Need more leads? You’re not alone. Marketers’ #1 challenge is generating traffic and leads:
Image source: The 2016 State of Inbound Report
The key to solving that problem is hidden in the challenge: “traffic and leads.”
Many marketers know that SEO is the answer to driving traffic to the website, but fewer consider SEO a lead gen strategy. The truth is, modern SEO can get your business in front of more buyers at more stages of the buyer’s journey than any other single strategy. (Which, if it helps, is also a great way to sell SEO to hesitant executives.)
Whether your team is just starting to put together an SEO strategy, or you’re improving an existing campaign, a few key steps can help pivot your SEO and get your website generation a lot more (qualified) leads.
You already have buyer personas developed, but an effective SEO strategy requires new details. Fortunately, an effective SEO strategy also comes with a solution for finding those new details.
Applying buyer personas to an SEO strategy means merging the information you have on buyers with the information you have on target keywords, and then perfecting those insights with Google. The result is what we call “user intent;” it is the hidden question behind a keyword.
If a user Googles, “warehousing,” for example, is he looking for information on warehousing strategies, or is he looking for a logistics company that can take care of his warehousing? Is the user’s intent to learn or to purchase?
So dust off those buyer personas and start with what you know: What terms do they use for your products or services? What are some common questions they ask? What are some common misunderstandings?
Then, Google some of those important keywords to make sure you understand what your audience is looking for. You might be surprised.
All of this information gets funneled back to your content marketing strategy, so the content team can create high-quality pieces that your audience is already looking for. Optimizing your existing content is good, but if it’s content no one wants, it’s never going to rank for your target keywords. Content has to answer the user intent to find favor with search engines.
There are roughly four stages to the buyer’s journey, and stellar content should be created to answer the questions that buyers are asking at each stage.
Once you have your buyer personas updated and user intent defined, you can begin mapping the buyer’s journey, creating entry and exit points for each stage.
When buyer personas are expanded by user intent research, and content is targeted to them along a well-documented buyer’s journey, organic traffic will improve. But organic traffic doesn’t automatically convert to leads, and this is where a lot of B2B brands leave revenue on the table.
The SEO team needs to work hand-in-hand with web dev to make sure each optimized landing page has clear next-step conversion opportunities.
Good, modern SEO will get visitors to the right landing pages at the right times, but those pages have to engage buyers and help you collect valuable email addresses.
There is no shortage of great content on the interweb about how to optimize landing pages for conversions. You’ve probably read a lot of them, so I’m not going to regurgitate a long list of tips here.
But I am going to remind you to check Analytics to make sure those pages are actually converting. Too often, marketers do all the right things, or at least we think we do, and don’t bother to actually check. Some useful SEO metrics can help with this:
You’ll also want to make sure to set up goals for each key page in Google Analytics by clicking “Admin” and “Goals.” This allows you to set specific targets for URL visits, page views per visit, view duration, or events, such as clicking a social share button or downloading. These goals give a realistic view of the success of a page and are very useful during A/B testing to quantify changes.
It’s unrealistic to think every visitor will convert, so focus on remarketing to get the best effect from your SEO efforts. PPC campaigns can be setup to target recent visitors, and anyone who left an email address is expecting to be contacted.
Even your SEO effort itself becomes a remarketing campaign, as you continue finding more niche keywords to rank for related to your business. The more answers an individual gets from you, the more likely they are to trust you enough and contact you as a warm lead.
A presence on popular social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook also helps continue the conversation, providing a place to promote content, generate even more traffic, and further build your SEO conversion strategy.
More than just an add-on service for online marketing, SEO is the foundation of any digital marketing strategy. With lower operational costs than call centers, brick and mortar, and other customer contact methods, your website is a cornerstone of your lead generation and customer retention efforts.
Using data-driven SEO techniques, your website will be seen by as many people as possible, and intuitively lead them through your sales funnel. So gather the buyer personas and keyword lists and start getting those ready for an SEO strategy that drives real results.