Inbound Sales: Your In-depth, Simple Guide to Using the Inbound Sales Methodology

To grasp the inbound sales methodology, here’s what to keep in mind right from the start of this ultimate guide to inbound sales:

We don’t buy like we used to.

Here’s something you can be sure of, though:

If you are unaware of the inbound sales concept and remain oblivious of it, you risk running out of business. Your competition will swoop in and whisk your target customers away—even your existing clients. And your revenue will take a hit and crash.

And your business as you know it will soon be on its knees.

So, what changed?

How can you align your business with the right customers so you can make sales—the revenue you need to survive and thrive in the current and future sales environment?

Let’s first take a throwback look at what sales looked like before inbound sales.

 

What is Legacy Selling?

You know how it went.

Cold calls. Door-to-door sales pitches. Trade show presentations. Splashing a chunk of money into buying contact lists. Then recruit a team of young, hungry salespeople to push your message to the people on that list.

Remember receiving unsolicited sales calls in the middle of your commute, office work, meeting, and family time?

Your sales team had to push the sale to a stranger. That, to make the prospect aware of your product, consider using it, and then decide to buy from one of them immediately or soon.

If the prospect decided to go with the latter, your salespeople would have to make more calls—and likely be a bit too pushy.

Yet many people on the contact list wouldn’t be interested. So, you’d cast an even wider net. Source even more contacts. Urge your sales team to become even more “pushy”. That’s how the catchphrase Always Be Closing came along—the ABC of sales.

And then the internet came along…

And the ways of sales and marketing started to hit new blockades.

 

In March 2017, digital research firm eMarketer discovered about 25% of U.S. internet users deployed ad blockers in the previous year.

 

Then GlobalWebIndex found this:

ads blocking software usage statistics

2018 Adblockers use in the U.S. statistics by GlobalWebIndex

The infographic shows:

In mid-2018, AudienceProject detected and reported increased mobile ad-blocking behavior across the globe, providing statistics from the U.S., U.K., Germany, and more countries.

What these studies confirm is the shift in power from the seller to the buyer.

The buyer is more informed now.

Picture this:

internet search statistics to find local businesses

54% of buyers used the internet to find local businesses in 2018—a 50% rise from the previous year

 

buyers used the internet to find a local business

27% of buyers used the internet to find a local business in 2017, according to BrightLocal

Also:

The conclusion?

Your target customers just don’t buy like they used to.

Using legacy selling alone in an age of inbound sales and marketing will kill your revenue—and your business.

So, what is inbound sales and why should you care?

 

What is Inbound Sales?

The inbound sales methodology simply switches the focus from the seller to the buyer. The inbound sales process appreciates that buyers are more empowered than they used to be.

That buyers don’t want to be bombarded by myriads of ads, cold calls, and emails, or door-to-door pitches anymore.

Inbound selling is about focusing on the buyer’s pain points, interests, aspirations, and goals. Contrary to pushing for a sale, it is about attracting warm leads to your business who then buy—ideally forming a long-term relationship, too.

 

What is the Difference Between Inbound Sales and Outbound Sales?

There are several that jump right off the page:

  1. It’s all about the buyer

From beginning to the end, the inbound sales methodology focuses on what the buyer needs and wants so they can achieve their goals.

  1. Offer value before you can ask for value

The inbound sales process requires you to connect with a potential customer, build rapport, and then offer valuable help before asking for value back—pitching a sale.

  1. ABC vs ABH

Instead of Always Be Closing, the inbound philosophy says Always Be Helping.

Help potential buyers to identify their needs and wants. Help them understand the nature of those needs. Help them to consider a solution. Then warmly invite them to consider your solution based on its unique value proposition.

Instead of pushing for a sale, always be pulling in potential clients’ trust.

  1. Contextualization

Inbound sales thrive on context.

Legacy selling or outbound sales used to make largely swiping assumptions about what the ideal customer’s needs were. The assumption being every prospect had similar pain points, desire, and goals as any other.

Inbound selling strategies focus on personalizing and adapting the sales process to an individual lead’s pain points, interests, and goals.

The inbound sales team will profile a potential client with details such as what they do, which company and position they hold, how they heard about your company, and what they are looking to achieve. Their buyer persona and buyer profile.

With inbound sales, salespeople connect with warm leads—people they’ve interacted with before in some capacity, who’ve already shown interest in their company’s solutions.

For example, when a lead calls your sales department because of what they already know about your solutions, that’s a true manifestation of inbound sales.

The customer expresses interest.

They are interested and motivated.

They just haven’t reached a decision yet.

And they need you to help guide them to it as a trusted consultant.

People are more receptive to a call they expect. Not a cold call. A warm call. If they asked you to call them back about your solutions, that’s a hot call—and likely to end in a deal.

The inbound sales process makes it easier to guide the lead through the sales funnel to becoming a buying customer.

Outbound sales strategies just don’t nurture that initial connection before ringing the potential customer—which, in many cases, results in your reps getting a cold shoulder.

How do you make those crucial first connections a lasting relationship?

By deploying inbound marketing.

 

What is Inbound Marketing?

In a sentence, inbound marketing involves modern marketing techniques that aim to attract leads to you. You provided value first, and the potential buyer came to you for the solution because they trust you can provide it.

Outbound marketing or legacy marketing involves going out with an elevator pitch to win leads. You likely outreached to people on a contact list or entire market segment, spoke with them over the phone (likely severally), until you achieved a yes.

Inbound marketing aligns its messaging with customer behavior.

 

With outbound marketing:

You and your reps have to reach out to leads, educate them about your service/product, and kind of push for a closing/deal.

The problem with that approach is you’d be reaching out to leads you have limited information on. So, your reps have no clear understanding of whether the prospect is interested in the solution or not.

