Nowadays, not having a website for your business isn’t an option. Not even a token website with a little blurb about the company and some contact details suffices. You need a lot more: sleek design, a user-friendly interface and links to all the social media platforms you’re active on. If you’re considering implementing an inbound marketing strategy in 2017, you’re going to need all of the above and more. Why? Because a website in an inbound marketing context isn’t simply a glorified business card-cum-brochure – it’s a powerful tool for attracting and converting leads to your business. But for this tool to be effective you need to have the right elements in place.
Content is the lifeblood of inbound marketing websites
Before we get into what’s required of an inbound-ready website, let’s examine what makes an inbound marketing website different from one used alongside traditional marketing tactics. First, it’s the presence of content. A website optimised for inbound will be brimming with content in the form of blogs, content offers and more. This content supports SEO activities by providing the keywords that help search engines find your website. The content also attracts the right audience to your website and converts them into leads. On a traditional marketing website, the content usually stops at the About Us and product offers pages.
Every web page of an inbound website has been crafted with specific personas in mind, as well as where they are in the buying funnel
Another thing that sets inbound marketing websites apart from traditional ones is that their web pages (and all the content they contain) are designed with targeted personas in mind. Not only this, but they’re designed to speak to the pain points of their desired audience, rather than promoting their business. An inbound website will also accommodate buyers depending on where they are in the buying funnel – not only those that are ready to buy their product. You’ll be able to spot a website optimised for inbound because every web page will contain calls to action (CTAs), there’ll be a blog that’s updated at least twice a week, and it’ll have content offers that encourage visitors to exchange their contact details for a valuable piece of content. No such features exist in traditional marketing websites.
Now let’s run through the features you need to adapt your website to inbound:
Every page on your website needs to be designed strategically
As we mentioned in the previous paragraph, for inbound marketing to be effective, every web page of your website needs to be designed strategically. This means that each page needs to educate and add value to your prospective customers, and encourage them to take action through CTAs. What’s more, each web page needs to be search engine optimised, with the keywords you want to rank highly for present in web page copy, in page headers and image descriptions. Before you can think strategically, you need to know who you’re targeting and what these people are looking for at each stage of the buying funnel.
Adopt an attitude of continuous improvement and optimisation
Your website is a living, breathing organism, not a static, electronic brochure that gets a redesign every year. This means you need to be making continuous tweaks and improvements to it that will drive more traffic to it, and help convert more visitors to leads and leads to customers. How do you do this? By collecting and analysing data (about how website visitors move around your site, which links they click, which content offers are getting the most downloads and how many leads convert into sales and why), making the necessary adjustments – and repeating this on a monthly basis. This optimisation is best executed using a marketing automation tool that integrates with your website and allows you to collect and analyse the right data, and implement any necessary changes quickly.
Use A/B testing to find the most effective ways to attract and convert leads
The data you collect and analyse will help you decide how to improve your inbound marketing strategy. Once you have some ideas of how to go about this – include larger CTAs under blogs or promote different content offers – you should use A/B testing to see which of these ideas is the most effective at achieving your goals. A/B testing is the practice of testing two different things – two different, CTA designs, for example – at the same time, and measuring which yields better results. Without this practice, you’re essentially acting blind and have no way of knowing how successful your new tactic will be.
An SEO strategy should be designed around answering questions
We’ve talked about how SEO helps your website appear as high up in search engine results as possible, thereby allowing the right people to find your website. Every page of your website needs to be SEO optimised and designed around key personas and their position in the buying funnel. It’s no good simply choosing keywords related to your business and the things your personas will be interested in. You need to ensure that your keywords help answer the questions (why does my computer keep crashing?) your personas might have, as this is probably how they begin their quest to find a solution to their pain points. Web pages that answer questions and provide solutions to problems outrank those that don’t.
Content ensures that your visitors stay on your website, and then become leads
A website that regularly produces content signals search engines that it’s active, helping it appear above those that aren’t. Hence the importance of twice weekly blogging. But let’s say your website regularly appears at the top of search engine results – the next challenge is to get your visitors to remain on your site. Visitors make the decision of whether they stay or go within a matter of seconds, which is why your content needs to resonate with your visitors – speak to their pain points and show you understand their needs. Content also needs to incite your visitors to move down the funnel – otherwise, you’re simply a library, not a business!
Aligning your website with an inbound marketing strategy might sound like an overhaul, but it’s a move that’ll spark long-term growth for your business. To find out more about how inbound can achieve this, download our guide: