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Technology hasn’t just changed the way B2B and B2C business gets conducted – it’s changed the way people look at marketing in general.
Consumers have learned to DVR their way out of commercials, block pop-ups and use the Do Not Call registry to escape cold calls. And online, they generally ignore sales pitches wherever the pitches show up to interrupt their web-surfing experience.
So how do you increase web traffic in such an environment?
Inbound marketing is a proven strategy to help visitors find your site and want to visit it. The process takes people through the sales funnel in a gradual, trustworthy way, converting them from visitors, to leads, and finally to paying customers.
At the heart of inbound marketing is content – the blogs, tweets, videos, whitepapers and infographics that address your target audience’s interests, needs and concerns. Content as diverse as “Top 10” lists, how-to videos and industry reports help to establish a relationship of trust and foster loyalty.
When it comes to getting better results in a digital marketplace, content is king.
Bombarded as they are with marketing, more marketing and now remarketing, web users are understandably a little hesitant to get involved with a company whose SEO-filled page turns out to be nothing more than a sales pitch.
Good content – make that great content – gives you credibility with both consumers and Google, whose Penguin and Panda algorithms are constantly on the lookout for less-than-valuable web pages. When your material serves a real purpose, people will regard you as a trusted source of information – a standing that paid advertising simply cannot match.
Content that engages as well as informs drives visits. PlayStation’s blog page invites gamers to vote on ideas to improve PlayStation products. There’s no limit to the number of shares that the gaming community can generate with meaningful content like this to engage with.
The biggest companies in the world are avid content publishers – with good reason. A brand represents a perception of a product – a promise, in the words of Copyblogger – and in the online world, perception is everything.
When your content becomes part of your product, it serves to strengthen that perception and fulfill that promise. And it’s not just B2C content that gains attention. Consumers are well aware of the Caterpillar name, but company’s B2B content, in the form of industry blogs, have positioned the brand as go-to read for industry insiders as well.
SEO and your content should be inseparable. Getting to the top of search engine results pages (SERP) takes a delicate balance of well-chosen keywords and killer content that Google recognizes as credible, valuable and generally non-cheesy.
Getting the recipe right isn’t always easy; it sometimes takes a few starts to get the ball rolling. You want your keywords to integrate easily and consistently into the text of your blog, article or video, without the black-hat “keyword stuffing” practices that so readily attract the predatory Penguin.
In general, use your best “long-tail” keywords in the title or header of your content. Use the same (or slightly modified) version for your first paragraph, and play off those keywords about every two or three paragraphs after that. Once you find just the right recipe, you’ll be rewarded with better Google rankings, which will attract more attention to your content.
Think it’s just casual surfers and lookie-loos that pay attention to your content? B2B magazine begs to differ. In its 2012 study “Content Marketing: Ready for Prime Time,” the magazine reveals that high-budget content marketers “are highly focused on using content marketing to boost lead generation.” Among that group, 28% called lead-gen their most important content marketing objective, versus 25% of marketers overall. “And they value Web traffic volume much more significantly, 62% versus 56%,” notes B2B.
Great content draws attention; a well-placed call to action within the content can send people to your landing page, where they might exchange contact information for more, or exclusive, content.
Creating great content, then posting it on your website and social media pages, can deliver not just web traffic, but the right traffic to turn into leads. It gives people confidence in you – and that’s an ROI you can’t put a price on.
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