What’s the Inbound Marketing Funnel Anyway?

What’s the Inbound Marketing Funnel Anyway?

Here at Evenbound, we’re always talking about inbound marketing. It’s kind of our thing, so you’ll notice most of our blogs talk about how your inbound marketing strategy can attract more clients, produce more leads, and boost your ROI. What we only occasionally talk about, however, is what exactly the inbound marketing methodology, or inbound marketing funnel is. If you’re new to inbound marketing, or just aren’t quite sure what the term means, then this is the blog for you! We’re going to break down the basics of the inbound marketing funnel right now:

What is the Inbound Marketing Funnel?

Also known as the inbound marketing methodology or inbound flow chart, the inbound marketing funnel looks like this:

Inbound Marketing Methodology

The overall idea of an inbound marketing strategy is to attract new visitors, convert them to leads, who close and become customers, and then to delight those customers with continued quality service, so they become your word of mouth promoters of your business. That’s what we call the inbound marketing methodology.

The inbound marketing funnel refers specifically to where the client is in their process of choosing your company above the competition. If you’re familiar at all with the generic sales funnel, or buyer’s journey, think of the inbound marketing funnel as a similar way of looking at things. The inbound marketing funnel labels clients with a different title based on how interested they are in what you have to offer — so you know what types of content to send them, and when.

  1. Strangers – Consumers who don’t know about your brand or your company
  2. Visitors – Strangers who come to your site and learn a bit about your company
  3. Leads – Visitors who have progressed further into your site, and eventually give you their contact information.
  4. Customer – Leads who convert into customers by purchasing your product or service.
  5. Promoters – Customers who are delighted by your continued efforts to make sure they have everything they need, and who are so pleased with your company and your service that they love telling their friends and family about you.

While it’s fairly easy to understand these 5 stages of the inbound marketing funnel, what’s more difficult to figure out is how to get ahold of consumers at each stage of the funnel, and attract them to your company in a way that interests them. Here are a few ways to think about boosting your inbound marketing strategy, based on each step of the inbound marketing funnel.

#1 Strangers

Perhaps the most difficult-to-target is consumers at the very top of the funnel. Strangers don’t know you from Adam, which means it’s your job to somehow catch their attention. In today’s oversaturated world, consumers are constantly barraged by advertisements and non-relevant content that makes your job just that much harder. It’s important to target key buyers that you know want or need your product or service, and the best ways to do that are:

Facebook / Instagram Advertising

Facebook and Instagram have super powerful advertising abilities. When you put out an ad on Facebook or Insta, you can choose exactly who sees that ad, from age to occupation and even to what type of content they “like”. Basic like campaigns or simple banner ads are cheap, and they’re one of the best ways to get your name out there. That is the point of this stage of the funnel, after all.

Since you’re marketing to strangers, the first step is introducing yourself. Your goal for this top level of the funnel is awareness, which means you need to look for ad campaigns that can get you plenty of impressions. Clicks are great, but most people won’t click on your ad until they’ve seen it a few times, or they’ve heard about you somewhere else. For consumers at the stranger level of the inbound marketing funnel, focus on ads that cast a wide net, and get your name out there.

Google Ads

Another paid way to introduce your site and company to strangers is to invest in Google Pay-Per-Click Ads. If you think about it, most people looking for information are going to search in Google before they do anything. From there, they’ll make their decisions based on the results they get. If you’re the first to pop up, even as an ad, that’s a major step to brand recognition, and getting someone to click through to your site. 

SEO

Another key way of making yourself visible to strangers is ensuring you have impeccable SEO. If you don’t know what that is, we’ve got an insane number of blogs to help you out — this SEO Site Checkup blog — but basically it means making your website and digital presence visible to search engines. The more search engines like your site, the more likely they are to show it to consumers. Improve your SEO, and you’ll improve your online search engine ranking. The higher you show up in rankings, the more eyes you’ll get on your site, which means more strangers turning into visitors. Best of all, SEO is free. No paid ads here!

