10 steps for getting started with Inbound marketing
- Build a customer persona
- Understanding the challenges of the persona.
- Follow the conversion path
- Build a pillar page
- Create a topic cluster
- Create media to add to the topics
- Design the pages for the user
- Delight the customer
In recent years Google Algorithms have begun to change. This change, like many before them, has caused ripple effects in how web designers and marketers need to optimize their sites. Oftentimes adding a keyphrase here and there, a fair amount of meta content and heading updates plus not using black hat methods of spamming or stuffing pages would suffice.
But Google has gotten smarter. It is Google’s AI model that is learning.Without the risk of going all Bladerunner, we should marvel at this latest achievement for Google Brain to understand human intent - to read between the lines and around the lines of how we think. By learning intent, Google has begun to learn not just what people are searching for but HOW they are thinking. It can now understand the meaning of your query.
Understanding intent is fundamentally about understanding language, and is a critical aspect of Search.
So why Inbound Marketing?
Inbound realizes that your customers are the reason for your business success. Not just the moment they arrive at your homepage but at each stage of the sales funnel as they move along the conversion path and discover your content and solutions to their challenges. Inbound helps nurture these customers during each stage until they eventually become an evangelist for your business and help you and your business grow. Essentially the customer is at the heart of your strategy and not seen as just someone who gives you money for a service.
So how does Inbound Marketing work?
By understanding your customer through a user centered design approach (other articles) we can learn WHY the customer is searching not just WHAT they are searching for. It is the WHY that drives Inbound. Helping your customer answer a problem they may have and find a solution that moves them along through a strategy of articles and media that help them become better at what they do and meets their challenges and helps them grow is Inbound.
On average a company that blogs will generate 55% more website visitors, 97% more inbound links and 434% more indexed pages.
That is it. It comes down to writing for your customer at every stage of the journey. So let’s get started. Here are 10 tips to help you understand and implement the Inbound methodology.
1. Build a customer persona.
We need to understand who the customer is before we can write content for them, before we can understand their search intent and before we can move them along the conversion path. This is an important step that should not be overlooked. HubSpot defines the buyer persona as:- A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal buyer based on data, interviews, and some educated guesses. It's essentially a definition of your ideal buyer presented in a way that sounds like it's talking about a specific person.2. Understanding the challenges of the persona
. This is where you need to use a search engine to optimize and help understand the questions they may be asking. Look for the long tail keyphrases. (see article)3. Follow the conversion path.
How do your customers engage with your site and content and how do they interact with the key touchpoints? Build this around the funnel and nurture the customer through the path by use of call to actions and topical blog stories.4. Build a pillar page.
This page will connect the topical phrase known as the Core Keyphrase you discover from your SEO research. This pillar page should be lengthy, full of media, videos, diagrams, social media posts and inbound and outbound links5. Create a topic cluster.
Once you define the core keyphrase around which you want to build your content, create a cluster of subtopics that relate to this keyword. This can be questions related to the core topic, how to’s, numbered lists etc. These will help the customer learn more by linking from the Pillar page.
Helpful article on understanding keywords to use - moz.com/keyword-research-guide6. Create media to add to the topics.
If content is king, video is God. Video can strengthen the user experience by SHOWIng what you mean rather than explaining in text. Video can engage and delight and it can create significant dwell time on your page, increasing Google awareness.7. Design the pages for the user.
Understand a user centered flow to help on the conversion path. This is where a design can help you achieve this layout. Use of fonts, icons, text styles and eventually an engaging call to action to help the user move along the page and consume content and move from being a website visitor to a marketing qualified lead.8. Engagement.
Use of forms plus call to actions. Create your forms with an easy to use interface, eliminate fields you do not need and offer a clear statement of what will happen when they hit submit and why should they give you their personal data - the gold chalice of customer details.9. Automation.
Follow up with your customer. After they complete a call to action, to reach that gated content, follow up in a few days with another piece of information, maybe an automated email that sends another PDF to help them move further down the sales funnel from attract to engage.10. Delight the customer.
Although they may have moved successfully along the conversion path and signed up or bought a product, they need to be looped back into the funnel and continue to be delighted through post sale engagement. Follow up with a NPS survey to see how satisfied they are. A highly satisfied customer will refer your company to others.