Make Your Marketing Work for You by Turning Web Visitors Into Your Company’s Advocates
Outbound Marketing versus Inbound Marketing
How does your business acquire leads? The strategies used to generate leads fall under one of two categories: outbound or inbound marketing. But what’s the difference, and is one better than the other?
- Outbound marketing requires marketers to search for leads. Think cold calling, traditional advertising, email blasts to purchased lists, and setting up camp at tradeshows. You reach out and hope your message resonates with at least some of the audience. Outbound marketing inherently costs a lot of money, time, and energy, but yields low results. Worst of all, outbound marketing interrupts, irritates, and frustrates the people you want to attract.
- Inbound marketing brings the leads to you. Inbound marketing is sometimes called content marketing because the high-quality content you create (onsite, blog posts, graphics, social media, videos, podcasts, e-newsletters, etc.) draws qualified leads in to you.
Inbound marketing is the most efficient and effective way to build your business and attract people that already want what you offer. Perhaps the best part is that once you’ve attracted visitors and turned them into customers, they become advocates that help draw in even more new customers.
Out with the old; in with the new.
How Does Best Rank Do It?
Take a look at our inbound marketing methodology graphic. Inbound marketing starts at the top, with wanderers—people out there looking for a product, service, or even just some good information. Once your content has drawn those wanderers in and they become visitors, various qualities of your site turn them into leads. Once a lead is warmed up and becomes a new and satisfied client, they become advocates for your business, gladly letting wayward wanderers know the best place to find what they need.
Inbound marketing promotes good business ethics. It is efficient, cost-effective, and, frankly, fun.
Most importantly, inbound marketing works.
But it in order for inbound marketing to be successful the right things need to be measured.
Best Rank works with its customers to measure key performance indicators (KPIs). We break KPIs down into three areas: Business, Marketing and Leading Indicators.
KIP = Key Performance Indicator. An objective way to measure success.
Measuring and acting on Business KPIs allows for better marketing decisions. Business KPIs such as phone calls, form fills and conversions all contribute to the bottom line for any business. Supporting the Business KPIs are the Marketing KPIs such as social mentions or traffic growth. Then Leading Indicator KPIs such as traffic or rankings all support the Marketing KPIs.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the 5 stages of our inbound marketing methodology.
1. Attract Wanderers; Turn Them into Visitors
The first step in the inbound marketing process is drawing your potential leads in—attracting them. But how do you attract them, and better yet, how do you attract the right kind of leads?
Your mother may have told you that you won’t find a potential date unless you put yourself out there. The best way to put yourself out there is by doing what you like to do and being yourself, because then you’ll attract someone compatible.
It’s all the same with inbound marketing. Rather than haphazardly casting a large net and reeling in a bevy of mismatches (outbound marketing), you attract only the people who want what you have. You know who they are and what problems they face—you also have the solutions they need. It’s symbiosis!
There are several ways to put yourself out there to attract the kinds of customers you want:
- Website design: Your website is the first impression most people will have of your business. It’s effectively your online storefront—just as important as your physical storefront. Attractive web design includes functional navigation, organized information, thoughtful color scheme and logo, useful and attractive images and graphics, videos, etc. It all starts with your (very important) website.
- Search engine optimization (SEO): SEO helps attract wanderers by analyzing and adjusting your website so that it shows up in the search results when they search for certain terms (keywords)—terms that are associated with your business.
- Onsite content: Onsite content provides your visitors with helpful and useful information that describes who you are, what you do, and why it matters. Onsite content contains the keywords that wanderers are searching for, leading them to your site.
- Social media: Social media helps you to establish a presence where wanderers are already hanging out. By offering great content on your social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google Plus—any channels you want to use), you draw wanderers in to you.
- Blogs: Having a blog on your website is like having your very own magazine to share with people. Wanderers are attracted to the interesting, useful, entertaining, content on your blog, drawing them in to visit your site and see what else you have to offer.
- Paid media: Paid media, like a pay per click campaign, enables you to draw in visitors by showing up in their search results. Unlike SEO, which takes time to boost your position in the search results, PPC offers a quick and effective return on your investment. You only pay for your PPC listing when a wanderer clicks on it, making them a visitor.
Now that you’ve attracted some wanderers and they’ve become visitors, what’s next?
2. Convert Visitors to Leads
The process isn’t complete once you’ve attracted those wanderers to visit your site. Traffic to your site is great, but conversions are even better. A visitor converts into a lead when they take a specific action—filling out a form, calling you, signing up for your newsletter, even making a purchase.
Inbound marketing enables you to attract qualified leads much more efficiently than outbound marketing, but a visitor to your site isn’t necessarily going to become a lead. Help your visitors convert by implementing the following inbound marketing tactics:
- Landing page CRO: Search engine optimization helps people find your site, but conversion rate optimization (CRO) helps them convert. CRO includes thorough analysis of the structure of your landing pages, and adjusting, testing, and adjusting some more to create perfectly navigable pages that make it easy for visitors to take action.
