Utilizing SEO to Guide Your Inbound Marketing Strategy
SEO is at the core of an inbound marketing strategy. In fact, it’s one of its most valuable assets. Whether this is new to you or knowledge you already have, read on for some applicable information and valuable tips regarding SEO, marketing strategies, conversion rates, and watching those potential customers turn into loyal ones.
First, Let’s Define Inbound Marketing Strategy:
According to Hubspot (one of the most authoritative sources on this subject), “inbound marketing, or the inbound methodology, is the method of growing your organization by building meaningful, lasting relationships with consumers, prospects, and customers. It’s about valuing and empowering these people to reach their goals at any stage in their journey with you.”
In a nutshell, applicable inbound marketing strategy brings your customers to you rather than you actively reaching out to them, the converse, of course, is an outbound marketing strategy. With an inbound strategy, you’ll be creating marketing content that draws people into your world, your website, and your brand. This all-encompassing strategy focuses on informative, relevant digital content that brings the customer to you with engagement and offers to solve a problem that the customer has.
It’s important to keep in mind that you are dealing with real people, in other words, individuals who have their problems, goals, and interests. Your goal is to share that you can solve those problems and help them reach those goals. One way to do it is with your inbound marketing strategy and connecting through shared interests and engagement. And to be able to reach them productively, you have to align your interests and goals with theirs and make it seem worth their while to come to you.
What that means is that in an inbound strategy, you’ll create interesting ways and means for potential business partners and customers (clients) to come to you. Often, that’s more productive and advantageous than you seeking them out. The more creative and interactive you can get with your marketing strategies, the more those customers will come and stay.
When a business is looking to reach its audience effectively, it’ll have to explain to that potential audience just what it is offering and what the benefit is for them. In other words, entice them in, explain how you can help, and expect them to stay.
This is often where businesses and brands need an effective content strategy. According to Market Muse, “a content strategy is the ongoing process of transforming business objectives and goals into a plan that uses content as a primary means of achieving those goals.” Essentially, this is where that alignment we mentioned above comes in.
One of your most important elements in devising an effective inbound marketing strategy and creating a working content strategy is search engine optimization or SEO. Yoast, an expert in SEO, defines SEO as “the practice of optimizing your web pages to make them reach a high position in the search results of Google and other search engines.”
Keep Content Organic, Relevant, and Evolving
While SEO is in constant evolution due to Google’s ever-evolving algorithm, Google’s mission stays steady to provide the best results to answer a user’s search question. That being said, many companies and brands are making a classic mistake when it comes to content marketing. They create and publish SEO-optimized content, but it isn’t organic, quality content for the end-user. Instead, it’s overly SEO-focused, it sounds forced, and it won’t rank well on Google.
- Companies are sending promotional emails, which bypass the consideration step.
- Companies are creating brand content on their blog (in addition to the SEO Content) are great for brand awareness and the community, but it can impact the SEO strategy
- Companies are creating landing pages or high-quality content to promote the brand through paid advertising (conversion goal)
- Companies are creating a lead capture campaign to nurture their email database.
To make a long story short, companies and brands are losing a lot of money because they are creating content but it’s not concurrently relevant, organic, and search engine optimized. It’s not working when it comes to bringing the customers in. The truth is, it’s not always easy to do that.
But what if you optimize your content production thanks to SEO?
We Can’t Conduct Search Engine Optimization Like We Used to
Google raises its standards constantly, which means we have to, too.
Back in the day when SEO was new, it was easy to add multiple keywords on the page and use them as filler words to rank on multiple terms. People also would buy backlinks from random websites to be featured on the search engine.
Today, we need to think about the buyer’s intention and provide a great on-site experience and user experience at the same time; we also need to receive backlinks from authority websites in our niches. You can still try with other, less authoritative websites, but there’s the risk that you can lose a lot of money because these aren’t the sources that are worth using. Strong marketing tools, high-end content creation, and a great marketing plan are essential tools to open the door for organic traffic and a fulfilling buyer’s journey.
Let’s think about it: Great experience, buyer’s intention.
That sounds like an excellent start for a successful inbound marketing strategy, doesn’t it?
So now the big question is… How do you use SEO to guide your inbound marketing strategy? Because once you can achieve this, you’ll be set to find success with your content.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Create Meaningful Content for Your Audience
Okay, most of us know about meaningful content already and that it’s crucial to create meaningful content for your audience to have a successful buyer’s journey. When your customers find you and complete this journey, we want to see them repeat it, right?
One of the best techniques when it comes to creating strong SEO along with optimal content is to create it in a natural, organic way. No one wants to read something that sounds forced or contrived, so check out these tips to do just that.
