Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

Kami Valdez

Content Marketing & LinkedIn Strategist at Inbound Team
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Online Marketing: Convert Prospects to Leads

Posted by Kami Valdez

March 24, 2016

In the last blog post we discussed some of the best channels available to attract visitors to your website. Now you know how to get visitors to your website, let's take a few minutes and determine if it has the elements needed for those visitors to become leads.

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2. Convert Prospects to Leads

Take a look at your current website and ask yourself the following questions:

1. Is your website optimized for mobile?

Over half of all website visits come from a mobile phone or web-enabled device. If you have a website and you want to cut out half your visitors, make certain your website doesn't work on mobile.

Mobile is critical to your business and will continue to be so. Help visitors have a good experience on your site when they’re visiting from their mobile devices by ensuring your site is mobile friendly and responsive.

2. Is your website easy to navigate?

A great website has well thought out navigation. Think of the general path you want a site visitor to take. When the navigation's clear, visitors will stay longer on your site and will be more likely to become a lead.

Think through the structure of your website so it all makes sense in a logical flow. That way, when visitors come to your website, they will have an easier time navigating to the information that's most relevant to them.

3. Is the message clear?

Your website has the best chance to leave a good and lasting impression on your visitors when you have an uncomplicated and clear-cut message. To have a successful and engaging website, you need simple and clear communication of  your company's product and purpose.  

Will a visitor understand what's special and remarkable about your business from looking at the website? Make certain your website's purpose is clear on your home page and landing pages so it will deliver valuable leads and sales.

4. Do you have an offer?

When a visitor comes to your website, what action do you want them to take? What will get their attention and entice them to provide their name and email so you can follow up with them further?

To get visitors to take action, you need effective calls-to-action, or CTA's. These are an essential part of any website and will help direct visitors to take the action you desire.

Your website is competing with over 1 billion other websites in the world, so it must be in top selling condition. Take some time and make the adjustments necessary so every visitor to your website has the greatest chance to become a lead for your business.

If you need help determining how your website is doing, click below and sign up for a Free Website Review. 

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Conversion


Online Marketing: Attract Prospects To Your Website

Posted by Kami Valdez

March 22, 2016

Planning and building a website is crucial to the success of your online marketing strategy. You are spending time and money getting visitors to your site, and that makes it one of the most valuable pieces of digital real estate you own.

Some companies run off and create a pretty website, then are surprised when it doesn’t get them the results they want. The trick is to design a website that aligns all the pieces to:

  1. Attract prospects
  2. Convert prospects to leads, and
  3. Change leads into customers

Let's explore how to do each of these.

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1. Attract Prospects

It doesn't make much sense to have a great website if no one sees it. You need to get prospects to your website to learn about your business. 

Certain channels, certain approaches, work better than others depending on who you sell to, so first, consider who you want to attract.

precise prospect profile helps you know your customer. Knowing the most you possibly can about your prospects is key to grabbing their attention on the web and serving them on your website.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

Search Engine Marketing

Search Engine Marketing is one of the first channels people think about for generating traffic. When someone goes to Google and types in a query, both paid and organic results are returned. The non-paid results are often one of the best places to get prospects.

However, page one of Google can be difficult to achieve. For companies that don’t have a lot of visitors right now, it's probably not the best place to start. So what's the next best thing?

Paid Search Advertising

If prospects go to Google and other search engines to look for a solution like the one your company provides, a good alternative may be to use Paid Search Advertising—Google AdWords for example.

But Google changes constantly. They recently announced they are not going to show ads along the right-hand side any more. Ads will only be shown at the top and bottom of the page, so the real estate just got reduced. 

Paid ads can help you figure out what types of messages and which types of searches will most likely resonate and connect with actual buyers, so it's a useful tactic.

Display Advertising

You can also connect with potential customers through Display Advertising. Display ads are the ads you see when you visit different websites. Display advertising has been impacted most recently because more people now use ad blockers in their browsers. Still, plenty of sites can help you to get in front of people and remind them of your products.

Display ads are less effective than search because people are not actively looking for the particular solution. They didn’t type something into Google, they just came across an ad, so it's more like a billboard along the side of the road.

Social Website

A great way to connect with people is through Social Websites, primarily Facebook and LinkedIn. Your prospects visit these social watering holes, you just need to find them.

The nice thing about social, from a traffic generation perspective, is social websites know a lot about their users. That makes it easier to precisely target people to get exactly the right visitors to your website. (Here's another reason the Precise Prospect Profile is so essential.)

