marketing: Questions
To recap your Search Engine Marketing & Search Engine Optimization strategies, consider the following questions:
- Am I periodically researching and discovering keywords relevant to my business?
- Am I regularly creating new, share-worthy content for search and social media?
- Am I optimizing my content for search and social media?
- Am I promoting my content in social media conversations?
- Am I converting as many visitors into leads and sales as I can?
- Am I measuring website activity and continually adjusting to improve performance?
RIM Specializes in Search Engine Marketing: Blogging, Social Media Marketing, Content Marketing, PPC Advertising, Web Analytics and Other Internet-Based Marketing Strategies to Help Your Business Get Found, Generate Leads, Build Relationships and Measure Results.