Marketing via the Internet can be an amazing tool. If utilized correctly, a small business can experience steady gains in popularity and exposure. Constructing a solid Internet marketing plan will allow you to stay engaged with existing and potential customers, positioning your company as a forward-thinking organization. Unfortunately, too many businesses believe that what was effective a few years ago is still just as effective today. They believe that social media marketing packages alone are all that is needed to succeed. This is no longer accurate. If you want to compete in the ever-changing online marketing landscape and keep on par with your competitors, you need a comprehensive approach to online marketing. Put simply, you need an integrated suite of inbound marketing services.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A foundation aspect of inbound marketing services is search engine optimization (SEO). No matter how well your website is designed, no matter how much money you throw into it, if the content of your website does not take full advantage of SEO, you’ll be dead in the water before you can even begin to swim.
According to marketshare.hitslink.com, an astounding 57% of Internet users are searching the web every single day. This means that millions upon millions of potential customers could be looking for something that you are currently offering. However, you won’t get far without SEO. By utilizing search engine optimization, your website’s ranking will increase. This means that when those millions of users are typing in keywords into Google or some other search engine, they are more likely to discover your website.
Related Resources from B2C
» Free Webcast: Strategic Thinking: Social Media + Social Business Strategy
Fresh and Original Content
SEO is irrelevant without having unique content to optimize. With major search engines like Google and Bing increasingly favoring original content, companies that offer novel web-based content such as eBooks, whitepapers, videos, and blogs are seeing the best SEO results.
In the beginning, blogging was mostly reserved for people who wanted to rant about an issue or tell people about their day. But in recent years, the business world has realized how important blogging really is. From websites about local hotspots to heating & cooling companies, numerous businesses utilize blogging as a way to stay connected to their customers, provide helpful information, and draw in potential clients. The cost is minimal, and so is the time involved.
As a side note, to be most effective at capturing prospects and eventually customers, remember to optimize your web-based content with enticing calls-to-action (CTAs) that link to landing pages.
Social Media Marketing
While social media marketing packages alone are no longer enough to help your business succeed, social media is a critical aspect of any suite of inbound marketing services. It seems that every week, a new way to connect to your audience on social media is realized. First it was MySpace and Facebook, then Twitter and LinkedIn. Now businesses are seeing the relevance of social sites like Tumblr, Google+ and Pinterest. Though it can be a daunting commitment, given its exponential promotional benefit, social media marketing is an indispensable element of the inbound marketing services mix.
Lead Nurturing (eMail Marketing)
After your quality content has drawn prospects into your online storefront (website), it’s essential to nurture them down the sales funnel in a non-invasive manner. As a modern form of context-based direct-mail marketing, eMail campaigns do just that. eMail lead-nurturing campaigns help educate potential customers about your products and services, providing them useful information in a continuous stream. When incorporated into an essential portfolio of inbound marketing services, the cost of lead-nurturing campaigns is negligible, but can increase your conversion rates tremendously.
To properly implement an inbound marketing services process, you need to be able to measure the effectiveness of every campaign. That’s where back-end analytics comes in. Most companies who provide inbound marketing services utilize sophisticated marketing automation software to track every detail of your online marketing efforts. By analyzing a steady stream of website, social media, and email marketing data, you can assess what’s working and what isn’t, making adjustments and improving efficiencies accordingly.
The Bottom Line
Much like SEO, most social media marketing packages represent a first-generation, silo-ed approach to online marketing. As a wider population integrates the Internet more deeply into their daily lives, businesses must respond with a three-dimensional approach. You must offer prospects useful content that is easy to find, digest, and take action on. You must also be able to measure results in real-time, tweaking your campaigns to better match customer sentiment.
Admittedly, an integrated approach to online marketing can be very time consuming and resource intensive. To save time and money, many businesses are choosing to hire a dedicated team of online marketers who specialize in providing expert inbound marketing services.