Originally published on July 5, 2016. Updated on May 13, 2020.
Wouldn’t it be great if generating leads online was as simple as building a shiny new website? Of course, a shiny new website helps. In fact, the first step to any successful online marketing campaign is to create a website, because it will form the foundation of the rest of your strategy. It ties in important elements like branding, content, search engine optimization (SEO), landing pages and calls to action into one tidy package, and all of these things will ultimately increase your chance of digital marketing success.
Once your website is live, you need to help people find it. This will allow you to start connecting with prospectives, giving them information, solving their problems and guiding them along the path to purchase until they decide to become a client or customer. Obviously, SEO is essential. It’s the practice of optimizing content – including web pages and blog posts – so it ranks on Google when people search for keywords and related terms.
Internet Live Stats estimates Google processed about 40,000 queries every second, or about 3.5 billion searches per year, in 2019. The top of the first results page is prime digital real estate, because it’s where most people will look to find answers to their questions. It can be a tremendous source of traffic, due to the daily search volume, as well as a great way to get qualified leads, because you already know people are interested in your solutions.
But what else can you try? As you might expect, SEO can be fiercely competitive, so it’s worth investing in a multi-pronged strategy to ensure you’ve covered all your bases.
Here are three options to help your message reach the right people:
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Blogging may sound a little bit strange at first. How can a series of posts, published on your website, help people find you? They’re a slow-burn strategy, but they’re great for a number of reasons.
The first one is obviously SEO, because long-form blogs (1,000+ words) will inevitably include lots of long-tail keywords, which will boost your rankings. Google’s algorithm will also look favorably on the length because it will assume you’re an expert on the topic (which, obviously, you are). Often, individual blog posts will rank higher in search than your homepage because they lend themselves so naturally to SEO.
The second one is because it paves the way for you to get active on other platforms, like social media. Blogs on topical issues, industry issues, frequently asked questions and how-to guides that will help people solve common problems they’re facing are all incredibly clickable. This makes them perfect for grabbing attention in digital ads, because once the headline draws them in, they’ll click through to your website for answers.
Once someone has entered your digital ecosystem, you need to keep them there and gently nudge them along the path to purchase. That means your content has to be good: well written, well structured, and filled with valuable information that will genuinely help someone. This isn’t the time to try and sell. It’s like the first date in the customer-brand relationship where they’re just getting to know who you are and what you’re about.
For this reason, it’s important to include a strong call to action in every blog post in case they decide they like what they see and they choose to move forward with you and schedule a second.
Read more: What’s in a headline? How to write to get attention
Social media is a powerful tool to drive traffic to your website. When it’s done correctly, the people who visit your site will be qualified leads because they’ve found you by following links, ads or offers that have interested them.
Different platforms have different strengths. Facebook is a great way to reach a lot of people effectively. LinkedIn shines in a business-to-business (B2B) setting. Instagram is wonderful for anything visual, particularly if it’s helpful or inspiring. It’s a great way to connect with people directly, because you’re essentially delivering your messaging directly into their hands, which is a great way to drive traffic to your website away from SEO. No matter the platform, the secret to making this work is to engage, engage, engage. Follow other local businesses in your area and like their posts. Reply to comments promptly. Follow up individuals and ask them questions.
The key to attracting attention on your own page is to include snappy copy and a headline that immediately addresses a pain point. What’s really in the air you’re breathing at home? Need to keep your job site going this winter? Looking for a second opinion on a medical diagnosis? Do you look at a pastry and gain a pound? Remember to engage with people on a personal level and don’t waste their time. Make sure everything you post has actual value, whether that’s helpful information, a special offer, etc., and a link to your website.
To use the date analogy again, it’s like bringing roses and putting in the work to research a nice local restaurant. Your prospective will appreciate the effort and remember the positive interaction.
Read more: 10 tips for optimizing your social media presence
Digital ads are a great option to put your website in front of people who have a genuine interest in the types of things you’re selling. You can do this through social media and search engines – every major social media platform has an ad manager, while Google Ads has taken a monopoly on search. It’s a simple process to set up a new account (you’ll need a new one for each platform you plan to use) and get started.
Ad managers are incredibly sophisticated, allowing you to select specific demographics – for example, gender, age, location, interests – to ensure you’re targeting the sorts of people likely to want your products or services most. They’re based on a cost-per-click method that works on a bidding system, which can make digital advertising a very cost-effective way to promote your website and generate qualified leads.
Blogs are great fodder for digital ads. Just like social media, it’s best to use snappy, attention-grabbing copy that immediately addresses a pain point because chances are this will match the search term. It’s worth trying a couple of different blogs to see what kinds of posts generate the most traffic, and updating the ads regularly with fresh content to ensure you’re making every dollar work as hard for you as it can.
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