Blogs

Another key, free way to draw in strangers is to start a blog. The more you blog about topics that are relevant to your target buyer, the more of an authority you’ll become in the industry. When you’re the company everyone turns to for information about the next big thing in your industry, you’re also the first company they recognize, think of, and then buy from once they get around to making a decision.

Create blogs that are interesting, relevant, and content rich. Don’t just write listicles every month, try to put out some deep content that answers questions and proves useful for your target buyer. The more content you have out there, and that’s promoted on your social media platforms, the more consumers you’re speaking to, and the more likely they are to come to your site to see what you have to say.

#2 Visitors

Visitors are strangers who’ve made it to your website. They want to learn a bit about you, and see what it is your company has to offer. Once they make it to your site, your goal is to get their contact information, so you can encourage a sale. Here are a few ways to keep visitors on your site, and coming back so you can get them to convert to leads:

Gated content

Gated content is content that requires an email address and name to access it. It is a key way for any inbound marketer to pull potential clients and visitors through to the lead stage of the funnel. Offer up some amazing, in-depth content that you know your key buyer just wouldn’t be able to resist, and simply ask for their email address in return for the downloadable PDF. Once you have their email, that visitor becomes a lead, and you can target them in other ways.

Remarketing

Keep visitors coming back with remarketing campaigns. Extremely effective, these campaigns most often show up on Facebook, Instagram, and Google, and remind past visitors to your website what they looked at while they were there. If they added a pair of shoes to their cart, but bailed before making it to checkout, a remarketing campaign will show those shoes on other sites they frequent, like Facebook and Google, and remind them of the purchase they almost made. This is a great way to get visitors to come back to your site, where you’ll have another chance to capture their contact information.

#3 Lead

Once you finally get an email address, your potential buyer will move down into the lead level of the inbound marketing funnel. Now you can nurture this lead to the decision-making stage with relevant, deep content, and clear calls-to-action that explain the benefits of purchasing your product or service.

Deeper content

Longer, deeper content is a key way to entice a lead to purchase. They have a lot of questions — answer them as fully as you possibly can. By providing answers to their questions, and by providing as much detail as they can stand, you’re assuring them that your product really is that great, and you’re eliminating any fears of buyers remorse they might have. Create thorough content that genuinely helps them make a decision and stay away from the b.s. — consumers can smell it from miles away.

Calls-to-action

If you want someone to make a purchase, you have to make it easy for them. Make it super obvious how they can purchase your product or service with calls-to-action. Whether they need to simply checkout, or call your office, or fill out a form, calls-to-action can get them there. These colorful buttons are everywhere these days, and they’re perhaps the best tool to convince a lead to convert. Make it easy for leads to buy or pick up the phone, and they will. 

#4 Customer

Finally, after a long journey through the inbound marketing funnel, you’ve converted a lead into a customer. They’ve made a purchase, and now you can wipe your hands of them.

Not so fast!

This customer can be useful to you. More than that, who’s to say they won’t buy from you again? Customers who are delighted by your helpful service can become your best promoters. They’ll leave 5 star reviews, tell their friends about you, and share all your posts on social media. Be good to those customers, and they’ll be good to you. Here’s how to help them out.

Lead nurturing emails

After someone’s made a purchase, don’t just forget about them. Send them emails about add-on products or services they might like now that they have your other offering. If you sell something that pairs really well with that purse they bought, let them know! The more customized and tailored your follow-up emails, the more likely they are to purchase again. Another good way to turn your customers into promoters is to ask them for reviews after they’ve received their product. A simple “how did you like your socks?” email, with a link to write a review on your site or on Google can go a long way in boosting your reputation, and making it easier for the next consumer to convert to a sale.

Exclusive newsletters

People love to feel like they’re getting the inside scoop. If you have a newsletter that’s exclusively for people who have purchased an item or service, and if you offer occasional exclusive deals, people will start to talk. The better you take care of those existing customers, the more they’ll tell their friends about you, which will start that inbound funnel all over again.