You don’t know where they are in their buying journey.

You have little understanding of their motivations too, so your messaging could easily be misaligned with what the potential customer is looking for.

That drives some leads away to a competitor, who demonstrates some level of understanding the prospect’s deep needs through personalized inbound marketing strategies.

 

With inbound marketing:

You research what your target customer truly needs. The goal is to detail out their pain points and aspirations.

You use the research findings to create buyer personas and profile your ideal customer. So you can align your solution and message to their deepest need.

You take time to create useful content that you share on the web through your website, blog, an authority publication, and or via social media.

The potential buyer finds the content and resonates with it because you tailored it to his or her pain points or aspirations. They then click a link to your website to find out what other useful material you have to offer them.

On reaching your site, they find more blog posts addressing different aspects of their concern. They find you offer an ebook or short email-based course on the issue. They offer to give you their email address so you can send them more helpful content.

You have established a connection.

From there you adapt your trusted consultation and messaging to the sales process to make the sale.

 

Then What is Inbound Sales Methodology?

This is also referred to as the inbound sales process.

It follows a similar approach to the inbound marketing process. Inbound salespeople conduct it in phases or stages that complement the buyer journey.

The three stages of a typical buyer’s journey are:

Awareness: potential buyer identifies a challenge, a desire, or goal they need to achieve. They make achieving it a priority. They are learning more about the problem from online content in the form of blogs, white papers, ebooks, and industry reports.

Consideration: Aware of the problem and committed to finding a solution to it, the buyer starts evaluating different ways to solve his/her problem. They are taking to product reviews, comparison reviews, and expert guides.

Decision: Having educated themselves, the buyer is decided on a solution category. But they are still deciding who to work with and what specific product or service to use. They are interested in online reviews, case studies, test videos, and considering taking up a trial or product demo.

Here’s how the buyer’s journey looks like in a visual

simplified buyer’s journey graph

Image Credit: Sleeknote

 

How Does the Inbound Sales Process Work?

Here are inbound sales strategies to use to make your inbound sales methodology work for you.

  1. Define your ideal customer

Every business aims to solve a specific problem. Base your primary value proposition on your ideal customer’s needs.

To be aware of your ideal customer and their need, create your buyer profile and buyer personas.

Buyer profiles detail the kind of customer your product or service is made for. So if you are a B2B company, define the companies your product or service is a good fit for and those that aren’t. But only complete the profile at a company level—not going in on the contact person.

Buyer personas are about defining the different buying patterns of consumers (B2C) or companies (B2B) within your ideal buyer profiles. There will be several buyer personas in a buyer profile, for example, the CEO, Procurement Head, and Department Head of a company your product or service is a good fit for.

 

Although defined as a fictional representation of your ideal customer, a buyer persona should be informed by real market research on your target customers and actual data about your current customers.

Here’s how to create a detailed buyer persona for your business:

Steps to creating a buyer persona

Steps to creating a buyer persona

 

And remember to ask the relevant questions, too:

ask relevant questions to build your buyer persona while design Inbound Sales Strategy

Source

 

  1. Align your sales process with your ideal buyer’s journey

To marry your inbound sales methodology to your potential buyer’s journey, use the following four stages of the inbound sales strategy:

Here’s how the inbound sales process should look from your end:

inbound sales process from Seller's perspective

The inbound sales process

 

So, how do you integrate this inbound sales process into your ideal buyer’s journey using helpful content at every stage?

Here’s a full-blown visual of what kind of content to create for each stage of the process to attract, convert, and retain inbound clients successfully. An example inbound sales strategy to use.

The inbound sales strategy stages

The inbound sales strategy

 

How to Successfully Attract, Convert, and Retain Inbound Customers with Positive Online Reviews (without Spending Marketing Money)

 

Inbound marketing also goes beyond the initial sale. Forentrepreneurs found that up to 90% of inbound buyers pay for upsells and renewals too.

So inbound marketing focuses on providing great service so the buying client not only sticks around but also becomes a brand ambassador. The inbound buyer’s journey is longer-lasting, and when done right, more profitable.

The full inbound sales journey full

The full inbound sales journey. Credit: Uhurunetworks

 

A happy client is a brand ambassador that’s willing and able to refer other clients to your problem-solving solution.

More people in 2018 read online reviews from real clients than ever before and before contacting a local business, according to BrightLocal.

86% of leads read online reviews

86% of leads read online reviews from current and previous clients to educate themselves and decide whether to trust you enough to call you for a solution they need

 They can do that in several ways. Dimensional Research found out the following channels of influence:

Where potential clients find online reviews Where potential clients are likely to find online reviews to power your inbound sales and marketing

 

By offering positive reviews or using word-of-mouth referrals, current clients attract even more business to you—without you having to spend a marketing dollar on it.

Keep in mind as many as 67.7% of purchasing decisions are influenced by online reviews. Many trust you enough to reach out directly to you:

next step after visiting GMB listing - statistics

Most will visit your business website to interact with you further after reading reviews = building more rapport before opening up to a sale = true inbound sales 

 

What’s the Next Step?

The old way of sales & marketing no longer works as it should. Legacy selling techniques are now viewed as spammy and are being blocked, resulting in ever fewer sales. The rise of the internet has made possible for buyers to launch into the buyer’s journey without needing to call on a salesperson.

Inbound sales strategies, on the other hand, have gained momentum in the last few years.

Sellers should find a way to market to, sell to, and retain the now empowered buyer to keep afloat. Inbound sales strategy presents the solution your business needs to increase sales, retain more customers, and attract even more with clever inbound after-sale strategies.

Need help figuring the kind of inbound sales methodology that’s ideal for your business? Contact us to get started with your very own inbound sales professionals.

