Does your business have a local presence? Do you know how you can get additional traffic from local potential customers who are searching for a business like yours on the internet? Then getting yourself listed in Google My Business (also known as Google+ Local, Google Places and Google Maps) and optimizing your website for local SEO is what needs to be done for your local business.
A firm that specializes in local search marketing can help you accomplish a higher ranking for local search results unless you have the time to do it on your own. In general, here is what your local search marketing services firm should do in order optimize your business for Google My Business:
How would you rather be known – as a producer of sales pitches, or as a creator of valuable information?
Admittedly, sales are what drives your business. But sales pitches are not what drive your customers. Today’s media-savvy folks have learned to “skip” ads online, spam away unsolicited email, block cold calls and fast-forward their way through TV commercials via DVR. In short, they don’t respond to ads the way consumers did just a generation ago.
Instead, valuable information, in the form of web content, is the foundation of today’s marketing.
So if your strategy is stalled in the 1990s – still based in display ads, fliers, coupon books, radio spots or Yellow Pages – you are not only delivering sales pitches, you’re delivering them to a rapidly evaporating audience. According to a recent survey, fully half of today’s consumers spend 75 percent of their shopping time online.
And they’re not booting up their laptops, tablets or smartphones to look at ads. They’re searching for answers. You can provide those answers in the form of content. And in doing so, you begin to stand out from competitors, get noticed in Google searches, build your credibility and foster a community of web-based followers whom you can then convert to qualified leads.
That sounds like a tall order. But in fact, content marketing a rather simple concept that countless businesses, large and small, use to their advantage to generate web traffic.
Content is your key
To that end, content marketing isn’t just the best website traffic generator – in the view of some business experts, it’s the only website traffic generator worth pursuing.
Content isn’t about pitching your product or service. It’s not about your company’s goals, or about your new location. In fact, it’s not about you at all.
The content that serves as a website traffic generator is wholly focused on the interests and concerns of the target audience. If you sell tennis equipment, for example, a blog about your latest sale is bad content. A blog about the top seeds of this year’s Davis Cup is good content.
Content marketing is the practice of using your valuable content to engage people and encourage their loyalty to your website or social media pages. Doing it well demands a strategy focused on long-term goals and a tactical commitment that will have you delivering your content consistently and frequently – the better to build momentum among your audience.
Your vehicles to generate web traffic go beyond your company’s website. Content marketing is rooted in social media. Having a Facebook page or Twitter feed well stocked with good content will not only keep people coming back, it will encourage them to share your content with their friends and followers.
Close the loop
Of course, even thousands of followers doesn’t translate to automatic sales. So content marketing closes the loop through a landing page that offers an exchange of premium content for your followers’ contact information. Those who commit their email address become your best leads. Having established yourself as credible and trustworthy, you may now use customized, automated email to encourage your leads toward a purchase decision.
At this point, you can send emails highlighting special rates or deals – offers that may have been dismissed as mere sales pitches had you sent them in an unsolicited way. But because you built and strengthened a relationship through content marketing, your offers have much more impact.
From website traffic generator …to lead generator …to purchase decision, content marketing is your key to building your business in a digital world.
A landing page is where your site visitor actually converts into a lead (web conversion). It prompts the visitor to provide their information in exchange for a specific offer that they would expect to receive after filling out an online form. An effective landing page along with your offer button that immediately captures a visitor’s attention can turn your visitors into a steady stream of leads.
Here are the top seven best practices that will help you create the best landing page:
- The Five Second Test: A visitor will often decide whether they should fill out the online form on your landing page within the first five seconds and sometimes even before the page has finished loading. Ensure a professional looking landing page which is easy to fill out. Visitors should be able to understand your offer and the information you require right away.
- Simplicity Pays: Your visitor lands on your landing page after clicking on a call to action button for downloading an ebook, webinar etc. Make sure that the page contains the exact information pertaining to the offer and nothing more. The content should be easy to understand and simple so that the visitors don’t have to do any guess-work.
- Short and Sweet: It is easier for a visitor to simply click away and go back to Google searching for similar websites than to read through a lot of information or questions on your landing page.
- Get them to Trust You: Visitors will usually cringe about providing their personal information to a site that is not trustworthy to them. You can build credibility by displaying your logo or a client testimonial where it can be seen quickly as soon as a visitor lands on the landing page.
- Remove Distractions: Make sure that your visitor does not get distracted while they are on the landing page. Don’t provide them any additional navigation like a link back to your homepage, menu options etc. Your landing page should only have your online form, the “submit” button and the relevant information. The focus of your squeeze page should only be to get them to provide their information and nothing else.
