How To Find New Customers With Inbound Marketing
“Our business does not respond to traditional marketing. Our business is so different, that our customers cannot even find us. Attracting customers is our number 1 goal this year. How do we start finding customers that need our services?”
During a potential customer marketing assessment, this was their main concern. They had tried traditional advertising agencies, in-house marketing teams, PR firms, just about everything else under the sun to attract customers. Nothing worked.
During the marketing assessment, we uncovered a very interesting fact. Other agencies and consultants had tried to place their “secret sauce” into their marketing. I mean this makes sense, you want to show off how you differ from your competition.
The problem was that they were really the only player doing what they do. When you would search for their industry, you would find outsourced sales, sales call-centers, etc. These guys did it differently, they actually put boots on the ground and established on-demand sales teams across the United States.
So, the solution was actually easy. They needed to become a thought leader and use inbound marketing to share their story, how they could help potential clients, and most importantly show the CEO, CFO, or COO the results the produced.
Attracting customers for this client was going to be about following the inbound marketing methodology and building brand awareness through value-added content.
So, let’s talk about the 5 inbound tactics that I used to increase organic website traffic by 62% in 6 months and more importantly find new customers with inbound marketing.
Blogging for Business
The cornerstone of inbound marketing is blogging for business. This is where we started. Creating a great blog that tells your story is the place to get started. This helps you generate more pages for your website and helped potential customers answer questions.
Mix up your content
I often get asked how many words should a blog post be. Well, the research stats that every blog post should be over 1,500 words in order to be effective. However, there is also research that suggests people read 20-30% slower online. The longer the blog post, the less likely they will actually read it.
So, there is research for and against long and short blog posts. Well, why not use them together. Our content marketing strategy (the inbound pyramid) creates one grand piece of content (1,500 – 2,500 words) supported by multiple shorter, more digestible posts (500-750 words). These supporting posts are then placed throughout the web, linked back to the grand piece of content, and shared on social media.
The point here is to mix up your content. This is not just for word count but also the platform. Use your content all over the place and repurpose your content on other platforms like Facebook, Medium, and LinkedIn.
Guest blog with strategic partners
Does your business have a list of strategic partners that also need content and blogs for their website? Sure, we all have that business connection that is looking for a guest blog post here and there. Guest blogging can help with the following:
- Gain exposure to another network of potential buyers
- Position yourself as a thought leader
- Generate backlinks to your website for added search engine optimization value
- Generate new followers on social media
Guest blogging is a great way to build your content base using another company’s platform. Who knows, maybe you will be the next guest blogger in one of your industries trade magazines. Guest blogging seems like a waste of time, but if you are able to add value to the reader, you will win in the long run.
Let others blog on your site
Letting others blog on your website is similar to guest blogging on another website. Go out to your network and ask if anyone has an article they would like to post on your website. Just make sure that the topic is something that will add value to your potential customers. Here are a couple of reasons to allow others to blog on your site:
- Get new, fresh content for your blog
- Get social media shares to your site (your blogger will want to promote their work)
- Look at a topic from a different angle
- Build a stronger relationship with a strategic partner
Letting others blog on your website can increase your ability to attract customers to your website. Just make sure that the blogs are high-quality and add value to your user. Never let a sales message come from your blog.
Blog on open content sites
The final way to get more out of your blogging efforts is to focus on open content sites like LinkedIn and Medium. These platforms have a large audience ready to read your content. The trick here is to find the platform that works for your business and build an audience through value-driven content.
Open content sites are a great way to build a following and promote your website. Attracting customers on an open content platform is an effort that can pay off big time. I can’t stress this enough, add value to the reader and you will set yourself up for success.
Search Engine Optimization
I think by this point you understand how important content is in customer acquisition. One of the main reasons we create content is to attract customers to our website through search engine optimization (SEO). Content fuels our SEO efforts. So how do you get the most out of your search engine optimization efforts?
Focus your efforts on long-tail keywords
Long-tail keywords are keywords that are very specific to what you are selling. Typically, these keywords are going to actually be a phrase that your customers are looking for. These long-tail keywords are easier to rank for because the competition is minimal. Ranking for long-tail keywords is easier, giving your company faster rankings and increased traffic faster.
Ensure your on-page SEO is spotless
This is going to be more on the technical side. Ensure that you cover the basics of SEO. There are a couple easy SEO tricks that you can use to get higher rankings, but make sure to include identifying a long-tail keyword in your title, body copy, images, and description of your page or blog post.
In order to make this process easier, you should use a WordPress plugin like Yoast. This plugin will give you a green light/ red light guide to ensure that the on-page SEO elements are included in all your content.
Set up internal links to your website
This is the one tip I wish I knew when I first started blogging. Linking internally to other blog posts and pages will dramatically increase your overall ranking in the search engines. Every time you link internally, it sends Google a signal that that piece of content is important to your website.
In order to get the most out of your blogging efforts, use the inbound pyramid method to create cornerstone posts and supporting posts that are all about a similar topic. Use these posts to link back internally on your website. This method helps us ensure that you cover the internal linking and drive as much traffic to our website.
As you can see I did not mention anything about links from other sites, the use of directories or other SEO tactics to drive more traffic. In my experience, if your content is solid and is able to be found via search engines, you are going to naturally gain links and be submitted to directories. Focus on the SEO tactics that are in your control, and let the process work itself.
