In the recent years, you probably have been hearing more and more about inbound marketing. Inbound is a style of marketing that puts the human back into the mix and educates potential buyers instead of selling them. Does that sound like a marketing style that you could get on board with moving forward? Of course!
So, what is the difference between an inbound website and outbound website?
Before we get started let's look at the differences between Inbound websites vs. Outbound websites. An outbound website doesn't actually exist because websites in themselves are an inbound tactic. Outbound marketing is the style of interrupting your potential buyers. Outbound marketing examples include activities like trade shows, TV commercials, radio commercials, print advertisements (newspaper ads, magazine ads, flyers, brochures, catalogs, etc.), cold calls, and email blasts. You probably have a website, but most people still don't have websites that aren't considered inbound because the site isn't converting leads. An inbound website is created in such a way that you attract, engage, convert and delight your visitors.
Unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing does not need to fight for potential customers attention. By creating content designed to address the problems and needs of your ideal customers, inbound marketing attracts qualified prospects and builds trust and credibility for your business.
What is an inbound website?
An inbound website is a site that is designed all around a visitor's experience. A functioning HubSpot website will become the hub for your entire marketing. Let's break it down into design, content, calls-to-action, personalization, and SEO.
Inbound Website Design
If people come to your website and it looks out of date regardless of your industry, it reflects poorly on your brand. In some cases, you might even find yourself embarrassed of your website.
An inbound website uses the most modern form of website design. UX/UI design is a style used to accomplish that goal. UX Design refers to the term User Experience Design, while UI Design stands for User Interface Design. You need to consider both of them for your site to be fully functional.
Another element of the inbound design is the use of white space. Whitespace Rules! You don't want to junk up your site with too much content, photos or calls to action.
The design is important, but the content is even more important. If you're using the same old brand story, mission statement and about us section from 15 years ago it's time to freshen it up. Honestly, this can be the hardest part of the project. The easiest and fastest way to do this is to outsource it. Hire SparkReaction or another company that offers copywriting assistance and get it done. Some people are just better writers than others, and they can pull out the story of your brand in a matter of minutes.
You also need to start adding new content to your site on an ongoing basis. Again, reach out to someone to help you with this or enlist several people in your organizing to help write the content. An ongoing blog is a must in this day in age. You should also consider adding whitepapers, tip sheets, e-books, videos, webinars, infographics and possibly podcasts. The more content you add to the site with proper search engine optimization the better your results will be over time.
A lot of sites only a call to action on the contact us page. That's not an inbound website. An inbound website will have offers throughout the site speaking to each buyer persona and each personas buyers journey stage. You need to use CTA's to move people down your marketing funnel and convert them over to your sales funnel. Strategically using CTA's throughout your site will do just that for you.
"[Context is a] transformative tsunami, one which will change work and life." Robert Scoble and Shel Israel Authors, The Age of Context
HubSpot offers contextual marketing, and it helps you tailor your website to the users who are most relevant to your business. However, that statement puts it mildly. Contextual Marketing is a game changer, and the options are endless. We consider this option an intermediate to advance tool for inbound marketing. However, if you have been using inbound marketing for awhile and haven't been using contextual marketing, it's time to start. In essence, you'll be able to ensure that you're getting the right content, to the right person, at the right time.
For example, let's say that you want to increase website conversations on an eBook called Cloud Security 101. Right now, you are getting a decent amount of traffic to the page, but you want more people filling out the form and downloading the eBook. So, you use contextual marketing to up the ante. There are several ways you could use contextual marketing. You could auto-fill their name if they have visited your site before. You could change up the questions based on their lifecycle. You could insert copy related to their industry. The options are endless!
We can't forget about the importance of SEO. I was looking at someone's site the other day, and they had their home page labeled home. So, instead of using that space to put a keyword, they are doing nothing by using the word home. There are so many quick SEO fixes you can do to your site. You need to start with some keyword research. HubSpot's keyword tool is fantastic, and it will cut down on time and guessing. You could also look at the free Google Keyword Planner tool, as well. If you don't have keywords, titles, and meta descriptions now is a good time to add them. An inbound website drives traffic organically, and it won't do its job if you don't add SEO.
Don't forget about ongoing SEO to anything new you add to the site. Down the road, you don't want to get stuck needing to add a bunch of SEO again.
Start Your Inbound Website
Up until now, you probably have had a lifeless website that gets some traffic but doesn't do anything for your business. It's more a placeholder than a marketing and sales tool. It's all good, but you need to change up your strategy with an inbound website as soon as possible.