Inbound marketing is going to explode in 2012. There is no doubt about that. It’s an online marketing strategy that small businesses MUST adopt if they seek to grow their business this coming year. Yet, we found that many small business owners do not fully comprehend what inbound marketing is and how it can affect their business. So, we’ve prepared a brief overview for you.
Inbound Marketing Explained
The term inbound marketing is relatively new in business. It was coined by Brian Halligan, founder and CEO of Hubspot, the leading inbound marketing company. He defines inbound marketing as a strategy of getting found by your customers. Where as outbound marketing is aggressive in it’s pursuit of customers, inbound marketing uses conten to gently pull and attract people with the intention of building a relationship with them. Ultimately, the goal of inbound marketing is to convert these people from audience to customer.
The premise of inbound marketing is that your business already has a presence on the web. After all, the immediate goal of inbound marketing is to increase traffic to your web site. If you don’t have a web site, you might want to get in touch with us and see how you can have one.
Where does Google Analytics fit in?
Google Analytics is a tool used by webmasters to analyze the behavior of a web site’s visitors. It’s actually a really powerful tool since you can use it to track the effectiveness of your online advertising campaigns and improve visitor engagement on your site. Because a webmaster may interpret the data gathered by Google Analytics differently than an entrepreneur, it is highly recommended that small business owners learn to “read” Google Analytics and take action on what the data reveals.
For this exercise, let’s assume that you already have a Google Analytics account set up for your web site and that you have access to it. Once logged in, take note of the following metrics.
- Unique Visitors — This is the number of unduplicated visitors to your web site over a certain period of time. It can be further divided into two segments: new visitors and returning visitors. For the coming year, your goal should be to increase the number of your unique visitors and, at the same time, increase the percentage of returning visitors. So, if you have 1,000 unique visitors for the past year, you might want to double that amount in 2012.
- Visits – The number of times that a visitor went to your web site. Often times, the number of visits is greater than the number of Unique Visitors. This is because some visitors return to your site to look for more information. Whatever number you have for visits in 2011, you would want to increase that in 2012. Make sure that your goal for this metric is greater than your unique visitors to make room for the desired increase in returning visitors.
- Pages/Visit – This refers to the average number of pages viewed by a visitor in a single visit or session. The more pages they visit, the more interesting your content is so it’s logical that you want your pages/visit to increase in 2012.
- Bounce Rate – This is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. If you’re bounce rate is close to 100%, then you’ve got a big problem. People don’t find your content interesting and they can’t get away fast enough from your site. For this year, make it your objective to decrease the bounce rate.
- Average Time on Site – This refers to the average amount of time spent by visitors in your site. If you’ve got a figure between one to two minutes, it usually means that the visitor just read the page he landed on and did not bother to check other pages. What you want to be aiming for in this new year is to bring this figure up.
Make sure to quantify your goals and list them down in a notebook. Once you have them written down, it’s time to plan how you’re going to achieve those goals. We’ve already given you an overview of the different strategies you can use to increase traffic to your site in our previous post, To the Planning Board. But don’t worry, we’d be showing you detailed plans for each strategy in the succeeding posts.
What’s Your Goal?
We’d love to hear from you about your inbound marketing goals for 2012. Tell us show many unique visitors you had for 2011 and how many do you want in 2012.