Inbound Marketing & Understanding The Buyer’s Journey

Inbound Marketing & Understanding The Buyer’s Journey

The buyer’s journey represents the different stages a prospect goes through when making a purchasing decision, If you sell something and don’t understand how and why people buy, you are doing it wrong!

Your prospects don’t want to hear another sale pitch; they want to hear about solutions to their problems. It is your job as a marketer to create content for every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Brian Clark @brianclark said, “These days, people want to learn before they buy, be educated instead of pitched.” 

In today’s highly competitive sales landscape if you want to get a buyer’s attention then you need to produce content, offer solutions, nurture leads, listen and engage.

Breaking Down The Buyer’s Journey

Is your customer ready to buy or are they just starting to do research? Do you know?

The Three Stages Of The Buyer’s Journey Are:

  • Awareness – Your potential customer identifies he has a need and begins to search for a solution.
  • Consideration – Your potential customer is researching solutions to solve his problem.
  • Decision – Your potential customer is ready to buy a solution that he or she believes will solve their problem.

Are they buying from you? Better yet have you given them a reason to buy from you?

No Two Buyers Are On The Same Journey

Think about how you buy? What information do you need to make an informed buying decision? Customers want relevant and timely information, based on their particular need.

A customer in the awareness stage is looking for information that will educate them while a customer in the decision stage is looking for information that will help support their decision.

If you want to catch a buyer in the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey, you need to produce the following types of content.

  • E-books
  • White papers
  • Blog posts
  • Reports

If you want to catch a buyer in the consideration stage of the buyer’s journey, you need to produce the following types of content.

  • Webcasts
  • Podcasts
  • Videos

If you want to catch a buyer in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey, you need to produce the following types of content.

  • Product comparisons
  • Case studies
  • Free trials
  • Product literature

Outbound Marketing vs. Inbound Marketing

Outbound Marketing 

  • 44% of direct mail is never opened
  • 86% of people skip through television commercials
  • Traditional marketing provides very little value
  • Very difficult to track success or conversion rate. (The rate at which a lead converts to revenue)

Inbound Marketing 

  • Inbound leads cost about 62% less than outbound leads
  • Inbound marketing not only provides value but also helps educate a potential customer
  • 61% of consumers research a product or service online which means just by creating useful content you are helping customers find you.
  • The success or failure of an inbound marketing campaign is easily tracked with reporting and analytical data.

If you want to understand marketing you need to understand the sales process and meet people where they are on the buyer’s journey. If you don’t understand the sales process, then you don’t understand marketing.

Remember Growth Driven Marketing is about having a two-way conversation, it’s time to stop being one way!

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Get Google’s Attention With A Growth Driven Search Engine Optimization Strategy

Get Google’s Attention With A Growth Driven Search Engine Optimization Strategy

How do your web pages rank when someone searches for a product or service provided? Do they click on one of your web pages or one of your competitors? Better yet, do you even show up? Search Engine Optimization is the continual process of making sure your website and pages rank favorably in a SERP.

It’s estimated that 2.3 million searches are performed on Google every second. That’s 138 million searches per minute, or 2 trillion searches every year. 

11 Search Engine Optimizations Tips That Can Help Your Site Rank Favorably in Google

On-Page Optimization

Page Title & Meta Description -

Tip 1 – Keyword Optimized Page Titles 

Keyword optimized page title are the most important factor regarding on-page SEO.

  • Your page title should accurately describe the page content
  • Place the keyword you are trying to optimize for at the beginning of the page title
  • Keep your page titles to 55 characters or less, including spaces to avoid being truncated. (See Image Above)
  • Each page title should be unique to the page
  • If you use WordPress, your page or post title will be your page title
  • If you want to see a preview of how your page title will look in Google check out MOZ’s New Title Tag Guidelines & Preview Tool
  • If you use Excel or Google Sheets, the LEN function can be a lifesaver. The Len Function counts the character length of a text string including spaces. Learn more about using the Len function. 

Tip 2 – Optimize Your Meta Description!

This is the content that you see under the page title in a Google SERP. I like to think of this as my 155 character sales pitch. The meta description is your chance to entice someone to click-through to your page, so it makes sense to write compelling copy. If you don’t Google may choose a meta description for you.