Social Media Marketing
You can’t go on the internet today and not hear about how important your social media marketing strategy is in finding new customers. Well, the internet is right, this is not fake news. There are over 1 Billion active Facebook users. There are over 500 million active Instagram users. It is safe to say that your customer is on social media.
So how can you use social media marketing to attract customers to your website?
Promote your blog posts
Social media is a great place to promote and distribute your content that you worked so hard on. This post you are reading now will be sent to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, and broken into bite-sized pieces for Instagram.
Social media is a great way to add value to your end user. This value-added content will help you attract customers. Use social media to promote and distribute your content, you worked hard on it.
Attracting customers to your social media channels is going to take additional work. You can’t only post links back to your website and expect to attract customers. This is where micro-blogging comes into play.
Micro-blogging is the act of creating content for each social media platform. Typically, this content is going to be 300-650 words and is intended to be posted on Facebook, LinkedIn, and even Instagram.
Micro-blogging is important to attract customers because it gives your social media channels a purpose outside of just posting links. I have found that micro-blogging is a great way to answer frequently asked questions and provide short thought leadership content your customers are looking for.
I know what you are thinking, “Great, another thing to add to the to-do list.” Yes, you are right. Video marketing on social media is going to be another thing added to your day. I want to stress that this form of video marketing does not have to be overproduced. In fact, you can use your iPhone to create a video that will engage with your customers.
It is called social media. That means you need to actually be social on these platforms. This means you need to engage with your followers. When they post something on your social media pages, make sure to engage and interact with them. Engagement on social media is a key differentiator. Let’s make social, social again.
Social media is about finding the right content mix. In order to attract customers on social media, you need to give them a reason to visit your Facebook page or LinkedIn profile. Social media can be difficult but can pay dividends if executed the correct way.
Social Media Advertising
Okay, in order to attract customers, you are going to have to open your wallet. Yes, that is right. You are going to have to spend some cash and advertise your business. Now, I am not talking about traditional media buy here. Radio, television, and print advertising are pretty much dead. I am talking about spending $200 per month on social media to amplify your customer attraction methods.
Advertise your blogging efforts
Okay, you are just getting started blogging. Your user base is tiny. You want to ensure that you are going to get as many eyeballs on your blog post. It is a good practice to spend $5-10 on promoting your blog on Facebook or LinkedIn.
By spending a couple bucks to promote your post, you will be able to get your content in front of your ideal customers. This will amplify attracting customers. Again, you do not have to spend thousands of dollars, just spend a couple dollars here and there to get started.
Build your distribution network
Promote your social media pages and increase the number of followers you have. Again, you do not have to spend tons of money here. Spend $25 per month to grow your followers on Facebook. This is going to increase your distribution network and attract more customers through social media.
Target your ideal customer
Okay, enough talk about spending money. It is time to talk about why social media advertising can be a goldmine for customer attraction. There is really no other platform on the planet that has more information about your ideal customer. Social media platforms like Facebook, give you the ability to pinpoint your customer and give them a message they actually want to hear.
Attracting customer starts by knowing your customer and what questions or pinpoints they have. Social media advertising is going to give you the ability to target these exact customers and generate new leads. Use the demographic data available to you and create hyper-targeted customer lists.
Social media advertising does not have to cost you an arm and a leg. Set a budget that you are comfortable with and test your targeting and promotions. Find out what works and double down. Social media advertising can be a great source to attract customers.
Generate Referral Traffic
There is one last way to attract more customers, create referral traffic. Referral traffic is website traffic that came from another source. This could be a link from a guest blog post, directory submission, or any other online referral.
Referral traffic is going to take time to build but will benefit your search engine optimization and generate new leads for your business. So, how does your company generate and increase referral traffic?
Create great contact that begs for backlinks
Generating referral traffic starts with creating links back to your website. You can go the old school approach and email other website owners to link to your content. However, we feel this is a non-natural form of linking and Google might actually look down on this.
So, we have determined that the best way to generate links back to your site is through creating the very best content possible. Higher quality content will naturally get linked to from other blogs, articles, and websites.
Your backlink strategy should start and end by creating high-quality content. Attracting customers through links to your website starts and ends with the quality of your content.
Comment on forums and other blogs
Another source of referral traffic can come from the comments on other blog posts. Find the industry blogs that your ideal customer is reading and place an intelligent, thought leading comment on the blog post.
Typically, your comment will get a link (even if it is not indexed in search) back to your website. These links can drive new customers to your website looking for more information about you and your company.
This commenting strategy also works on social media platforms. The point here is to get involved with your community and let people know you are here. The more active you are commenting, high-value comments, the more you will be recognized as a thought leader, naturally attracting customers to you and your company.
How to Find New Customers with Inbound Marketing
Over the years marketing has changed. Your customer wants you to provide them with value-driven content that helps them make better decisions or helps them solve a problem. The good old marketing message that pushed your agenda is coming to an end.
Attracting customers through inbound marketing takes effort. However, the effort will pay off like a compounding investment account. The more blog posts your company creates, the more opportunities your website has to rank for important keywords. The more keywords your website ranks for, the more customers you attract.
Attracting customers with inbound marketing is going to pay off for you in the long run. Get started now and start seeing the results.