I just received an email from one of our clients. He referred us to a peer of his, a CEO of a successful product marketing company, who is looking for someone to help him with his lead generation.
Both our client and his friend shared the same initiative to increase their inbound leads, a couple years back, but they both took different paths. Our client shared that his initiative has been extremely fruitful, while his friend, unfortunately, wasn’t as successful, so he referred him to IMPACT.
My first step was to dig into their site a bit to see if we could even help them. Perhaps the HubSpot Partner Agency they were working with was doing a great job and the prospect simply had unrealistic expectations. At first glance, it looked like that might be the case.
The site was beautifully designed and seemed to have all the basics covered, but after 60 seconds of review, the problems were obvious. They didn’t have all of their basics covered.
Commonly Missed Inbound Marketing Basics
I’m not saying that this particular prospect missed all of these, but it was a vast majority. If you’re wondering why you’re not generating the results you were expecting from your inbound marketing, check your website to see if you’ve missed any of these basics:
1. An SEO Friendly Homepage Title
Basic SEO best practices tell us we need to optimize our titles tags and this article from Moz does a great job explaining exactly how.
If you’re site’s title tag starts with “Home,” (i.e. “Home | Your Company Name”) you may have an opportunity for a quick organic traffic boost by simply replacing it with your company’s most important target keyword. This is almost always the first place I look when evaluating to see if a company has all of their inbound marketing basics covered.
2. Blog Articles That Go Somewhere
One of the next things I do when I evaluate a site is to click over to their blog and check the last time an article was published. (Hopefully, there’s at least one article per week.)
Often I’m pleasantly surprised and find that the company has made a dedicated effort to blogging.
From there, I click through to check out the content and make my best assumption on whether or not it would resonate with their target persona. Then I get to the bottom of the article and find exactly what I was expecting -- the article just ends.
We’ve found that the bottom of a blog post is the best place to continue the buyer’s journey with a call-to-action (CTA). In fact, this is where IMPACT primarily drives all of its conversions.
As long as there’s some type of CTA to what you want the reader to do next, you’ll see a performance boost, but it’s even better when the article is directly related to the next step or offer being presented.
3. Removing Your “Noindex/nofollow” Meta Tags
When a site is being developed, web developers will use a special meta tag called “noindex / nofollow” to make sure that while the site is being worked on, it doesn’t get found and indexed by search engines.
You’ll be surprised at how many web developers accidentally leave these tags behind when they launch the site.
The result: the company has this great new website with all sorts of great new content, but it can’t be found in Google because it’s not indexed.
As a quick check for this, I always do a quick Google search for “site:companydomain.com” to see how many pages show up. If it’s a low number and I’m not seeing any of the important site pages, I check the source code and find that “noindex / nofollow” is almost always the culprit.
4. Fixing Broken Links
As I evaluate websites, I don’t necessarily go in with the goal of finding as many broken links as I can, but when I do find them, it’s a major red flag.
This is especially concerning when the broken link is in one of your site’s important calls-to-action, which I see more times than I should. Broken links are a quick fix and you can use tools like this to find them easily.
5. A Value Proposition for Subscribing
HubSpot, and many other blogging tools, have a default header reading “Subscribe to our blog” above their subscribe forms.
This provides no value for the reader to take action.
If you’re looking for a quick conversion boost, consider treating your subscribe form more like you would treat a call-to-action or value proposition. Develop a headline and supporting text that creates a desire for the user to want to subscribe to your content.
Sidekick does a great job of this. Their pop-up subscription form says “Join over 70,000 professionals outperforming their peers. We'll email you twice a week with the top tips, hacks, and templates fueling business growth.”
6. Blog Articles That Actually Offer Value
Are your blog articles not getting the attention you expected? Maybe they’re self promotional and your prospects find them annoying. Maybe it’s a thought you had or a story you wanted to share that doesn’t help your target prospect whatsoever or maybe your content is just straight-up boring.
In an age when every company is blogging and more than 2 million blog posts are published a day, marketers need to put in the time to make sure their content is attractive to their target prospect and passes the “so what” test.
Building content that you know will help your target persona (you have those, right?) will help you get back on the right track.
7. Tracking Your Site’s Performance
Not having marketing automation software, like HubSpot, on your site is one thing; it’s another not to even have Google Analytics installed.
This is a critical feature I always look for when evaluating a website
To do this, I use a Chrome plugin called Ghostery to identify the tracking codes installed on a particular website. (You’d be amazed at how many times it shows nothing, even on nicely designed sites.) Then I verify the plugin’s findings by checking the source code.
When I speak to the people at these companies, they usually have no idea what their website is really doing for them.
Another thing that surprises me is when IT controls the Google Analytics account and only shares occasional PDF reports with the marketing team. Now that really makes me scratch my head.
So, what am I missing? Leave a comment
This list is obviously not all encompassing, rather, it’s just some of the common things I continue to see.
In the comment section, please share with us some of the biggest inbound marketing basics you’ve seen missed and how those still learning inbound can make sure they have their basics covered.
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