Did you know your traditional website is decaying in Google right under your nose, while sites optimised for inbound marketing are sneaking in front of your customers?
It’s precisely the sort of thing that can happen when we are so busy working IN our businesses that we forget some of the pieces that make our own business run. For example, our websites operate out of sight most of the time, just ticking away while missing out on the attention they deserve and need.
Interestingly, while analytics for more traditional websites are still holding up relatively well, they are losing ground to inbound websites because this newer style is designed for specific customers, rather than mass market appeal.
Making the change does not have to be a major ordeal, but by following these important steps, you can revamp your online presence to be a smarter, more efficient marketing machine, achieving growth in traffic, customers, conversions and sales.
8 Design Elements to Implement in your Website Redesign to Optimise for Inbound Marketing
Not only does the content that you create enable people to find your site, but it is also the determining factor in turning visitors into leads for your business.
Content marketing is so prolific because it is a powerful tool that your business can harness to attract customers that are ready to buy from you. Sounds simple right? It is simple. However, the reason most businesses are not harnessing the power of content marketing is that creative content is perceived as hard to write. In 2018 though, this perception is no longer justified. There are so many different ways to make the content creation for your business easier, that there really is no excuse for not creating a tonne of it.
- Editorial Content Calendar – this is a way to organise and store all of the content that your business creates. It allows you to connect different pieces of content and analyse for gaps or repetition, in relation to your digital marketing strategy.
- Outsourcing – by using a marketing agency like Baker Marketing, you can have them create content for you, or work with you to plan topics and then give your draft content a “once over” before it goes live. The ultimate outcome is finding a way that uses your skills, time, and money to achieve the best content you can afford.
I can’t emphasise enough that the significant difference between a traditional website and an inbound marketing website is CONTENT. Think white papers, reports, ebooks, tip sheets, cheat sheets, webinars, videos, interviews, infographics and podcasts.
The goal of any business owner is to ‘get found’ by potential customers, and the way we do this digitally is through search engines and search queries. Each piece of content that you create improves your SERP (Search Engine Results Page) ranking. In other words, it moves you further up the list of Google’s search results, if your content is optimised correctly. It also builds authority for your website, drives more organic traffic, and gives you the opportunity to convert these new visitors into marketing qualified leads or sales qualified leads.
So, after pushing the point of how valuable content is, and highlighting ways that you can get it created and the type of content needed, let me throw another angle at you. There is an important difference between traditional content and content used for inbound marketing purposes.
When you are creating content for inbound marketing, you are creating content that is individually crafted for your target audience, and their place in the buyer’s journey. This means that you have to create content that each of your target audiences is looking for; yes you do have more than one target audience! Content also needs to appeal to a variety of people in those target audience groups, not just the ones that are ready to buy today. This means that you will need to identify and understand each of your website visitors buying process when you are creating content for them.
The best way to go about this is to think of the offers that you create as having three stages, the no-risk offer, the low-risk offer, and the direct business offer. The no-risk offer is for people at the top of your sales funnel, those looking to raise their awareness about the topic that you are creating content on. The low-risk offer is for people in the middle of the funnel; these people are considering the different information available out there. And the direct business offer is obviously for people at the bottom of the funnel, those who are ready to make a decision and buy today.
Put simply; you do not want to create a hard sell offer for someone who is still trying to educate themselves about the topic you are creating content on. These offers need to be saved for those people who are ready to make a decision, the ones that you have already formed a relationship with, and who see you as an authority on a particular topic.
3. It’s Not About You:
Even though you have poured your heart and soul into this business. Given it everything that you have, offered your first born child to the gods if only it would be successful – no one who comes to your site cares!
I am sorry to the be the bearer of bad news, but people rate their own lives and time over your business. People are so overwhelmed with content that unless it directly impacts them, they don’t care what you have to say, or what you have gone through to get your business to this point.
If you can talk to them about how you can help them, well that is another story that just might get their attention. People who come to your site have a query, and how quickly you can address and solve that query will directly translate into how much time they will spend on your site.
An inbound marketing website accurately presents the problems and challenges, as well as goals and aspirations, that visitors to your site face. A catchy headline, bright colours, and a plethora of images will not help you convey just how well-equipped you are to help them. Every piece of content that goes on your site should directly communicate the message that you are an authority in your industry and equipped to handle whatever problem or query they have. You then make the visitor feel safe in your hands and ready to make a purchasing decision.
The next step is personalisation. I don’t mean just sending emails using their first name, although this is important. I mean implementing a SMART Content Plan on your site.
In order to do this, you need to become a progressive marketer. Progressive marketing revolves around the idea that if a visitor returns to your site, they have progressed in the buyer’s journey to a degree. Because of this, you should be able to offer them different content that is more in line with their buyer stage and needs. However, even if they haven’t progressed through the buyer’s journey, you still don’t want to offer them the same content. Instead, you want to offer them a related piece of educational content.
At this point, you have left the realm of things that you can implement yourself unless you have a coding and IT background. If you are ready to take your inbounding marketing strategy to this level of technological savviness, it is time to get help from your marketing agency.