  

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO of SONDORA MARKETING, 20 Years of Sales Management, Sales Enablement & Marketing Experience.

What Does SEO Stand For?

Here is the deal: SEO is a big deal. And it has been for the last decade or so. If you own any piece of internet real estates like a website, blog, YouTube channel, or an app, you’ve heard of SEO. But, what does SEO stand for?

SEO Theory and Techniques (The Complete Guide to Ranking for a Newbie)

agency-seo

This post is not another “What is SEO. SEO helps you rank well” type of guide.

You are in the right place if you are not only searching for an advanced SEO meaning but also want to discover what you can do now to increase organic traffic to your website, or another online asset.

 

So, what is SEO?

The initials SEO stand for Search Engine Optimization.

We’ll break that down further. Shall we?

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo use algorithms to present the most relevant information to the searcher.

Picture this:

The internet is a massive, global library. When you want to find information on the internet, you are more likely than not to fire up your internet browser and type in what you are looking for. Sound familiar?

Say you want to learn how to start a business blog or how to create a niche blog on WordPress. What words, phrases or questions would you type into the Google Search box?

Here is an all too familiar example:

seo blogpost wordpress

Notice the first three search results are online advertisements (Google AdWords). But they are right on the money because they are relevant answers to your question.

So, what’s that got to do with search engine optimization in 2019 and beyond?

SEO is all about making your content visible to Google, Bing, Yahoo, and other search engines. Search engines, in turn, make it easy for people searching for information online to find relevant, helpful, and genuine information on different digital platforms.

Search engines do this by ranking websites ideally in order of how relevant, helpful and genuine the content they contain is.

The words, phrases, and questions a searcher types into a search engine box are collectively referred to as keywords.

The likes of Google search engine use keywords to help web browsers like you and I find the best information as fast as possible. Not to oversimplify it, the thinking is if the content of an online platform uses the same words, phrases and questions searchers are typing into search boxes, then that content is likely to give the latter satisfactory answers.

The combined mix of keywords and need for user satisfaction invented Search Engine Ranking Pages (SERPs).

 

What Does SERP Mean in SEO?

Here’s another familiar sight:

 

 

SERP example

An example of a Google search engine result page (SERP).

 

What Does Search Engine Optimization mean for Business?

SERPs are a big deal for businesses and marketers, and here’s why.

The higher up a SERP your website ranks, the more visitors you’ll get. In fact, websites that rank on the first page of Google search results take 92% of all traffic, according to Chitika.

google search results

Google web pages

Ranking on the second page of Google search results will see you get about 5% of the traffic. And it gets worse from there.

 

What Does SEO Mean in Marketing?

SEO helps you rank on the top pages of search results so you can be visible to your target audience. And you already know that buyers buy what they know exists.

Here’s the most interesting bit:

Improving your website ranking to number one on Google will help you fetch 33% of all traffic. Number two gets about 18%. And if you rank on page two of Google, you are likely to fetch only about 1.1% of visitors.

These visitors are also referred to as traffic. And the more traffic you get, the higher your chances of encouraging the visitors to consider your call-to-action.

Studies show providing useful content establishes you as an authority in your industry; that you know your stuff, and the visitor can trust you to help them learn to solve the problem they are looking for online.

 

SEO marketing

By providing the information they need, you can further provide calls-to-action visitors can take to get more answers to their question. For example, in the SERP screenshot above:

The first result is a WordPress ad inviting you to create a blog with them. The second is about Udemy, an online platform where you can learn new skills—which is what the search query is asking to learn: how to create a blog on WordPress. The next screenshot shows other sites that can teach you what you are looking to learn.

Poor SEO techniques can have you buried in, for instance, a position 3 of Page 9 of a SERP, where not many people are looking. Proper SEO techniques, on the flip side, can have you attracting free traffic to your website in the tens of thousands of targeted visitors.

SEO marketing is a set of activities that involve using search engine optimization methods to help you boost your online visibility as a brand.

SEO process

And what are these methods?

 

Types of SEO (Search Engine Optimization):

A web searcher (visitor) will click on your site from the SERP when they think you provide the best value for their time. Again, by providing high-quality content; relevant, helpful, and genuine content.

One of the most powerful SEO methods to implement for business is using geographical location; targeting searchers in a specific area.

Here’s how.

 

1.    Local SEO

What is local SEO?

Get this:

What that means…

…whether you are a local brick-and-mortar business or digital brand, you can benefit from becoming visible to potential customers in your area (or target area).

By using keywords your local target audience would use to find a product or service similar to yours, you can direct local online visitors to your local business—whether online or through foot traffic.

search from mobile vs desktop stats

Courtesy of Blue Corona

A robust local SEO strategy will involve listing your business on Google My Business. If you are a brick and mortar with a verified address, you can list. But if you take services to your clientele, you’ll want to register as a service area business; carpenter, plumber, cleaner, courier, and so on.

search result on mobile

google listing spot

Source: Google My Business

This is a good example of letting prospects know where to find you, what you offer locally, and whether they can reach you when they want to buy from you. You can also use online business directories like YellowPages, FourSquare, and Bing Places for Business.

Remember, you are not listing your business based on the market you serve, but where you are located. You can use a professional local SEO expert to help you set up your GMB mini-website and local SEO strategy if you need expert guidance.

Let’s take an example.

Searching “hotels in Lugano Switzerland” gives:

lugano hotels search results

Example of a Google local 3-pack listing via GMB

Potential customers can use this to find the best hotels in Lugano based on price, proximity, customer reviews, open hours, menu, description, nearby attractions, hotel class, discounts, amenities, directions, and so on.

In fact, a Moz Study showed while 44% of local searchers click on the local 3-pack listing, only about 8% search for more information past it. They get what they want. Fast.

