Effective marketing takes more than a flashy logo or a catchy slogan: a solid online marketing strategy requires planning, tracking and adjustment. Inbound marketing is no exception. Perfecting your online marketing strategy will require time and adaptation, but these key steps will help you build a solid foundation and make the necessary tweaks to optimize effectiveness and maximize your return on investment (ROI).
1. Generate Traffic to Your Website
It probably comes as no surprise that the first step in using your website to sell your products or services is getting potential customers to visit. Part of your strategy for drawing traffic to your site may include paid advertising, but that’s another topic for another day. Today, we’re going to focus on content marketing as the centerpiece of your online marketing strategy. That means creating great content, optimizing that content for search engines, and then actively working social media to get that content maximum exposure.
2. Convert Traffic to Leads
Bringing prospects to your site is only the first step. Traffic is nice, but it doesn’t pay the bills. In order to make website traffic profitable, you have to draw the right visitors and then convert those visitors to prospects by collecting their information. Pair your content with relevant offers or make the content an offer itself by providing a free e-book or white paper to visitors who enter their email addresses and other contact information. The ability to follow up with your website visitors is critical to your ROI.
3. Convert Leads to Sales
Depending on the nature of your business, some visitors to your website may make an instant purchase or pick up the phone to place an order. In most cases, though, it will take some follow-up to convert those prospects into customers. Use the information you’ve collected to maintain contact with your visitors, providing additional information they may be interested in based on their original download, extending special offers and otherwise keeping your business in their line of vision.
4. Track and Analyze
Most businesses track the volume of traffic to their websites and of course all have records on the number of sales completed, but few keep and analyze the kind of detailed records necessary to truly maximize ROI. Determining what works and what doesn’t for your company means not only counting website visitors connected with a particular campaign but also tracking how long they stay, whether and how often they return, whether they ultimately turn into customers and how much additional effort was required to convert them.
Data and analysis are only as good as the adjustments you make based on your findings. As you analyze the results of your inbound marketing efforts, identify any point in the process where you’re losing prospects or the system is otherwise breaking down and fine tune it until you’ve reached peak performance at every step.
On average, inbound marketing leads come much cheaper than those acquired through pay-per-click and other cost-based advertising methods. The right online marketing strategy can significantly reduce the cost of selling your goods and services, but creating an effective online marketing strategy takes time, effort and review. Make that investment—you’ll be glad you did!