Over the past week we’ve given you a lot to think about in terms of free inbound marketing strategies. We’ve covered content and it’s uses in Part 1, the big and the small of social media in Part 2, and the advantages of backlinks in Part 3. And now we’ll cover the final leg of our journey in Part4. Enjoy!
Backend Solutions: Your Electronic Backbone
While it’s important to be ‘out there’ in conversation threads, forums, socially sharing and posting, backlinking and making partnerships, it’s equally important to tend to your own backyard… or backend, as it were.
There are two main ways to cover your ‘back’.
Search Engine Optimization: The Lifeblood of Your Website
SEO techniques, guidelines and practices are pretty much common knowledge at this point. Almost anyone with even limited experience managing a website has read at least one blog article. But awareness of a topic isn’t enough to manage your SEO effectively.
In order to properly optimize your site and content for the web you need to follow the rules. Following a predictable and repeating set of rules keeps all your content close to the top of search in Google. Page load time, keyword presence, photo naming and so on are all important to maintaining a well-optimized site.
Luckily for you we’ve covered this topic at length. Read the blog posts linked below to gain the maximum benefit for your online pages and posts:
- Search Engine Optimization Strategies
- Canopy Media’s SEO Checklist
- How Web Photos Affect SEO
- Do-It-Yourself SEO Tool Kit Lets You Get It Done
Read through our full list of SEO directives and blog posts and download our SEO Checklist and jump to the top of the pack in search.
Tip: Create a process or personal SEO checklist (or download our pre-made checklist) for reference when you’re drafting new content. It’s much easier to draft content with SEO in mind during the writing/creation period, rather than creating that same content and forcing keywords in at a later time.
Web Presence Optimization: What You Do Is What They Get
WPO refers to your total and complete online presence. This includes your social media accounts, your website and blog, your local listings, backlinks and more.
The more avenues for contact and engagement you have that are well managed, delivered and maintained will add to your total presence online. A simple and easy way to gauge your online assets is to do what is called a “vanity search”.
Simply type your business name into Google and do a search. In most cases you’ll see your website, blog, social media accounts, guest posts and so on. If you see only one or two of your online assets, or in the worst case, nothing at all, then your WPO could use some work.
SEO practices and producing good content will take care of your website and blog and posting notifications about newly produced content to your social media feeds will take care of most of your WPO. Managing the rest will take a little time and effort.
The end result you’re going for is complete dominance of a vanity search on the first page (first 10 results) in Google search.
Here’s some quick tips for increasing your WPO:
- Manage your social media accounts consistently
- Guest post and submit articles when and where you can
- Post videos to Youtube and pin images to Pinterest
Our blog post linked below gives a more complete rundown of what to do and where to do it. Give it a read and put your business into a more optimal position online.
And the Rest…
It seems there’s always more to learn and more to manage. These last few points need only the briefest of mentions. So let’s get to the final serving of meat and potatoes.
Type in URL Traffic: Internet Search 90’s Style
It might be hard to believe but some internet users still search and navigate the old fashioned way; through direct URL submission and search.
There was a time when typing in individual URLs was more commonplace, back when the internet was cutting its teeth, but now it’s much less popular. That doesn’t mean it isn’t still used and that it’s not worth considering.
Having your URL written out in long form in some highly visible and public places will still gather certain traffic, although it may be limited. Keep it in the back of your mind and don’t ever count out the fossils,.. er,.. internet veterans from your strategies.
QR Codes: The Newest Tool in the Toolbox
If you’ve never heard of Quick Response Codes there a good chance you’ve already seen one, and not know what its for. These QR Codes are represented as a small square with smaller black and white areas inside.
These days they’re all the rage among smartphone users.
Originally created by the Toyota Automotive Company as a way to track parts in their manufacturing facilities, QR Codes have been used in recent years to send people from a real-world advert or promotion to an electronic destination.
These barcode-like images, once scanned by a smartphone or tablet, leads to an online property like a website or Facebook account. This allows businesses that have print marketing campaigns in newspapers and on promotional materials to convert real-world interest into digital leads.
Here’s a few sites to get QR Codes for free:
- QuikQR – Make simple QR Codes based on a URL
- Qurify – Write a simple message and turn it into a visual for users/scanners
- T-Pages – A layered QR Code creator that leads to more than one destination
Check out the sites linked above and view your QR Code options.
Tip: The next time you go to print some business cards try adding a QR Code to the back of the card that leads to your contact page. QR Codes make it easy for customers to connect to your business directly.
Word of Mouth: The Grandfather of All Inbound Marketing
It’s an oldy, but a goody. Talking to people about your business and services still works. Nothing engages people more directly and intensively than a person-to-person conversation.
It’s also a great chance to hand out your print marketing materials like business cards and pamphlets.
Don’t be shy. Connect to people on a real-world and personal level and build your client lists with good old conversation. Talking to people is still one of the most direct and effective ways to engage clients and bring them to your business.
Tip: Know your business in and out. Having total knowledge and answers when people ask for them makes you look like a professional and lets you steer away from prepared speeches that come across as much less genuine than a real conversation.
Inbound Marketing Wrap-up
There’s a ton of free inbound marketing techniques. If you operate a small business or have a small team at your disposal there’s no way to be active in every technique listed above.
Pick and choose one strategy at a time that will best serve you. Concentrate your efforts on the strategies with the most value. Keep your accounts active and the materials flowing and you’ll see a jump in leads and sales before you know it.
So, what are you doing just standing around? Get out there and start your Inbound Marketing campaign today. Good hunting!
If that wasn’t enough for you we have more. Check out these juicy tidbits below:
- Keyword Density In Your Content
- Why a CMS is Best
- Share What You Know: Co-operation is Lead Generation
And that’s just about all the free inbound marketing strategies we could think of. Feel free to jump back to any point in our 4 part series using the links below: