Inbound Marketing with the Right Funnels
Funnels have been operating as one of the most popular and effective sales strategies for decades. Breaking the sales process down into several steps, and covering the entire distance between the funnel’s wide and narrow end help salespersons to target potential customers more effectively, which eventually results in rapid growth in sales.
The past decade has seen sales efforts of most businesses getting replaced by inbound marketing. Today, companies instead of applying their sales force to search through leads and make them undergo all the steps of a funnel, are using their resources to build and preserve a system capable of accommodating multiple inbound web traffic streams and converting them into customers in due course.
Read through the discussion below to learn how funnels should be used in inbound marketing.
The Mouth: Capture Maximum Attention
It’s the widest part of any marketing funnel, and as a result it requires the highest number of leads to function perfectly. When in the mouth of the funnel, you should put in your best efforts to reach a maximum number of potential customers.
The process of making yourself or your company visible on the web is pretty straightforward however, you cannot expect to see quick results. If you are just breaking into the online scene, you may need to wait for months.
The majority of the inbound marketers have already started using three key strategies for increasing the number of visitors and prospective leads, content marketing, SEO, and social media marketing.
Content marketing will help you reach a maximum number of potential customers and making your place stronger in all the top search engines. With SEO or search engine optimization, you’ll be able to optimize your business’ website for different topic and industry-specific keywords. With social media marketing, on the other hand, you will be able to develop a strong and hefty network of fans and followers who will regularly visit your website and read its content.
Never try to sort the leads when you are still in the broad mouth of the funnel; just keeping an eye on the key demographics will be enough.
The Middle: Filter the Relevant Visitors
When in the middle of the funnel, you’ll have to sort through the initial sets of leads and filter some less-relevant visitors out. To complete this step successfully, you must be systematic and attentive.
Unlike the previous step, this step will not need you to focus on volume. The higher priority will be your efficiency in filtering the unwanted visitors, the greater will be the efficacy of the funnel’s middle.
The End: Appeal to the Interested Leads
In this step, you will have to introduce the sorted leads to a product or service that might interest them. To make this step successful, you must make sure that the funnel’s end is appealing enough. In other words, the leads must find the products and/or services you are selling compelling.
The above section hopefully helped you to comprehend how funnel strategy works in inbound marketing. Use the knowledge to make your company’s customer base bigger.
Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing
Marketing as a science is relatively new. The first theories on the subject were written after World War II. Since then, it has evolved significantly, but like many other sciences, its basic premises are still the same. We market in order to present a product to the general population so it is purchased and consumed.
The main tool for accomplishing that is a marketing mix that consists of the 4 P’s: price, product, place, and promotion. All these elements are necessary in order to run a business successfully. Given that marketing is primarily a process of communication, its evolution goes hand in hand with the development of media and promotional activities.
When we talk about the channels which we use to convey our message, we can differentiate two major channel groups: inbound marketing and outbound marketing. Outbound marketing has been a way to communicate our message for quite a long time. It consists of activities such as door to door sales, posting flyers and brochures, telemarketing or perhaps using radio or television ads. Outbound marketing is all based on a simple idea of the marketer, or the salesman, is going out and presenting the products or services to the general population. It is aggressive and some may say an intrusive way of promoting goods and services. It was a good way to market for a long time given the technology that was available.
As it usually happens, times change along with business practices. The old saying goes: “adapt or perish”. Outbound is no longer a dominant way of doing marketing. It is no longer cost effective to promote yourself on the radio or the TV. With each year, more and more people are avoiding these devices. Why is that? Because of the internet.
People today are doing everything on their computers. Many of us don’t need to go out of the house in order to run a business or make a profit. Instead of outbound marketing, inbound marketing is needed to attract people. When people want to buy a product, they don’t need to go to a shopping mall. They can do everything on the internet. They can compare prices, check out the competition, review the difference between products and all other relevant information you need to know. Companies address this and conduct inbound marketing by using blogs, eBooks, SEO, podcast, videos, and more. All of these things help them promote their products and services.
