Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that harnesses the power of a variety of variables such as social media, content marketing, events, webinars, and most importantly, search engine optimization (SEO) to establish meaningful, lasting, and beneficial relationships with customers, prospects, and consumers. The idea of this methodology is to empower and help these people achieve their goals.
On the other hand, SEO is about ranking and visibility; it makes your website appealing to search engines such as Bing and Google. This way, when a prospect looks up a keyword related to your business, your brand shows up on top of the list.
SEO and inbound marketing work hand-in-hand to deliver your marketing goals; while inbound is content-driven, SEO ensures your target audience finds the content promptly. This results to quicker leads generation and faster conversion rates.
Stages of SEO-enhanced inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is an engaging endeavor that demands commitment and a lot of input. You have to keep tabs on your audience to identify their needs to coin content that falls in line with these needs.
An ideal inbound marketing strategy is executed through four critical stages. One stage leads to the other depending on how well your audience respond to your content. If you offer high-quality and optimized content, the better response you are likely to get. These stages include:
Attraction is the first stage of any inbound marketing strategy. This entails appealing to prospects and making them aware of your brand and what you have to offer. You create moving content and put it out to your target audience in the most accessible avenues possible. The stage harnesses the power of the following tactics:
The best way to attract prospective customers or reach out to a target audience is by creating insightful content and promoting it on the right platforms. Content creation involves making moving videos, blogging, sharing e-books, infographics, guides, and publishing case studies, among many others. However, the content has to address the needs and pain points of the target audience.
Creating moving content is important but making it visible is critical to your inbound marketing strategy. It is imperative to optimize your content for search engines to ensure it appears on top of the pile in search engines. This way, your audience can easily access it and at the right time.
There are multiple effective SEO drills, but the most basic yet impressive one is conducting keyword research and fixing these keywords naturally in your shared content.
An ideal b2b SEO strategy, for instance, alongside appealing content, works perfectly to attract prospects to your website; SEO and good content work hand-in-hand.
Social media is among the best avenues to make your brand visible. Here you get to engage your audience directly by sharing your content. Even better, you can measure how much your target audience responds to your content so you can coin it in the best way possible. In the current digital world, many people spend a significant amount of their time on social media. Consequently, you can identify the platform that works best for you to create, share and promote moving content. Even better, most social media platforms have multiple tools of engagement that support all kinds of content. You can share videos, tutorials, polls, quizzes, and user-generated content, among other types of content.
After engaging the target audience with your content, the next stage is identifying those interested in your products or services, getting their contacts, and engaging at a personal level. Here you show them why you are the best business for them and the benefits of buying your products and services. Some of the effective drills you can use to convert prospects to leads include:
Your landing page is the first location your prospects land when they click your links or ads. Consequently, it is important to optimize it to prompt the desired action; make them subscribe or sign up. Moreover, here is where you present your call-to-action in a bid to convert potential leads. Ensure you have a compelling SEO copy for your landing page alongside some hard-to-turn down incentives. Appeal to the audience with offers and free product trials.
You can also use opt-in forms to collect relevant information about your prospects, including their email addresses, names, and other credentials. Ensure the form is easy to fill and outstanding in the best way possible. You can use multi-step or fewer fields’ forms.
A CTA comes in handy to convince the visitor or prospect to take action. It should be not only bold and clear but also action-oriented. Moreover, it has to be relevant to the text and expected destination. For more conversions, place it as many times as possible on a lead generation page.
After collecting leads, the only way to complete your mission is to engage them constructively and convince them to buy your products or services. This stage entails reaching out to prospects through relevant avenues and showing them how doing business with you will benefit them. You can employ the following tactics:
Emailing provides one of the most effective means to reach out to prospective leads. Should prospects subscribe to your email list, it is upon you to establish their needs and show them how you can address these needs in the best way possible. When used along with your social media strategy, it can lead to incredible conversion rates. You can share your social media testimonials and customer reviews with your subscribers and encourage them to follow your brand on these social platforms.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
Nurturing leads is quite an engaging endeavor that definitely needs automation to increase your campaigns’ effectiveness and save you time. You can use CRM and marketing automation software to create automated emails, manage leads, and assess the audience's engagement with your business and response to your marketing strategy. This way, you know the best way to engage your audience in a bid to convince them accordingly.