The inbound marketing funnel, and this simple breakdown of what type of content to provide, and when, can make it easy for you to align and optimize your sales and marketing teams. If you notice you’re getting plenty of site traffic, but visitors seem to drop off before offering up their email address, start focusing on more valuable content, and maybe consider remarketing. The inbound marketing funnel offers an easy, clear way to see your potential clients, and to devise smart ways to help pull them through the funnel, and convert them to sale. 

Looking for more info on inbound marketing? Check out our Complete Guide to Inbound Marketing.

We know this is a lot of talk, and it’s not always as simple to implement an inbound marketing strategy as it might seem. If you’re looking to move into pull, inbound marketing methods, but aren’t sure how, let’s chat! A simple one-on-one conversation might answer more questions than you’d think.

And in case you’d like to learn even more about inbound marketing — in a sassy, irreverent, totally hilarious, and not-at-all sarcastic way — be sure to check out our Smartass Guide to Inbound Marketing below:

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Google Ads Rolls Out Higher Character Counts for Paid Search

Google Ads Rolls Out Higher Character Counts for Paid Search

Big news has hit the world of digital marketing. Google Ads officially increased the character count for paid search advertising. This unforeseen update allows users to create an additional headline and description for text ads within Search campaigns.

Before the August roll out, Google Ads previously supported only two headlines and one description. This set of updates produces a third headline and second description. When creating a text ad, users will see green text boxes to indicate the change within the platform.

What does this mean for advertisers?

The latest development to the search network’s software generates a huge opportunity for advertisers and marketers alike. A single ad can now contain 30 additional characters in Headline 3 and 90 additional characters in Description 2, totaling to a whopping 120 extra characters. (New to Google Ads? Check out our Complete Guide to Outbound Marketing for a crash course on the basics.)

The possibilities are endless!

Let’s use Evenbound as an example. Look at the difference in ad copy when we compare the old version of Google Ads to the new, extended character count version:

bad-example-of-meta-description

good-example-of-meta-description

A noticeable difference in the size of the ad, right? For Google Ad users, the extra characters mean a greater opportunity to capture the eye of a Google searcher with creative copy. More detail, more keywords, more opportunity to sell a visitor on your brand, product or service.

However, this change will not only impact advertisers but it will always affect the search experience. With the update, Internet users will have to digest lengthier paid content than ever before. Is it reasonable to expect your targeted customer to read through 270 characters? We’ll find out over the next few months as more and more digital marketers and businesses take advantage of this new layout.  

Google’s Rebrand

This update comes shortly after Google’s rebrand from AdWords to Google Ads in June of 2018. The rebrand goes far beyond a new name and vibrant logo. Google explains the transition from AdWords to Google Ads is a step in a broader effort to simplify its advertising options.

As stated by Google, the complete rebrand will occur in waves during the upcoming months. The additional characters are one part to a much larger process.

Now is the time to get a head start on your competition and take advantage of the 120 additional characters granted to Google Ad users. Before everyone jumps on the bandwagon of more keywords and lengthier copy, explore how the recent shift to the digital world can impact your business by vamping your own ads.

Want to get the most leads out of paid search as possible? Schedule a free consultation with us and we’ll steer you in the right direction for digital success.

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What is Local SEO and Can it Work for Your Home Services Business?

What is Local SEO and Can it Work for Your Home Services Business?

If you’re a home services provider in 2018, you know that customers are using the internet to find you, specifically, search engines. But even though you know that search engines are an important tool for reaching future clients, you might not know how to show up in the search results. That’s where SEO, and more specifically, local SEO, comes in.

What is Local SEO?

We’ve got to start by defining the component parts:

SEO is an acronym for Search Engine Optimization. What that means in non-robot/internet nerd terms is that the content, for example, a website or website page, is optimized for search engines to read, understand, and categorize the content.  

We don’t want to insult your intelligence by defining what local means, so we won’t. But adding those two together, local SEO means search engine optimization for local search results. So, “West Michigan roofers” or “Grand Haven landscapers” or “Grand Rapids area remodelers.”

Why is Local SEO Important?

