Inbound & Digital Marketing Blog

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


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


Inbound Marketing Checklist for Your Next Trade Show

Posted by Kami Valdez

October 29, 2015

Recently, we compared inbound marketing with trade shows. Then, I came across a great article from our friends at Square2 Marketing about how to maximize trade show success with inbound marketing.

If you attend your industry's top trade show, you may invest $10,000, $20,000, or more. Do you want to spend that money for your people to stand around in a booth and collect business cards? Or, would you actually like to get some real leads and have that event pay off?

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Inbound marketing can help you have a completely different experience at your next tradeshow. If you take an inbound approach, it will be money well spent.

Planning is key for your event to be considered a real success. You need to start planning for your event 8-12 weeks in advance.

Create your schedule first. Start backwards from the day of the event, and plan your pre-show, in-show, and post-show marketing tactics. Once the plan is complete, assign the individual tasks to your team.

Inspired by the Square2 article, I made a handy checklist you can use for your next trade show. If you need help with any of this, don't hesitate to call and talk to us—inbound marketing is our passion!Trade Show Marketing Checklist

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Sales & CRM, Content Marketing


Why Can't I Predict My Sales?

Posted by Clarke Bishop

October 8, 2015

Marketing and sales don't work like they used to. Gone are the days when a little advertising and cold calling could lead to steady stream of appointments. Everyone has caller ID and ad blockers, so interruption marketing tactics rarely work. 

Smart phones and the Internet have given all the power to buyers—the buying process has changed. Your selling process must adapt to meet the needs of your prospects and close the sale.

The key to building a predictable, scalable marketing engine is to start with strategy. Marketing strategy involves identifying and understanding your best prospects and then sending the right messages.

As you build your strategy, think about the following questions:

1. Who are your best prospects? The more precise you can be the better. What messages do they need to hear to get interested and ultimately become a customer.

2. What makes your company remarkable? Remarkables are things about your business that make prospects say "Wow!" and cause them to tell their friends. 

3. Do you have a strategy, including an execution plan? You need an editorial publishing calendar that lays out the plan for your marketing team. It should describe the content and schedule, and also cover how the content will be promoted and distributed to prospects. 

Why Can't I Predict My Sales?

Dark and difficult times lie ahead for those that don't adjust to the new reality. Read the CEO’s 2016 Guide to Marketing and learn what has changed and will bring you results in this new climate.

CEO's 2016 Guide to Marketing

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Topics: Lead Generation, Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing


My Marketing Isn’t Bringing Me Leads—It’s Frustrating!

Posted by Kami Valdez

September 17, 2015

“I am doing everything I know to do, but my marketing isn’t bringing me leads!”

Too many CEOs and business owners we talk to are frustrated. You are doing all you know, but your website still isn't delivering leads.

Frustrated Marketing Is Not Working

You're creating blog content, publishing it on social media, and driving some traffic, but still struggle to generate leads.

If you're finding it's difficult to get leads, or your website isn't working, you may have a strategy problem. Follow the steps below and I'll help you get started.

1. Start With A Clear Goal

Trying to grow your business without having a goal is like going on a road trip without a map. You'll get lost!

Decide on a goal that is specific and measurable. How about 25 qualified leads per month? Great goal! Now you just need to map out the route to get you there.

2. Identify Your Ideal Prospect

To generate 25 qualified leads per month, you must first clarify who you'd like to attract. Use your sales team and identify all the dimensions of an ideal prospect.

The more precise you can be about knowing your buyers, the better your results. Download the Precise Prospect Profile Kit for help.

3. Discover Your Audience

Once you have your goal, and know who your audience is, you can get started looking for them. Think about where they spend their time online.

For B2B companies, start with LinkedIn. That is where a lot of professionals spend their time. Search for groups within a target market and you will find there are plenty of them, full of your future prospects.

Use Google to search for blogs, forums, and other websites where more of your target audience could be spending time, searching for answers to their questions.

Put links to all the places you come up with on a list so you can refer back to it again.

4. Pinpoint Pains, Problems & Questions

Search blogs, social media sites, websites, and forums to identify the challenges and pains around the product or service you offer.

Write down common questions and problems you find and use them to build your content and stories.

5. Create Content

When you create content, think about your prospects goals. What are they trying to accomplish or get away from? What is keeping them up at night and how can your product or service help?

The content you create must match the needs of your customers. Write content that is valuable that addresses top questions, goals, and pain points.

6. Targeted Outreach

Reach out to your audience and share your content where they are. That is how you will drive them back to your site so they can discover all your amazing content.

Here are some things you can do to reach out to your target audience:
  • Share your blog articles as discussions in LinkedIn Groups.
  • Comment on other websites and blogs and reference your content.
  • Share your article on Twitter using relevant hashtags—schedule multiple tweets over several days.
  • Find individuals on LinkedIn or other websites and send them a personal email with a link to the article.
  • Send an email to relevant leads in your CRM and share the article. You do have your contacts segmented, right? Only send relevant content to prospects.

Remember to do this for each article you publish!

In Conclusion

Following through on the steps set out above will increase the number of leads you get from your online marketing. It will help get you and your business where you want to go and get the leads you need to grow your business. Write your own road map to success today and then enjoy the ride!

Inbound Out Marketing takes a lot of work and the right tactics vary from one company or industry to the next. 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

Takeaways

  • Create a road map to achieve your marketing goals.
  • Create or fine-tune your stories to target your ideal prospect.
  • Use content tailored to your audience to reach out online.
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Topics: Inbound Marketing, Content Marketing