The internet has become the most effective medium for businesses to link up with potential customers or clients – if they know how to go about it properly.
What Inbound Marketing Isn’t
Before the prominence of the internet, the primary methods a business had for getting its marketing message out was through “offline” media and special events: newspapers, magazines, direct mail, fliers, TV, radio, billboards, cold calling, faxes, trade shows, seminars and conferences, and even blimps and skywriting!
Why Inbound Marketing is Very Important in this Internet Age…
The “net” now permeates almost every aspect of our daily lives, especially with the advent of mobile devices – cell phones and tablets, as well as the increasing influence of social sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, and so on.
The net has changed our buying habits. In ever-increasing numbers, both consumers and businesses are searching the internet to FIND the goods or services they want or need. This puts them in the driver’s seat instead of the passenger’s seat.
So it is VITAL for business owners and marketing managers who want to generate more qualified leads and INCREASE SALES to become proficient at marketing through the internet.
The biggest hidden “expense” many businesses have is the difference between the number of new clients or customers they are currently attracting, and the number of new clients or customers they COULD be getting. That difference can be substantial.
Okay… What is Inbound Marketing?
Well, in a way, it’s the opposite of… Outbound Marketing.
OUTBOUND Marketing = Spend money pushing out your message to prospective customers through TV, radio, newspaper and magazine ads, billboards, direct mail, cold calls, and so on.
INBOUND Marketing = Help prospects FIND YOU on the internet, pull them into your website, and nurture them through the sales cycle from lead, to qualified lead, to CUSTOMER.
Here’s WHY and HOW Inbound Marketing Works…
We know people are using the net to find the goods and services they need. It’s the new Yellow Pages. So INBOUND MARKETING consists of “pulling in” these potential customers to your website so they can link up with the goods or services you provide and that meet their needs.
First, those potential customers need to FIND YOU on the net.
They find your business or organization by entering search terms (keywords) in search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo. But it’s highly likely they’ll only find a link to your website if it shows up on the first page of the search engine’s results pages. (Many people rarely look past the first page!)
Or perhaps your prospective customers find what they consider to be useful, helpful information placed by your company in web pages, social sites, blogs, tweets, internet news releases, or YouTube videos, and so on. This content should contain “backlinks” or “call-to-action” buttons leading to a “landing page” on your website.
When your prospective customer clicks on one of these links or “call-to-action” buttons, they are brought to the designated landing page where they can find further information concerning your business or particular offer.
Where the Rubber Meets the Road – Your “Lead Conversion Rate”
Let’s say that your company’s website is well-optimized for the search engines (SEO) and you have placed useful, informative content on social sites and other online venues that your prospective customers will discover. They click on your link and become a lead. Well and good. That’s exactly how it should be.
But if you can’t CONVERT those inbound leads into NEW CLIENTS or CUSTOMERS, what’s the point?
So you need to develop or find methods to:
a) strengthen your website’s internet presence & visibility
b) increase your number of inbound leads
c) determine which of those leads are “qualified” leads for your type of business
d) nurture those leads along by answering their questions, providing more information, or a free consultation or free trial, perhaps some informative follow-up emails, and so on, until they CONVERT into actual clients or customers
In a well-structured Inbound Marketing Program, a good deal of this can be automated.
To improve your INBOUND MARKETING and increase sales, ensure that your site shows up well in the search engines, that you have useful, informative content out there on the internet which contains backlinks to your website, and that you have an effective methodology for converting inbound leads into clients or customers.
Written by Robert (Bob) Nelson
Bob is a very experienced Marketing Specialist for both the internet and traditional methods. He is a valuable member of the Results Professional Marketing Company team.
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