The classic marketing model was outbound oriented and generally consisting of an inside sales force calling on prospects and customers, telemarketing, tradeshows, seminars, trade publication advertising and publicity and broadcast advertising. Over the past few years, electronic marketing has become an essential part of the marketing mix. Marketing efforts for even the most traditional companies is shape shifting into an inbound marketing model consisting of search engine optimization, pay-per-click ads, blogging, social media and targeted landing pages.
As electronic marketing increases in sophistication, more can be done to attract prospects with less money in more creative ways. Here are just five inbound marketing techniques geared toward increasing your web traffic and revenue:
- Search engine optimization (SEO): the foundational piece of inbound marketing is search engine optimization—the process of organically growing a site’s popularity with search engines through link building, strong keyword content, search site submissions and other tactics. A good SEO strategy will boost your organic search engine result rankings for keywords, which is a key to being found by the right prospects.
- Pay-Per-Click (PPC): a complement to SEO is search marketing, which includes PPC ads. Unlike organic rankings and, as the name suggests, this is where you put out cash to attract web visitors. These ads are listed above and to the right of the organic search results and are often labeled as “sponsored” link or “sponsored” results. With PPC, you bid on keywords and create ads. PPC is a pay as you go plan where you can establish a maximum number of clicks each day to help you stay on budget. You are charged only for the number of times someone clicks on your ad.
- Blogging: a good blog is topical and posted to often and, like it or not, is here to stay. The complexity of your blog depends on how many people will contribute and the rules you put in place for content management. For some companies, a blog can represent a logistical and legal quagmire. For an individual, it is time consuming, but more manageable to handle. In any event, an interesting blog where people logon frequently can direct many new visitors to your website.
- Social media: social media optimization (SMO) is a marketing tactic to generate web traffic by participating on sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Digg and many others. Like blogging, it can be time consuming, but done well, it is worth the effort. Effective use of social networking can help create buzz for your company or a product and have the messages go viral. It has the potential to substantially increase web traffic and increase the number of inbound links to your site.
- Targeted Landing Pages: the big payoff when you start generating more web traffic is the landing page—a targeted and well constructed page either on your website or acting as a standalone mini website. When someone finds your organic listing, clicks through on a PPC ad, visits your site after reading your blog or finds you via social networking, a landing page is where they should be sent. Your home page is probably well done, but you have few chances to capture the attention of your prospects. Don’t waste it by sending them to the home page. Instead, construct specific pages that are keyword oriented, interesting and persuasive. The goal of a landing page is move the prospect to action.
Do you see what’s happening here? Inbound marketing is very much a building process just like outbound marketing, where all parts align to create a unified marketing strategy. Inbound marketing relies on the building block principle as well where SEO is complemented by PPC, blogs and social media with visitors being directed to action on targeted landing pages. If your marketing strategy hasn’t yet included all electronic marketing has to offer, then start with these five techniques to build even greater web traffic and revenue.
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