Having a website is not enough anymore, especially if you’re looking to generate leads and possibly sales from the site.
In today’s competitive market, a brand’s website is not merely a nice-to-have; a website plays a much more vital role in driving overall business goals.
In the inbound marketing methodology, websites are the foundation on which inbound marketing strategies rest.
When done right, websites can serve as the attraction hub that draws in new people to the business. And when paired with compelling copy and strategically placed call-to-actions can gently nudge them to convert into leads.
But, from experience, creating websites that check all the inbound marketing boxes while meeting brand needs is not a walk in the park, especially for marketers who are new to the inbound marketing philosophy.
In this piece, we explain what a inbound marketing website is, what makes an effective inbound marketing site and how you can create or redesign your business website to become inbound compliant.
What is an Inbound Marketing Website?
Inbound marketing websites are optimised, targeted websites that speak directly and clearly to specific customer personas while also gently persuading them to convert on a desired action.
Websites designed for inbound marketing aim to accomplish four things:
attract relevant and qualified traffic,
engage them with valuable content,
persuade them to convert and,
finally delight site visitors.
As such, inbound marketing websites are an integral part of the broader marketing strategy. Think of them as the sales platforms that are on-call 24/7.
What Are The Advantages of an Inbound Marketing Website?
Unlike traditional outbound marketing strategies, inbound marketing does not need to fight for prospects’ attention.
By creating relevant, helpful content customers find valuable, and which help them solve their problems, you build trust and credibility for your brand, which is the cornerstone for building thriving businesses.
Aside from the above reason, there are other reasons to rethink your website design or create an inbound marketing website from scratch.
One-off Cost With Long-term Benefits
Inbound marketing websites are gifts that keep giving long after the initial effort and cost to set them up.
When a website is built with inbound in mind, specific actions are taken, which in the long-term saves money.
For instance, making the website mobile responsive from the word go removes the need to build a mobile website or redesign the site down the line.
Also, since inbound websites are usually powered by relevant, timely content that educates and entertains the target audience, these posts often keep attracting new people to the site many years after being published.
Builds Brand Visibility
The ultimate goal of inbound marketing websites is to attract the target audience organically and sustainably.
To achieve this objective inbound marketing websites are optimized in such a way they rank top of the search pages on search engines.
Publishing highly informative and engaging content on the site and actively promoting them across several channels – social, email etc. are proven inbound strategies that ensure the brand message is continuously on prospects’ face.
As the SEO benefits of the content kick in, you’ll begin to reach an entirely new audience who often use search engines, thereby boosting your brand visibility.
Automates Lead Generation
The best part of an inbound marketing website is that not only does it attract a consistent stream of people, but the whole lead generation process can also be automated.
Bridge the gap between sales and marketing by deploying feature-rich, automated CRM.
These marketing automation tools will often serve contextual offers with opt-in forms to site visitors as they scroll through the page. At the back end is a series of nurturing content that pushes the lead further down the sales funnel until they convert to customers.
Leads to Higher ROI
It costs 62 per cent less to generate leads via inbound strategies than through traditional marketing methods. This implies, the lower customer acquisition cost bolsters the chances of receiving a higher ROI.
Since it is possible to track prospects’ behaviour on the site, you will immediately see how visitors behave at each stage of the buyer’s journey.
You will get a better insight into how they react to specific offers, which content converts better, and so on, which in turn, will guide you to create more relevant evergreen content.
Characteristics of an Inbound Marketing Website
While no two brands’ websites are the same, when it comes to creating an inbound marketing website, they tend to share common characteristics.
Here are a couple of the features that make most inbound marketing websites tick:
Excellent User Experience
Ease of use, seamless and intuitive are terms that perfectly describe inbound marketing websites.
Creating a user experience that delights visitors encompasses everything, including ensuring a fast load time, consistent and coherent design, and clear call to actions.
When a new visitor lands on the site, they want to navigate through the website without needing any help.
The rule of thumb to creating a de-cluttered, easy to use website is to eliminate any design element that doesn’t help users accomplish their goals.
Whether it is booking a consultation on the site, searching for more information about a service or contacting support – the design element that enables prospects to accomplish each action should be clearly labeled and placed in a prominent position.
Search Engine Optimised
An SEO optimised website ensures people can discover your brand when they google for related services/products.