Inbound marketing is more than winning over customers; it is more about making them as happy and satisfied as possible. Consequently, they automatically turn into promoters leaving impressive reviews and spreading the word about the wonders of your products or services. This stage serves to not only maintain current customers but also attract more prospects. You can harness the power of this stage through the following drills:
Live events and webinars
Webinars and live events are among the best ways to keep your customers engaged and updates about relevant news and the latest features. For instance, you can host exciting Q&A sessions or share fun videos and tutorials on social media platforms such as Instagram or Livestorm.
Caring and responsive customer support are critical to any inbound marketing strategy. Customers are bound to be happy and satisfied if their issues are attended to promptly and in the right way. In addition to human customer care, you can use chatbots to streamline customer support operations.
You can maximize social media interactivity to learn and understand your customers better. Social media platforms are rich fields where you can harvest critical information about your audience and use it accordingly. While your customers might review your products and services on these platforms, many more conversations occur without your knowledge. However, you can tap into these conversations with social listening, stay updated, and act on any relevant information.
Whether your customers give you feedback or not, it is upon you to ask for it. You can contact them through SMS, social media platforms, email, or any other channel. Collecting their opinions and thoughts gives you an idea of how you can best serve them.
What problems can an SEO inbound marketing strategy address?
If you want an ideal long-term marketing strategy, SEO-enhanced inbound marketing is your best bet. It is proven to address multiple marketing needs, including the following:
Most buying cycles kick off with an online search. This means your brand should be visible on a searcher's social network or online search results. This can only be guaranteed by offering optimized content and appealing messaging in the key inbound channels. Create customer-oriented content and channel it through the right avenues. Moreover, give it SEO tweaks like using relevant keywords to appear on top of the list in as many search engines as possible.
Inbound marketing comes in handy to popularize your brand. Even before your customers start buying, you have engaged them accordingly, and they trust your brand. This trust is critical to keeping current customers and turning them into promoters; they go forth to preach the good news about your products or services. However, SEO is critical to any customer engagement; to reach out to more and the right audience, your content needs to rank the highest in the available platforms.
The more you become adept in coining engaging content, the more leads you generate over time. Prospects are often attracted by high-ranking, top-notch content channelled on the right platforms. Inbound marketing ensures that your content is strategically placed in the best and most relevant platforms, while SEO ensures it ranks the best in these platforms. This consequently increases the chances of generating priceless leads.
How does SEO support inbound marketing?
SEO is a significant element of inbound marketing, and any related strategy might not deliver the expected results without it. Since it is all about making your business site more visible and accessible, it comes in handy to complement inbound marketing strategies as a way to attract visitors. It is like a vehicle that drives prospects to your site so they can consume your content. SEO lands the audience to your sites where inbound marketing takes over.
SEO and inbound marketing are better seen to complement each other in the following ways:
SEO feeds on content
SEO depends on the content, and content is the soul of any inbound marketing strategy. The two are pretty interwoven, and for any marketing strategy to deliver positive results, they have to be used together. The higher the quality of content in a website, the higher it is bound to be ranked in the relevant search engine. Consequently, to be visible and accessible to more people, the web content should be consistently engaging and top quality.
SEO mobilizes traffic to websites
The initial stage of inbound marketing is attracting web visitors to your site, and this is the outright work of SEO. While it is significantly applicable in other stages, it majorly focuses on the first stage. This means for a customer to have a satisfactory experience that prompts a conversion, they first have to have been driven to that specific site. SEO makes the site more visible and accessible hence creating the opportunity for attraction.