Like many things, we cannot choose between right or wrong tactics here. It is just that the outbound marketing is a thing of the past and the inbound is the future. One thing is for certain. We won’t bother with pesky salesmen anymore.
Five Essential Tips For Successful Inbound Marketing
With the efficiency of Inbound Marketing in optimizing websites, some see this as a threat to the concept of search engine optimization (SEO). Still, there are some who believe that the former is an improvement of the latter and that SEO encompasses everything else.
The question still remains: “Should SEOs be referred to as Inbounds now?”
In order to the see the advantage of one concept to the other, we need to see the difference in their components.
Components of SEO
SEO focuses on improving the visibility of a website based on a search engine’s algorithm by pulling up organic search results. The key phrase here is search engine’s algorithm. Basically, a website is optimized to meet certain conditions favorable for search engine crawlers. Although SEO employs more techniques other than this, this is essentially its primary function.
Here are the components of SEO:
1. Keyword research or mapping
2. On-page optimization
3. Internal links
4. SEO site architecture
5. Link building
6. Content strategy
SEO puts keywords as top priority since it always equates these with traffic. These components methodize how a webpage can increase its ranking on a search engine’s results page or SERPs.
The Dawn of Inbound Marketing
If SEO is already “incumbent” in online marketing, how come Inbound Marketing is making waves of its own?
SEO overlooked certain changes in search engines. With the bad blood of keyword stuffing or usage of irrelevant keywords, search engines like Google drafted additional measures to promote pages with quality content and not based on the quantity of keywords.
Here are the changes that contributed to the popularity of Inbound Marketing:
1. Google Caffeine or Freshness Update 2. Google Panda 3. Bad link practices 4. Google and Bing use social signals 5. Google+ and Search Plus Your World
Each change works on its own specific terms, but it’s apparent that all five employed a sophisticated kind of artificial intelligence that aims to support articles with substantial content, well-thought of design, reliable source, optimized speed, and capability to trigger interest.
Inbound Marketing can cope with the changes by earning the permission and attention of a target audience through social media, link outreach for brand, and direct traffic value. Although SEO can integrate the same things, Inbound Marketing delineates what we know of SEO from what we can further do to adapt to algorithm changes.
The concept of Inbound Marketing can be summed up in five stages:
1. Attract traffic made possible through quality content.
2. Convert visitors to leads.
3. Convert leads to sales.
4. Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers.
5. Analyze for continuous improvement.
Come to think of it, doesn’t SEO work almost the same?
In retrospect, there’s no big difference between SEO and inbound marketing. The methods may have improved for the better or it may have been more specific, but the objective is still the same. It is safe to say that Inbound Marketing is an improvement of SEO. However SEO, by itself, is still an efficient method in online marketing.
Nothing’s going up or down. Perhaps, the purpose of Inbound Marketing is to recreate the concept of SEO, to introduce new insights that were overlooked when SEO was previously used, and to assign a terminology for those improvements.
The ultimate goal still remains—to develop websites that are worthwhile for the end users. Whatever change comes, whatever terminologies dominate, the key is to adapt to change and to ensure that the goal is kept intact.
Five Essential Tips For Successful Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is by far the most effective technique you can use to attract visitors to your business. The strategy involves bringing customers to you rather than pursuing them through direct marketing campaigns or cold calls. Here are five top tips for effective inbound digital marketing that will help your business grow.
1. Strong Website Design
You must have a good website if you want to draw interested and keep visitors on your site. Customers will expect to find lots of useful information, presented clearly and integrated into an eye-catching, user-friendly site design. You can build and manage your website yourself if you have the aptitude, or you might prefer to invest in the services of a professional company to do the work for you.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Your website must be easy to find – period. One sure-fire way to make sure visitors land on your site is by populating it with strong, good quality SEO-optimized content. A good starting point for your site is a company blog. Once you’re up and running, approach your industry contacts and suppliers and ask them to link to your site. In exchange, provide them with positive product reviews and backlinks. All this activity will drive your site address to the top of the major search engine rankings, which means more visitors to your business and thus, more sales.
