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Basics of Inbound Marketing

Basics of Inbound Marketing

Posted on Jul 25, 2017 by Emily Ballard

Optimizing your website’s keywords, call-to-actions, and landing pages are fundamental in search engine optimization and getting started with inbound marketing. It takes time to rank higher through organic SEO methods, but inbound marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of capturing the attention of high-quality prospects. The second most important contributor to organic search engine optimization is producing blog content that is knowledgeable on topics within your industry and valuable to your ideal customer. Optimizing your website for conversion and creating content that that resonates with your readers will set you up for continuously bringing in high-quality leads.

Attract

Creating in-depth buyer personas is the first step in understanding your ideal customer, their wants, their needs and their problems. Offering useful information on your website and in blog posts that is tailored to your ideal prospect creates trust and credibility, and ultimately resonates with readers. Developing content that appeals to different, specific target audiences demonstrates knowledge across your industry and can continue bringing readers back for more information in the long run. Publishing valuable content on a blog, along with utilizing keywords and optimizing landing pages, is the most fruitful way to rank organically in Google search results. Once you’ve optimized your website and content management system, pushing content out on social media platforms will drive high-quality visitors to your landing pages and ultimately increase conversion rates. As you outline your buyer persona, keep in mind which social media channels your ideal prospects hang out on, as this should be your primary focus on where to push out blog posts.

Convert

In order to ensure you’re attracting high-quality visitors that will convert to paying customers, you need some sort of information on who is reading your content—this is where optimizing your landing pages becomes crucial. Your landing page needs to consist of a form where readers have to enter information such as their name, email address, and job title to access your content. Construct messages specific to your ideal prospect and A/B test call-to-actions so that you know what is most effective in leading people to enter more information. Landing pages need to be tailored to assure the reader they will be receiving beneficial information, and optimized with keywords and high-quality information in order to increase conversions. Give them an incentive to fill out a landing page such as receiving a free downloadable like an eBook, webinar, how-to guide, or percentage off of their first order. As you embed keywords throughout the content on your website it will increase search engine ranking, thus driving more traffic to your website.

Nurture

Once you’ve attracted the right prospects and converted prospects into leads, it’s important to convert leads to customers at the right time. Keep track of the information you’ve obtained on each lead through a customer relationship management system. This allows you to better engage with each lead, and offer more tailored information specific to their needs until they are ready to convert to a paying customer. If a prospect reads your blog, clicks on your call-to-action, fills out a landing page, downloads your ebook and still isn’t ready to become a customer, have a series of emails on deck to nurture them and offer them additional valuable information for free. This additional information should be tailored to their needs and their previous actions, which will tell you what you need to offer them.

Inbound marketing takes time but is more beneficial for your business in the long run rather than pay per click advertising methods. Offering valuable information for free builds trust, brings customers back for more information, and creates loyal customers that will stand by your brand in the long run. Do you need help with your inbound marketing efforts? Contact us here!

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How to Create a DIY CRM System with Google Docs

Posted on Feb 28, 2013 by Derek Singleton

If you’re a small business owner, you’re likely managing everything from your financials to your marketing activities–and you’re doing it all on a limited budget. While you know that you need a better way to manage your sales prospects, especially during periods of growth, you just aren’t ready to pay for a customer relationship management system to keep in touch with potential and existing customers.

At the Software Advice website, I help review and compare most of the major CRM (customer relationship management) systems on the market. But the truth of the matter is that many of the popular systems on the market can be too expensive for many small business owners. For these small businesses, it may be more effective to take the do-it-yourself (DIY) approach and build your own CRM system.

Building your own CRM system can provide several benefits:

  • It’s affordable (read: free)
  • It’s flexible
  • It’s easy to use and customize

A great tool for building a CRM system on your own is Google Docs. If you have a Gmail account, you already have access to an easy way to build your own CRM software. Already widely used as a management tool, it’s fairly easy to extend the power of these applications to help with customer management. Here’s a quick step-by-step overview of how to do it.

Decide Who Gets Access–And What Information to Include
Google Docs allows all users to collaborate across any document thanks to their sharing and editing features. So, if one person changes a contact’s information, it automatically syncs across the system. This allows all document collaborators to see the change immediately. Beyond that, you can monitor user privileges to ensure that all users have access to the right information.

Once you decide who will be able to access and update data in your CRM system, you’ll need to create a Google Spreadsheet. After that, it’s time to determine what information you want to track about sales prospects in your spreadsheet. A few pieces of information that are a good idea to track include:

  • Demographics – company name, contact name, email, phone number, etc.
  • Prospect source – how the prospect found out about your company
  • Next actions – a code that determine how you’ll follow (e.g. phone call or email)
  • Contact log – notes from every contact you make with the prospect
  • Estimated opportunity size – an estimate of the size of the sale
  • Lead nurturing stage – a numbered system that shows how close the prospect is to purchasing (1 = aware but not interested; 4 = has purchased)

Keep in mind that this is just a starter list and you’ll likely want to record other information that’s specific to your business. So feel free to add any field that’s relevant to your company. If after a while you realize that you want to track more information, it’s fairly easy to add a new field.

Learn How to Manipulate the Data with Spreadsheet Functions
One nice thing about using a Google Spreadsheet is that there are easy sort features that allows you to sort by any field you like. If you only want to look at contacts with the biggest opportunity size, just sort by “estimating opportunity size” and you can view your most largest sales prospects from the largest potential sales to smallest.

Or, maybe you’re interested in the looking at the number of companies that are in the very beginning of the lead nurturing stage. You’ve already coded all entries that are in this stage of the buying process with a 1 but you don’t know how many of your contacts are at that phase. To figure this out, you can use a simple function known as a “countif()”. It works like this:

Determine the cell range you want to count sales prospects for (let’s say it’s cells C2 to C100)
Decide the criteria for counting each cell (in this case it’s a “1”)

To count all your prospects that are the beginning of the sales cycle, you can use the formula in cell C101: ‘=countif(C2:C100, “1”)’. This will give you the total number of contacts that are at phase one in the buying process. Of course there are a whole host of other functions that you can use to manipulate that data, but you get the idea. For a comprehensive list of spreadsheet functions that will work in a Google Spreadsheet check out Google’s help page.

With this method, you can start tracking their sales prospects in an efficient and paperless manner. And you can do it for free. As a bonus, you’ll also be able to access this data from anywhere with an Internet connection because information in Google Docs is stored in the Cloud.

Do you have any other DIY tips on creating a CRM system? Leave us a comment below.