  • Try to keep your meta descriptions between 150 and 160 characters. I shoot for 155 to avoid truncation. (See Image Above)
  • Your meta description should include problem, solution, call to action and if you are a local business include your phone number.
  • If you use Excel or Google Sheets, the LEN function can be a lifesaver when writing meta descriptions. Learn more about using the Len function. 
  • Each page and post should have a unique description

Tip 3 – Page Structure 

Page structure is important and needs to formatted correctly with the proper use of HTML heading TAGS. HTML heading tags range from <h1> – <h6>. I like to refer to these as section headings because that’s what they are for. If you use WordPress these tags that are located in the WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get Editor), The six different HTML tags are related to their importance <h1>is used for the most important heading followed by <h2> and so on. (Below is an image of the WYSIWYG in WordPress.)

Wordpress Heading Tags

Heading Tags and Search Engine Optimization

  • Your title tag should use the <h1> tag and make sure your keyword is placed inside of it. If you use WordPress, this will be done automatically for you. Only use 1 <h1> tag per post! The <h1> tag
  • Use the <h2> tag for section headings on your post or page. You can use more than one <h2> tag.
  • Use the <h3> tag for section sub headings.
  • Use header tags sparingly, excessive use of header tags can hurt your SEO efforts.
  • Use bold, italics and underline to format text that is not in a heading.
  • Write short paragraphs, use bullet points, and link to relevant content onsite and offsite

 Tip 4 – Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI)

You are probably familiar with the importance of keywords, but you might not be familiar with Latent Semantic Indexing (LSI). Your content needs to flow naturally and needs to be written for human beings, not search engines; this is where Latent Semantic Indexing Comes in. For SEO purposes search engines give more weight to the overall theme of your content and not the number of times a particular keyword appears within your text. LSI identifies patterns in your writing and makes a correlation to your keywords and their context.

  • LSI is a ranking factor that Google uses
  • Semantic keywords are keywords related to your main keyword and should be used throughout your content
  • Use this LSI keyword generator to help you create keyword variations that describe your idea
  • If you remove the main keywords from your content would a reader be able to understand what your content is about
  • For example, If I am trying to optimize for the keyword SEO I might choose the following keywords
    • website optimization techniques
    • learn SEO
    • how to optimize your website
    • effective website optimization
  • Remember context is everything

Tip 5 – Use Hyperlinks

There are two types of hyperlinks internal and external links. Internal hyperlinks point to other pages and content on your website. External links point to other websites on the web from your site.

  • The text within a hyperlink is called anchor text
  • Make sure the anchor text you choose to use is relevant to the content you are linking to
  • Link to relevant content on your site
  • Link to relevant content on other websites
  • Link to external pages that can add value or support your content
  • The number of quality inbound links that point to your site matter, so create content that people want to link to. Google looks at inbound links (backlinks) as votes of confidence and authority

Tip 6 – Optimize Images For Search Engine Optimization

Images can make your post more interesting and bring some much-needed SEO value if used correctly. If a user can not view an image on a web page, the alt tag will give alternative information about the image Search engines will index the content associated with your photos not just your content. Images are often a missed opportunity to rank within a SERP.

  • Make sure you that you use descriptive words to rename the actual image file that you use within your content
  • Use keywords and be descriptive
  • If you are selling a product include the part, product or serial number
  • Don’t go crazy with the use of keywords

Beyond On-Page Optimization – Technical SEO

Tip 7 – What Is URL Canonicalization

Sometimes a piece of content can be accessed by multiple URLs on your website, and this presents a problem regarding on page SEO and what is being indexed in Google. If a piece of content on a web page can be accessed from different URL’s on your site, you have a URL canonicalization problem. In short search engines don’t know which URL to include in the SERP or which link to pass on the trust, authority and other metrics associated with a link.

Technically speaking the links below are all different URL’s but can point to the same location. As you can imagine this can present a problem for search engines because they need to determine which version of this content should they show to a searcher.


Tip 8- You may have a URL canonicalization problem if any of the following apply:

  • You use UTM tracking URL’s
  • Your site uses dynamic URL’s
  • You have an online store with product pages
  • You have internal search pages on your site.
  • You can correct canonicalization problems by either doing a 301 redirect or use the HTML link tag with attribute rel=canonical

Tip 9 – If you want to learn more about URL canonicalization check out the following blog posts.

Tip 10 – What Does Noindex, Nofollow, And Robots.txt Mean? 

Sometimes you want to have your pages indexed in Google, and sometimes you don’t. I know it sounds counter-intuitive to search engine optimization, but it’s not. Believe it or not, you can control what Google should and should not index. Robots.txt, is a standard used by websites to communicate with search engines.

