The best marketers know how invaluable a website can be to their business. Taking an Inbound approach to website design will set you up for marketing success. But where to get started? We've got you covered.
What is the difference between traditional vs. inbound websites?
Old-school marketing believes the best way to market your products and services is by putting you and your products before the customer's preferences. But your customers are getting smarter, more demanding and more particular. They’re researching the web for answers to their questions and problems. Will you be there when they search for their answers?
Taking your website inbound will help you connect with your customers. Inbound marketing website design focuses on the needs of your customers first. Great inbound sites provide content that is customized, relevant, and engaging. By meeting users on their own terms and providing genuinely helpful information, site traffic will spend more time on your site, engage with you as an industry thought leader, and be more likely to become a loyal customer.
Instead of one-way interruption, web marketing is all about delivering useful content at just the precise moment that a buyer needs it.—David Meerman Scott
What constitutes a website that is designed for Inbound?
Personal, Adaptive, Accessible
An inbound website is a site with functionality centered around the 4 pillars of the inbound methodology. The 4 pillars are attract, convert, close, and delight. In the attract stage, you want to turn strangers of your business into visitors to your site. In the convert stage, your mission is to collect contact information about your ideal customers so that you can begin to communicate with them about how you can best meet their goals or solve their dilemma. Then you close them as customers, but continue to delight them with quality content and solutions so they become an evangelist for your company.
Tailored to Buyer Personas
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your most ideal customer. To create a buyer persona, you need to incorporate the demographics, habits, motivations, pain points, and goals of the people most suited to purchase your product or service. An inbound website strives to personally tailor content to each respective persona.
Customized for the Buyer’s Journey
The buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, evaluate, and purchase a product or service. The journey has three phases: awareness, consideration, and decision. At each stage, users will be looking for different content, such as reading an informational blog post in the awareness stage or watching product comparison videos in the consideration stage. Producing accessible content for each stage of the buyer’s journey will greatly increase the chances of users moving down your sales funnel and ultimately becoming customers.
If you have more money than brains, you should focus on Outbound Marketing. If you have more brains than money, you should focus on Inbound Marketing.—Guy Kawasaki
How can I prove ROI on an Inbound website?
Growth-driven design is a long-term strategy. Instead of spending gigantic lump sums of your budget every few years, you spend a fraction of that money in small increments over time. This presents better value, as growth-driven design means your website will stay relevant and productive. Inbound website design lets your customers discover and engage with your business on their own terms. By attracting visitors instead of cold-calling them, you are saving money in your marketing budget for the long-term. After all, Inbound leads cost 61% less on average than outbound leads.
Work Around the Clock
Incorporating an Inbound strategy into your website redesign means working towards having your site be your 24/7 salesperson. As Kayli Kunkel puts it: “Your website must now be an online sales platform for your business—an integral part of marketing to prospects. If your website isn't selling around the clock, you're missing out on leads and revenue.” Marketing automation effectively helps with this.
Another Inbound strategy to explore is A/B Testing. Change your CTAs every month or quarter to see what language, as well as content, is most beneficial to your visitors. By increasing your engagement, you’re increasing your online visibility which in turns lead to an increase in site traffic. Not only that, the quality of your leads will improve as well as the quantity.
Pro Tip: During the web redesign process, don’t be afraid to ask various team members for input or feedback. Sometimes fresh perspectives from different departments make all the difference.
How do I get started with an Inbound website redesign?
Taking your website Inbound means dedicating plenty of time and resources towards strategy and planning. The whole point of inbound web design is centered around growth-driven design. So how do you go about redesigning your website? It’s a marketing and development project that requires looking before you leap.
Any marketing process should be well-researched, planned, and have pre-established metrics. Some of these include total views, retention rate, and bounce rate. But to maximize the effectiveness of your website, you’ve got to read between the lines. Inbound-specific metrics, like channel-specific traffic, can give you great insights as to who your ideal customers are, and at what stage on their buyer’s journey they are visiting the site. With this information, it’s easy to tailor your content and website navigation to encourage different types of leads through different parts of the sales funnel.
Based on your research and planning, create goals around your marketing and overall company goals with your audience in mind. Doing your homework early and diligently is vital to defining your goals. So you’ve done your homework. What now? It’s time to use the key information from your research to create clear and targeted goals that align with the needs of your audience—engaging them with your website design process. Personalization is all about making the overall user experience of your website more relevant and valuable for your customers. Deliver engaging content and ask for feedback so you can hone in on your most ideal conversion tactics over time.
Develop Well-defined Buyer Persona Profiles
By knowing who your audience is, what their wants and needs are and where they hang out online, you've gained valuable insight into how to effectively interact with and solve the pain points of your ideal customers. So, what’s the next step? It’s time to plan and optimize your content with the help of establishing a strong keyword strategy. This allows your team easy access to attract more prospects—building both thought leadership and community engagement.
Take it a step further and provide outbound links that direct people from your site to your various social media channels. We all know that social media matters, and encouraging interaction between your company and your customers online will lead to thought leadership and higher engagement.
Pro Tip: Creating buyer personas is not a one-time event. Keep a shared document for your personas that appropriate team members can update as your team hones in on the best, most ideal customers.
Below is a simple yet effective breakdown of the types of content that will resonate with your customers as they travel through their journey.
Goal: Increase website traffic
- Blogging (relevant, helpful)
- Social Publishing
Goal: Turn strangers into visitors (and into leads)
- Landing Pages
Goal: Turn leads into customers
- Marketing Automation
Goal: Turn customers into evangelists
- Social Monitoring
Ultimately you should design your website to solve the needs and pain points of your audience. By doing so, you’ll be able to collect better data on their preferences and current interests which you can later use to deliver even more relevant content.
Incorporating a website design with an Inbound approach means you’re playing an active role in keeping your website up-to-date and relevant to your most ideal buyers. Take your website inbound and watch your site traffic and lead conversion increase. If you build it, they will come!
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