'Inbound' marketing attracts customers to websites

By Kim Shindle | July 21, 2010 | 3 min. read

Traditional outbound marketing may have lost its effectiveness, according to Mike Volpe, vice president of marketing at HubSpot, a marketing software company in Cambridge, MA.

Technology has changed how companies should market to consumers if they want to be successful, Volpe said. Because consumers have the capability to block out broadcast marketing through DVRs, to screen telephone calls with caller ID, to block e-mail with spam filters, it’s harder to reach consumers with outbound marketing.

“Companies who want to build their businesses use inbound marketing,” he said. “Inbound marketing is designed to bring consumers to your website, not sending outbound mass mailings. People are still buying things; they’re just finding want they’re buying through search engines, blogs and recommendations on social media. Companies have to consider how to attract consumers to them and what they can do to be found in these different areas.”

Volpe said there are a few key steps to drive consumers to your website:

Content: Create interesting and useful content. The articles shouldn’t be about what a great person you are. Fresh content is what search engines and people love. The real estate industry is tough because many brokers have a template site. I recommend using that but also build a separate site that you own and control.  It’s an extra investment but is ultimately worth it and the site stays with you even if you change companies.

Search engines: Optimize your website for search engines. Key words will give your site more exposure. Companies that publish a blog get 55 percent more visitors to their websites; they have 70 percent more followers on Twitter if they publish a blog. A blog can be as simple as writing about what’s going on in your community or a review of a new restaurant that opened. These are all things people consider when they’re looking at a place to live. Blogs make a website more interesting in social media.

Promote through social media: Use Facebook and Twitter accounts to drive people to your website.

Converting traffic :  Consider what people find when they go to your website. What is their next step? Do you ask them subscribe to a newsletter, do you collect their information or sign them up for MLS listings? You need a conversion step. The goal is to get as many people as possible to move to the conversion step. You want to make an attractive offer so people want to give you their information.

“Many REALTORS® have a website that’s like a billboard in the desert,” Volpe said. “Consumers only see them if they know the exact address. To bring in new business, you need to think about how you’re attracting people to the site. Your website should be a magnet that pulls people into your business.”

Volpe said recent case studies have shown businesses have doubled the traffic to their websites in three months just by creating an interesting blog and creating click ads with Google. “Niche businesses have a real need to be blogging,” he added. “You need to be one of the first to blog about certain homes in your geographic location.”

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