1. Write an eBook to establish your company as an industry expert.
A unique approach to attracting new clients is to write an eBook. Pick a topic within your industry, and provide practical solutions to pain points that people in your target market currently experience. The information you provide must be valuable so that potential new clients will think of you as a great source of information. You can use your ebook as a lead magnet for your website. You can also include it on Amazon, Kindle, and other distribution services as well as Audible versions to reach an even wider market. Be sure to include a special call-to-action offer at the end of the book and incentivize your readers to reach out to you.
2. Create podcasts to keep lead inflow ongoing.
Small businesses are spending quality time creating engaging audio content (or podcasts). It has become a new trend that not just triggers engagement but also acts as a lead acquisition method. Podcasts are easy to make, cater to many different audiences, are cost-effective, and highly shareable. This, to a large extent, keeps the lead inflow ongoing. Create niche podcast content rather than industry-based, integrate with other mediums for a quicker find, and be consistent in quality – these are three main tips to keep your listeners glued to your podcasts and also earn new listeners.
3. Add a quiz on your website to improve your lead-to-customer ratio.
Offer a creative quiz to your website visitors to learn more about their particular interests and acquire their contact information. Interactivity is one of the most sure-fire ways to familiarize prospects with your brand. According to BuzzFeed, 96 percent of its users finish a quiz after starting one. This completion rate, coupled with your product knowledge or professional services-related quiz, will help you present the most relevant offer to your leads–ultimately, increasing your lead-to-customer ratio.
With proper search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, your website will be more visible to Google’s eyes, and you have a better chance to appear in the top 10 search results. In general, the first position for just one keyword will drive you 33% of the entire traffic per month. If you target ten keywords with 6,000 searches per month, and all are in the first position, you will get 2,178 * 10 = 21,780 hits per month.
Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising in the right areas can help you compete. You should focus your attention locally and promote your business to customers in your area right when they’re looking for your type of business. PPC and social media advertising are effective ways to attract a large amount of traffic to your site in a short amount of time. The budget can be increased, scaled back, or even switched off whenever necessary. So, as a business, you are always in control. Conduct some keyword research to reveal the local terms people might be using to search for what you offer. Use this insight to build and refine a list of suitable phrases and then create your campaigns around them. You also need to do is make sure your ads only appear to people searching your local area, which can be done by using location targeting.
For more tips on PPC campaigns, read Fit Small Business’ step by step guide to Google Advertising.
Every online business should have an email list. Not collecting emails from your readers is the biggest mistake. And while most businesses have their own methods that they have gotten used to, there are 3 effective ways to collect the emails from inbound customers:
Give away an ebook for free related to your core niche. You get leads from your readers by showing it at your blog’s sidebar, home page, and footer. Give a checklist or PDF formats of your online guides in exchange for emails. Use exit-intent popups, and give a useful eBook away for free.
One obvious, yet often overlooked, inbound marketing tip is to build your whole content strategy around answering your customers’ most common questions and pain points. Instead of writing content that keeps repeating why readers should try your service or buy your product, give your customers direct value by addressing their most painful obstacles. For example, as an eCommerce website builder, we make sure that all our content revolves around topics like growth hacks needed, online store tips, and tips to maximize profits.
This is the year where people put more value on real-time responses and conversion over lengthy generic information (like benefits, features) on the site. This is why more and more websites are starting to implement various communication channels like live chat, chatbot, or voice search, as well as great video testimonials to explain a company’s products, services and benefits. Real time communication will reduce the bounce rate because conversion will keep the visitor on the page for a longer time. A chatbot, for example, gives visitors to your website a more personalized experience because it can be adapted to recognize frequently asked questions and respond with predefined answers. An explanatory video can provide an A to Z guideline on how to use a service or product, benefits and much more.
When creating a content marketing strategy, don’t start with content ideas, but rather with the people you’re going to promote it to. Search out the names in your industry who have the power to spread your content through their social accounts or websites, and research what it is they tend to talk about and link to. Base your content on what groups of influencers complain or worry about; this makes outreach so much more enjoyable (for both parties). Use a process such as our Advanced Outreach Prospecting to get ultra-qualified prospects and write your content based on what you know is going to do well, not just keywords.