As a home services provider, you serve a specific area, or specific service areas. You want customers within that area, and potential customers want a service provider in their local area. No one wants to have to wait for two hours for a service provider to drive to them for an emergency repair, they want someone in their town. That’s why local SEO matters, so people in your area can find you. They are searching for service providers and using location indicators in their searches: “roof repair near me,” “roof repair Muskegon,” etc.

Local SEO is also crucial for getting to the top of that search results page. There are thousands, perhaps millions, of service businesses like yours in the world, and they’re all trying to rank for the most common keywords for your industry. That’s a lot of competition, and you’d have to pour in more time, energy, and money than it’s worth to end up at the very top of the page for a general keyword like “roofing” or “landscaping.” We say, when the odds aren’t good, make better odds (not like the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan thing though, just to be clear). You might not be competitive globally for your industry keywords, but you can be locally, and that’s where your client base is, anyway. You can rank first for “remodeler Cedar Springs,” because your competition is going to be only a handful of other local contractors.

Local SEO is one of the best ways for home services pros to reach future customers, so if you’re ready to start implementing local SEO best practices, you need to get in touch. Contact us to discuss your online presence, website, and digital strategy. And if you’re looking to learn more about inbound marketing, check out our sassy, irreverent, and a little bit funny smartass guide to inbound marketing below:

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The Definitive LinkedIn Guide for B2Bs

The Definitive LinkedIn Guide for B2Bs

We write a lot about LinkedIn as part of an inbound digital marketing strategy for B2Bs. That’s because it’s an extremely useful and underutilized social media tool, with applications that are particularly suited to industrial manufacturers and other B2Bs. To help you truly take full advantage of this platform, we’ve compiled all our content on LinkedIn in one place for you. Click the header of the section most relevant to you for more in-depth information on using LinkedIn to promote your B2B. 

LinkedIn Ads and B2B Marketing

LinkedIn Ads are one of the best forms of PPC for B2Bs for numerous reasons, the most important of these being that your audience, business professionals in your industry, is using LinkedIn, and you can target them with a great deal of accuracy, almost down to the exact person you want to sell to. Plus, LinkedIn offers comprehensive metrics to help you improve your campaigns and discover who you’re reaching.

Creating LinkedIn Content

A major benefit of LinkedIn is its publishing platform, which allows you to produce and promote content to your professional network and to others in your industry, boosting your credibility and name recognition. But just because it’s easy to hit the publish button doesn’t mean you should be posting anything. With LinkedIn and other online content platforms, it pays to be intentional with your topics, titles, length, and all other aspects of your writing.

What Are LinkedIn Showcase Pages and How Can They Work For Your B2B?

LinkedIn also has a great way for you to showcase specific products or services with their Showcase Pages. These pages create curated feeds that users can follow, and where you can post and share relevant content. They’re a useful way to organize content as well as segment and target specific customer types with specific interests and needs.

6 Easy Ways to Make LinkedIn Work For Your B2B Marketing Strategy

LinkedIn has a ton of features that you can be using to market your business, from the social networking features like sharing content and making connections to advance search and premium accounts. And when we say easy ways, we really mean easy. These features are all just waiting for you to take advantage of, and require little expertise or time to get started.

B2B Manufacturer’s Guide to the Perfect LinkedIn Page

Company pages are an excellent tool for marketing with LinkedIn, but you’ve got to be intentional about how you build your page to attract your ideal clients. Our visual guide will help you create the perfect page for your company and enhance your online presence and social impact.

If you’re ready to expand your digital reach and start using LinkedIn to its full potential, Evenbound can help. We have a lot of experience with LinkedIn, content creation, inbound marketing, and PPC advertising, and we can create a digital strategy that gets results. Get in touch and let’s get started.

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Professional Photography Sets Home Builders Apart Online

Professional Photography Sets Home Builders Apart Online

If you want your home building company to stand out online, professional photography is the first step. Your buyers are already online, and as they’re flipping through photos of houses on Zillow and Trulia, you want them to stop on your property. How do you impress them? With awesome, high-quality photos of your amazing work. If you’ve been considering professional photography for your home building company, but just aren’t sure it’s worth the investment, here’s what you need to know:

Why Should your Home Building Company Hire a Professional Photographer?

