Learning how to be successful at inbound marketing is a continuous process, similar to juggling. The goal is to create an attractive website, serving as the company’s home base and the ultimate online resource for your customers. At the same time, you need to pay attention to social media accounts, blog regularly, and keep abreast of what your competitors are doing so you don’t fall behind.
That last juggling ball – keeping abreast of what your competitors are doing – is very beneficial. While you never want to copy them – you are developing a unique brand after all – seeing what works for others is always a great way to improve yourself. Start using some of your keywords and phrases in Google to see who outranks you. Then do some sleuthing to find out why.
10 Things You Can Learn About Inbound Marketing from (spying on) Your Competitors
- How to design a website. Did you know the social media experts recommend redesigning a website every 3 to 5 years? Take a look at your competitors’ sites and you may see their websites appear more current and up-to-date than yours, making their website a more attractive experience for your shared market.
- The best way to blog. Have your blog views dropped lately, or never really taken off in the first place? Blogs are sort of like your company’s encyclopedia for guests. By following your blog, they should be able to learn everything they need to know about your products and services, as well as information about satellite topics that intersect with your products and services. Read your competitors’ blogs and see what makes theirs better. Are they better written? Better titled? More diverse? How are their page titles and meta descriptions formatted? These little details play a huge part in where you appear in search engine rankings.
- How to go mobile. Is your site mobile-compatible? If not, this may be the Number 1 reason why your competitors are ranking higher than you. Have your family or staff use various gadgets to visit your website and Facebook page. If it isn’t pretty, talk to your web designer about creating a mobile-compatible site.
- Responsive design is sweeeet! As long as your having coffee with your web designer, ask about the benefits of responsive design. It takes the mobile idea several steps further, and adjusts the way your website and social media actions look, regardless of the screen size. From iPhones to 27-inch desktop monitors, you’ll look gorgeous, and so will your text, graphics, and images.
- Email marketing still rocks. Many companies ditched their email marketing campaigns, feeling they were outdated. Boy, was that a mistake. In fact, a good email newsletter or marketing ploy will yield the greatest ROI of all the social media outlets. It also has the highest click-through rates and lead conversions. Start creating email marketing we want to read.
- Tweet tweets worth reading. Twitter seems to be a hit or miss experience for companies. Either they get enthusiastically on board and stay in sync with Twitter’s pulse, or they send out a few uninspired Tweets every once in a while to say they’ve done it. The latter approach doesn’t work. Tweet regularly, interestingly and often to keep alive in the feed and remember that participating in conversations can be as important as starting them.
- How to write quality content. People want to read content that resonates, not just a bunch of industry jargon. High-quality content is a combination of the right keyword research, authenticity, authority, and creativity. If your content writing isn’t packing the punch you know it should, hire new writers or an inbound marketing company to take care of that for you.
- Creating buyer personae pays off. You must know who you are writing for. If not, your content will have no form. Spend time developing your buyer personae so you have a person or two in mind every time you write, blog, Tweet, post, etc. This is how you will strike that chord that resonates, rather than publishing a bunch of generally uninspiring fluff.
- Social Media is everywhere. Your website and blogs need to be intricately linked to your social media accounts. Make sure you’re linking back and forth and that your social media sharing buttons are front and center so people feel compelled to share your content with family and friends. Search engines are beginning to pay close attention to how people engage with content. The more positive attention paid to your stuff, the better you will rank.
- Biting the bullet and using paid advertising is a great idea. Organic content is very important, but a little paid advertising doesn’t hurt. Study up or speak with knowledgeable and experienced CPC gurus so you use smart advertising tactics that make your investment worthwhile.