Social media can be quite noisy, and prospects can sometimes be difficult to find. If you know your product and your customers, and put in a little effort, you will reach exactly the right prospects for your business.

In the next article, we will discuss turning prospects into leads. If you can't wait and want three ways to generate more leads, sign up for a Free Lead Boost Review.

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Rank Higher In Search By Answering The Right Questions

Posted by Kami Valdez

March 15, 2016

Google is continuously changing the rules. There’s no one sure-fire way to get to the first page or the top of the Google search results, but the overall best way is by publishing content that answers questions your prospects have.

Google wants us to think more like a customer. We use it every day in our own lives to search for answers to our own questions, so that shouldn't be too much of a stretch. 

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Think about the way Siri works on an iPhone. You push the button and you say, “Siri, what’s the best way to get traffic to my website?” Siri is going to go away and ask that question of the search engines.

So answering questions becomes a really great way to rank and attract visitors.

Google keeps getting smarter at figuring out what question people meant to ask and even untangling misspellings and misuse of words. But really it comes down to the questions themselves, the things people are concerned about and answering those questions with words and terms your customers use.

In the example I used above, “Siri, what’s the best way to get traffic to my website?” the two keywords are traffic and website. In the industry we talk about traffic, but average users who are looking to grow their business might not think to use that term. They might instead think about, “How do I get ranked on Google?” which is a variation on that same question.  

So it is going to take a lot of research. The real way you get there is over time. The most successful online marketers have been at this for a while. They keep learning more and more about their prospects.

They learn how people are asking questions and which keywords they are using. They analyze the competition to see how they are optimizing their website, and are continuously improving and getting better at serving their prospects along the way.

The faster you start creating content that answers the questions your prospects have, the faster you are going to rank on Google and be found by prospects looking for your business. And make sure to tackle the tough questionsthe ones no one else is talking about.

Creating content that answers all the questions your prospects are asking, while being genuinely helpful,  is the best way to attract traffic to your website.

If you need help discovering the questions prospects are asking in your industry, sign up for a free Lead Boost Review. 

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Topics: Content Marketing


Do This For More Traffic, More Leads, & More Sales

Posted by Kami Valdez

March 8, 2016

When companies decide they need increased traffic to their website, they start blogging regularly, but searchers and search engines all too often don’t seem to care. There’s a reason why. The company isn’t focused on creating the right content. 

Content will always resonate more with a potential customer if you’re viewing things from their point of view. Issues that need addressed most are typically “hot button” issues, but most businesses don’t want to touch these topics. 

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For many companies, creating content around these "hot button" issues means breaking away from traditional business marketing practices and feels too taboo.

In The Big 5: Blog Article Topics Guaranteed To Drive Traffic, Leads, & Sales, Marcus Sheridan states there are 5 subjects that move the needle in every single industry. They are the things that when a consumer is looking to make a buying decision, "they are searching it, they are asking it, they are thinking it, they are saying it, they are going to Google and typing it!"

For many companies, creating content around The Big Five means addressing subjects many don't want to talk about. But these topics have been proven to increase traffic, leads, and sales.

So what are they? Here they are:

  1. Cost Questions. You don’t want to talk about cost or price on your website, but of course when you are getting ready to buy something you want to know, “What does it cost? What is the price?” Cost is at the root of all transaction considerations, so you need to address it with your content.
  2. Problems, Issues, Negative Reviews. A lot of companies don’t want to address these. You have got to be willing to address the elephant in the room. If there are problems or issues about what you sell, you need to address them.
  3. Versus or Comparisons. Have you ever been asked, “So which one would you choose?” Or, “How do you compare versus your competitor down the street?” We only like to talk about our stuff, but you can’t do that. You have got to talk about what the consumer wants to know, and consumers want to know how the competitive choices stack up against each other.
  4. Reviews. How often do you and I search for reviews online? We are constantly searching for reviews to help us understand how products and services pan out in the real world, so do the research and become the go-to resource for helping customers make decisions faster.  
  5. Best. We love to search for best. Consumers use "best" queries to help identify top choices. 

When you create content focus first on The Big 5. They require you to address things that you are not used to addressing, but if you want to truly increase trust, traffic, leads, and sales, The Big 5 will help you do it.

To learn more about what The Big 5 are, and how you can use them to keep your efforts from ending in yet another tragic content marketing story, watch the video.

If you need help writing Big 5 content for your site, sign up for a free Lead Boost Review or give us a call. We’d love to help.