All that information has to do with optimizing a hotel’s local SEO. It is about providing the information they need when they need it to decide their next action.

You can:

There is more. If you like to see some great ways to improve the organic traffic from the Local-Based Keywords to your web pages please read our blog post here.

 

2.  National SEO

As the name suggests, national SEO is about targeting a nationwide audience with that nation’s keywords.

National SEO is similar to local SEO in that you’ll want to target potential customers that are looking for products or services based in a specific area. It’s also based on localization optimization.

Only this time on a national scale as opposed to the neighborhood, city, county approach used in local search marketing.

Instead, you can target keywords and on-page SEO techniques (such as Maps) based on your state or country.

 

3.  International SEO

With International SEO, you’d be looking to appeal to regional and global audiences. That means your SEO needs to use keywords that encourage anyone from anywhere to find your business online.

This SEO strategy is ideal for companies that serve global markets. Otherwise, it would be a waste of resources to market locally sold products or services to a worldwide audience that is unlikely to ever buy from you.

So, how do you do that?

By optimizing your website pages for relevant keywords to your intended global audience.

 

How to Do SEO: What is the process of Search Engine Optimization?

So when someone is trying to understand what does SEO stand for, it is crucial to learn the process of website optimization.

Clearly, the importance of SEO to business cannot be understated. But how do you know what people are searching for online so you can use similar phrases in your SEO strategy and content marketing campaigns?

How do you attract traffic to your site using keywords? How do you know which keywords to use and which ones to leave out of your plan? What makes one SEO strategy more effective than the other?

 

Keyword research is the start for the SEO process, and it defines if you are going to get visible in front of the right audience.

You chose the wrong keywords you waste a lot of resources, including time.

 

And what is keyword research?

Simply, it is about finding out the words, questions, phrases, sayings, and more your target audience are using to find the relevant information to search query (and related products, services, or a combination of both)?

 

What is the importance of keyword research?

By understanding the terms and related terms potential customers enter into search engines to find relevant products and services, you can strategically inject similar terms into your content, so it is easily discoverable by the very people looking for it.

Keyword research is to search engine optimization what fuel is to fire.

 

And how do you do keyword research?

You can go at it manually.

You can search on online platforms such as reviews sites, online forums, and social media channels. You’d be seeking to find how potential customers discuss, describe, word, phrase, and even lament about your industry niche.

Also, you can pick some time-relevant, popular and effective keywords from the bottom of Google’s SERP pages in the “Searches Related to…” section free of charge.

related keyword research

Google’s free keyword research tool

But this can be a lengthy process. And even the best SEO companies take time to gather actionable, long-term keywords.

Alternatively, you can use online search tools to almost automate your search, get suggested keywords and volume data for each keyword. Some of the best keyword research tools include:

Still, if you prefer to hire an SEO expert to do the search and integrate results into your SEO strategy on your behalf, that is okay too.

Whichever way you choose, you’ll want to be keen about using the keywords you find. Because how you use them matters a lot.

 

Targeting long-tail keywords vs Short length keywords

A particularly important portion of SEO and search marketing is to be precise on longtail keywords vs. short-tail keywords.

And what are long-tail keywords and short-tail keywords?

A Long-tail keyword is a keyword phrase that typically comprises of three or more words. Short-tail keywords have less than three words and are broad in their target. Long-tail keywords generally are smaller search volume and less competitive phrases. So if you find it difficult to rank for “dental clinic Leeds” you’d rather choose a long-tail keyword “the teeth whitening dental clinic in Leeds”.

Let’s take an example:

If you entered the keyword “shirts” into a web search engine or an e-commerce search tool, you’d get a massive catalog of shirt results—from Hawaiian shirts to formal shirts.

Would that be satisfactory?

Not when you want to find formal cotton shirts.

Now picture your target market. If a web searcher is looking for shirts, it likely means they are yet to be specific enough to make a purchase decision.

On the other hand, a web searcher that types “official cotton shirts” is advanced in the buyer journey.

They already are aware of the kind of shirts they need. So a long-tail searcher is also much more likely to convert faster. This is a prospect not a lead, a potential customer who is actually looking to make a purchase—not learn what you do.

It gets deeper.

For example, you can use specific LSI keywords to target specific segments.

By using an LSI such as “best notebooks under $650” is likely to connect with potential notebook buyers who are on a budget and need a right mix of quality components, stable performance, and at an affordable price.

Due to their specificity, long-tail keywords are also easier to rank for than short-tail keywords.

In fact, long-tail keywords are ideal for small businesses SEO strategies because not only are most small businesses niche by nature but also because long-tail keywords have less keyword competition hence low keyword difficulty.

Large businesses (which have big SEO budgets to spend) tend to rank much better for shorter keywords, making it tough for smaller companies to rank well. And it can take years for the latter to break into the first pages of Google/Bing/Yahoo/etc.

Now that the time issue’s come up, how long does it take to rank at the top of SERPs?

 

How much time does SEO take?

 time-SEO

The answer is…

…it depends.

 

Really.

Here’s why:

There are literally hundreds of search ranking factors that come into play when creating a sound SEO strategy and in implementing one.

A more complex one is to do with keyword matrices. The combination of various, relevant keywords, including long-tail and short-tail keywords is also known as practicing Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI) keyword optimization.

LSI is about using a combination of keywords in contextual format and optimizing how they relate. For example, keywords like “dog”, “puppy”, and “breed” relate to the same context.

Link building is another influential ranking factor worth implementing.

Warning! Please be careful with link building because Google penalizes over-optimized websites with unnatural links. Your content needs to be so good that other websites start referring to your webpage to help the searcher get all the relevant answers. That is a natural link building technique and gives Google a strong signal that your webpage deserves a higher ranking. But if you buy spammy links, then it’s almost a guarantee that your website is going to be banned or penalized (Google called such action “a manual action”). Google’s algorithm is very advanced nowadays.

