It's the beginning of the year. Your boss tells the marketing department that he wants to increase the number of leads coming into generate more revenue by the end of the year. Your department just launched a beautiful new website and you're feeling optimistic -- but when you go to look at your numbers, nothing is happening. No leads are coming in. In fact, there is very little traffic coming to your website to begin with. You know that in order to generate leads through your website, you really need to drive in more visitors from around the web. There is little to no paid media budget this quarter, and you know asking for it is out of the question.
You stare at the screen and take a deep breath, "How am I going to do this?"
Sound familiar? It's a fairly common scenario, especially for businesses looking to get more aggressive with thier inbound marketing efforts. Using a variety of inbound techniques, you can set a solid foundation for your online marketing efforts, begin driving in organic traffic, and increase website traffic through social media.
Here's how to do it:
1. Blog Consistently
A quality blog is the backbone of an effective inbound marketing campaign. It is one of the easiest ways to attract new visitors to your website, and can make all the difference when it comes to your visibility on the web.
According to inbound marketing giant Hubspot, sites that have blogs enjoy the following advantages over sites that don't:
- Marketers who have prioritized blogging are 13x more likely to enjoy positive ROI.
- 97% more inbound backlinks (others linking to your content)
- Attract 55% more visitors
- Generate 126% more leads
- Have 434% more indexed pages (which means more organic traffic!)
Every single time you post, your site has another chance to be indexed by Google. Since four out of five purchases start with a web search, that means that companies that blog are that much more likely to reach potential customers.
Blogging also gives your business the opportunity to establish its authority and expertise in your field. The businesses that are most successful with blogging are those that are consistently (that's the key) writing about solutions and answers to common challenges and questions of its prospective customers. Consider asking your sales department about the most frequently asked questions that come up during discovery calls; these are great topics to write about.
Now, we know blogging can be challenging to do consistently. Consider using an editorial calendar to plan ahead and utilizing internal, as well as external resources, like freelance writers or inbound agencies, to keep a consistent flow.
2. Keyword Optimization
We can't talk about blog articles without touching on search engine optimization. You may be asking, "Do keywords really still matter?" The answer is yes, and no. While the old practices of hitting a specific keyword density and liberally sprinkling in relevant words and phrases has (thankfully!) disappeared, keywords are still powerful for search engines to understand what your content is about and servie it up to the right audience.
A better way to think of keyword optimization is satisfying searcher intent. If someone enters the phrase "what is the best place to watch football in san diego?" restaurants vying for football foot traffic should deliver a blog post, page or other content that can help those searches get the best answer. These long phrases, known as longtail keywords, make up 70% of internet searches. Make sure that the keywords you choose fit both the content of your page and the queries that are most likely to bring potential customers to a business like yours.
As a general rule, your target keywords should be within the title, URL, and body of the content (but no more than a couple times).
3. Social Media
Social media now counts for nearly a third of all web referral traffic--yeah, it's that imporant! Social media is valuable as a distribution vehicle for your blog content, but it also offers a chance all its own for attracting new people to your brand.
On social media, the sort of social proof that can draw someone to your brand and help build the trust that draws them to you is easy to demonstrate. Your likes, shares and comments are all there to see, publicly. Interactions with the people who show up on your page are visible, as well. They can be a humanizing factor, showing qualities like humor, compassion and likability. For instance, when you gracefully handle a customer complaint on Facebook or Yelp, you don't just retain that client; you attract new ones who are happy to see your commitment to quality customer service.
When it comes to social media, it's important to remember that it is a conversation. Don't just stand on a ladder with a megaphone shouting your brand message down to the masses. Share valuable information and remarkable content that your potential customers are likely to find interesting. Reply to comments on your page. Retweet good content on Twitter and add your own commentary, as well. Sharing your own content as well as curating valuable content from around the web is an effective way to establish authority and build trust with potential customers. This is where the social in social media comes from, and it's a powerful tool in drawing new people and making new fans of your brand.
4. Site Pages
Another part of attracting customers is being sure that your website clearly explains what you do and why customers should care. Your website should be able to quickly, easily and clearly give new visitors the information they need to learn a bit about who you are and what you have to offer them. In general, a descriptive home page, an about us page, a contact page (such as a blog or case studies) and a products page are the minimum required.
Make sure that your site loads quickly and is easy to navigate, with all internal links accessible. A successful inbound website should be mobile-friendly, as well. Seventy-eight percent of web surfers use mobile at least part of the time. As a result, Google now includes it in the criteria for a site's quality; sites that don't pass this test can virtually disappear from search engine results.
Of course, be sure that your pages are all search engine optimized to help with organic traffic. If you have content, take care to give visitors a way to share that content easily through social media share buttons. This is a great way to amplify the traffic on your site and get more visitors through word of mouth. Most publishing platforms or content management systems have easy plugins that you can use to enable social sharing with one click.
Stronger Than the Sum of Its Parts
All of these inbound marketing elements are part of the system that attracts new prospects to your business. By these techniques together, you can increase website traffic, bring more users to your site and get them started down the journey toward closing a sale with your brand.