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Topics: Blogging, SEO, Content Marketing


Want To Grow In 2016? You Need Inbound Marketing

Posted by Kami Valdez

February 25, 2016

Are you still using old outbound marketing techniques such as cold calling and cold emailing, and wondering why you are not seeing the results you used to? The buying process has changed and   Inbound Marketing has become essential.

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Inbound Marketing brings you qualified leads, warms prospects before you get in touch with them, helps educate your customers, and establishes you as an expert. 

 In his article, 10 Reasons Inbound Marketing is Necessary in 2016, AJ Agrawal briefly but thoroughly explains the benefits of Inbound Marketing and how you can see huge growth in 2016 by using this method. Take a few minutes and read it.

If this sparks your curiosity, and you’d like to learn more, sign up for a free Lead Boost Review or give us a call. We’d love to help.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing


Top Secret for Boosting Your Sales in 2016

Posted by Kami Valdez

December 8, 2015

Most business owners have an ideal customer in mind. But far too many of them only scratch the surface when it comes to describing that person.

They create buyer personas, but they are poorly developed. It is not uncommon for this to be little more than a writing exercise.

This persona gives a general idea of who their ideal customer is, but is far too generic to be of any real use.

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We work with many small businesses, and most of them know their prospects only at a surface level.

The key is to have very precise targeting and really know your prospects. Knowing your prospects makes finding them and building rapport much easier and faster.

You need a Precise Prospect Profile.

A Precise Prospect Profile describes your ideal prospect completely and clearly—the center of the bullseye. Having the bullseye gives you a target—a place to aim your marketing. It exists to make your marketing effective and have your prospects hear you.

Your Precise Prospect Profile gives you a competitive advantage. Because you know your prospects better than your competitors, you can acquire new customers more efficiently.

You must know your prospects. Start by thinking about the best customers you already have. What are they like?

Consider things like:

  • What characteristics do they share?
    • Are they around the same age
    • Do they have life situations in common like young kids
  • How do they talk about their pains and problems?
  • What questions do they ask?
  • What words do they use? The words matter.
  • What triggers them to buy?
  • Where do they hang out?
  • What else do they care about?

Now you're on your way to developing a Precise Prospect Profile for your ideal customers, but you're not there yet. There are a few more steps. No worries! We'll help walk you through it.

Click Free Download now and we’ll immediately send you our Precise Prospect Profile Kit. It’s everything you need to fully develop your buyer personas, get more leads, and boost your sales.

Precise Prospect Profile Kit

At Inbound Team, we love helping small businesses use digital marketing to grow. If you need help with your Precise Prospect Profile or just want ideas to grow your company, click to get a free Lead Boost Review.

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Topics: Lead Generation, Small Business Marketing, Content Marketing


Inbound Sales:  The Effective Inbound Sales Process

Posted by Kami Valdez

December 1, 2015

Content plays a key role during the sales process. It’s not just for the marketing phase. Content gives you an excuse to be in touch and multiple touch points means more rapport.

The more a lead engages with your business, the deeper that connection grows. 

In complex sales, use your content to sell across the prospect’s company. Continue providing content after the sale to maximize customer delight.

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Also, to make this process run smoothly, you need a good CRM that captures pre-sales qualified lead data and informs the salesperson. Use this data to target content to the right individuals. Identify key pain points an individual is facing, and use that information to formulate your pitches.

Finally, analyze your prospects’ marketing actions to decide the best way to close the sale, or to continue building a connection until those leads are ready to buy.

Build your inbound selling skills using the Inbound Sales Super Guide. Download the guide and make the shift to Inbound Sales today. 

Inbound Sales Super Guide

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Inbound Sales: How To Align Sales & Marketing

Posted by Kami Valdez

November 24, 2015

When shifting to Inbound Sales make sure your marketing and sales teams are on the same page. They should have the same goals in mind, be working together, and understand each other’s role in the process.

Inbound Sales: How To Align Sales & Marketing 

Your teams can do this in three main ways:

  1. Decide on definitions.
  2. Keep Marketing and Sales accountable.
  3. Survey Sales to help Marketing create more targeted content.

Let’s break them down:

1. Decide on Definitions

Your teams need to agree on four main definitions:

  1. Leads
  2. Inbound Leads
  3. Marketing Qualified Leads (MQLs)
  4. Sales Qualified Leads (SQLs)

Regular leads are shots in the dark. Your team doesn’t have any background information on them, and you don’t know where they are in the buying process. These are the “leads of old.” They come from buying email lists, random outreach, etc.

Inbound leads, on the other hand, are backed by information. You know where they are in the buying process and your team knows how to reach out to them.

