Inbound Marketing

The Importance of SEO And Why You Should Invest More

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the process of getting traffic to your website by ensuring that it can be found in search engines for words and phrases relevant to the sites offering.  It is essentially a set of techniques that help your website rank higher in search engine results therefore allowing your website to be more visible to people searching for your brand, product, or service. This process on going and your ranking will change overtime so buckle up and prepare for the ride.

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Today, when someone is surfing the internet for information they are likely doing so with one of these three intents: transactional search, navigational search, or information search.  As Moz explains in their eBook The Beginners Guide to SEO, an individual preforming a transactional search may be looking to identify a local business, purchase something online, or complete a task.  When preforming a navigational search they often have a predefined intent to visit a specific website or destination.  Informational searches are simply those in which an individual is researching information or looking for quick answers.  By crafting high-quality content with relevant images and multimedia, you will increase your chances of matching the goals of your target searchers.  In addition to that, there are three simple steps that can boost your position in search results:

  1. Create content that uses words and phrases used by those who search for your brand, company or product
  2. Build links to your pages to show they are important
  3. Produce fresh content on a regular basis
  4. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Generating high-quality content alone will not make you visible in search engine results.  In order to perform better in search engine listings you need to be sure that you most important content is in HTML text format.  The format of you content is important because incorrect formatting makes it harder for search engines to determine its relevancy.  Also make sure to pay attention to the length of your title and keep it under 75 characters to ensure that none gets cut off.  Another element of successful search optimization is keywords.  Keywords are one of the core ingredients that search engines use to help provide the right pages and rank them.  MOZ explains that “one of the best ways to optimize a page’s rankings is to ensure that the keywords you want to rank for are prominently used in titles, and the core content.”  Keyword research is one of the most important activities in the search marketing field.  The creation of the right keywords can have a big impact on the success of your website. As you are conducting your initial keyword research you want to be sure that your are testing out the various search engines and see what results are displayed for different search terms. You also what to check out your competitors sites and see how they are performing.  In addition to that you also might want to check out the language that your target visitors are using.  That can help you attract not just any visitor, but the right visitors.  Here is a checklist that might help as you conduct your research:

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Search Engine Land provides a “Giant List Of Keyword Tools,” you can check them out here.  Keyword development is not as easy as you might think, it actually requires a significant amount of effort to select the best keywords that in turn will improve your websites search engine ranking.  After you have identified your core list of terms you can then take advantage of modifiers to help expand your list with different variations and combinations of your main list.  The tools above can also help with this task.  Once you attract the right visitor you then want to optimize the user experience and perceived quality of your website.

Search engines use more than just keywords and links to determine the value offered by a website.  They also look into the linking networks and engagement metrics.  The more links that connect to your website from outside sources as well as high levels of user engagement will signal to search engines that your site is of high-quality.  This is where link building comes in.

Link building is basically the process of getting other websites to provide links that direct traffic to a page on your own website.  Therefore the more high quality websites with links that point to your site that greater your chances of ranking high in search results.  Link building can help you develop relationships with key players in your industry and improve the authenticity and reputation of your company.  The best kind of links are those that: link to your homepage, link to high-quality content (i.e. eBooks), contain your brand or company name and keywords you are targeting. There is a lot that goes into the development of a link building strategy, in this blog I have merely skimmed the top.

Much of what I have learned about SEO and link building came from Seattle-based software company called Moz, founded by Rand Fishkin and Gillian Muessig in 2004.  They sell inbound marketing and marketing analytics software subscriptions. Their top performance landed them on Inc.’s 500 back in 2010 and currently rank #18 in the Seattle Metro Area.  They also have proven to be a great company to work for so check them out.

As you can see throughout my blog I have provided links to those websites that I have found to hold great high quality content (link building in the works).

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How to Use Inbound Sales to Boost Your Revenue

Inbound sales is about providing customers with warm sales calls with relevant insights that are driven by their needs.

Sales and marketing have traditionally been quite separate departments.  That separation was preventing them from numerous revenue generating opportunities. In order to take advantage of inbound sales you need to combine your sales and marketing teams.  As HubSpot said in their video on Smarketing, “companies with strong sales and marketing alignment get 20% annual revenue growth.” This proves that a strong relationship between these two teams can yield tremendous results.

Sales and marketing should be able to understand each other.  Its key that they are both able to communicate there metric results and work together towards achieving the overall goal of increased revenue.  As Carole Mahoney from Mahoney Internet Marketing put it, “marketing is the matchmaker, but sales needs to do the dating.”  Here is visual on how the marketing sales funnel works and shows the dependency that sales has on marketing:

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Marketing does the majority of the information gathering while sales leverages that information to land a new customer.  It is the marketing teams job to hook potential customers and engaging with them with the end goal of converting them into new leads.

The perfect sales ready lead is one that is a great fit and has a high interest.  These leads could be individuals who downloaded an eBook, started a free trial, or submitted some personal contact information.  Even though they interacted with you, that does not necessarily mean they are a quality lead.  To ensure that no ones efforts are wasted it is important that the marketing team determines whether or not the lead is qualified, before sending them on to sales. As mentioned by New Breed Marketing in their eBook on inbound sales, “the first moments after a lead converts are critical in maintaining a relationship with that prospect and encouraging his or her excitement about your company.” So get them while their are fresh!

To ensure that the marketing and sales teams are on the same page throughout the closing stage of inbound marketing, you should implement a closed loop feedback system.  This allows the marketing team to maintain up to date contact info and learn which marketing programs are working and which should be discontinued.  The feedback also has sales team benefits such as preventing them from de-duplicating leads, helps them prioritize leads, and make more educated sales calls.

To maximize the quality of the customers experience during the sales call you need to first do some research.  Before making the sales call you should already know a lot about the lead you are calling.  This is just like when you are researching to prepare for a job interview.  You need to do your company research so that you can align your skills with what the company is looking for in a candidate.  This is important because during the call you need to be able to personalize the experience and break down the typical sales call barriers. Unlike traditional sales calls, the Inbound sales experience is focused around meeting the customer or leads needs and involves a more tailored phone conversation.  All of this connects back with when I was talking about inbound marketing.  Your job is to listen to your prospect’s and gain a clear understanding of your prospect’s interests and challenges.  If you are able to prove that you are reaching out to provide resources and assistance versus just calling to score another deal, you better your chances of developing a lasting customer relationship.

Relating back to what I said back in my inbound marketing post, inbound success comes from a solid context regarding who your key prospects are. This can be down researching their LinkedIn or following their social media sites and engagements.  A solid understanding on each of your leads or prospects interests and pain points will help support a deeper and more productive sales call.