We get a lot of questions from prospective clients about inbound marketing, seo, and lead capture, so I thought I'd share some of the more common questions and our answers to them.
Q: We have a website, a blog and we're doing on-page seo. We also have Twitter and Facebook accounts. Why do we need inbound marketing?
A: I have to answer this question with a question. How well are you doing? If you don't know how to answer that question, you're probably not measuring anything, which is a big part of inbound marketing. If you're answer is "we're getting lots of website traffic", my response is "yes, but how many visitors are you converting to leads and leads converted to sales?" Lead capture is another important aspect of inbound marketing. The principal advantage of inbound marketing is that it's like a marketing campaign carried out over an indefinite amount of time. You're constantly building relationships online, creating content, promoting it, capturing leads and measuring results. Without this framework, your efforts may deliver some but not all of the potential for success in internet marketing.
Q: Can we do inbound marketing ourselves or do we need to hire an agency or consultant?
A: What we always find is that you get out of it what you put into it. The more blogging, engaging, measuring, tweaking and creative thinking you do, the better the results. You have to ask yourself who's going to do the work, how much time they can commit to the process, and what talents and experience do they have to represent your company online. Inbound marketing is 'marketing', so at least some experience there is crucial. It helps to have a passion for blogging and social media, because you spend a lot of time in that space. If your answer is "not us", then you'll need a good third party solution. We look for clients who want to do at least some of the work and guide us with their ideas.
Q: How much does inbound marketing cost?
A: Unlike more traditional brand marketing, inbound marketing has few fixed costs. You will need software to do the job. You get what you pay for with software. There are free solutions, but they don't talk to each other. How much you spend depends on the size of your organization and needs. Most of the cost is labor. You either pay by committing your own staff or by hiring an agency. Consider how much it would cost to hire an expert in the field. Here's a recent link on the subject. Now compare that with the monthly costs to hire an agency. Either way, make sure you set out specific, but reasonable, goals for ROI. If you achieve your goals, continue the program or staffer. If not, move on.
Q: How do we get our website to the top of the Google search results?
A: This is one of the questions inbound marketing addresses directly. The strategy is first to attract visitors to your site by creating interesting, useful content and by building relationships online via social media. Then you use classical seo techniques to make sure your content gets indexed and ranks for long-tail keywords. Your content and relationships drive inbound links to your website, and with a consistent effort your website pages gain Google page rank. Over time your site gains in the rankings. But that's not enough! Inbound marketing takes it further to make sure that these new search engine visitors become leads giving you a way to increase sales and demonstrate positive ROI.
Any other questions? We'll be happy to answer them.