I am personally in the process of creating an Instagram School (also known as the 30 Day Instagram challenge). As I do a lot of B2B, the purpose of my school is to teach people how to set up and use, an Instagram account to build their brand, interact with potential clients, or gain leads. I have only been doing it three weeks but have already seen a large uptick in my site traffic, both through new traffic and repeat traffic. The videos (for my school) help me build a relationship with potential clients and demonstrate my expertise.
Creating an online course works well for people running a service business (photographers could make it about how to take better photos, accountants could use it for how to manage your daily finances, etc.), or that have created a product (how to use a special yoga mat, a beauty product, a piece of technology) that either has a steep learning curve or broader applications.
While search engines are an important channel for inbound leads, there are likely several other key channels your buyers use to find solutions like yours, such as Quora, industry publications, or good ol’ networking. Even on search engines and social, you can’t focus on organic growth alone. With algorithms on both channels constantly evolving, even inbound marketers have to use pay-to-play to bring in customers. The important thing to keep in mind on all channels, including paid, is that you have to provide value in your message to the audience prior to pitching your product when creating inbound marketing campaigns.
My inbound marketing tip is to use embed codes on your website. These embed codes make it easy for your visitors to share your content, whether it’s an infographic, an article, or a video. If you offer very informative or entertaining content on your website, and help people share it with embed codes, you can gain new backlinks and advertise your brand without having to reach out to people. It’s a great inbound marketing strategy.
Do you work with other business, partners, or suppliers? Why not ask for your close allies to include you on their blog, write a review, or share you on their social media. Our own business donates 20% of its profits to charity every month (based on a poll), and we ask each of the charities in the poll to write an article on their blog and to share on social media to encourage people to vote for them. This supports our brand and even our SEO efforts with natural link building, and all it takes is one email.
A creative way to generate tons of inbound leads is by working on a side project. Side projects are usually insanely useful free resources but on a separate site than your own. Unsplash, the most famous free stock pictures website, was a side project of Crew, a startup founded by Mikael Cho. Unsplash helped them survive a severe cash crunch and now is a thriving business itself. The key to creating a successful side project is creating an incredible resource which solves a major pain point of your audience. You could then include a link to your company in the footer in a non-intrusive manner.
With voice-enabled devices being one of the hottest gifts this year, it won’t take long for people to realize they can find a service provider using it. If you want those inbound leads to your business, you need to optimize for it. The key to being found by voice search is your local listings, and there are two ways to for a business to be found through voice search. The first is by asking for a company “near me.” If you want your business to be found for these queries, you need to have a good local SEO program. The second is by asking questions related to your business.
If you want your business to answer these questions for a voice search, you need to earn a Featured Snippet from the search engines. In this way, the voice search will not only answer the customer’s question, but also tell them that your website provided the answer.
Once buyer personas are built, everything with Inbound Marketing, content creation, and content promotion/distribution becomes so much easier and a lot more effective. For example, for an HR software company, their two most important economic buyers might be small business owners and HR managers in mid-market companies. So this SaaS company might thoroughly research and develop a buyer persona for Small Business Owner Holly (primary) and HR Manager Sam (secondary). And since their software isn’t yet a fit for Fortune 1000 HR departments, the company may even want to build a negative buyer persona for Fortune 1000 HR managers so their product managers and sales team don’t get distracted by poor fit clients.
Research your competitors to determine the types of content that you are missing on your site. If you see that your 3 biggest competitors all have some variation of a certain piece of content, then it’s probably a good idea for you to have that content as well. It’s important to fill in “content gaps” as much as possible so that your site can be seen as an authoritative resource. Tools such as Ahrefs can be really helpful to help you identify keywords and content that your site is missing.