Next up are Marketing Qualified Leads. These leads are in the right industry for your business and have pain points and goals that your business can cater to. 

Finally, your teams need to decide what characteristics determine a Sales Qualified Lead. SQLs are all about the right actions like call requests, downloading bottom-of-the-funnel content and visiting sales pages. Through the actions they take, your sales team knows exactly which people are more likely to buy.

2. Keep Marketing and Sales Accountable

To align Sales and Marketing, you want to eliminate as much friction between them as possible. One way is to establish lead transfer metrics and and other processes that keep both of your teams accountable. 

First, determine how many leads Marketing will deliver in a given time period. This could be each day, in a week, a month — whatever works best for your business.

Make sure you’re also doing quarterly, monthly, and yearly reviews to help your team track their progress and plan future growth.

Finally, Marketing should be open about sharing lead intelligence with Sales:

  • The content your leads have downloaded
  • What types of emails they’ve engaged with
  • The pages they’ve visited

This information is vital to your sales team’s ability to do their jobs effectively.

3. Help Marketing Create More Targeted Content by Surveying Sales

This is how you establish a feedback loop that makes the entire process run more smoothly.

Just like Marketing should relay lead intelligence to Sales, Sales should relay how leads are reacting to their content back to Marketing.

Your marketing team should then find out what their sales process entails, what characterizes a high and low quality lead, and the top reasons a lead doesn’t close.

Marketing can use this information to create more targeted content, which will make Sales more effective (and happier).

In the end, if your sales and marketing team are fully knowledgeable about the process and the lead, the customer will feel valued at every stage of the conversion process. 

To learn more about aligning your sales and marketing teams, download the Inbound Sales Super Guide and make the shift to Inbound Sales today. 

Inbound Sales Super Guide

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Inbound Sales: Buyers Hold The Power

Posted by Kami Valdez

November 18, 2015

Salespeople used to hold most of the knowledge about their products and services. They were the educators. These days, buyers do their own research, read online reviews, and talk to their peers before ever speaking to a salesperson.

Inbound Sales: Buyers Hold The Power

Buyers hold the power, and today’s business to business buyers respond best to a consultative sales process.

Companies, marketers, and salespeople have to adapt to this change in consumer behavior. Marketing has made major shifts through Inbound Marketing. Salespeople are now charged with making the shift to Inbound Sales.

Inbound Sales focuses on aligning Sales and Marketing so they are both focused on increasing sales and working together in an inbound world.

Instead of overpowering buyers with your pitch about how great your company or product is, you need to ask questions and listen to better understand your prospect’s “pain”. Then, use the information you gather to present your services as the solution.

Think about how a doctor asks questions and allows patients to discuss what they feel and then follows up with more questions. It’s best to listen to your prospect so you can gather vital information needed to solve their problems.

It’s about teaching sales people to use content and buyer intelligence so they can structure sales conversations to reflect the buyer’s situation and interests. This helps them know which topics and types of content prospects are interested in and which ones are doing the best job of closing sales. Using this information helps you develop a sales conversation that focuses on the buyer’s issues.

In a consultative sales process, listening to prospects and being focused on helping them is of utmost importance. It’s about their needs, their issues, and the help they need from you to become educated buyers who trust your business and are comfortable making a purchase.

Inbound Sales is based around this premise: 

Each prospect has a unique journey to follow in their buying process. 

It’s the inbound salesperson’s job to facilitate this journey.

Build your inbound selling skills using the Inbound Sales Super Guide. Download the guide and make the shift to Inbound Sales today. 

Inbound Sales Super Guide

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Attract Readers With Powerful Headlines and Optimized Content

Posted by Kami Valdez

October 31, 2015

Do you struggle to write great headlines and optimize your content to attract more readers? If your headline does not grab the attention of your prospect, your content won't be read. If your content is not optimized correctly, search engines won't find it and you won't gain traffic. 

Online content creation is difficult. There's a lot to it. Fortunately, there are some excellent tools available to help you maximize your effort. In the article Tools to Help You Optimize Blog Headlines and Content at ProBlogger.com, top tools are listed that will help you create powerful headlines and optimized content for increased visibility. 

Attract Readers With Powerful Headlines and Optimized Content

All the tools listed in this article can help you develop your headlines and optimize your content. For even more marketing information, read the CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn how to create and execute your own 2016 marketing strategy.

 CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

Are there other headline and content tools you've found helpful? Share your favorites with everyone in the comments!

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Topics: Blogging, Inbound Marketing, SEO, Content Marketing