"Build it and they will come..." Many businesses think all they need is a website (sparkly or non-sparkly) for internet domination. Yet some 41% of businesses do not use any optimisation techniques to improve search engine rankings. Leave a website to rot and it'll do just that, regardless of how much it cost to build.
"In today's information age of Marketing and Web 2.0, a company's website is the key to their entire business." – Marcus Sheridan, Marketing Speaker
If you’re looking to generate high quality leads from your website, look no further than Inbound Marketing. Inbound marketing - where customers find your website because they were looking for it - has been shown to cost 62% less per lead than traditional, outbound marketing - where customers are shouted at with pushy advertising.
"If you have more money than brains, you should focus on outbound marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on inbound marketing." – Guy Kawasaki, Co-founder of Alltop.com
Pull! Don't Push!
Instead of 'push' selling to capture leads, Inbound Marketing takes a 'pull' approach; bringing customers to your door when they are ready to buy. Content Marketing, Social Media marketing, SEO and Analytics are the tools you need to pull prospects into your website and encourage them to stay there.
It's what's underneath that counts
Substance trumps style. A good-looking website is nothing without good content. Ardath Albee, author of Emarketing Strategies for the Complex Sale, said: “By publishing content that shows buyers you understand their problems and... how to solve them, you build credibility."
Your website can’t just sell - it must start a conversation with customers that engages them and gets them thinking about your product. Any salesperson in a shop knows few customers want to buy when a product is shoved in their face as soon as they walk through the door - they need to browse and be engaged in a chat. On your website, the ‘chat’ can involve blogs, videos, eBooks, webinars and case studies.
Make yourself irresistible
Consumers want information – give it to them. Research your market and find out what your potential leads are talking about. Then create relevant and groundbreaking content that offers value to the people who use your services or products, and offer it on your website.
"Stop selling. Start helping." – Zig Ziglar, Motivational Speaker
Align content to the various stages of the buying process. Nurture leads through that process until they're ready to convert to a sale.
Join the conversation
Get social on the internet beyond your website. Social networking is an excellent way of finding out the questions your customers as asking. It's also a good way to discover what your customers are saying about you, address concerns and conduct market research. "People don't want to be sold to”, said Larry Weber, author of Marketing to the Social Web. “What [they] want is news and information about the things they care about."
.Social networks also offer an invaluable platform upon which to market your content. Get people talking and aware of your website. Word of mouth and links are a powerful marketing tool
"People share, read and generally engage more with... content when it's surfaced through... people they know and trust." – Malorie Lucich, Facebook Spokesperson
Don't be the needle in the haystack
Ensure both your website and the content you publish is optimised and search engine friendly. SEO techniques such as keyword rich Title Tags and content, along with seductive Meta Descriptions, can mean the difference between being lost or found; clicked on or ignored.
"To be successful and grow your business and revenues, you must match the way you market your products with the way your prospects learn about and shop for your products." – Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot
Use Analytics Software to learn how your prospective leads arrive at and interact with your website. See who is clicking on what and evaluate what works. Adapt and change to reflect their needs.
"Give them quality. That's the best kind of advertising." – Milton Hershey, Founder of the Hershey Chocolate Company