Influencer marketing is not only a highly effective way to drive targeted leads to your site and brand, but it is also an increasingly simple marketing method to take advantage of. By utilizing a service like Famebit, Tribe, or ReadyPulse, companies can find an influencer whose audience fits their target demographic and reach them quickly and easily. Not only can they reach their audience, however – they can reach them through an influencer and a voice that the consumer will trust. There aren’t many more valuable leads than that.
An often-overlooked inbound marketing tip involves running a cross-promotion with a non-competing business that also sells to your target audience. For example, a dog walker can team up with a pet groomer, a home stager can team up with a handyman, etc. Each business creates an irresistible offer that is distributed to the other business’ customers.
These offers can be anything that will drive inbound traffic to the business or its website: gift certificates, discounts, free gifts with purchase, free content, whatever. It’s a win/win for everyone involved—especially the businesses, which gain access to customers and markets they might not otherwise reach and are able to provide a terrific added value offer to their own customers.
I see a lot of businesses underutilize online communities, like Reddit, Yahoo Answers, and Quora (use “Keyword + Forum” and “Keyword + Community” in Google Search to find more communities). Nearly every niche and sector has an online community dedicated to it. From browsing these topics, you’ll get an insight into what questions and concerns people have about your product type, and you can create content to specifically answer those questions. Once created, you can share your content in those communities so you can drive targeted, referral traffic to your business.
I used this strategy for my music site by creating a resource article based on questions people were asking in forums. This post continues to get referral traffic from these sites I initially seeded it on and has been picked up organically as well.
One inbound marketing strategy is to attend, sponsor, and present at in-person or online events like conferences, seminars, and lectures. By attending, you can network with and meet new people, and then use your social channels to amplify your presence. The people you meet will likely share or interact with your posts, especially when they’re tagged in them. Being even more involved in relevant events through sponsorship and speaking spots will also give you access to the audience email list, social posts, and other marketing, which can drive traffic to your website and boost your industry credibility.
At Solodev, we crafted eye-catching illustrations and developed personas around four unique characters that each reflect an element of our company. We then added those clever characters into nearly all aspects of our content marketing and encouraged people to check out our website to learn more about each character. Think about these characters as brand ambassadors; you can even develop storylines around them to engage with a wider audience. Why does this work? Simply put, it’s not what people (namely adults) expect when they look at a company’s marketing, and it taps into a sense of creativity and fun that separates a business from its ‘boring’ competitors.
Facebook’s retargeting feature helps target people who have already shown an interest in your company – whether they started adding items to their basket or read a blog post. With the ads, you can ‘remind’ someone that a cart they abandoned on your site is still there. And with one click they can go through and complete their purchase. Retargeting can be complicated because you have to install tracking pixels on your website and create specific adverts depending on the pages people visited. But it tends to be rewarding.
My company, Rebrandly, also has a cool link retargeting feature which allows you to retarget people who have never even visited your site. If you share a review or an article about your business, you can target the people who clicked the link within Facebook ads. This is very useful for small businesses who might not have frequent blog posts.
I think one of the easiest marketing tips that can often be overlooked is to make it easy for people to understand what it is you do and to contact you. For example, if your website is your primary source of inbound opportunities, getting in touch with a real person should be always be one click away on any page from your website. If your potential customer hits your website and struggles to find a way to contact you, via email, phone, or social engagement, you may lose a qualified lead within seconds.
One of my favorite inbound marketing tips is to market content that has everything to do with your target market and nothing to do with your brand. Many of my clients are in boring home service industries, like plumbing, HVAC, and landscaping. Once you realize that the competition is pumping out nothing but boring, industry-focused content like “how to tell if I need water heater repairs,” publishing locally-focused content like “the 5 best family-friendly Christmas events in Seattle” can make all the difference. You’ll instantly enjoy better paid and earned engagement, more links, more brand exposure, and more local relevance. If your target market is broadly defined (such as every homeowner in your geographical market), retargeting ads and on-site promotions can also make a big impact.