So to answer a question on how much time does it take to rank a webpage or a website we’d say it really depends on your website quality and on the competition. The SEO industry pretty much agrees that a website owner needs to be patient and work hard on natural optimization. On average, some good positive results can be achieved within 4-8 month unless you are up against the competitor that has been optimizing the web pages professionally for years.

But to avoid turning this SEO guide into a book, the most important search engine optimization stages can come down to three, which we’ll discuss here.

Let’s break each down, shall we?

 

Technical SEO

It is not as mind-boggling tough as it reads.

technical-SEO

Technical SEO is all about the search engine optimization aspects that do not involve content or links. So, no keyword density, keyword difficult, and long-tail keywords to deal here.

But what does technical SEO involve?

Here are the major factors to keep in mind:

These are just some of the most important technical SEO factors to look out for.

 

On-Page SEO

What is on-page SEO?

The term refers to all the tasks you can do on your website to rank higher on search engine results.

on-page-seo

Such factors include:

Ensuring your site nails these search engine ranking factors is the first step to boosting the visibility of site online.

However, there is one MAJOR factor that has been increasing with lightning speed in importance – USER EXPERIENCE and USER BEHAVIOR. You absolutely must make sure your web page provides a great user experience so the website visitor does get all the answers to their query. If they don’t, they move from your website and keep on reading on your competitor’s website. If they stay longer on your competitor’s website than on yours, move to other relevant and engaging web pages on that rival’s website, it’s a matter of short time for Google to place your competitor higher in search results than your web page. It’s a simple concept. Write better content, provide a better user experience, and you’ll be rewarded with more online visibility by Google.

The next step is to execute your off-page SEO strategy.

 

Off-Page SEO

So, what is the meaning of off-page SEO?

off-page-SEO

Contrary to on-page SEO techniques, off-page SEO involves all the things you can do directly off your site to rank high up the SERPs.

Some of the best off-page SEO ranking factors include:

Therefore, the answer to how long it takes to rank on top of Google is it takes as much time as you and your SEO professionals can get technical, on-page and off-page SEO factors in order.

 

White Hat vs Black Hat? What’s the danger?

White hat SEO techniques are the legitimate SEO methods to use to rank high in search results. They include on-page, off-page, and technical SEO best practices—as discussed in the above section.

Blackhat SEO techniques, on the other hand, violate Google Guidelines because they involve manipulation of the ranking algorithm. Black Hat techniques can lead to website penalization or even de-indexation from Google Search.

black-hat-seo

It is important to keep track of white hat vs black hat ranking techniques by occasionally conducting a thorough SEO audit of your site.

Because white hat methods do change to black hat approaches, you might find your site penalized for a mistake you didn’t even realize you were making.

To be safe and safeguard your ranking, even when the latest Google updates strike, you’ll want to avoid using black hat SEO methods and rely on white hat SEO principals instead.

But what if you need to rank fast?

What if you need to outrank your competition to stay in business? What can you do to boost your visibility fast and tidy?

Search marketing could help you boost your digital marketing campaign.

 

Search marketing definition

Search marketing leverages both paid and unpaid online advertising to promote a site and get traffic to your web pages. SM branches further into Search Engine Marketing (SEM) and Organic Search.

Primarily, SEM involves using pay-pay-click (PPC) advertising to increase a site’s visibility faster compared to using organic methodologies (organic keywords and link building methods over some time).

And what if you want to learn SEO on your own, so you can practice search marketing on your own sites? You can tap the best SEO tips from the best in the field.

 

How much should a business allocate to SEO:

seo-budget

This question is frequently asked by the business owners and marketing executives. According to Forbes, every business needs to invest in the SEO – in-house or on professional external SEO agency or a consultant. An amount of USD 1,000 per month is a recommended bare minimum for a small business. Large organizations spend millions on SEO monthly.

 

Biggest SEO influencers worldwide:

  1. Google

The most dominant search engine on the planet receives over 2 billion monthly searches. Want to keep ahead of all the latest Google Search algorithm updates and more? For example, get some tips & tricks and learn how Google Search Console works from the horse’s mouth by following the Google Blog.

  1. Ahrefs Blog

The platform brings together keyword research, backlinking, content and technical SEO in one place. Ahrefs is recognized as one of the most advanced tools by SEO community.

  1. MOZ Blog

Rand Fishkin and team create educative blogs, videos and hold weekly podcasts to share their SEO and link building strategies with a solid following—which gets what it deserves.

  1. Backlinko

Brian Dean is one of the most influential figures in SEO. He is particularly celebrated for inventing the Skyscraper Technique of white hat link building.

  1. Neil Patel

Recognized by Forbes Magazine as one of the top digital marketers in the world right now, Neil teaches both simple and advanced methods to increase website traffic. Neil provides great tips for those starting their SEO journey.

  1. Matt Cutts

The former webspam team head at Google has a wealth of Google, SEO and gadgets’ wisdom to share on his blog.

Or perhaps you preferred a more strategic, step-by-step and guided SEO tutorial or SEO agency to help you along?

 

SONDORA SA – SEO agency in Lugano, Switzerland

Search engine optimization is a sophisticated and highly technical internet marketing strategy. But it is worth every effort. You can attract high-quality traffic to your website with almost zero financial strains compared to other methods.

What if you had a professional SEO service at your disposal?

As a Sondora SA client, you can get all the search marketing hacks you need to attract more business. You can focus on serving your customers instead of tweaking 301 redirects on edge.

You’ll have a full-fledged team of professionals on call.

Here is how our SEO project team looks like:

Best SEO team setup

You’ll get a complete SEO audit done to reveal what is hurting your search engine ranking. And have them corrected to help you increase your visibility among other benefits for your business.

