Search engine optimization (SEO) used to focus on sprinkling keywords throughout web pages, in order to increase the chance that a potential customer finds your website through a search engine—like magic fairy dust. However, this approach ignored the quality and relevance of the content itself as well as helping the reader understand what steps to take next. Also like magic fairy dust... the effects weren't real and Google got smart. The SEO tricks of yesterday no longer work and finally consistent, quality content most often wins out.
The Inbound Marketing Philosophy and Method
Relevant, timely and informational content that matches customers’ interests will draw them to you - this is called inbound marketing. The graphic below details the process:
- Attract visits from strangers through your blog posts, keywords and social media.
- Convert the visits to leads with forms, calls to action and landing pages.
- Emails, signals and workflows are the closing actions to turn them into customers.
- To turn customers into promoters, use smart content, and events.
How Can I Get More Leads for My Business?
Follow the formula above and repeat the process again and again, building an increasingly stronger network and culture surrounding your business. Entrepreneur advises, “Instead of dreaming up new ways to interrupt your way into your prospects’ lives, invest in ways to engage them meaningfully with an inbound experience.”
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Hone in on cultivating relationships with customers who will then boast about your business to their friends, which will then increase web traffic. Remember that inbound marketing inverts the focus from a product-based strategy to a customer-centric one.
Also, keep in mind the principles of Lifecycle Marketing, which is embedded in the inbound marketing philosophy. Each visitor is interacting with your company at a more- or less-advanced level than another. Some are simply visitors, while others are already repeat customers. Since they are all in different stages of the relationship, different marketing strategies are required.
When Designing Content, Focus On:
This gets people talking and leads to visitors sharing your content with their friends. Content that is valuable is content that is shared, which translates to more leads for your business.
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Mashable’s infographic comparing marketing methods of the outbound marketer to the new marketing methods of the inbound marketer makes a smart point. “84% of 25-to-34-year-olds have left a favorite website because of intrusive or irrelevant advertising.”
The past pattern of pushing products through one-way dialogue and annoying advertising is out. Inbound marketing cultivates an interactive, two-way dialogue that is valuable for the consumer and creates a culture around your business.