The following is a guest post by Peter Rastello, the founder of Inbound Market Link , an Inbound Marketing agency specializing in helping small and medium, B2B and B2C businesses to succeed on the internet.
If you're a marketing professional in charge of your small/medium sized business’ (SMB) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and Inbound marketing, you are not alone. According to Marketing Sherpa , SMBs spend roughly 20% more on staff salaries to handle SEO & internet marketing than do large sized businesses who tend to out-source this activity. For this reason, it is critical that SMB marketers focus carefully. Here are the abbreviated 10 steps to effective marketing online :
The Importance of Google – with approximately 80% of all searches being conducted via Google, it is critical to primarily focus SEO effort on this search engine. Yahoo and Bing, are less important but still an important part of search engine marketing.
Keyword Selection – Pick keywords that are relevant to your business but also fairly easy to rank for. Look for multi-word phrases or ‘long-tail keywords’ as they are usually less competitive
Content is King - Prospects are more likely to buy from you if you are a thought leader, so establish yourself as one by creating extraordinarily helpful content. Take decisive action to ensure prospective customers are attracted to your site as a place to find answers.
Generosity is Also King – Another key part to attracting customers is your generosity in giving away information, access to tools, etc., which also earns you inbound links which improves your search engine rankings.
Social Media – Focus on the top three social media venues: Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Remember, ‘be real’ and ‘be there’ to help the community rather than to push products.
Calls-to-Action – It’s important to provide something of value that solves a problem for visitors in exchange for their contact information. Often traffic will not be ready to buy right away, but a tempting call to action will lead them down the sales funnel.
Landing Pages - Everything that has been done to draw qualified traffic to a site, from improving SEO, to generating great content comes to a head in the landing page. Leads should be confronted with an inescapable case for them to leave their carefully guarded personal information on the form. Having one offer, recapping benefits, and a short form are all key.
Lead Nurturing – follow up calls to action with a ‘thank you’ email and a lead nurturing campaign that further entices leads down the sales funnel with additional free offerings– this is a free opportunity to keep touch with a lead.
Tracking Progress – Effective Inbound Marketing is all about experimentation. Select a strategy based on experience with customers and industry to get people to both visit and convert on the website. But anticipate that initial assumptions about keywords, or what it takes to get traffic to convert will not be right (or not right enough) and changes will need to be made. For this reason, it is essential to have a complete internet analysis tool-suite to help figure out what’s working and what’s not.
Patience & Tenacity – It’s easy to become discouraged and frustrated if Inbound Marketing is approached as a point solution. In reality, it’s a long term strategy only rewarding those who approach it with patience and tenacity