 

About the Author:

Matteo Iannelli is the Digital Marketing Manager at SONDORA MARKETING. He has been optimizing clients’ websites locally, nationally and internationally for over ten years. Matteo is always on the toe to create another most-proud-client-moment—like when the team helped a client skyrocket his e-commerce website traffic from 100 visitors to 15,000 visitors per month. After a thorough SEO audit and research that focused on buying intent keywords, it took only 12 weeks to start ranking for multiple significant keywords.

18 Reasons You Need a New Website

Simply owning and operating a basic website isn’t enough. It’s the approach you take to web design projects that determines the outcome. Even the best-looking websites out there don’t necessarily resonate with their target audiences nor they help you grow your business. Now more than ever, it’s about the total package of engaging content, mobile responsive design, and the all-around user experience. From time to time, every website needs to be tweaked and updated. Web development shouldn’t be viewed as a one-time-only job. Instead, the secret to creating the coolest websites around lies in continuous refinement and improvement. But if your website just isn’t up to scratch, it could be time to scrap the whole thing and head back to the drawing board.

 

Time for an Upgrade?

If you’re generally quite happy with your website, it can be difficult to know when the time comes for a tune-up. Let alone a complete new-build of the whole thing. The problem is that just because you like your website doesn’t mean anyone else does. Never forget that your website is perhaps the single most important representative of your entire business online. If it doesn’t deliver a strong and memorable message, it’s game over. So rather than taking chances, an occasional audit of its value comes highly recommended.

It’s up to you whether you work with leading web design agencies or take the DIY approach, but periodic improvements to your website are mandatory.

new mobile and tablet website

 

So with this in mind, here’s a summary of 18 reasons why you may need a new website right now:

  1. You still don’t have a website but rather a single landing page

If you don’t already have a website, you’re in danger of disappearing entirely.  Irrespective of the size or nature of your business, today’s consumer expects every brand to have a well presented and information-rich website. Hence, you need to get on the case as quickly as possible or run the risk of losing customers.

  1. A poor first impression

As touched upon, your website needs to deliver a strong and lasting first impression. Research has shown that you’ve got less than 7 seconds to win over every new visitor to your website. If they’re not immediately impressed by what they see, they won’t stick around to check out the rest of your business.

  1. Outshining your competitors

Chances are your competitors already have seriously impressive websites.  Unless you find a way to outshine them with your own online offerings, you’ll struggle to gain a competitive edge. One-upmanship is the key to success with any online business venture. If you don’t provide your target audience with a more appealing offer, why would they choose you over your competitors?

  1. Outdated e-commerce platforms

If your current e-commerce platform doesn’t support the latest plug-ins and add-ons, you could be selling your business short. Consider carefully how dynamic and responsive your website is to the requirements and expectations of visitors.  E-commerce websites that are not regularly updated almost always fall behind the pack.

  1. Generally poor performance

Today’s web user has neither the time nor the inclination to deal with slow and sluggish websites. Instead, they’re willing to wait no more than 3 seconds for any specific page to load. Anything slower and they’ll head straight into the open arms of your competitors. If the back-end of your website doesn’t deliver the goods, you may need to start again from scratch.

  1. Uninspiring content

The content you publish on your website will play a key role in determining if and to what extent your business succeeds. If your content is out of date, poorly written or generally uninspiring, it could be holding you and your business back. Quality content is the backbone of every successful website and should be prioritized.

  1. Flawed payment processes

It’s worth remembering that impulse purchases can contribute heavily to your total e-commerce revenues. The quicker and easier you make it for customers to convert, the more likely they are to do just that. By contrast, complex and drawn-out payment processes increase shopping cart abandonment rates. You need to do everything you can to streamline the payment process, eliminating complications where possible.

  1. Attract mobile audiences

The importance of delivering outstanding mobile experience is hardly a new discovery. In fact, Google has been handing penalties to mobile-unfriendly websites for over three years. Given that more than half of all web searches are now carried out via mobile devices, you cannot afford to turn your back on mobile audiences. Instead, you need to ensure your website delivers a flawless experience for every visitor.

  1. Improve your SEO performance

There’s only so much you can do with an existing website to improve its SEO performance. If you’re serious about climbing the ranks in the SERP listings, you might want to consider a fresh website from scratch. Powerful SEO elements can be woven into the fiber of a website during every step of the development process. Websites built from the ground up around effective SEO typically perform strongest in the SERP rankings. And you have slim and low-quality content you are guaranteed to have no organic traffic from Search Engines.

  1. Start selling online

Of course, it could be that you don’t currently sell your products and services directly through your website. Rather than simply bolting a sales function on to your existing site, it could be more effective to build an entirely new e-commerce website from scratch. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to create a unified and cohesive online retail experience for your target audience. Bolt-ons are better than nothing, but a new purpose-built website could be even more effective.

  1. You’re losing traffic

It’s never nice to acknowledge a notable and continual decline in website traffic. Things may have been great at one time, but seem to have hit a downward spiral. If there’s no obvious explanation as to where you’re going wrong, it could simply be that your website doesn’t resonate with your audience. In which case, the solution is simple – invest in an all-new website, built from the ground up with your perfect customer in mind.

  1. Security issues

No website is immune to the attacks of cyber criminals. In fact, the likelihood of being targeted by fraudsters is at an all-time high. The question being – are you doing enough to safeguard both your online business and your customers? If the answer is no, it’s only a matter of time until you face the consequences.  Hackers are becoming more sophisticated than ever before, which calls for enhanced diligence on the part of online business owners.