A marketing agency, like Baker Marketing, will know that SMART content and personalisation happens through the use of forms, rich text, custom HTML, and CTA’s depending on visitor characteristics. Tools like a strategic CRM and Cookies are the carriers and gatekeepers of this information and allow a website to recognise if a customer is a unique visitor or a returning one.
5. Optimised Navigation:
Just like the name suggests, the navigation on your website is essential to user-friendliness and lead generation. Orbit Media suggests that you have no more than seven navigational items in your menu. So how do you determine what is nav-menu worthy?
One of the best ways to really get into the frame of mind that a website visitor will be in is to make cards out of all of your navigational menu options. Lay them out on a table and take a non-digital journey through your own website. You will be able to see where the eye is drawn in the navigational menu and how easy the different pathways you have created are to follow.
Take the Baker Marketing menu for example:
The suggested seven topics have been chosen and laid out clearly. These topics ensure that visitors to the site are quickly and easily able to segment themselves by the different services we offer. This can help market to these visitors turned leads in the future because we know where their immediate interest lies and what problems we can start fixing for them.
So once a visitors picks a path to start down, they can further segment themselves through the various pieces of content, offers and information provided on our site.
There are a few things that you should consider when planning your navigation menu for your site:
- Give visitors the chance to segment themselves using the navigation menu. If your business offers many different services or products, ensure that visitors to your site can easily take themselves to where they want to be.
- Navigation menus dictate the actions that a visitor to your site will make, which means they are visited and seen more than any other element on your site. Use this opportunity to have a prominent call to action and offer available for visitors to see at all times.
6. Resource Library:
Creating a resource library on your site makes you stand out as an authority in your industry. Not only does it give you endless opportunities for ranking, with the right SEO implementation in place, but it will highlight how knowledgeable you are in all topic areas relating to the services and products that you offer.
Creating a resource library as part of your inbound marketing plan and inbound website design is going to take some time and effort. However, once it is established, it is likely that you will have more landing pages, and opportunities to collect leads and convert them into sales than you know what to do with. Each landing page, when designed correctly, will allow your marketing department and sales department to collect information on visitors to your site, convert these visitors into leads and then nurture them through the buyer’s journey until they are ready to buy from you.
When you start to create your resource library, it can seem a little bit overwhelming. However, there are specific steps that you can take in order to stagger your approach and lessen the burden of creating mass content all at once.
- Spend an afternoon going through all of the content that you have produced. Blogs, podcasts, ebooks, webinars, white papers and any other content. Then organise this content under topic headings. This will give a new resource library substance from the beginning while utilising the assets that your business already has.
- You can also utilise a marketing agency to create content for your site. Researching queries using a Google Search Tool to determine the questions potential leads/customers have about different topics in your industry.
It is important to remember that content that you create for inbound marketing is authentic content that provides educational information to your site visitors. So for every inbound campaign that you run there will be new content created and designed to solve specific problems that your customers face. All of this content can be added to your resource library and grow organically over time as you move further into inbound marketing business strategy.
7. Optimised Landing and Thank You Pages:
One of the most common differences between a traditional website and an inbound marketing website is in the way you create landing pages and thank you pages. For example, if you are promoting a content offer, then regardless of the way you choose to promote it (blogging, social media sharing, email marketing etc.), the CTA or offer should always lead to a landing page.
This landing page will sit on your website and be devoid of any navigation menus or footers found on your regular pages. You don’t want to distract your visitors from your content offer, so don’t give them anything else to look at!
The reason it is essential to create this landing page is twofold. Firstly, it gives you a chance to collect some information about the visitors that are interested in your offer. This, in turn, allows you to generate more leads and learn more about the visitors, in order to offer them more educational content. Secondly, by getting people who are interested in your offer to download the content from your site, instead of directly from an email, or social media platform, you are keeping them engaged with your website and opening more pathways to highlight different opportunities to them.
A landing page can make or break your conversion rate. It is vital that it is crafted perfectly and gives the visitor clear instructions on what to do and what they will get in return.
After a visitor has filled out the lead generating form on the landing page, they will be directed to the thank you page where they can download your content offer. Again, this strategy is to keep visitors engaged with your site. Although you may also send them an automated email containing a link to the content offer, visitors should be able to access the offer on the thank you page in order to keep them on your site.
Further to this optimisation, a thank you page should also offer links to other related content that a visitor may be interested in. This will lead all visitors further into your website and get them even more engaged in what you can offer them. It gives you a further opportunity to focus on the problems you can solve for them, and to highlight your experience and passion for what you do.
8. Social Proof For Trust Building:
The last best practice that you should consider for optimising your website for inbound marketing is testimonials. I can’t think of a brand alive that doesn’t promote itself and tell the world that they are the best at what they do. So these promises have begun to lose their attraction to customers, making social proofing an essential part of any successful inbound marketing website. Gathering testimonials from customers, co-marketing activities, and social media comments about your brand and business will build trust with visitors who may not be familiar with your site or products.
You can read more about building trust with your audience in this blog by Steve Davis.
Baker Marketing is uniquely positioned, with a highly qualified team of strategic marketers, to help you drag your website kicking and screaming into the era of Inbound Marketing and Sales. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation about how to optimise your website for inbound marketing.