Focus on one of your buyer personas in your content marketing
Think about just one of your buyer personas at a time so you can gear your content and web pages directly to them. Even your calls to action (CTAs)can be created specifically and intentionally for them.
- Design a specific sales funnel for that specific persona for a successful user experience.
- Focus on what they like, their challenges, their goals, and anything specific to them, you can even check out some case studies for more information.
- Onboard them through applicable lead generation, page SEO, and relevant content.
When this all comes together, you’ve laid the groundwork for successful inbound marketing strategies.
Do your keyword research based on your persona challenge
Once you know their persona well, you can focus on marketing tools to appeal to them. However, one thing to avoid is focusing too much on the search volume. This can become unnatural and unreliable and transition into a negative component of the customer journey. Instead, try to find relevant keywords for your buyer persona that consider their challenges. The more specific you can be, the more your customers will identify with what you have.
Give them a hand at each step of the funnel
The good thing is that we don’t need to reinvent the wheel here. However, you do want to make a brand-specific wheel and create one masterpiece of content for each step of the funnel so we recommend designing three pieces of content along with your landing page.
Check out this hypothetical case study where we’ll talk to Bob who is a business owner looking to improve his business prospecting, and we’ll take the role of a Saas Company who provides an automated business prospecting tool. He’ll see how marketing automation can help his marketing efforts.
Freezing audience content
First, write a general article about the main challenge keeping in mind that your readers are not aware that you’re going to provide a solution to their problems at this step. For example: “How to improve your business prospecting” you’ll want to include two calls to action: one for your landing page that you’ll create for this persona and one for the second article of your funnel series.
Make sure you don’t write an over-promoting post. Of course, you’ll talk about your solution, but your buyer’s journey is just getting started, and now they’re looking for answers.
Cold audience content
Here, you’ll write a more specific article. For example: “How and why you should optimize your LinkedIn Prospection.”
As you can see, it’s important to start targeting in a more specific model. This article would be specific to writing a LinkedIn Prospection, and this piece of content is probably the most important one. This is the place where your readers are going to begin to see that they might benefit from your services, and you want to make sure this is clear, and you can start to include your CTAs. Remember, though, there is no need to over-promote your product here because the content should speak for itself. You should include an email capture call to action at the end to download the Lead Magnet and redirect your potential customers to the landing page.
Lukewarm audience content
Create a “how-to” lead magnet. Here is where your ideal customers will understand that it’s possible to solve their problems and that you’re proposing something cool enough to work. Now it’s time to engage them.
Create a cool lead magnet about how to solve their issue with your solution. In that case, try: “How to improve your LinkedIn prospection with YOUR TOOL,” and include a CTA to the landing page.
Do you see the subtle difference here? It may be small, but it’s going to make a significant impact.
Warm audience content
Here is where you’ll create a landing page with an offer to your target audience to buy/subscribe to your product or service. This is where it’s time to get in and sell what you’re selling! This specific landing page focuses directly on your persona’s challenges and highlights how your product or service can help them.
You’ve got a great start to creating an effective buyer’s journey with valuable content, so when everything is ready, submit your content in the Google search console, and you’re ready to move to the next step.
Marketers, Be Creative and Efficient with Backlinks
When you put SEO at the center of your marketing efforts and inbound marketing strategy, you’re focusing on performance first.
Do a backlinks competitors analysis
If specific marketing efforts worked well for your competitor, why not try to replicate them? You don’t always need to think out of the box; sometimes the most applicable work is already there ready to be made your own. Of course, the key is to make it your own, we don’t want to steal someone’s idea, right? And if they did make mistakes, find what you can do to avoid doing the same mistakes. You can even learn from them through this methodology. But you also have the opportunity and responsibility to make that high-quality content your own. Through a backlinks analysis, you can use it as a starting block to gain those ideal customers.
Think outside of the box
Wait, what? Didn’t I just write the opposite?! I think I even said, You don’t always need to think out of the box.
But sometimes, you do need to get creative and think outside of the box. Think about utilizing infographics, blogging, and whatever speaks to you to create knowledgeable, discerning, and great content to increase conversion rates. Consider catchy page titles and visually appealing templates. The smarter and more perceptive your SEO strategy is, the higher you’ll rank in google search, and you’ll watch those new leads pay off.
Think about it, what is important and applicable for Google will be important for you when it comes to reaching your audience. Here is what Google sees as important, so be sure to incorporate these components into your marketing strategy:
You may have observed that the biggest institutions in this field are not as efficient or as authoritative as before, so remember that when you want to show authority, size doesn’t always matter here.
This is the key to your content marketing strategy if you want to leverage your brand. Relevancy is one of the most crucial components when looking to reach audiences that you may have not connected with previous attempts.