  1. Your website uses a pre-designed template

Under no circumstances should you ever build a website using cheap (or free) prefabricated templates. Along with coming across as amateurish, such websites are notorious for delivering a poor user experience, terrible SEO performance, and bloated code. Not to mention, the impossibility of creating a unique website that distinguishes you from your competitors. If your current website is essentially a clone of countless other websites, you need to think about starting from scratch.

  1. Navigation issues and inconsistencies

Your navigation system will have a direct impact on how your website is interpreted and interacted with. Complex and confusing navigation systems are one of the biggest turn-offs for today’s web user. If they can’t find exactly what they need in seconds, they won’t bother searching any further. Consider the efficiency and effectiveness of your navigation system, along with how it may be affecting your performance as a business.

  1. Still using Flash? 

The days of Flash impressing online audiences are now confined to the history books. Today, Flash only stands to hinder the performance of your website, dilute your SEO strategy and make it impossible for mobile visitors to get any real value from your pages. On the whole, therefore, excessive use of Flash is to be avoided at all costs. If Flash plays a pivotal part in the design of your current website, it’s time for a rethink.

  1. Poor (or no) social media integration

Social media has become a lifestyle for the 21st-century web user. Hence, it should be seamlessly integrated with your website. It’s up to you to make it quick and easy for your customers to head straight over to your social media profiles. Rather than seeing your website and social accounts as separate entities, they should be brought together to form one cohesive web presence.

  1. Your imagery is painfully outdated

Try to remember that every visitor to your website will make snap judgments based on visual content alone. If they’re put off by outdated imagery, everything else is inconsequential. Every image you add to your website should inspire and reassure your customers that they’ve come to the right place. If not, they’ll head someplace else – it’s as simple as that.

  1. Your website no longer represents your company

Last but not least, it could simply be that your current website is no longer an accurate representation of your company. You may have added new services, branched out into new product areas or simply evolved beyond what you once were. If this is the case, there’s really no better time to consider refreshing your online presence with a brand new website.

 

Author: Dennis Dubner, CEO, and Founder of SONDORA MARKETINGDennis Dubner is a marketing strategist with more than two decades’ experience.  Specializing in management consultancy, digital marketing, and traditional marketing, Dennis has an established track record in strategic global business development.

 

 

How to Generate 3X More Leads in 5 Weeks On LinkedIn (Step-By-Step and Without Spending a Fortune)

Learn the 5 ways how LinkedIn marketing pros generate up to 200 leads a day using very actionable steps (Even if you are new to LinkedIn)

Social media marketing is a necessary and highly successful approach to raising awareness, generating leads, nurturing and converting B2C leads to customers. But can the same be said of B2B lead generation? If you answered “No” to that question, you might be missing one of the best B2B lead generation platforms of the decade.

But it is not your fault. Like many B2B marketers, you might have thought LinkedIn as the largest resume platform in the world—and not much of a powerful lead generation accelerator.

Many marketers have traditionally thought of LinkedIn as a prospecting, hiring and one-dimensional advertising network. There is more to LinkedIn than posting work histories.

Here are a couple of LinkedIn marketing statistics every marketer—digital or not—will find interesting, for example:

how to use linkedin to get new prospects

Are you taking full advantage of LinkedIn to generate new business?

This guide is dedicated to helping you discover powerful ways to turn your LinkedIn lead generation strategy on and accelerating to 100 to 200 leads a day in 5 weeks. The key to getting there is to not only read the insider information packed herein but to also go ahead and consistently practice what you’ll learn.

 

5 Powerful Ways to Triple Highly-qualified LinkedIn Leads in 5 Weeks to Grow Your Business

But, before we get right to it, how about finding out why you and your business need LinkedIn. Here are incredible LinkedIn statistics in 2018 demonstrating why LinkedIn is important to your business and digital marketing strategy altogether:

That said, there are ways to attract more, highly-targeted and qualified leads on LinkedIn.

 

1.   Use Keyword Research to Hone in On Your Target Audience

The first step to zeroing in on the most profitable LinkedIn market is to identify your LinkedIn target audience. Is that easy to do? Not according to the 42% of marketers who do not know how to gather the right data to kickstart targeted campaigns. Neither is it impossible or even that difficult.

The simpler way to understand your LinkedIn target audience is to start by listing down a number of keywords that interest people in your niche or those that have similar interests and goals. Then you’ll want to use LinkedIn Search to search your keywords among groups that identify with your keywords. Feel free to use as many highly relevant keywords as you can find.

While keywords are popular for SEO purposes, they are also psychological triggers. That means LinkedIn users are more likely to join a group using a specific keyword that they are interested in.

For example:

Searching “Healthcare” will turn around results specific to that niche including healthcare pages, companies, and groups on LinkedIn.

It is all about specificity. And groups that use specific keywords in their names attract like-minded professionals working or conducting business in that niche or industry.

2.   Create What Your LinkedIn Target Market Wants

This is important.

You do not want to assume your target audience wants what you think they want. But keenly following up on the types of questions asked, posts that get the most views, thumbs up and comments, for example, you can understand what they truly want.

You want to use that insight to create on-demand lead magnets. Those lead magnets will seek to offer a solution to what is keeping many groups’ members awake.

Remember to monitor several groups. The more you do the higher the likelihood you’ll create an ebook, report, article, or other lead magnet form that appeals to multiple groups’ members.

You’ll need the lead magnet in the next LinkedIn lead generation acceleration step up next.

 

3.   Join Powerful LinkedIn Groups

LinkedIn Groups is a neat, powerful feature many B2B marketers are still to take full benefits from. You can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups. On the Search filter tool, select “groups” and then key in your keyword to find targeted groups to join.

You’ll want to join the groups that have:

The point of joining LinkedIn groups is this:

By offering valuable insights, you’ll master a most important LinkedIn marketing technique: organic LinkedIn traffic generation.

And how do you do that?