The best SEO practices for your inbound marketing strategy
You can harness the incredible power of SEO to strengthen your inbound marketing strategy towards realizing your goals. SEO is about making your brand visible by offering easy access to your content. Consequently, there are some tricks and drills that must be present in your content to make it SEO rich. Such practices include the following:
Using title tags
As you coin content for your inbound marketing strategy, ensure it has solid title tags. These tags guide search engines by letting them know what a page is all about and that a specific keyword is relevant for that page. If a web visitor searches a particular keyword relevant to your page, the search engine highlights the keyword phrases. Your title tags should be unique and diverse for each page. Moreover, for better results, they should not exceed 55 characters in length.
Using meta descriptions
Meta descriptions may not significantly impact content ranking, but they prompt web visitors to click what appears in the search engine results, leading them to your content. These should have compelling descriptions with no duplications. Moreover, the best should have characters ranging between 150 and 160 characters.
Coining content with targeted keywords
Your content should be not only unique but also relevant to your website. Having multiple pages with the same content or having your content on other people's websites may prompt Google penalties, including low ranking. To avoid these penalties and poor ranking, ensure your inbound marketing content is top-notch, unique, and relevant for the set keyword phrase.
Focusing on themes
Currently, Google is shifting from a strict emphasis on exact match keywords and moving on to themes. In the past, SEO entailed repetition of the keywords at intervals within the content. However, with the advent of Hummingbird update and semantic search, content theme and quality are the highlights.
Creating appropriate content length
Google gives quality content a priority when ranking. Consequently, it is imperative to have quality content with an adequate word count. Generally, a word count of above 500 words is considered enough. The content should also flow naturally with clear and concise sentence constructions.
Sharing your content
If you share your content and it is linked back to your site or posted on other sites, it automatically ranks higher in SEO ranking. This further mobilizes traffic to your site.
Finding and establishing your niche
There is a lot of diverse content on the internet hence the need to identify your niche, coin relevant content, and grow in it. If your site posts several articles about a single niche, Google assumes you have authority in that niche. Even better, if the content is high quality, your ranking improves, which will reflect positively on your inbound marketing strategy.
You can also use unique keywords to link to other relevant content within your website. This comes in handy to strengthen these keywords, making it easy for the search engines to identify your content as relevant.
Creating readable content
Making your content readable might not impact your ranking so much, but it makes it easy for the audience to easily and quickly scan through your content to find relevant keywords. You can use word formatting features such as bolding, underlining, and bulleting to set apart essential keywords. Moreover, ensure the paragraphs and the sentences are not too long.
The benefits of an SEO inbound marketing strategy
An SEO-optimized inbound marketing strategy is an outright marketing success story. If your content is ranked well, made visible to your audience, and passes as high quality, it should generate leads and initiate massive conversions. Some of the benefits that accompany an SEO-optimized inbound marketing strategy could include the following:
SEO inbound marketing generates leads
Unlike outbound marketing strategies that channel marketing messages to a largely passive audience, inbound strategies acknowledge a two-way communication relationship with the customers. This type of marketing enhances good relations and direct interactions with the customers. Consequently, marketing content reaches an already engaged audience that is interested in whatever you are selling.
The nature of the interaction between you and the prospects is not forced; they click when they want to or access your content at their own convenience. Even better, your follow-up moves are not random but aimed at specific individuals who reacted or showed interest in your content. Consequently, you engage purely qualified leads that can easily convert to buying customers. Your only efforts in this arrangement are coining quality content, optimizing it accordingly, and channelling it to the right avenues.
It is among the most sustainable marketing strategies
Outbound marketing strategies are characterized by time and space limits; you can only run an advert on TV for a specific period, for instance. On the other hand, a fully SEO-optimized inbound marketing strategy knows no time limits. Your content, workflows, and forms will always be available on your select channels as long as you wish. Even better, you can retouch your content, update or optimize it to appeal to the current customer needs.
