Inbound marketing — that is, marketing that is used to earn prospects’ attention to your website and lift your presence on search engines — provides a clear path toward a trusting customer relationship and industry authority.
Content marketing is often the focus of an inbound marketing strategy, but there’s more to it than that. A good corporate website is a crucial foundation for this type of marketing. Good inbound marketing websites rely on a careful combination of these five must-have characteristics:
1. Deep-Rooted Strategy
Inbound marketing websites feature lots of good, useful content. But a content “to do” list is not a strategy. Many companies take for granted that developing content and educating their customers is a Point A to Point B type of project. But the most important word here is not “content,” it’s “strategy.”
Businesses that start blogging without a plan are missing a key element of what makes inbound marketing websites successful: a focused, purposeful strategy.
It’s not uncommon for a company to blog and see an increase in website visitors only to wonder why they’re not getting any leads. Mapping out the entire process that your buyer might follow — from finding your blog to downloading a guide and requesting pricing or a demo — is necessary if you want website visitors to become leads.
2. Responsive Design
While you need to track what proportion of visitors arrive at your website through mobile, tablet, or desktop search, inbound marketing websites need to meet the needs of all three visitor types.
You must design your website so that your customers have a consistent, compelling experience, no matter what device is used to access the site. Responsive design is the answer.
3. Social Media Integration
It’s one thing to have company social media accounts… It’s another thing to integrate those accounts with your company website.
As we mentioned on our 7-step inbound marketing checklist, you need to make sure that your customers can easily share your content and interact with your brand. That means using apps that allow you to pre-fill Facebook and Twitter updates that include your company handle, or setting up your blog comment platform to integrate each commenter’s social media accounts.
4. Conversion Opportunities
It wouldn’t be marketing if there wasn’t an opportunity to make a sale. That’s where conversion opportunities come in — those explicit opportunities for your customers to contact you to start a relationship, learn more or to make a purchase.
On most inbound marketing websites, conversion opportunities include the design, placement, and text of your Calls to Action (CTAs), landing pages, and forms. Design every element of these conversion opportunities to speak clearly to your target customer. Never rely on just a single “contact us” link. Every webpage should have a conversion opportunity.
5. Metrics / Accountability
Finally, the most powerful characteristic of inbound marketing websites is that you can make decisions based off of customized, comprehensive data.
Your content strategy, design, social media, and conversion opportunities can all contribute data for you to help you make the most informed decisions possible and to inform your sales team.
Using website metrics to make decisions helps you customize each decision to your target audience — not make generic assumptions.
What’s more is that your company should rely on your website for new sales leads. It should be accountable for a certain number of leads and new business every month, just like a sales person.
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