This article assumes that you already have a business website; that your site is listed in the SERPs (even if it’s not on page 1), and that it does already generate leads (if few). I have not however assumed you have a conversion-optimised website or that you are doing all of the digital marketing you could be doing in order to generate leads. For this reason, some of what I discuss will pertain to conversion rate optimisation and how it can help to improve the number of leads you generate.
Step 1: Let’s begin by…getting found
So, you can be found online and you haven’t incurred any Google penalties (check your Google Webmaster Tools) account if you’re not sure). The only thing is … you’re not getting found by the right people, or you’re not ranking high enough and as such may as well be invisible.
There’s really not a single answer I can give you in order to solve this problem. There are so many things you can do and, if you do them right, increase business leads and your ‘web-spread’ threefold.
Online marketing methods to get you FOUND:
Search engine optimization (or SEO) – as Google has recently dispensed with the Keyword Tool, you’re going to have to carefully consider those queries your customers will be using to search for a service/product like the one you offer. With Google’s latest update to the search ranking algorithm, greater emphasis is being given to a customer’s ‘full query’, so make sure you’ve got a good idea of what your customers are typing.
Content marketing – this is the ‘SEO’ that Google WANTS you to be doing because if done properly, you’ll be providing your customers with USEFUL information. We’ve just published a fairly comprehensive guide on content marketing. Take a look at it and get in touch if you need help.
Branding that generates ‘buzz’ – this approach covers literally every platform out there – social, content, imagery, off-site branding, customer service… The point is to create a brand that is memorable and that makes others want to talk about you, share your updates, and generally spread the word for you. The point is never to be forgotten.
Social media – Having an active presence on various social networks will also increase your chances of getting found. Of course, you will need to be using them in such a way as to generate ‘buzz’ or to at least get the content shared in an effort to expand you reach. Facebook now has improved Insight Analytics for brand pages, so if you’re using Facebook as one of your marketing tools, be sure to pay attention to the types of posts that work (In my experience they’re photos!)
Relationship-building activities – again, this will cover a gamut of activities. It will include engaging on your social platforms, doing your content marketing in such a way that it answers your customers queries/needs, providing users with content they want and that appeals to their emotions. It will also include offline activities and should be incorporated into how you speak to customers/potential customers. It may also include going to events and seminars. AND, it will include building relationships with those that are not going to be your customers but who will help to spread word of your business – influencers!
Events and seminars – use events, seminars, business meet-ups and presentations to spread the word. Also, try to use websites like Eventbrite and Meetup to help publicise your event. These activities are also a great way to build relationships with others and … if you’re clever … to do a soft sell on a service/product you have that helps to solve a problem.
Step 2: now let’s get found OVER competitors
Much like the marketing methods listed in step 1 (‘getting found’), step 2 takes those methods further. The main difference between the two is that in order to get found over your competitors, you’ll need to be better than them. That means doing everything we mentioned above and more. It also means doing it better than your competitors do. Give your clients MORE. Solve problems better and faster. Look better. Stay on top of industry trends. Take a proactive approach to figuring out what it is your customers need, rather than just waiting for them to tell you. Don’t forget your customer. They are your business. Doing better and being better is about focusing on their needs, not your own.
If you truly are going to be at the cutting edge, you’re also going to have to take risks. Sometimes you won’t be able to back these risks with data, but provided you’re keeping your target audience in mind and marketing with YOUtility, you’ll be fine.
Jae Baer, the author of ‘Youtility’, puts it perfectly:
“Instead of marketing that’s needed by companies, Youtility is marketing that’s wanted by customers.”
Do that and you’ll be fine. Here are some of the things you will need to be doing (in conjunction with those listed above) in order to keep the edge.
Search ranking reports – these will help you stay on top of how your site and your content pages are performing in the search results.
More content marketing with BETTER more USEFUL content
Constant contact (not the email suite) but the ‘action’ of being in constant communication with your customers (both online and offline). This will in turn help to generate buzz and instil a sense of trust and loyalty, which will in turn hopefully turn your clients into ‘brand evangelists’.
Ongoing SEO – changes in what your audience wants and in how your site is performing online will dictate where and when your SEO needs to change. Again, because Google is actively trying to discourage ‘spammy’ SEO tactics, your best approach is youtility. Be useful and provide useful information. This is just one of the reasons we wrote a post on why you should forget about SEO.
Provide proof – people like to see examples of how your service or product has helped others. This is one of the main reasons that we as a company keep a ‘portfolio’ page. Proof can come in many forms – testimonials, statistics, video demos, product reviews and ratings, awards and recognition won, etc. Consider the type of ‘proof’ that will matter most to your customers.
Ask questions – ask your audience what they like, what they don’t like and what they want. Use surveys to stay in touch with their needs; use your social platforms to prompt them with questions; use live chat to solve their problems before their relationship with your business turns sour.
Stay on top of what’s going on in the industry. This is one of the reasons we maintain a blog. We like to keep you in the loop. And although we really may not cover everything (you’ve got to be a giant organisation to do that), we try to cover those main events that will really have an impact on you. Plus, we’re pretty diverse and we like to make sure we cover all of the topics that will help you rank better and improve sales.
Follow all of these steps over and over and you’ll be well on your way to increasing business leads online. If you thought it was a quick process, you were wrong – sorry! This is a process with the end goal of building long-lasting relationships with your customers. This is what will make them buy once and then return to make another purchase.
Step 3: make your website work for you!
A lead-generating website isn’t just a website with ‘call now’ buttons in the ‘appropriate’ colours, a ‘made in Britain’ sticker, or a particular length of landing page. It’s a website that filters browsers through the lead-generation funnel accounting for whatever stage they’re at with skill, dishing out the right content at the right time in order to increase the likelihood of a conversion.
Here’s our own guide to ‘the lead generation funnel’. This incorporates the steps that need to be taken in order to convert a browser into a buyer.
Bear in mind that at each stage of the funnel, you need to be ‘nurturing’ your potential leads. Nurture them to inform and educate them. Nurture them with the right content to encourage sales, nurture them so they return, nurture those you lose, nurture to upsell or to get repeat business.
By following the lead generation funnel, you will be thinking of your customer rather than just yourself. This should mean that you are providing them with useful resources instead of just marketing jabber.
If you are having problems on your website with figuring out why people don’t convert, you might want to start by using an online tool. A few good tools to think about include:
- Kiss Metrics
- Google Analytics
These tools will help you to assess why people aren’t converting.
Next you can build a profile on how people are using your site (what is actually happening on the page) with tools like:
- Crazy Egg
- Experian Hitwise
And finally, why not find out why people are exiting by offering a live-chat option or ‘exit’ surveys in order to resolve problems? SEOGadget has put together a great guide on conversion rate optimization. I highly recommend checking it out.
Where is your site and what do you need to do?
If you’re not quite sure where your site sits in the grand scheme of things, we’ll be happy to help you figure it out. And, if you need it, we will work with you to create a digital marketing plan that going forward, will increase your business leads online. Get in touch with Xanthos to find out more.