You’re already an inbound marketing believer, and you understand today’s consumers look for brands they can connect with and trust, since they’re discerning about the content they consume online and leery of unsolicited advertising. You know inbound marketing is the best way to establish your brand as an industry leader, expand your market share, and most importantly, win new and loyal customers.
Half of all buyers conduct online research before making important purchases, and content must be available to meet their needs when they come looking. This is the first stage of inbound marketing, called “attract,” and it involves developing compelling content that leverages your business’s unique expertise to provide value to your target audience. Simply writing blog posts, participating in clever social media campaigns and delivering quality newsletters is not an effective inbound marketing strategy. It’s just the beginning of one!
Read on to learn how to conquer the second stage of inbound marketing: converting your interested followers to revenue-generating customers.
1. Remember the call to action
Let’s start simple:
A compelling call to action (CTA) is an easy step for converting potential customers into paying customers. You wouldn’t close a pitch to an investor without asking for funding, would you? The same logic applies to your online content. Everything you publish should include at least one ‘ask’ directed at the reader; after outlining the benefits of your technology in a new blog post, don’t assume the consumer will make the leap to your products page. Make it easy for them by including a hyperlinked CTA.
The best writer on your team just drafted an exciting list of the top five trends that will be big in your industry this year. While the article may be valuable to consumers, it’s only valuable to you if you can convert the buzz it generates into sales. Suggest to your writer that you add a CTA at the bottom, either in button or text form, encouraging readers to sign up for a newsletter, follow you on social media or complete another action that helps solidify their association with your brand. You might consider keeping a list of CTA links for your content producers to draw from regularly.
2. Focus on landing pages
What is a landing page?
A landing page is a separate web page that has been designed for a single objective: it opens in a new window where no navigation menus are available. This simplicity helps limit the reader’s options and guides them toward interacting with your offer; a landing page is often linked from the CTA on your original content, and it can be a compelling entry point for users to take action with your brand.
A user clicks on a CTA that says “Learn More” at the bottom of a blog post. The link opens a new window, your landing page, which presents the user with an offer for a free trial of your service or access to more useful content, such as a relevant whitepaper. They have now left the environment of your regular website, and without the ability to navigate, they will either continue through the guided steps or exit completely. The effort you put into making your landing page compelling will make the difference between converting an interested customer or having the user delve deeper just to turn away.
3. Use a contact database to secure leads
This takes time, but it is important:
It’s great when an interested customer is converted to a paying customer during the first site visit, but that is often not the case. By securing contact information for readers who value your content, you gain valuable access to future opportunities to win them over. You’ll need an effective contact database platform to collect and store key information through forms on your landing pages and other easy-to-find locations.
It may seem tempting to harvest as much information as possible from these users, but remember to keep it simple; the easier your form is to complete, the more likely a user is to sign up. Make “email” the only required field, and leave the option for users to give more information, such as name, company, and how they heard about you.
Someone is interested in your industry and sees a friend share your newest blog post on LinkedIn; they read the post and find it interesting. They don’t have an immediate need for your services, but they notice a simple one line form to the right of their screen where they can enter their email to receive similar useful content. It’s low commitment for the user, but the value is huge for your company. In the following weeks, the individual receives emails from you and develops a familiarity with your brand, and upon receiving an email with a discounted offer, that person decides the timing is right to make a purchase. What began with a piece of content is now a closed deal.
For companies who want to advance from producing content to closing deals, it is critical to focus on these conversion strategies. As the mantra goes, “if you build it, they will come.” If you develop great content, your customers will come. However, they won’t make the purchase unless you ask them, and sometimes you need to ask twice, so you better have their email address.