The more you can engage your customers with your digital content, the more likely your inbound marketing strategies will be effective. When it comes to that, think about things like infographics, blogging, surveys, social media posts and engagement shared interests, and relevant images. It’s all about engagement here and connecting with the audience.
Here you’ll have to find a good strategy for yourself, but keep in mind that you should never pay for a branded backlink.
Tips: Create a label that people from your niche will display on their websites.
OK, but where is the inbound here?
Content can take weeks to rank… and like most businesses, you can’t wait for that much time before seeing a return on investment (or at least you don’t want to wait). But content marketing and lead generation are still important. You want your searchers to find you easily, that’s what inbound is all about, and the more places you can be, the better. Your inbound marketing campaign is a big part of customer generation.
Send traffic to your freezing audience content via social media
Facebook, LinkedIn, even TikTok, all platforms of social media are full of key places to find new customers and generate new leads. Don’t overlook this as a natural venue for content creation, and you can test multiple audiences and create a campaign with a “Conversion Objective” to make everyone on social media platforms understand what you’re looking for. Remember, organic traffic is the best kind, and social media marketing is a great place to find it.
Create custom audiences based on the behavior of the first interactions to warm them up
You don’t want to overspend for people who don’t care about your content. But if they visited your website or spent more than 30 seconds on a page, it might be worth it! These are the potential customers you’re looking for!
Buy some keywords on Google Ads to bring users to your cold content
Easy to say, right? With a strong keyword research process regarding your persona, you’ll find this can be a good way to bring them to your Cold content and Landing page. Your search engine results are what bring customers in. Unlocking the algorithm is like saying the magic word. However, the algorithm can be tricky, so pay attention.
Tips: I would not recommend using Google Ads for Freezing audience content as it might be expensive for a very broad topic.
Create an engaging and applicable email series
They may download your lead magnet, but it’s always cool to reach out to potential customers to ask if they have any questions or to highlight some hidden features of your service. Email marketing is a great personal touch that can turn potential customers into actual customers. Sure, it can be time-consuming, so… automatize it.
When it comes to automatizing emails you can set up your system to do things like sending a welcome email when new customers sign up or subscribe to your page; other companies send a reminder that they left something in their virtual cart.
Emails are a nice way to maintain a connection with your customers, and there are so many ways to create relevant and worthwhile emails. Another way to employ this technique is to send a feedback email asking for input on a particular interaction or purchase, and a tips email including another free offer and a meeting proposal is a smart idea as well. Your target audience will appreciate this engagement and personal attention.
Remember though, don’t overwhelm the inbox because that can lead to your customers unsubscribing to your business, and no one likes multiple emails per day!
Why does Search Engine Optimization Work?
SEO is an effective technique for reaching a specific audience. It helps you focus on a relevant market using relevant content. The key is not only creating strong, appropriate content but also making sure it reaches your specific audience and engages them.
- You can test your content from the beginning. Think about it, if one article is ranking in the top three and is not well optimized for your audience, you won’t transform those conversions. You need stronger metrics and relevant content to see those conversions. With a paid strategy, you’ll understand if something doesn’t work, and you’ll have the chance to adapt it before it ranks. Therefore, you’ll have the best of reaching and gaining new customers.
- SEO requires research. You need to understand your buyer’s intent, challenges, and goals to create high-quality, valuable content. So starting with SEO is the best way to kick off your inbound marketing strategy. Keyword research is important to gain high conversion rates, so do your research. It’s all about the customer journey.
The Bottom Line
Now that we’ve gone over some of the ins and outs of inbound marketing strategies and search engine optimization, you get set on the path to reaching, engaging, and capturing new clients. Sure, we all want great content, but we also want to see customers and conversions. Our content won’t be so applicable if it’s not helping us attain our goals, right?
So when you are creating your content, it’s crucial to keep your customer in mind with organic, engaging, interactive content. Send emails, incorporate infographics, and even a fun survey here and there. Connect on social media and find ways to keep the engagement going. Before you know it, your customers wont’ be able to stay away.
The big key here is to get to know your potential customers and target audience. Then you can appeal to them step by step with great content and a smart, relevant SEO strategy; this is the magic elixir to get them to notice you, get them to engage, and get them to stay. There’s always outbound marketing, too, but that’s for another day.
The bottom line is that all of this can lead to organic traffic and more conversions. And that’s what you want, right? So with an effective inbound marketing strategy personalized to your customers, before you know it, they’ll no longer be your potential customers, they’ll be loyal ones who you’ll see time and time again.
Not sure where to start? Consider working with an inbound marketing agency to guide you through the whole process, from properly identifying your customer persona to tailoring an SEO and content strategy and working within a unified platform such as HubSpot, finding the right partner will propel your inbound marketing efforts.