  • Robots.txt – is a txt file located in the root directory of your website that has the pages that search engines should not access, index or follow. Just an FYI according to Google
    • ” The instructions in robots.txt files cannot enforce crawler behavior to your site; instead, these instructions act as directives to the crawlers accessing your site. While Googlebot and other respectable web crawlers obey the instructions in a robots.txt file, other crawlers might not. “
  • Noindex – Tells Google that you do not want them to index a particular page.
  • Nofollow – Tells Google not to follow the links on that particular page.
    • A good rule of thumb is to use the noindex and nofollow tags on any page that you do not want to be indexed by Google including:
      • Landing pages connected to PPC campaigns
      • Thank you pages
      • When you have more than one version of a page already indexed such as a printer friendly version of a blog post.
      • Content people have to pay for to see.
      • You can learn more about the robots.txt exclusion protocol here

Tip 11 – Understanding Server Response Codes?

Server response codes are three digit codes a server generates every time a web browser (client) makes a request for information on another server connected to the Internet and lets the requesting client know how to handle the request. Here are the following server response codes that anybody involved with SEO should understand.

  • 200 – All is good, life is wonderful!
  • 301 – The content you are requesting has been moved permanently. (More on this in a later post)
    • A 301 redirect is like going to the post office to change your address when you are moving. If you don’t tell the post office where to send your mail chances are you are not going to receive it.
  • 302 – The content you are requesting has been moved temporarily. (More on this in a later post)
  • 403 – You are not authorized to view the content.
  • 404 – The page you are searching for no longer exists on the server. If your website does not have a 404 error page, it should.
  • 500 – Oops Something somewhere along the line went wrong.

I have just begun to scratch the surface regarding SEO and on-page optimization. As I said optimizing your website and web pages is the continual process. I will be writing more about SEO in future posts.  Remember knowing where to start is half the battle.

Let me know your thoughts below!

Growth Driven Goal Setting

Growth Driven Goal Setting

Having a Growth Diven Marketing strategy can help you build your brand, drive traffic to your website and convert visitors into clients and brand champions. Successful strategies start with setting realistic goals and having an implementation plan!

Set Growth Driven Goals

This should go without saying but you need to have written goals if you are going to succeed with any Growth Driven marketing campaign.

When you write down your goals you identify them as being important. Once they are written down your chance of success greatly increases because your mind starts thinking about solutions to achieve your goals.

Smart Goals

Having a goal is one thing having a defined goal is another. Smart Goals or S.M.A.R.T stand for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.

A specific goal has a much greater chance of betting accomplished. I am going to start blogging, would be an example of a general goal. I am going to start blogging 2 hours a day, 3 times a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is an example of a specific goal.

Define Success!

What does success look like to you for this goal? Write it down. What is the return on investment you are looking for? Be specific.

Keep in mind your targeted ROI (return on investment) does not have to strictly be monetary. An ROI can be anything that defines success or failure.

Are your goals realistic?

It is so important to be realistic with your goal setting. If your goal is to create 3 blog posts a week, ask yourself if that is possible. If it is possible then you have a measurable and realistic goal. It is important to track your results if your goal needs to be tweaked do so.

Goal Setting and Campaign Strategy Planning Questions

A  Growth Driven marketing strategy should align with your campaign goals. Here are a few questions to to think about to help you make sure your goals and strategy align.

  1. Who is your target audience for this campaign? Be specific remember not to target everybody, anybody or somebody.
  2. Who is your secondary target audience? Who elese does this campaign make sense to target?
  3. Why do you want to target these people? What is in it for them? What is in it for you?
  4. What information are you looking to capture? i.e. phone numbers, email addresses, new subscriptions?
  5. Define Success.
  6. What are you going to invest in this campaign (i.e. time, money, resources?)
  7. Do you require outside resources to help you?
  8. How will you benchmark success?
  9. How much time per day are you going to commit to nurturing this campaign?
  10. What are the desired outcomes?
  11. What are your strengths?
  12. What are your weaknesses?
  13. What are you going to do with the information that you will learn?

Track Results

It is important to keep track of what works and what doesn’t. The great thing to remember is that you can always adjust accordingly. Keep track of everything that you do and the results that you receive.

Here are a few key points to think about regarding your results

  1. What were the results of your campaign?
  2. What worked?
  3. What didn’t?
  4. What would you do differently on your next marketing campaign

The web is an amazing place to conduct business and build your brand but remember it takes time along with trial and error.

One word of advice, be patient! Success does not happen overnight!