SEO and Inbound Marketing: Everything You Need to Know

how inbound marketing works
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    It seems like your marketing funnel is a sieve with a billion money-sized holes. You pour tons of money into PPC campaigns, landing page design, analytics, and only a small percentage of the fish bite.

    Of course, no marketing funnel will be a lossless funnel. Thus the sieve is a better analogy. But let’s say there were a way to plug up at least some of the holes in your sieve, would you do it?

    Of course, you would, you’re a smart marketer who understands the value of a lead. But how? Shouldn’t you just accept the reality of a sieve-like funnel and move on to improving your service or product?

    We say no. We say you should never quit optimizing your marketing strategy. And a mixture of SEO and inbound marketing is just the potion for you. Here’s why.

    1. The Basics of The Marketing Funnel

    seo and inbound marketing

    Before we head into how inbound marketing and SEO can help your funnel, let’s review how a proper funnel should work.

    The Top of the Funnel

    This is the discovery or awareness phase of your funnel. You’re attempting to build awareness around your brand within your potential customers.

    At this point, we don’t care about getting the sale but digging into the subconscious of the individual. You want to hit that pain point hard here.

    A good top of the funnel strategy will get people saying “huh, I didn’t even realize I had that problem until now.” Or “I didn’t realize there was a solution to that problem until now.”

    Here’s where inbound marketing begins to work its magic. Instead of talking about yourself, you talk about your potential customer and their problems.

    You figure out what they want to learn and figure out how to connect those back to your product or service. You then educate them and raise their competency level in your niche so they feel like experts after reading your content.

    Once they feel like experts in your niche and your product, they’ll be more likely to see a need for your product or service in their lives.

    Kinds of Content You Should Use Here

    • Blog content
    • Webinars
    • eBooks, games, and big content in general
    • Guides
    • Video
    • Email marketing

    The Middle Funnel

    Once the person associates you with the solution to their problem, you’ve got them in the next stage of the funnel.

    They may not trust you yet, but they are thinking about you. Think of the top of the funnel like a first date and the middle funnel like a second date. In between, the person is wondering if there’s more there, but they aren’t ready to commit yet.

    Maybe you’ll solve their loneliness problem, but they’re kind of afraid you’ll add more problems than you’ll solve. But they’re curious, so they consent to a second date.

    Your job during this stage is to convince them you’re safe and you won’t cause problems in the long run. You’re still not going to get “salesy” on them.

    And according to a Hubspot Research survey, 61% of respondents don’t want you to be salesy anyway. You can relax and keep the salesman hidden until it’s time to close the sale.

    Content You Should Use Here

    • Case studies
    • How-to articles involving your products or services
    • Video demos
    • Datasheets and product descriptions

    The Bottom of The Funnel

    You’ve courted your love. They now want to move to the next stage. What do you do? You ask for a commitment.

    They’re still hesitant. But you’re confident they’ll say yes (you went to Jared’s, after all).

    This is the point at which you pull out all the stops. You should show them everything you’ve got to offer.

    This means pulling out testimonials (they gotta meet the parents sometime) and reviews (do they know your friends?). Lastly, you need to make it easy for them. Not too many hoops to jump through before they hit that buy button.

    2. How Does SEO Fit into Your Inbound Marketing Funnel?

    SEO and Inbound Marketing: Everything You Need to Know 1

    Content is the present and the future of the internet. SEO and inbound marketing are no longer just about the numbers game (although the numbers game is incredibly important still).

    You need to impress Google, and your leads, with incredibly useful, linkable, and well-written content. If you can pair such content with a stellar funnel system and an intelligent link strategy, you’ll be kind of the inbound marketing world (at least in your niche).

    How do you fit SEO into your marketing funnel? You need to ask yourself a few questions for each level.

    • What keywords fit into this level?
    • What kind of content will leads expect at this level?
    • What are searcher’s intents at this level?
    • How will my content strategy move people deeper into my funnel?
    • How can I promote my content so more leads drop into my funnel?

    Ask yourself these questions while creating a content plan for each level of your funnel.

    From Awareness to Trust

    Just like any good relationship, the goal is to go from awareness (top of the funnel) to trust (bottom of the funnel). And content, especially content that ranks well on the search engines, will push people along at each level.

    And while it’s difficult to link build from your marketing funnel alone, using inbound marketing outside your funnel will help. Don’t forget about domain authority.

    Create high ranking pieces of content elsewhere on your site. Optimize your website structure to funnel the link juice out to your landing pages. You’ll see the rankings of your landing pages rise.

    SEO and Inbound Marketing: Implement it.

    Now that you’ve applied the principles of SEO and inbound marketing to your funnel, you should see fewer leads drop out.

    Be patient, however. SEO and inbound marketing take a bit longer than outbound marketing techniques like PPC. But you’ll see results within a few months.

    If you’re ready to optimize your own marketing funnel, give us a shot.

    About The Author:

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey

    Chris Kirksey is the CEO of Direction, a digital marketing agency reflecting the culmination of a 15+ year obsession with digital marketing. It all started with an eBay business at 9 years old, then transitioning from domain investing and website building. After a 6-year US Army career leading intelligence collection teams both in the US and overseas, Chris now brings a sophisticated approach from cryptologic language and adversary data intelligence to digital marketing intelligence. His precision and planning of military campaigns, now reflected in digital marketing campaigns, have proven successful for clients in industries ranging from law firms to technology startups.