Before the days of inbound marketing, most business websites existed solely to provide information about the business. It was very flat and did not offer very much to the viewer. It was used as a leveraging point to either have that viewer call, email or physically come to a store.
In this digital age, websites have come a long way. Now businesses use their websites work for them. And if you are going to keep up with your competition by using your website as a tool to market your business, then the old traditional business website is not going to work.
You have to be intentional and willing to offer some serious value if you want your website to work for you. In other words, your website isn’t about you– it’s about your buyer persona.
The Goal of Inbound Marketing
Inbound marketing is not just about providing helpful content and getting more engagement because of it. The ultimate goal in inbound marketing to generate conversions, and better yet, create advocates for your business.
So how do you do that with a website?
As someone trying to run a profitable business online, you have to make it your mission to create the most user-friendly, helpful, and targeted experience on your website. You can have the most boring product or service in the world, but if your website design and content are stellar, your website will become a selling machine.
People tell others about good experiences they have online with businesses. So don’t think of your website as a salesperson for your brand, think of it as a salesperson for your brand’s online experience.
So how do you create an amazing user experience on your website?
Identify your Visitors
Who are the people visiting your website? You need to discover as much information about your visitors as you can. And guess what? It’s possible that people visiting your site do not fit the buyer persona you had planned and anticipated to reach. That’s okay.
Sometimes website analytics are better at informing us of who our audience is than our preliminary research. In any case, you want to find out who your visitors are so that you have a foundation for your inbound strategy.
In addition to figuring out who your audience is, you also want to find out how your visitors arrive at your site. Are they finding you organically on Google or social media? Are they landing there from paid ads? Directed from blog articles? Clicking a link in an email?
You also need to consider that visitors are likely landing on different pages of your site depending on the source they are arriving from. For example, a visitor that arrives from a paid advertisement will probably arrive on your pricing page whereas a visitor that found you organically from Google may land on your home page.
Once you’ve determined who is visiting and how they are getting there, you’ll have a base for providing the best experience to those users.
Understand Why the Visitors are There
After pinning down the who and the how of people are arriving at your site, it’s time to nail down why they decided to come to your site.
It’s important to keep in mind that the “why” for someone visiting your site will vary depending on the page they land on. That’s why it’s imperative to understand the purpose for each page on your site.
Of course, the people who land on your pricing page are likely prospects interested in your prices. But what sort of content actually sells your prospects?
Using the information you have about who your buyer persona is, create content that speaks to them within the context of each page’s purpose.
For example, on the homepage, are your visitors receptive to a video about your company? Or will just text and images do the trick?
On the pricing page, do the visitors who land on that page want to see testimonials about your product or services alongside the pricing?
When you’ve determined the content that works for each page, it’s time to identify how each page of your site supports the buyer journey. There are three essential steps of the buyer journey that align with your sales funnel:
- Awareness – where the user is aware of a pain point they have and that you offer a solution to their problem. At this point, they are interested in you, and you have acquired them as a prospect.
- Consideration – the user is interested and is considering your solution to their problem, but require more information. The pages that support the consideration stage should bridge the gap between lead acquisition and sales conversion.
- Decision – this is the point where users will take action to buy from you. These are ultimately the pages that provide calls-to-action and guide the user through the sale.
With these three stages in mind, go through each page on your site and determine what part of the buyer journey they support. This will begin to give you a clear idea of how exactly your website will support the path to purchase.
Map Out Your Sales Process
At this point, you should have all the information you need to create a process guiding visitors to your website from wherever they are in their buyer journey to the decision and purchase stage.
To get a grasp of how this whole inbound marketing strategy will work, we recommend you visually map out your website. It’s like a sitemap but specifically designed in the context of how the pages support the sales process.
Once you have this map, it’s time to hone in on the most valuable content you can provide given where each page falls in the sales process. To determine what content works best and on what pages, here are some tips:
- Research your competitors and see what kind of content is used and how it’s laid out to support each stage of the buyer journey.
- Split test content through social media and email marketing and measure engagement rates.
- Split test different content types (IE. video vs. written content) on your web pages.
- Survey your current customers or clients to figure out what content persuaded them to purchase.
Test it Out
Inbound marketing is a strategy that needs to be constantly monitored and updated as new information comes in. So once you have your content in place, it’s time to measure how your visitors respond to it.
Not measuring the success of your implemented strategy is a waste of your time and energy. There are tons of analytics programs out there that help you with this very task. Tools such as HubSpot, HotJar, and Unbounce are fantastic software for inbound analytics.
The key to a successful inbound strategy is constantly testing new content and designs then implementing what works best based on measured results.
Optimize for Engagement
A major part of the success that comes with a good inbound marketing strategy is when people are so sold on the experience your website provides them that they share it with their social networks. These are brand advocates, and they are crucial to serious growth.
To create brand advocates, your inbound marketing should not stop after your purchase. You should continue to engage a customer or client after the sale. If done in a way that provides a truly helpful and not intrusive experience, this old customers or clients will sing your praises to their networks.
Remember: online referrals are powerful.
The best website is one that is incredibly considerate of user experience. Creating web content in a design that is valuable to your visitors and intentionally guides them on the path of purchase will yield a successful inbound marketing strategy.
Determine who your visitors are and how they arrive at the pages they land on. Then map out your pages as according to their purpose in the buyer journey, and test the content and designs on each of those pages constantly to ensure you’re providing the best user experience. If you can manage to follow these steps, you will be sure to have a successful website working for you.