It generates more sales
SEO-rich inbound marketing content will often put you in the way of qualified leads. You get to engage relevant prospects that are already interested in your products or services on multiple platforms, from your social media to your website. With more qualified leads, the conversion rates are also incredibly high. In the long run, you end up achieving your marketing goals by generating more sales. With search engine optimized content, your content reaches more prospective customers that are more likely to buy from you.
It helps you build your brand
Among the many highlights of an SEO-enhanced inbound marketing strategy is its ability to help you develop and build your brand. If you are trying to introduce a service or product in the market, breaking through can be quite a hassle and could demand intensive advertising, especially if you are using outbound marketing. However, since inbound focuses on relationship-building and narrowing it down to interested prospects, it becomes easier to build a brand. No matter how long it takes, you just coin SEO-optimized content and channel it to the right platform, which automatically attracts relevant leads. If you take time to build trust and a good relationship, you win the new leads who become customers and later promoters. As your customers trust your content, they share it on social media, and the news of your business spreads very fast.
It has incredibly high ROI
In terms of pricing and investment, inbound marketing is quite affordable, yet the results are excellent. In comparison to outbound strategies like TV, newspapers, and radio adverts, inbound marketing is way cheaper. Some components such as social media have free organic posting, although even the paid options are also quite affordable. The amount of money you spend to generate leads is impressively low.
It builds customer-client trust and establishes solid relationships
The basic foundation of inbound marketing is relationship building. While outbound marketing views prospects as a passive population ready to take or reject marketing messages, inbound acknowledges the need to communicate with them. It entails interaction constructively with the audience, handling their concerns, answering their queries, informing them, and entertaining them.
With SEO-enhanced quality content, your brand gains some market authority, and customers learn how to trust your business. The trust builds you a reputation, and more leads come your way.
Its results are measurable
One of the best qualities of inbound marketing is the fact that its results are openly measurable. You can weigh whether your strategy is working or not. It has multiple analytics and metrics that collect data and show you what is working and what needs to be improved. With these metrics, you can tweak your marketing strategy accordingly, optimize your content, delete irrelevant content or add a better one. You can clearly tell why your content is not performing as expected so you can make the proper adjustments.
Common SEO mistakes in inbound marketing
While SEO has a tremendously positive influence on inbound marketing, some unwarranted mistakes could lead to unappealing results. Some of the common SEO mistakes that inbound marketers make feature the following:
Offering multi-niche content
You might mistake covering multiple niches in your website as a show of variety, but this might not pass well with Google ranking. Moreover, specializing in one niche enables you to focus more, research better, and offer high-quality content. Google ranking analytics often take single-niche sites as authoritative hence ranking them better.
Failure to update your content regularly
Time changes, so do your customers' needs and interests. This means you have to keep updating your content, give your audience something more and better to feed on. Furthermore, some of the content could be invalid and irrelevant over time and, of course, will not impact positively on your Google ranking. Among the drills to having successful inbound marketing is an up-to-date website that fully attends to your audience's current needs. Add new and more improved content regularly.
Poor user experience
If your visitors do not enjoy being on your site on account of slow speed, useless pop-ups, ads, and poor visuals, then your inbound marketing strategy might not work as expected. SEO might drive traffic to your site, but so can the user experience keep them coming. Ensure your website speed is sensible, make it mobile-friendly, do away with unwarranted disruptions and optimize your videos, images, and texts.
Content duplication is another serious SEO mistake that could discredit your inbound marketing efforts. Google does not rank such a website well, and of course, the traffic is bound to be low since nobody likes seeing or reading the same thing from page to page. Vary your content; make it unique and original to appeal to your audience. Ensure before you post your content, you double-check it with relevant tools such as Grammarly, CopyScape, or Duplicate Content Checker.
Offering poor-quality content is an ideal way to kill your inbound marketing strategy. Your content should be not only high quality, but also as relevant as possible to your audience. Use the right keywords, Meta descriptions, formatting, and of course, good grammar.