Having an inbound marketing strategy is the core to your online marketing efforts. Inbound marketing is the art of attracting our customers to us by providing valuable information, rather than pushing our products and services on them. Creating and sharing useful content helps the buyer move through the purchase process while making your business more credible, trustworthy, and visible in the process. In addition, giving value with no strings attached builds trust and people buy from those they know, like and trust.
The challenge for most small businesses is to create a strong web presence as the foundation of their inbound marketing efforts so that search, social and content marketing strategies are effective. Your digital footprint is no longer just a website but now includes your social media profiles, directory listings and other web properties that present your business to your target market.
Web presence optimization extends search engine optimization to all of your web properties to create better visibility, awareness, and brand recognition. By optimizing content across your entire web presence, including your website, social media, other blogs and press releases, you present a more unified, consistent image for your brand no matter where someone finds your business online.
4 Steps to Building Your Inbound Marketing Foundation
Conduct a Web Presence Audit
The best way to start is to do a simple search for your business name and your name to assess your visibility. Just because you may not have created social media profiles or directory entries for your business doesn’t mean that you don’t have a presence.
- What is your first impression?
- Is your brand consistent across all web properties?
- Were there any surprises? (i.e. negative reviews you didn’t know about)
- Where does your web presence need strengthening?
- Would you hire your company based on what you found?
A regular audit of your web presence is important to maintaining a healthy online presence.
Delve into Keyword Research
B2B buyers are now taking longer to research products and services. The buyer makes an average of 12 searches online and looks for the same digital experience they encounter when making consumer purchases. This is primarily due to 46% of all B2B researchers and buyers are now millennials. By the time they reach out to a vendor, most buyers are 57% through the buying process.
If you are selling to consumers, 60% of consumers start their buying process with a search. Know what consumers are searching for and why is important to your marketing efforts. And if you are a local business, 76% of consumers who search for a local business on a smartphone visit the store within 24 hours.
In either case, whether you sell to businesses or direct to consumers, understanding how people search for your products and services plays an important role in creating a powerful web presence.
- What problem are they trying to solve?
- Do you know what questions are they asking?
- What words are they using to search for the solution?
- Do people use different terms on social networks than in search engines?
Once you understand how your customers are searching and the intent of their search, you can incorporate the words and phrases into your content which will result in aligning your content with your customers needs.
Create an Optimized WordPress Website for Organic Search Visibility
Your website is the hub of your online presence and central to all your marketing efforts. It’s the one property you totally control, therefore it needs to create an amazing first impression. Your website is where you send people from your social media platforms to learn more about you and provide them with valuable content.
- Is your website built on WordPress to make it easy to add content?
- Did you install an SSL certificate to secure visitors content?
- Have you created content that is easy to find and share on social networks?
- Is your website optimized so your audience can find you when they are searching for a solution to their problem?
- Is your website mobile-friendly? If your website doesn’t provide a good user experience on mobile devices, you won’t be as visible as you would like. In fact, only 13% of websites retain the exact same position across devices
WordPress is the best content management system for small businesses because of the power and flexibility it provides, while keeping content production simple.
Develop a Content Marketing Strategy
Content marketing focuses on creating and distributing valuable content to attract and retain your target audience. Rather than selling your products and services, you educate your audience through inspiring and relevant storytelling. In fact, the same research above indicates that 82% of B2B buyers viewed at least five pieces of content from the vendor prior to purchase.
- What content does your audience want or need?
- How does your audience want that content delivered (video, podcast, blog, eBook, infographic)?
- How often will you deliver content?
- What resources will you use to develop the content?
- How will you distribute this content so it will be found?
Content marketing is important to all businesses if you want to be found. Great content properly optimized will help you gain the visibility you need to stay ahead of your competition.
Improve Your Visibility with Web Presence Optimization
Increasing your online visibility takes work. But since the cost of acquiring a qualified lead through inbound marketing is more than 60% less than through outbound tactics, small businesses can’t ignore building a strong web presence. Knowing what your customers need, delivering that content in the format they want it and helping them solve a problem makes your business their first choice when seeking products and services.