Traditional marketing continues to be more costly and less effective as consumers find ways to avoid advertising techniques. Direct mail is tossed or recycled, commercials are skipped with recording devices, radio ads are avoided with satellite radio, and billboards can easily be eluded by drivers keeping their eyes where they belong: on the road. As traditional advertising becomes less and less effective, it becomes more costly to maintain, so business owners are charged more to reach less of their target audience. Is there a better way to touch potential clients?
While consumers and clients have found a way to dodge advertisements that do not interest them, they have also found a way to find what they are looking for directly. Thanks to the Internet, people can research the products and services they are seeking by simply typing keywords into a search bar. Once Google, or another search engine, processes the keywords, consumers and clients alike receive a list of suggestions that populate on their computer screen, or phone, in order to lead the Internet viewer directly to what they are seeking. In lieu of billboards and direct mail pieces, companies today are more likely to attract new business by increasing their visibility on the World Wide Web. The effort to increase visibility on the Internet is called Inbound Marketing, and it is achieved by promoting your business through social media, blogging, Internet ads, and a continued effort to optimize your website for search engines to direct traffic to your pages.
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
Search engine optimization plays an extremely vital role in inbound marketing. You can have the best website in your industry, but if no one can find the site, then you are not utilizing the Internet to add to your profit margin. One way to optimize your website is to use keywords and key phrases that your target audience typically uses when they are searching your type of business. For example, if you own a law firm that specializes in divorce and family law, you will want to mention words like divorce, family law, and perhaps child custody agreements in the content of your site. This way, Google will recognize your content when someone is searching for your services. As there are several divorce lawyers in the U.S., you will need to enhance your website so that Google not only recognizes your site, but places your site high in their list of suggestions so that new clients in your area find you. A great way to do this is to start a blog. Blogs add pages to your website which enhances the site's search capability. Blog pages allow you to link to your website, and add valuable content that Google will reward by placing you higher in their search engine ranking. Additionally, you can direct more traffic to your website by signing up for social media sites. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn are all social media platforms that will not only expand your visibility through their own sites, but they will increase your visibility in Google.
Internet advertising is also a form of inbound marketing. While you are placing an advertisement, just as you would in a print magazine, you use different techniques to draw attention to your company. By utilizing keywords, key phrases, and negative keywords, you ensure that your ad is visible to Internet users who are seeking your goods or services. To use the law firm example again, if you practice traffic law in Idaho, your ad should be worded so that only people in your state see your ad. In addition, your ad will be viewed by people searching for a traffic attorney, not people looking for attorneys who specialize in other areas. Due to the specificity of the page views, your advertisement is seen by your target audience, which is highly beneficial when you contrast that with a magazine or newspaper advertisement that has the opportunity to be seen by anyone who picks up the publication, whether they are looking for an attorney or not.
Inbound marketing invites consumers to find your business. Not only can you take advantage of free opportunities to market your business on the Internet, if you decide to spend money on inbound marketing, your statistics are easily monitored so that you can redirect your marketing expenses if you are not receiving enough traffic to justify your costs. Inbound marketing directly markets to your target audience, which has a greater potential of increasing the amount of new business you procure than traditional marketing techniques.
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