 

a.     Initially, Do Not Focus on Selling on LinkedIn

LinkedIn users are business people or professionals that can see through your sales pitch from a mile out.

Moreover, unveiling your selling agenda too early—without making considerable effort to offer answers, spark valuable conversations, and such—will discourage group members from trusting you. Group owners can delete your membership and ban you for that, as well.

The larger problem with that:

If you are banned from a group and labeled a traffic pest or spammer, LinkedIn will ban you from other groups or joining others, too. That would be the end of your LinkedIn marketing road as far as this guide is concerned. And you do not want that.

 

b.    Contribute Meaningfully

Dedicate yourself to commenting only. You’ll want to do that for 2-3 weeks—without posting any lead magnets or links to your product/service or website. The point is to offer valuable information that will increase your credibility, authority, and grow your influence as a knowledgeable contributor and solutions provider.

Here’s the benefit:

LinkedIn group owners have to approve comments before the posts can go live. An owner who sees you offering valuable insights for free for over 2 weeks is likely to set your posts to auto-approve.

That means your posts would no longer have to peg in pending status before reaching the larger target audience within LinkedIn groups you have joined.

 

c.     Promote Sensibly

As your posts auto-approve, and you continue to offer useful insights, more group members are likely to be aware of your solutions provision capability.

Now you can post a lead magnet.

Choose to use this tactic once per week or bi-weekly.

No spamming. No group bans.

Be sure to include a specific call to action with or within your lead magnet. But you can also post a link for interested members to follow if they want to download a relevant resource such as an ebook for a specific solution they seek.

It could be a link to a dedicated landing page or website homepage—not the product or service pages, which are too direct.

The whole point is to get potential leads to your website, provide their contact details to get the lead magnet (such as a niche survey or special report), so you can follow up with your marketing system in future.

Keep in mind, 63% of website visitors are not ready to buy yet (Marketing Donut).

 

4.   When is the Best Time to Post on LinkedIn?

HubSpot found the best time to post on LinkedIn is 5-6 pm, Tuesday through Thursday.

generate leads on linkedin calendar lead genearation in lugano

Source: HubSpot

 

There is more…

In the US, for example, you’d want to post during Central and Eastern Times because most people live in the CT and ET time zones.

To get the most LinkedIn engagement, you’ll want to post between 4 pm and 5 pm on Wednesdays, according to a Sprout Social LinkedIn Global Engagement study.

 

Source: Sprout Social

 

To boost LinkedIn post shares, the best time to post is 1-2 pm ET. And for optimal clickthroughs, 7-8 am, noon and 5-6 pm will help convert interested group members to highly targeted leads.

Moreover, LinkedIn sends a Daily Digest email of groups’ daily activities. You can get featured on it and broadcast your message to an even more targeted and larger audience by posting your content between 8 am and 9 am US Eastern Time.

That means more targeted views and potential clickthroughs to your lead magnet (and ultimately your website) from thousands of group members and LinkedIn network professionals—millions of which are decision makers at their company.

Powerful.

 

5.   Getting Leads by Creating a LinkedIn Group

Better yet, you can create a LinkedIn group. LinkedIn allows you to create up to 10 groups free of charge. If you choose, you can create an additional 20 sub-groups under the main group—a sub-niche under each of the 10.

Creating a LinkedIn group is important for several incredible reasons—even better compared to joining owned groups.

You will have privileges you would never have as a joining member.

how to create a linkedin group to get new prospects

How is that?

There are only a few things to keep in mind (and these are important):

You can, once in a while, promote your product or service. You can add a link to a lead magnet or lead capture page within the Welcome Message.

Also, you can share group roles, responsibilities and restrictions in the same email message.

Here, you want to discourage spamming, irrelevancy, and outright chaos by letting everyone know what is expected of them. That is to help preserve the integrity and authority of the entire group for longer.

If you want, you can use a moderator to keep things clean and professional in the group.

However, only post offers that are highly relevant to most members’ need to solve a specific problem. You do not want to push members away with incessant sales messages. And neither do you want members to feel like the group is all about you or your offer other than a networking community.

The latter reason is also why it is not recommended to use a business name, logo, or contacts when naming your new LinkedIn group. Again, LinkedIn is a professionals networking platform.

You have busy professionals that are looking for ideas, inspiration, networking, solutions, and so on, within a community of like-minded or similarly-interested pool of professionals. Branding your business in their face at every opportunity will be overkill.

The goal, like when you join owned, top groups on LinkedIn, is to connect, offer valuable information, brainstorm, and solve problems.

That builds engagement—and organic LinkedIn traffic to your lead capture system.

And increasing LinkedIn engagement will not only have current members sticking around, but they are also more likely to refer other professionals in their circles to the group—technically, your group.

That would mean more warm leads that are likely to opt for your lead magnet or offer and convert to buyers.

Want to find out how to create a group on LinkedIn?

Watch this:

Notice how the group name doubles as a pre-qualifier? HubSpot reported 44% of marketers do not verify leads to filter qualified leads, which is imperative.

To boost your LinkedIn group engagement and encourage group growth, you can find valuable resources such as the LinkedIn Company Page Playbook and borrow inspiration from the top company pages on LinkedIn.

 

Conclusion

Using LinkedIn to generate highly targeted leads is a powerful approach to boost your lead generation strategy in 2018 and beyond. Thousands of more professionals are joining LinkedIn every other day.

That means the above LinkedIn lead generation techniques can help you to successfully triple or generate between 100-500 leads every other day, well into the next couple of years.

After your initial “contribute meaningfully” two-week stage, you can use a relevant lead magnet to implement in the following three weeks.

Remember, this is not a magic LinkedIn lead generation technique. You are going to want to practice the LinkedIn marketing tips herein to grow your email list and ultimately increase your sales.