When redesigning a site or building one from scratch, it is vital to develop an SEO strategy early on. Embedding SEO thinking in the early stages of the project ensures you only have minimal work to do after launching the website.
A couple of things to think about when redesigning the site to become SEO optimised:
Develop a keyword strategy that enables you to uncover profitable keywords for your brand.
Conduct a content audit to identify content gaps, see posts that need updating with the latest information, and remove duplicate content.
Create information architecture and sitemap to help search engines easily crawl your site.
Perform technical SEO as the project progresses to ensure a lightweight site.
Optimise all content with relevant keywords. Compress images to reduce load time. Include meta-data on videos, photos and other media formats
While this is not an exhaustive list, it is an excellent place to start when optimising an inbound marketing site for search engines.
Inbound marketing websites rely on content to build trust and credibility. The objective of most inbound marketing efforts is to have prospects associate a website with good content.
And, as is often the case, once a visitor believes a site provides useful information, they tend to return again and again.
Gradually, they will begin to trust and like the brand behind the website. And when it is time to ask for the sale, it becomes pretty easy for them to say, yes.
However, creating engaging content consistently depends on a complete understanding of who the target audience is, what their pain points are, and the kind of questions they are asking.
Here’s where having a comprehensive keyword research strategy comes in.
A highlight of an inbound website is the opportunity to convert prospects. At each step, there are some strategically placed CTAs that prompt users to take the desired action.
Most inbound marketing sites have dedicated landing pages where visitors are redirected to after clicking on a CTA.
However, to ensure a high conversion rate, be sure the CTAs and offer are contextually relevant to the prospect.
Automation is a natural feature of inbound marketing websites. Since successful inbound campaigns involve several moving parts, it can get overwhelming pretty quickly.
Automating most of the processes ensures you can easily monitor performances.
Also, automation enables you to serve personalised content to each prospect based on their behaviour on the site or the referring URL they click through to your site.
Tips for building an Inbound Marketing Website That Performs
Here are some tips to help you create an inbound marketing website that accomplishes your business objectives.
First, understand your target audience.
Develop a content strategy
Develop a mobile-first website
Bake in automation
Make it easy to share
Strategically position your CTAs.
1. First, Understand Your Target Audience.
Designing inbound marketing websites that work starts with understanding who your ideal prospects are.
Everything on the website, including the copy, design elements, offer, CTAS, should speak clearly and directly to the people you aim to attract.
2. Develop a Content Strategy
For every successful inbound marketing website out there, behind the scenes is a content strategy.
Content is, without doubt, the life-blood of inbound marketing.
When creating the content strategy, you want to focus on producing content that answers your prospects’ questions.
A quick tip to help you get started is to plug the keywords that matter to your business into search engines and pay attention to the type of content that is shown.
The websites that are ranking top will give you an idea of the type of articles prospects are searching for. Study the top five sites to see how you can produce much better content than what’s out there already.
3. Develop a Mobile-first Website
Majority of prospects today visit websites on their mobile phone. And, Google has announced they are moving to a mobile-first indexation.
So, you want to make it easy, both for users and search engines, to find your website.
Whether you are redesigning or developing a new website, ensure it is mobile optimized, this way, regardless of the device a prospect is using, they will have a frictionless, delightful experience navigating through the website.
4. Bake in Automation
Automation shouldn’t be an after-thought when designing an inbound marketing website.
Right from the early stages of the project, you want to think deeply about how and what tools you need to capture leads on the site.
Tracking user behaviors over time will provide you with enough data to make an informed decision about the best locations for the opt-in forms and CTAs.
5. Make it Easy to Share
When you produce epic content, you want as many people as possible to see it.
Also, users are often known to want to share content they found useful with their friends on social media. You want to ensure visitors can share these content easily and without overthinking it.
One to do that is to integrate social share buttons on the page.
6. Strategically Position Your CTAs.
An inbound marketing website is, first of all, focused on providing a delightful experience for users, but you also want the site to help you meet business objectives.
Incorporating offers and call-to-actions are part of the inbound marketing website design process.
Communicate the next steps you want visitors to take – do you want them to fill a form? Take a survey? Or make a purchase?
Communicate these desired actions in clear terms and make it stupidly easy to find.
Inbound marketing comprises several parts, including content marketing; however, at the heart of the strategy is a functional, optimised website.
Understanding what makes for effective inbound marketing websites and how you can create one for your business is a vital first step in launching an inbound marketing campaign that works.