How to Be Attractive
Last week I talked about the three steps of inbound marketing: attract, engage, delight. The attract step is where the bulk of your content creation should be happening as this is all the material you’ll be using to boost your SEO efforts and keep your social media feeds full. The primary pieces of content are going to be blog posts, but long-form content such as ebooks will also play a role, along with visual content such as videos and photos.
Before you can jump into creating content for attracting an audience, let’s look at the strategy behind this method.
Attracting the Right Audience
It’s really not that difficult or expensive to get a whole lot of traffic to your website. It is, however, far more tricky to get meaningful traffic visiting your pages, and it’s the meaningful traffic that’s going to affect your bottom line. After all, what good are visitors who have no use for what you have to offer?
Understanding how to attract the right people begins by understanding exactly who the right people are. One of the best ways to do this is to create a buyer persona, or a realistic representation of your target audience or ideal customer. The idea is to create a fictionalized person who can act as a stand-in in your mind when creating content.
Buyer personas are created using information you probably already have, including demographics and purchase histories, as well as some things you may have to research such as behavior patterns, motivators, and goals. HubSpot has some pretty cool tools for creating buyer personas and even if you don’t end up creating a highly-detailed persona, just going through the process will help you get a better idea of who you are marketing to.
Segments are Essential
If you’re thinking about buyer personas, it might be hard to narrow your audience down to a single person. For the most part, you don’t want to worry too much about capturing the attention of outliers as you won’t find as much return when investing in marketing to a small number of people. However, when a group of audience outliers grows enough that they’re worth addressing, it’s time to create segments.
Audience segmentation means dividing up your target audience into subgroups of people who have enough similar qualities that they stand out from the rest of the group. Each segment should have its own buyer persona so you can target your marketing appropriately. It’s easy to get carried away here, so keep in mind that most small businesses will only have two or three audience segments, and it’s not uncommon to have one unified audience and no segments at all.
One of the most important attraction strategies is SEO, or search engine optimization. Beyond getting your website optimized for search engines like Google, a solid SEO strategy should also include a content marketing strategy designed to get the attention of your ideal customers. One of the most common ways people look for things to buy or places to visit is to start with a Google search, and you want your content to be what they find in the list of search results.
Social media will play a vital role in your attraction strategies as it’s one of the other most common ways that consumers come into contact with businesses as well as share information with friends and colleagues. Being visible on social media is a good start, but when the content you post is highly focused on your best customer profile and designed to lead people down the path to a sale, you’ll get better results from your social media activities.
What Content Belongs Here?
Blog posts and social media posts are going to be the two most important and abundant pieces of content for attracting buyers to your website. Blog posts should be interesting and helpful and contain plenty of ways that you can solve the problems that your customers are facing. Social media posts should be light, entertaining, and, in most cases, not trying to directly make a sale. (Some types of businesses and products do very well in direct Facebook sales, including cosmetics and other consumer goods. However, most do not.)
You’ll also want at least a few pieces of premium content, or long-form documents that interested readers will find valuable enough to give you their email address for. That’s not a small order, either, as people are pretty wary about signing up for junk mail. White papers, case studies, implementation guides, and other fact-packed content will fit the bill.
Lastly, you’ll need a few odds and ends including calls to action to encourage people to click around and learn more about you, your products, and services. You’ll also want some social proof like testimonials and good reviews, guides for using your products, and some baseline pricing information for people who need to know whether they can afford your solutions or not.
What to Do With all the Pieces
If we go back to the Perfect World Workflow from last week, we can start to see how to assemble all these pieces to create a path for attracting new visitors to your website. The example started with a person finding one of your blog posts and heading over to your website to read more. Getting your blogs found means having a solid SEO strategy as well as sharing your posts on your social feeds and including them for anyone who has signed up to receive updates from you.
The reader was really impressed with what you had to say, and it’s time for them to do something else. This is where your calls-to-action (CTAs) come in. Every blog should close with a sentence or two inviting the reader to contact you for more information and include a link to your contact page. Along with those simple CTAs, you should also have visually interesting CTAs for enticing readers to contact you as well as CTAs to reach all of your premium content.
Let’s say the reader clicks the CTA for your premium content and gives you their email address and downloads a case study you made for a particularly happy customer. You now have a path for nurturing this interested person toward a sale. Of course, any direct contacts are also ready for your sales efforts.
Presto! You’re Attractive
By focusing on the needs of your best customers and giving them plenty of information (not sales pitches!), you can let people be in control of their purchasing decisions without stressing them out with fast-talking salespeople. There are two important things to remember here. The first is that you’re building a pathway for people to follow so it may take some time for people to start finding it as your SEO takes root and your social media profiles get some traction.
The other thing to remember is that this process is excellent for weeding out unqualified leads. You don’t want to waste your time (or theirs!) if your solutions are never going to be a good fit. Once you get a solid inbound strategy in place, you’ll want to start paying attention to where people are bailing out and leaving your pathway to make sure you’re only losing dead weight and that there are no other leaks that are making otherwise good customers go elsewhere.