3. Site Promotion
Once your website is up and running and you’ve stuffed it full of great content, you must promote it. Use your social media accounts and contacts to promote your site. Remember to share all your fresh blog posts and content via Email Marketing, Social Marketing, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and other social media sites you use. Ask contacts within your industry sector if they will share your content via their own networks.
4. Great Content
These days it’s great content that attracts site visitors and grows your business. Look through the posts on your blog and compile a short e-book containing expert tips and advice for your visitors and clients. Keep your content regularly updated and fresh so that your visitors will return on a regular basis to read what’s new.
Are there any industry-related tools you can build that your regular visitors would appreciate? If so, include them on your website for free. This will ensure that you have a steady influx of traffic flowing through your site, and will help to garner you a reputation as an expert in your particular sector.
You can’t see which of your inbound marketing strategies is working best if you don’t measure where the traffic to your site is originating from. You’ll need to know what your visitors prefer to read, what links they click on, and which products are searched for more than others. All of this information will show you which of your campaigns are most successful and will enable you to plan your inbound marketing activity for the future.
Utilize free tools like Google Analytics to access all the information and site metrics you’ll need.
Make sure your website is attractive, easy to use, and full of really useful, interesting SEO-optimized content. If your site is fresh and full of free industry expertise, your visitors will keep on returning time after time.
4 Inbound Marketing Methods that Won’t be Missed
Opening a virtual, online store is trickier than opening one in the real world where people can at least see it while walking by. In the online world, your brand has to stand out among potentially a million others to be seen by people.
This is where techniques like inbound marketing come in, which are used by marketers to better understand their current marketing success and improve on it. While there are many methods associated with inbound marketing, some have not been producing really positive results and have had a placebo effect on the marketers rather than anything real. Finally though, 4 of these methods are seeing a decline in their use, and they are surely not going to be missed.
Vanity Metrics – Nothing but Pretty Numbers
People like to know that their content is being viewed and appreciated by their audience. Someone posting a photograph they took to Facebook will feel good after seeing that it has a 100 likes. Sadly, those ‘likes’ don’t mean a lot for someone trying to market their brand.
What matters for marketers in this case is the number of people who have interacted with you based on what you published. The amount of people who have asked you about your product, how they can buy it, and who have clicked on your links and visited your landing pages are the ones you should feel good about.
A lot of marketers used to be content with the number of their social media fans and followers, even those that hadn’t visited their landing pages. Thankfully, this trend is dying down and is one that would not be missed if it never saw the light of day again.
Keyword Stuffing – Useless if You Don’t Understand It
For a number of marketers, stuffing their content with the same word or phrase over and over again was the way to make their page appear more often in search results. However, that is not the case. Your page will be better rated by engines like Google if you use quality content that your audience likes, using keywords only where necessary and where you can use them naturally.
Buying Contacts – Waste of Money
If you could get anywhere in the world without doing hard work, everyone would be a billionaire. That is why it doesn’t help to skip the process of building a database of people who are genuinely interested in your brand and rather buying a contact list from list providers. Most of the people on these lists won’t even look at your content, and your marketing endeavors will become property of people’s SPAM folders.
SPAM – Never Appreciated by Anyone
Talking of SPAM, let’s just get this out of the way; no one likes it! Many marketers, when they are too lazy to do any actual work for their brand, decide to send out emails in bulk, without any concern as to who their content goes to. This is sort of a last resort where marketers hope that a random person, totally uninterested in their brand, will be impressed by their SPAM and become a customer. Sadly, it just doesn’t work anymore with email providers becoming more and more diligent regarding the blockage of such unsolicited emails.
If you, by any chance, are still practicing any of these 4 inbound marketing methods, it’s time to invest your time and money in something that really works. A lot of marketers have already stopped using them, and soon they will reach an end altogether. The good thing is that we are sure these would not be missed.