For you inbound marketing veterans the below is nothing new, but more times than not it’s common for people and brands to deploy inbound tactics when their website is not inbound optimized or ready. Even Fortune 50 companies find themselves in this situation. This problem can weigh heavy on a campaign’s metrics and often lead to frustration, minimal success or outright failure. If you are not happy with your website’s performance, consider tackling the below seven items first and in the order they’re presented.
1. Advanced Content/Moral Bribes/Unique Value Propositions (UVPs)
You can’t convert anyone on a website if there is no currency for the quid pro quo transaction. A website’s currency is either some type of tangible or intangible value proposition. This could be a product on an ecommerce website, a whitepaper, subscription or video access, to name just a few. A visitor’s currency is either their money or an email address.
For most B2B companies, the UVP will be some type of whitepaper or guide download. A newsletter subscription, free assessment or contact us page is NOT a UVP. Their conversion rates are historically poor. If you can’t identify any UVPs on your website, creating one should be the top priority. Here’s an example of a website with several moral bribes for lead conversion.
Without a website conversion method using a strong UVP, Inbound marketing is useless; your website is nothing more than a brochure and none of the other below items matter much. This should be the top priority.
2. Calls to Action (CTAs)
Visitors to a website need to be told what to do next. CTAs are the most effective way to draw attention to advanced content, moral bribes or UVPs while telling visitors to download, sign up, watch, listen, etc. They represent the billboard of your website. Good CTAs can drive conversion rates from the low single digits to over 50%. Don’t even think about SEO or social media until your CTAs are deployed.
3. Landing Pages
Your CTAs need to link somewhere and an actionable conversion always requires a form. That is the purpose of a landing page. It should entice the visitor to fill out the form by communicating value, trust and simplicity. Landing pages are a requirement for inbound marketing and without them all of the other fun tactics are a waste of time. Here’s an example of a SEO video landing page.
Before tackling the fun stuff like social media and SEO, it's critical to have a content marketing plan in place. Blogs are the most robust, flexible and social way of deploying content marketing. Publishing frequency also directly affects the amount of website traffic, conversions, leads and customers a website acquires. The more posts, the more of the aforementioned.
The blog is also a critical part of almost all successful social media campaigns. In addition, it helps to significantly increase the amount of organic search traffic to a website. In order to see the bottom line benefits of blogging, posts should be consistently published no less than three to five times per week. Ideally, 21 posts per week should be deployed.
If you don’t have a blog or are not publishing to it regularly, but are spending time and money on social media and SEO, stop. You need to publish content regularly to maximize your social media and SEO investment. Get your blog in order first.
5. Lead Nurturing
According to HubSpot, 96% of your website visitors are not ready to buy yet. That means that only 4% of your conversions are viable leads or are ready to become a customer. Without a way to nurture leads down the sales funnel overtime you’re leaving a lot of potential business on the table. For every UVP, you should have one timed email drip (nurturing) campaign established—at a minimum. Software like HubSpot’s Enterprise package allows for lead nurturing to be deployed across multiple channels including email, SMS, Twitter, etc.
6. Social Media
We’re finally to the fun stuff. Many companies ignore all of the above and simply dive into social media. While success can be had without the above, the chances aren’t very good and the deployments aren’t truly scalable or trackable. Use social media after you have moral bribes, CTAs, landing pages, a blog and lead nurturing in place. That way, you’ll get the maximum return from the channel, scalability and the ability to appropriately track tactics.
Just like social media above, many companies want to dive right into search engine optimization. SEO can drive 10 million visitors to a website, but if there’s no way for them to convert, it's worthless. Since SEO is so incumbent on social signals and publishing quality content frequently, it is the last item on the inbound marketing triage list.
Social media and SEO may be sexy, but having a conversion strategy and content marketing program should always precede them in the order of execution and importance. Unfortunately, for many brands, and even some industry colleagues, this is not the case. Social media and SEO considerations should certainly play a role in the development of the above strategies, but their actual deployments should remain constrained until after conversion and content are ready for the main stage. For additional help with the above, download this Inbound Marketing Blueprint.