We have been highly involved with the inbound marketing industry over the last two and a half years. During this time, we’ve had the opportunity to talk to literally hundreds of business owners that are trying to increase their online visibility. Every now and then we come across a CEO or marketing director that doesn’t believe in the inbound philosophy. After looking over their work and discussing their strategy, there are 4 very common themes.
The most important paradigm marketers need to change when they are converting from SEO to inbound marketing is the audience for your efforts. SEO is all about trying to trick Google into giving you better rankings for a very narrow set up premium keywords. Inbound marketing shifts the focus from the search engine to the user. This is the fundamental difference between the two tactics.
This brings us to the first reason your inbound marketing efforts aren’t working.
1. Lack of Remarkable Content
We can give first hand testimony about the magnitude of this problem. You wouldn’t believe the number of people that think inbound marketing is only about producing consistent content. We’ve seen this attitude from both an outside agencies and internal, company leadership. We can’t stress how damaging this kind of mindset is for your business.
Smart, innovative marketers understand just publishing content you outsourced to some offshore writing company is actually a liability for your brand. You would not believe how many agencies preach just posting consistent, unique content is enough to get the organic improvement you’re after. If you’re working with an agency that has this mentality, run the other way!
Your brand needs to create content that adds value to the Internet and answers common questions. You need to show your expertise by consistently publishing content that makes a difference. We promise if you will take this stance, Google will reward you for your efforts.
There is a massive group of low quality and uneducated marketers.
2. Give Users a Reason To Take Action
Getting users interested in the product or service is the purpose of 98% of the business related websites. Strategically placing content, value propositions, and calls to action is one of the most important things you can do to increase conversion rates.
Human nature doesn’t like the feeling of giving something for nothing. Instead, we love to feel like we got something out of our efforts.
3. Insufficient Quality Back-links
In general, linking has proved to be better than on-site optimization. However, you need to be careful in how links are acquired to avoid penalties. Given the vast amount of low quality backlinks, there are a few things to keep in mind. Consider what makes a link valuable:
- Domain Authority- where its coming from
- Relevancy of the page that its linking to
- Anchor Text of Link- 30% exact match, 30% URL, and 40% brand
Using this information will assist in creating an outstanding linking profile.
A good linking profile includes:
- Links from other relevant websites
- Get links from other websites that are similar to your own
- Links from other websites with high domain authority and link diversity.
A bad linking profile includes:
- black hats- trying to trick Google instead of adding value to internet
- over-optimized anchor text
- Low domain authority
Being aware of the differences will be able to help you develop a linking profile of professional quality and standard. It’s time to turn those low quality links upside down and boost credibility and domain authority!
4. Un-nurtured Leads
Now that the linking has been taken care of, it is time to give your leads some tender love and care (TLC). In order for your inbound marketing efforts to actually work, you need to be nurturing your leads through 3 phases: awareness, evaluation, and purchase.
Awareness: Leads have either become aware of your product or service, or they have become aware that they have a need that must be fulfilled.
(Example: you create an offer (free eBook) about a common issue you have identified that is relevant to your target audience’s interests and/or problems. In the eBook you provide solutions, and tie in your product/service that could potentially be a solution. You promote this offer via social media, and your website.)
Evaluation: Leads are aware that your product or service could fulfill their need, and they are trying to determine whether you are the best fit.
(Example: you have an industry report that showcases all of the unique features of your product. You build a compelling case on why your product is superior to the other options that are available. You send this report through email to all your leads who have indicated they are interested in more than just information (lead nurturing)).
Purchase: Leads are finally ready to make a purchase.
(Example: you get the prospect on the phone and provide a detailed product demonstration. What happens next? Your sales person closes the deal. The better you get at this process, the more customers you will win).
For your inbound marketing efforts to maximize potential, unique content must be created for every stage of this cycle, and it must also be posted to the most appropriate online platform and distributed the right way.
This is lead nurturing 101.