How to Optimise Your Website For Inbound Marketing
Back in 2010, inbound marketing was still a relatively new concept and B2B websites basically served as online brochures.
They advertised companies’ products and services. If you were lucky they included a little about company culture, but for the most part, they served as a one-way form of communication. They were static, sales oriented online brochures.
Today’s inbound marketing websites function very differently. They are dynamic and interactive. They offer visitors valuable content and are highly personalised.
At the same time, they provide detailed data about visitors. Data that us marketers can use to optimise the sales cycle, generate more leads and increase sales.
Inbound websites are designed to feed powerful marketing ecosystems. These platforms allow us to create automated email campaigns, send text messages, post to social platforms and let us build deeper connections with our buyers.
Unlike outbound marketing in which advertisers directly reach out to prospects with their disruptive messages (think: cold calls, billboards, direct mail), inbound marketing attempts to draw prospects to the business by solving their problems, answering their questions or providing solutions with resources that address their needs.
In the industry, these resources are known as “content,” and they are usually discovered through online searches.
In this post, I’d like to share some of the most important design enhancements you can make to your website to maximise your visitors’ experience, turn them into leads, and increase the likelihood they’ll convert to paying customers.
Before you begin, define your Buyer Personas
A truly effective inbound marketing initiative should start with the creation of buyer personas.
What is a Buyer Persona?
A Buyer Persona is a fictional representation of our ideal customer.
This representation helps us better understand the motivations of our customers so that we can develop content that speaks to their desires and needs. They form a personal narrative representing the demographics, goals and overall characteristics of each of your target customers.
Once you’ve clearly defined your personas (e.g., Mid Manager Mary, Edward Engineer, Store Assistant Andrew), make sure you have marketing content focused around their unique interests.
Ideally, this content should be segmented into the three phases of the buyer’s journey: the awareness, evaluation and decision-making stages. That’s because as consumers, we all come into the sales process with vastly different levels of knowledge about a product or service.
Content “Magnets” to attract visitors
Regardless of where a prospect is on the buyer’s journey, you want to capture their contact information so that you can communicate with them directly about the dazzling quality of your products and services! You’ve populated your website with compelling content magnets, (i.e., guides, white papers, webinars, videos, blogs, case studies, infographics, etc.) and you’ve promoted their availability across all your marketing channels.
That’s where lead forms come in. Different than a regular “contact us” form than you might find on a traditional website, a lead form – or simply even a lead field – is connected on the back end of your website to an automated customer relationship management (CRM) platform like HubSpot.
Examples of content magnets taken from Unbounce.
The visitor finds your website (e.g., through a Google search, Facebook, PPC ad), wants to access the piece of content on it, and submits their email address (and possibly other contact info).
That person is a “lead” in your CRM. Depending on the triggers or criteria you have defined, that person is automatically entered into an email nurturing campaign.
Capturing Leads on an Inbound Website
Lead Capture Forms
One inbound website best practice is to remove any obstacles that would prevent a visitor from submitting their contact information. It’s best to only ask for an email address on something like a white paper.
For a higher value piece of content, such as original industry research, you can ask for more details, such as a phone number, title or company name.
HubSpot has “smart form” features that progressively ask visitors to submit additional form fields each time they visit so that your communications to them can become more personalised over time.
Blogging increases keyword rankings, traffic and visitors
On average, companies who blog produce 67% more leads per month. Blogs are the best place to publish content geared to buyers in the awareness phase. For example a series of educational blogs on problems and topics related to your industry
Somewhere within the blog, include a Call to Action (CTA) so that you’re prompting the visitor to take action.
White papers, research studies and case studies all lend themselves to gated downloads.
Gated simply means the visitor must submit some form of contact information before accessing the download. Use your social media channels, emails and blogs to cross-promote the downloadable content using clear CTAs which link visitors directly to dedicated landing pages on your website.
Once a visitor hits your landing page, they will submit their contact information to download your useful and valuable downloadable content.
Keep your website landing page focused on one objective, with minimal, easy to understand language, like the example we’ve included here.
Interactive Marketing Content
Another great way to generate new leads is to provide visitors with an interactive experience that delivers some form of value while they’re on your site. Bonus points if the interactive marketing content is relevant to your brand.
Embeddable calculator widgets, for example, are being used in different industries to calculate things like mortgage payments and body mass index. They can be incorporated as an inbound marketing tool when paired with a lead generation form which sends the final calculation to the user’s email address.
Free trials are another interactive tool for giving prospects real-world experience in using your product without having to go through the sales process, which significantly increases the likelihood that they will continue with your product. Additional options include self-assessment tools, surveys and quizzes, checklists and “light” versions of software.
Chatbots: A New Way to Engage Prospects
ChatBots simulate human conversation, automating the process of answering repetitive questions by offering up answers to visitors’ questions based on the words and phrases used in the exchange.
The use of bots generally increases the speed at which prospective customers’ questions are answered and decreases the resources required by the company to respond.
According to Forbes, 62% of US consumers like using chatbots to engage with businesses. They can perform different roles, depending on how they are programmed, from answering customer questions via the website or social media platforms to distributing content through messaging apps to generating leads.
So before you jump in, be clear about what problems you’re trying to address and which channels you’re going to launch the bot in first.
Other Inbound Web Design Best Practices
I’ve barely scratched the surface about the many ways you can use automated marketing platforms like HubSpot, along with your website, to maximise your inbound lead conversion, but trying out some of these ideas will help turn your website into an inbound site that generates leads.
In summary, here are the key messages that I would like you to takeaway:
- An estimated 70% of all web traffic comes from mobile devices, so make sure your site is mobile responsive
- Your website should speak directly to your buyer personas
- Inbound marketing is an omnichannel effort. Strive to create a seamless user experience between your landing pages, CTAs, website, emails, social platforms, etc.
- Choose compelling, keyword-rich titles and meta descriptions in your blogs and white papers to optimise SEO
- Have a well-defined goal for each landing page and make the CTA clear for the user
- Keep form submission requirements to a minimum
- Your landing pages should have a similar look and feel to the rest of your website
- Include CTAs in each piece of content to motivate prospects to take another action
If you’d like help getting started with your inbound strategies, please reach out to us anytime. We’d love to hear what your goals are.