When it comes to inbound marketing, your website design is crucial to achieving your lead generation and conversion goals. Inbound design is simple, intuitive, and has clear next steps for the visitor. By designing your website around these inbound principles and using features that keep your inbound marketing goals in mind, your company can create a killer website that is bound to boost your results.
How Your Website Fits into Your Inbound Marketing Efforts
Though your website may not always be the first point of contact for your leads and customers, it is still at the center of all your inbound marketing efforts. Each inbound channel feeds into your site, making it an important part of the conversion process. Though leads may first take notice of your brand on social media or through a gated content offer, they will eventually land on your site where they will need to be guided through the marketing funnel that turns visitors into leads and leads into customers.
It is vital that your website is designed for this inbound process. Not only should your website be designed with your target audience in mind, but it should be organized in a way that helps customers understand which products or services are right for them and what their next steps should be. Ultimately, great design also inspires visitors to share your site and brand with others, allowing you to increase your reach within your target market.
What Does Strong Inbound Website Design Look Like?
Though a site that’s visually appealing can certainly go a long way in attracting new customers to your brand, you will need to go beyond just developing an attractive website if you want to ensure that your site supports your inbound efforts. Below are just a few features of website design that keep the inbound marketing process at the forefront.
Built Around Buyer Personas
One of the most important tools in your inbound marketing toolkit is the buyer persona. These customer profiles help you better understand your ideal buyers, and help you make more strategic decisions when developing marketing content. Whether you have one group of target customers or three, it’s important to ensure that your website content resonates with these buyer personas.
Start with your homepage. Not only should the content on your homepage speak to your ideal customers, but it should also have a clear path for each persona to move to the next step. For instance, let’s say that your company offers services to both individual consumers and small business owners. Your homepage should make it simple for consumers and business owners to better understand where they need to go next on your website. In this case, you might have two different CTA buttons, one which leads to consumer services and one which leads to your business service page. Clearly defining the next step for the visitor helps you ensure that they are getting the information they need and taking the best next step based on where they are in the buyer’s journey.
In this example, a CTA offering a consultation is embeddd right in the Hero image. The next step is clear to the visitor.
After you’ve designed a homepage that provides a clear path for your target consumers, you will need to focus on creating compelling and informative content that speaks to your target customers’ greatest needs and challenges. With the buyer personas in mind, develop content that resonates with this audience. If your audience prefers shorter content full of real-life examples, then that’s what you’ll want to focus on. If they prefer video content then you’ll want to keep that in mind while developing and implementing your content strategy.
Developed with the Conversion Funnel in Mind
Part of what makes inbound marketing so successful is that it focuses on attracting and nurturing potential customers at the top, middle, and bottom of the conversion funnel. The ultimate goal of your website design is to drive conversions. With that in mind, you should develop your website content with a focus on Top of the Funnel (TOFU), Middle of the Funnel (MOFU), and Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU) content.
Let’s start with TOFU. At the top of the funnel, consumers want to solve a problem or meet a need, so they look for information that can help them find the best solution. Most people start their buying journey online, so creating keyword-rich blog content can help you reach these consumers who are just starting to search for topics related to your products or services. This TOFU blog content should address the questions that top of funnel consumers tend to ask.
Once you’ve gotten the attention of potential consumers, you now need to create content that will help you qualify these prospects and eventually influence a conversion. This is where MOFU content comes in. Middle of the funnel prospects have already started to research solutions to their problem or need, and now they are looking to determine which solution is the best. While TOFU content is aimed at educating buyers about potential solutions to their problems, MOFU content shows why your brand specifically is the best choice. Use more detailed and in depth content like e-books and case studies to appeal to consumers at this stage, and make sure to capture lead information by asking visitors to fill out a lead form before they can access the content.
Offering content at every stage of the buying cycle ensures that your site’s visitors always have something compelling them forward.
Finally, bottom of the funnel prospects are ready to buy. Include offers like free trials and assessments on your website in order to attract BOFU consumers. Remember, though your ultimate goal is conversion, most of your site visitors will not be ready to purchase yet, so you will need to include TOFU and MOFU content in addition to these BOFU offers.
Designed with Personalized Features
Personalization goes a long way when it comes to conversion. By delivering the right message to the right visitor at the right time, you can better influence their purchasing decision. There are many advanced features and tools at your disposal to help ensure that your site serves visitors more customized content.
One of these features is Hubspot’s Smart CTAs. This tool helps you serve dynamic content to website visitors by allowing you to display a different CTA to each visitor based on criteria that you decide on ahead of time. Not only does this help you improve the visitor’s website experience, but it can also help you improve conversion rates by delivering the type of content that will resonate most with each visitor. For instance, a person visiting your site for the first time is more likely to be interested in an e-book than a free trial. With Smart CTAs, you can make sure that first-time visitors are getting the content they need, while those ready to buy are being guided in the right direction.
Another helpful personalization web design tool is the smart overlay, like Unbounce’s Convertables or Hupspot’s Leadflows. Though the basic premise is the same as a pop-up, these features allow you to create a more tailored experience for your visitor which is in line with your inbound marketing goals. With these targeted overlays, you can serve the most relevant offers to your audience based on a number of different criteria.
Pop-up CTAs can now appear after a certain length of time or other conditions, meaning they only appear to engaged visitors.
Includes Clear Calls-to-Action on Every Page
If you want to drive conversions then you need to tell your website visitors what to do next. Rather than leaving them up to their own devices, you should guide them to the next step with a compelling call-to-action (CTA). Whether this is a button or link, the CTA should be clear and specific so that there is no question what you want consumers to do next. In addition, you should make sure that the CTA aligns with the content in terms of which persona the content is written for and where they are in the funnel.
This CTA for an e-book about PPC comes at the end of a blog post about PPC best practices.
The exact CTA will depend on what type of content you are creating. For BOFU content, you might say, “click here to learn more” and guide readers to a page that provides a more detailed exploration of potential solutions to their challenge or need. While MOFU CTAs may encourage them to explore more information about your company. For those who are ready to buy, you may use a CTA like, “Sign up for your free trial now".
Uses Social Proof Where Applicable
Yet another way that you can ensure that your site is designed with the inbound experience in mind is providing social proof where you can. Many consumers respond best to actual data, and one way that you can use data to show your brand value is through case studies. With case studies, you are able to tell the story of how a consumer came to your brand, how your brand solved their challenges, and how they prospered as a result of this partnership. When you use data to back up these customer successes, you have a recipe for success.
Testimonies are also a powerful tool for influencing purchasing decisions. Ask some of your best customers for a testimonial that you can share on your site. Whether this is a simple quote or a video, the words of your actual customers can go a long way in showing prospects what your brand has to offer. If your testimonials are in text format, try to include an image of the customer as putting a face to the name helps build the credibility and impact of the statement.
Social proof such as testemonials are great way of showing potential customers that you mean business.
A website designed with your inbound marketing in mind is never really finished. You need to constantly A/B test, analyze, and refine your content and site design on a regular basis. Managing this ongoing process can be difficult, especially for companies that have a lot of other things on their plate. That’s why it is often a good idea to partner with an agency who can manage this for you. An inbound marketing agency knows what it takes to build and manage a site that is aimed at achieving your inbound goals, and they can dedicate the time necessary to doing it right.