Professional photography is an absolute must when you’re building out a professional home builder website. Whether your website already exists and you’d like to update, or you’re thinking about getting a website for your company, one thing you definitely shouldn’t skimp on is photography. And really, it makes sense — most people buy a house because of the way it looks. Sure, most people want a home that’s structurally sound, but 9 times out of 10, the real deciding factor is what it looks like. Professional photographers are a must for any home builder looking to drive quality digital traffic, and here’s why:

Draw in More Qualified Buyers

The better your pictures look, the more quickly people will convert. If you’re putting your best foot forward online — on websites like Trulia and Zillow, as well as on your own website — it’s easier for potential buyers to picture what their own lives will look like in your houses, which makes it easier for them to pick up the phone and call.

Highly Shareable on Social Media

Another great benefit of high-quality home photos is they’re highly shareable on social media. People on almost every social media site — from Pinterest to Facebook — love a great photo of a breathtaking home. And if they really like your photo, then they’re likely to share it, which means your home makes it onto more people’s social media feeds. This expands your digital reach, and can help increase the number of qualified leads you have calling in, as it simultaneously expands how many followers you have on social media.

They’re More Attractive

The bottom line is that a high-quality photo is simply more visually attractive than a grainy photo someone took with their smartphone. Consumers love to look at really beautiful homes, and professional photography ensures your homes fit in that category. With professional photography, you ensure your business, and your brand, appear visually attractive and professional across all platforms. This is key for home builders, especially if you’re trying to break into a higher price point. Professional photography can convey the class and elegance you need to represent to attract buyers willing to make a larger investment.

So, it’s pretty clear why professional photography is so great — it positions your company as a professional, high-quality builder who can put out elegant homes — but how do you hire a professional photographer you can trust to convey that vision of elegance?

Hire an Architectural Photographer

First and foremost, it’s important to hire a photographer who has experience with architectural photography. There are tons of photographers out there who have experience doing work for realtors and housing developers, so be sure to choose someone who knows how to do the photography you need. Taking photos of houses is a little bit different than taking family portraits, and an architectural photographer will know just what to do to ensure your staged houses look like someone’s future home.

Investigate Lighting

Before you hire any architectural photographer, be sure to look at the portfolios of some of your top candidates, and pay special attention to the lighting in their sample photos. Does the lighting they’ve used make the homes look larger, or smaller? Does the light seem warm and inviting, or too dark on the edges, and overexposed in the center? Quality lighting is absolutely key in architectural photography. Many homes are much bigger than the lens can capture, so quality photographers know how to play with the light, and add in additional lighting in places with really high ceilings, so the home doesn’t look smaller than it actually is. Be sure to take a good look at your professional photographer’s portfolio before finally making a hiring decision.

Know Your Rights

The last thing to do before finally hiring your photographer is to know your rights. There are tons of different intellectual property and copyright licenses you can purchase from your photographer, but it’s good to know that most home builders usually don’t need exclusive rights. If you think about it, you’re probably only going to use the photos you have taken for a year or so, until you sell the house you’re advertising.

So, it doesn’t really make sense to purchase all the rights to every photo you have taken (it can also be very expensive). Talk to your photographer about purchasing the temporary rights to the photos he or she takes of your homes. That can be much cheaper, and then you won’t have to keep paying for those photos long after you have a use for them.

High-quality photography is one of the key ways home builders can set themselves apart online. The homes you build are your product, and they’re your best advertising resource as well. If you invest money in making your homes look good, you’ll be investing in your company’s professional image. Best of all, you can share those photos to get people excited about the work you’re doing, and grow your digital following at the same time!

Still not sure where go with your home building company’s digital marketing strategy? Evenbound can help! We often work with custom home builders and home developers to boost online traffic, and increase ROI. Check out the case study below to see how we helped push one senior care residence to the top of the market:

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