- Goals: Goals typically refer to the ability to setup conversion tracking within an analytics platform (e.g. Google Analytics) and is key for determining what beforehand activities were taken (keywords used, which pages visited) to produce those conversions.
- CTAs: Calls-to-action (CTAs) are short and simple but effective messages that tell your visitors what action you want them to take. Things like, “Contact us for a quote,” “Click here to download the e-book,” and “Sign up for a free trial” are all CTAs. They stand out and get a visitor’s attention.
- Forms: Forms are a great way to get visitors to contact you, but they also can give you some insight about themselves, making it easier for you to provide a solution to their problem or need.
- Mobile site: As search on mobile continues to increase, it becomes more imperative to have an easy-to-use mobile version of your website. If a visitor can find the information they need easily from their mobile device, they are much more likely to convert.
- Phone calls: Visitors get in touch with you by calling in. They will be interested in your products/services. Your job is then to convert into a qualified lead. Not all callers are leads.
- Social actions: Interaction is key to getting visitors to be qualified into leads. Social Media interaction with your visitors (e.g. tweets, facebook comments, etc.) help to show social proof of value and motivate those visitors to take action and covert into a lead.
Now that you’ve taken the right actions for visitors to easily become leads, what’s next?
3. Leads Become Clients
Generating successful leads is a great thing, but the process isn’t finished. Now that the functionality of your website has encouraged the visitors you’ve attracted to convert into leads, the next step is for them to become your customers.
But a lead isn’t necessarily ready to buy right now. And that’s okay. This is where lead nurturing comes into the picture. A person that isn’t ready to buy isn’t someone to give up on—it’s the opposite—someone to cultivate a relationship with.
Here are some ways you can nurture leads that aren’t quite ready to go all in yet:
- Social outreach: Like the last step, over time if you can demonstrate social proof of value through interaction with potential leads on the social channels that will help to convert interested leads to buy.
- Remarketing: Remarketing is a form of PPC advertising. With a bit of code installed on your website and by capturing your web visitors’ cookie IDs, remarketing ads that showcase the product or service they showed interest in will appear when they visit other sites across the Internet. Like friendly reminders to not forget about you.
- Return visits: Sometimes it takes multiple return visits before a lead converts into a client or customer. The more the lead is exposed or is gravitated towards your messaging the greater changes of that lead will close.
- Email marketing: If a lead has filled out a contact form or clicked on a call to action and provided you with their email address, nurture them by sending them emails that contain content that’s useful to them. This builds a beneficial relationship that they’ll surely remember when it’s time to buy.
When you nurture a lead that isn’t ready to buy yet, you build trust. That trust is an absolute necessity in earning a customer. Once you’ve nurtured a lead and they have committed, is that the end of the cycle?
4. Clients Become Advocates
Congratulations! You’ve successfully attracted visitors that became leads, and then nurtured them to become your paying customers. This is where the good stuff happens. You’ve already built trust, and now it’s time to live up to that by providing top-notch service.
You see, once a lead becomes a client, the process is not finished. In fact, the process never ends. You’ve earned the client, but now you must earn their ongoing commitment. This is why inbound marketing fosters great business practices.
It takes lots of hard work to provide excellent products and/or services to your customers. But when you do this, they pay you back—and not just by paying up. They become advocates for your business.
How do you turn your customers into advocates?
- Customer satisfaction: Conduct surveys, reviews and sentiment analysis to address potential pain points and highlight successes.
- Ongoing social media: Keep your brand top-of-mind and regularly remind fans of the reasons to do business with your company.
- Email follow-up: Communicate updates and improvements to customers that add value or give them the chance to share the information with someone new.
- Loyalty Promotions: Obtaining a new customer is more expensive than retaining an existing one; loyalty promotions focus on generating repeat business.
- Crowdsourcing: Harness the creative power of your fan base by allowing them to participate in the evolution of your business’s products or services.
Now that you’ve earned some great, loyal clients and they’ve become advocates for your company, what happens next?
5. Advocates Attract Wanderers
Advocates for your business will spread the word and tell people they know what a pleasure it is to work with you, how reliable your products are, and how you’ve benefitted them. They will refer new wanderers straight to you.
And when these wanderers become visitors and convert into leads, the process will be even more efficient because the benefit of a trusted referral plays a huge role.
The Wave of the Future
Marketing has shifted to this inbound method for good reason: consumers want to be in control. Consumers don’t respond to old-fashioned marketing tactics anymore, and why should they?
By offering a lot of great content and building your presence online, building trust, and providing reliable services and products, this healthy inbound cycle continues.
Talk to Best Rank today to see how people who are looking for your services can become your company’s advocates.