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strategy graphic When it comes to inbound marketing, sound strategy begins with an integrated strategy. Like most efforts, the parts must work together cohesively to create the desired whole.

To gain visibility as a company, you have to generate traffic to your website. To take advantage of traffic you must develop leads. To take advantage of leads, you must convert to sales. Lastly, no matter your level of success, you must analyze your process.

Keeping in mind that one inbound marketing hand shakes the other, let’s take a deeper look at each of the four strategies to create a successful online marketing platform.

Strategy 1: Generating Traffic

Creating a fast lane of traffic to your website involves a variety of tactics. If generating traffic had a toolbox, there’d be three tools you’d reach for most often: search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and social media sharing.

SEO efforts start with recognizing the keywords your potential customers use in web searches. Really, keywords are the online language of your business, used in backend code and within your content to capture the attention of the search engines, with the ultimate goal being to draw potential customers to your online home.

Once you have the right keywords, using them appropriately is the next step. While you might have plenty of products, each product can only have one page on your website. However, a product or service can be almost limitless. More blog posts means more pages. More pages leads to a higher search rank.

Social media platforms can serve as a bullhorn for your blogging efforts. Beyond the fact that posts can live on Twitter or Facebook, entire campaigns can also be created to send traffic your way via follower clicks—but your avid followers will be apt to share your content, too. This serves as an endorsement to potential customers that were formerly out of your reach, in the form of a ringing endorsement.

Strategy 2: Generating Leads

Having increased traffic flow to your site is fantastic, and a cause for celebration. However, it’s not as fantastic as increasing the amount of good, solid leads. Online lead generation directly affects your bottom line, and creates goodwill with your hungry sales team.

Online, leads are generated via premium content offers and landing pages. For visitors to become customers, they must be presented with clear calls to action to uncover the information they’re craving about you and your products, which can come in the form of e-books or webinars.

Premium content can take on a variety of forms: an educational booklet, a sample request, or a technical white paper. The end result is your ideal lead — a potential customer who wants to dig deeper providing an email address for you to follow up with them.

Strategy 3: Turning Leads Into Customers

Leads, like flowers, must be nurtured. They can’t disappear into a vacuum. While some level of automated response is appropriate, that can never replace the value of true human interaction. Strong follow-up will result in the conscious choice of your lead opting in for deeper content offers, which often come through targeted email campaigns.

For this strategy, it’s critical to have a strong understanding of your customers’ needs. That’s the only way to create those deep content offers, ones that address their problems, or answer their burning questions. This is the point where that lead, much like a flower, starts to bloom. Before, a website visitor became a potential customer. Now a potential customer inquiry has become a relationship.

Strategy 4: Analyzing and Measuring

The final strategy can be distilled into two questions:

  1. What’s working?
  2. What’s not working?

By analyzing data, you can discover where your traffic is coming from, and what premium offers are most popular. With the web, and there’s no magic wand to wave for success. A strategy that might work perfectly well for one business could prove disastrous for another.

Analysis is not limited to uncovering which landing pages are most popular or which ebooks are being downloaded at the highest rate. The lead nurturing process should also be reviewed to insure that no leads are slipping through the cracks. You can create the best website in the world, one where traffic grows higher and higher each and every day, but without synergy between marketing and sales teams, that traffic will drive right on by, without ever stopping.

As we noted at the start, each step is integral, but each step is almost useless without the other. Honestly, what we have here is four strategies that make up one comprehensive strategy. A home is always the perfect metaphor when you’re building something from the ground up. Here, these four vital steps make up the foundation for all of your inbound marketing efforts.

Are you using other strategies to meet your inbound marketing goals?

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Diona Kidd

Diona Kidd

Diona is a senior Internet marketing consultant at Knowmad. Her areas of expertise include digital marketing strategy, project management, brand management, search engine optimization (SEO), pay per click advertising, inbound marketing, content marketing, conversion rate optimization, social media marketing and website design.

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