- Increased traffic doesn’t buy anything.
- Leads take time and must be nurtured.
- The wrong kind of sales can suck you dry.
So now that you think I’m crazy, let me explain.
SEO, when performed correctly, will increase traffic to your website. This is a fact. Traffic to your site will not buy anything. It will get you more exposure to more prospects, but beyond that, there are no guarantees.
Leads are called leads because they can lead to sales. Leads are prospects who are vetting you. They have not “bought in” yet. They are somewhat educated and considering. The time a lead takes to make a purchase can vary widely from business to business. That is why the conversion metric is so crucial.
Sales do NOT cure all ills. Whoever made that statement left out a major component of the sales process. Is the sale appropriate? Is it a good fit? In the digital age, your product or service can be reviewed on multiple platforms. The sales process is no longer an isolated acquisition. It’s a journey, with a beginning, a middle and an end. If you’re selling the wrong product or service, just because you can, you’ll find yourself running in place.
This blog post is written to help you make your marketing more efficient and more effective, to help you close more sales. In short, I can help you spend less on marketing and MAKE MORE MONEY. Stick with me and you’ll finish this post with some actionable activities to improve your bottom line.
Know your audience
First, a joke.
Why can’t you give Elsa a balloon?
Because she will let it go.
Now unless you have kids under 10 years old in your life, you probably won’t get this joke. What’s more, if you’re not under the age of 10 right now, the joke is probably not that funny.
If you don’t know your audience, how can you communicate with them? As illustrated in the example above, your message can hit squarely or fall flat. It behooves a business owner to do a deep dive on his or her audience and what motivates them.
Here are some questions to ask before you create a marketing plan:
- What kind of role does your ideal customer have?
- Does he or she report to someone? If so, to whom?
- Do they have a large staff?
- What are some typical concerns they have on a daily basis?
- What kind of activities do they engage in daily?
- What are their pain points?
- If you could alleviate that pain, how would that change their life?
- What form of communication is best for your customers? Email? Phone? Social Media?
The goal here is to find out their motivations and pain points. What would drive them to look for your service or product? This step is VITAL.
I realize that these questions are hard to answer, but they will tell you more about your best customers. The more you know, the better you can communicate. They’ll appreciate it enough to remember it and remember you.
Show them what they want
Now that you know who your best customers are and what motivates them, you likely have a better sense of what they want. When a prospect visits your site you only have moments to capture their attention, so you want to make the most of that time. Try to keep your messaging as clean and as simple as possible and offer up the information they want right away.
Business owners make the mistake of trying to point out their certifications or service offerings first. What works better is answering the customers’ question first. Certainly list your services, but be sure to convey how you can help THEM.
So when you’re organizing the content on your website, ask yourself these questions:
- Why would my ideal customer be visiting my website?
- What information can I give them that will help them make a decision?
- What kind of action do I want them to take on my site?
By organizing your information in this manner, you increase the likelihood that they will do what you want them to do.
Give them want they need
One of the biggest hurdles to closing more sales, on your website, in person or anywhere else, is a lack of understanding. Either the prospect doesn’t understand how your business can help, or you don’t understand that your business is not a good fit. Either way, you’re not going to have a productive relationship.
In most cases, prospects need to be educated on what you do. More specifically, how you can be useful to them. The details, at this stage, are rarely necessary. It is more important to be helpful and to be a resource to them.
Here’s an example of two ways to say what you do. Both are true, but the message is different:
“At GoBeyond SEO, we offer full service inbound marketing campaigns including SEO, website design, PPC, social media and content marketing.”
“At GoBeyond SEO, we help you make more money with your website. Our service helps your website get found on the Internet by your best potential customers.”
The first sounds more polished and tells the prospect what you do. However, the first also assumes that the prospect knows what “inbound marketing” or “SEO” means. Many times, they may not.
The second sounds less glamorous, but it describes the benefit of the service, not the actual service.
As an expert in your field, it is easy to forget that the industry language you use every day is unfamiliar to those outside the space. Don’t overwhelm them with jargon; speak to them where they are.
Now if you’re a CPA, what you do is pretty straightforward. While educating your prospects on what you do is not necessary, educating them on why you’re different, better, and more useful to them is, at times, even more difficult. Find a niche within the space and focus your marketing in that direction. Even if you take all kinds of accounts, find your favorite product or service and carve out your space.
Market the right product
Now that you’ve answered these questions about your audience, is this the audience you want? Do they know what you do? Is this audience going to buy your high-dollar items or services? Is this audience the best fit for the kind of business you’re running?
I met with a landscaper recently to work on my irrigation system. One of our sprinkler heads was broken and he replaced it for me. As we chatted he told me that he’s exhausted because he was running from place to place providing services that he was happy to provide, but which had a low profit margin for his business.
The service he wanted to sell, the one that gave him the most profit and the most joy, was his design projects. What’s more, the design clients usually stayed on for longer contracts.
So why wasn’t he marketing this service? Why did all of his marketing focus on lawn maintenance and irrigation repair? He told me his website mentions that he does design work, but admitted that it was not the central focus.
With this in mind, take a look through all of your products and services:
- Which items sell for the most money?
- Which items sell at the best profit margin?
- Which services require the most time in labor?
- Which services are low maintenance?
Each business is different. For a different landscaper, irrigation systems could be his or her area of expertise and the niche to focus on. Another landscaper may not have the staff to implement a design project. Be sure to analyze all aspects of your offerings BEFORE your decide which to market. You may discover that all you need to do to make more money is to change the focus of your marketing efforts.
Tweak your SEO: A Cheat Sheet
If you follow the tips above, you’re halfway there. Business owners who incorporate those questions into their daily business activities will vastly improve their marketing outcome.
For a more advanced approach to your marketing, you should adjust your SEO practices. Whenever I mention doing SEO on their own, everyone freaks out. Don’t freak out. It’s not that hard.
Keyword Selection: The magic formula
Picking the best keywords is a relatively simple process.
Relevance to your business + High Search Volume + Low Competition = Your strongest Keywords
Simple, right? If you can master this formula, you’ll pick great keywords for your business. For extra credit, try to find some longer tail keywords as well. The more specific the search, the lower the traffic, but the higher the likelihood to make a purchase soon.
Now that you have your keywords, what do you do with them?
1. Be Strategic: Do some research and link to websites that are useful to your customers and complement your business.
2. Fresh Content: Fresh content is the 1-2 punch from an SEO perspective. The best way to do this is to have a blog installed on your site and to blog regularly. Blogging has the ability to add links to your site and educate your target customer, and also forces the search engines to index the new page. This is a good thing. Google is an aggregator of website pages and data. It’s hungry. Feed it with fresh content.
3. Be Patient: In our world of instant gratification, this aspect of SEO is the most frustrating, but necessary. SEO is akin to growing a garden. Each page on your site is a seed. Links are the sun, water and fertilizer. It takes time for them to grow. If you need to see results now, look into Paid Advertising or PPC.
4. Measure: Use Google Analytics and Webmaster tools for metrics on your website performance. Doing so will keep you aware of activity on your site and where to make adjustments going forward. If using Google Analytics worries you, don’t fret. YouTube has several videos that can walk you through the process.
Digital Marketing has been described, quite accurately, as an art and a science. Hopefully this post has provided you with a little bit of both.