We receive more than 50 queries per day on different aspects of our service, but the vast majority are general questions whose answers are useful to hundreds or even thousands of people with the same question. That is why we dedicate time and effort to respond to our clients’ questions and give the perfect answer. This response is not only sent to this user, we also publish it on our site as if it were a post on our blog. Then Google or any other search engine indexes this content, and new potential customers can Google to find our answer. This mechanism of transforming the traditional questions and answers section in a blog where we published all our answers helped us to grow 34.7% in inbound marketing, which today represents revenue of USD 3.4M per year!
If you have staff or people that work closely with your business, remember that their networks can stretch wide. Give them a special “friends and family” discount or coupon to encourage them to talk about your business. If your business is physical in nature, you might want to print up cards for your team to carry around in their wallets and give out to their friends. Or, for online businesses, you can create a special discount code that you encourage your team to share on social media or by email. For this to work, you need to make sure that the discount or offer is significant – something your team would feel proud to send it as an exclusive offer!
At the core of inbound marketing is content. Inbound marketing works because it’s about creating value for your customers that draws them to your brand, and eventually to your product. To do that, you need a content strategy. What problems do your customers deal with, and what’s your area of expertise to address those concerns? Start with your company blog and use a CRM like HubSpot to keep track of each post. When you see one doing particularly well, repurpose it into a checklist, eGuide, or interactive quiz to create even more value for your potential customers. And remember, not all downloadable content should be gated. Save gated content for your proprietary content, and leave the rest open for your readers.
Typically, we place a lot of emphasis on creating brand new content. But sometimes, there are opportunities to attract additional traffic and convert visitors by simply updating and re-promoting our old blog posts. We recently have been ‘bringing old content back to life’ by putting a few re-published blogs into our monthly content calendar and tracking the results!
We generally start by identifying blog posts that are already ranking for a handful of priority keywords but not on the first page of the search results. Because these posts are already accumulating SEO weight, updating and republishing them will give us a better chance at a boost to possibly push these posts onto the first page!
Usually, the initial amount of information someone will hand over to you for your premium content is a first name and email address only. Once you entice them back to your website with other offers, a SMART form (aka Dynamic form) will ask for more information but will not show the initial information they already completed in their previous visit. This makes it easier for the lead to accept your offer and easier for you to ask targeted questions and build your customer profile. Since most people will visit a website between 7-13 times before becoming a sales qualified lead, utilizing SMART forms is a great way to determine if you have a viable prospect.
What I do that’s a little different is try to inundate Google with various pages that focus on just one long tail keyword phrase. For instance, for my website, for the keyword “Timbercreek” I’ve created the following pages that point to Timbercreek’s neighborhood page:
Selling your home in Timbercreek HOA fees and amenities in Timbercreek Sold homes in Timbercreek 4 bedroom homes in Timbercreek 5 bedroom homes in Timbercreek
These separate pages not only give additional information for Timbercreek, but they also all appear in Google searches, giving me a total of 6 pages pointing to one neighborhood, thus providing more leads.
Create quality long-form content on topics of interest to your audience. Long-form content, when optimized, tends to rank really well, which helps boost traffic to your site. Although it takes more time to write an in-depth piece, this content will satisfy site visitors in both the research and the buying stages of the buyer’s’ journey, so it really is time- and cost-efficient. You can also create multiple summary articles from the long-form post, and these make excellent teasers for content marketing campaigns and can serve as the basis for highly effective email marketing messaging. Components of long-form content often include FAQs, checklists, testimonials, how-to videos, and the like. The idea is to have all the elements of what might go into a buyer’s decision on one page. This boosts relevancy signals and engagement metrics, which is good for both search engines and users.
One of the best ways to offer value to your new customers is to use free online software as a lead generation tool. An accountant could develop a tax calculator. A restaurant could create an interactive version of their menu that offers recipes for its most popular dishes. HubSpot, for example, created a tool called Website Grader that lets you enter your website URL to see how well it scores on a number of metrics such as speed, SEO, mobile-readiness, and security.
Offering free online software helps your site rank in search results. To use the tool, customers can be asked to provide their email address, which you can use for an email campaign. Finally, free tools dramatically increase the odds that customers will choose your business down the road.