- Reinforce Value: Your website will most likely talk about a specific offer for the visitor which will be linked to your landing page. For example, your website may state, “We offer a free ebook that explains how to build a chicken coop.”If somebody clicks on “free ebook”, they will land on your landing page which will prompt the visitor to fill out an online form. Restate what you are offering and why it’s valuable by using a simple bulleted list near the top of the page.
Wear their Shoes: Put yourself in your visitor’s shoes and ask yourself if you would fill out the form on your landing page? Is the offer easy to understand? Do you feel comfortable providing your personal information? Make sure that you consistently make changes until your landing page looks perfect to you and don’t forget to continuously test your landing page.
Lead Nurturing is a method of building a relationship with your leads and encouraging them to progress through your sales funnel until they are ready to become your customers. Specifically, we recommend sending three to five automated “nurturing” emails to your leads right after they have filled out an online form on your website and subscribed to your list.
Recent industry research revealed that the businesses which do extremely well at lead nurturing are capable of generating 50% more sales-ready leads at the rate of 33% lesser cost per lead. We explain some elements below that will help you make your lead nurturing email campaigns a success and lead to more customer acquisition.
Offer Engaging Content
It is important to ensure that your lead nurturing emails contain valuable and informative content. Similar to writing a blog post, think about what content your emails should contain. For example, if you are in the business of selling a laptop, your initial nurturing email might center on the topic: “top six factors to consider before buying a laptop.”
Since you are an expert in your industry, teach your leads something new and valuable to keep them engaged. Doing so will ensure that they are willing to continue receiving your emails and interacting with your business.
Focus On a Single Topic
Each lead nurturing email that you send out should remain focused on a single topic and must include a call to action. If you were a lead, would you read such an email or just delete it? Your leads will read your email if it is closely related to the topic that they want more information on. For example, if your lead subscribed to your list when they downloaded your report on “should you buy a Mac or a PC?” they are yet at the beginning of your sales funnel and the topic of your first email could be: “comparing a Mac with a PC.” Offer a solution to your lead’s problem in your lead nurturing emails.
Send Brief and Concise Messages
Your lead will most likely decide within five seconds after receiving your lead nurturing email whether it should be read or deleted. Don’t worry about decorating your email with graphics or custom HTML. Keep your message simple and easy to read. Don’t include excessive links or call to action that your leads are not going to pay any attention to.
Let Your Leads Follow a Natural Progression
Plan the flow of your lead nurturing email campaigns so that your leads are able to follow a natural progression down your sales funnel.
Make sure that your first email after conversion is quite educational without any deliberate emphasis on conversion, however your following emails should be both educational and also prompt the lead to convert a second time. This could mean attending a webinar, downloading a demo or signing up for a trial offer.
Measure Your Success
Make use of the tracking reports for your lead nurturing email campaigns by measuring what’s working and what’s not. Pay close attention to the click-through-rates (CTR) and unsubscribe rates. Typically if your unsubscribe rates stay below 5%, this would mean that your subscribers are reading your emails and overall your lead nurturing campaign is successful. However, if the unsubscribe rate goes over 5%, then you’ll need to re-evaluate your campaigns and figure out what’s not working and how to improve it. You may try testing new content, perhaps a more interesting subject line and adjusting the timing of the sending of the emails.
These are just some of the techniques that you can use in your lead nurturing campaigns. Lead nurturing is really part of the broader concept of a communication plan which helps to provide valuable information and customer contact to help convert more leads into customers. If you discover something that is working and contributing to the overall success of your campaigns, make sure you make a note of it and then continue implementing it in your future lead nurturing campaigns.
Most internet marketers and web-preneurs are at least vaguely familiar with the concept that inbound links are the best way to increase traffic to your website. More than just using inbound links to increase traffic to your website, they also are a great public relations tool in addition to improving SEO and increasing traffic.
What Are Inbound Links?
If you are wondering how to increase traffic to your website, you may be wondering what exactly inbound links are. Basically, an inbound link can be described as a web link from one internet site to another. This is the basis for Off Page SEO.
How Do Inbound Links Increase Traffic to Your Website?
- An inbound link is a link directed to your website, which is one of the ways it helps increase traffic to your website
- Inbound links are also an opportunity to increase traffic from natural referrals from other websites. (An inbound link from someone’s social networking profile is like an invitation for that person’s friend list to visit your site.)
- If you’re looking for the most effective way to increase traffic to your website, you obviously want your inbound links to come from busy websites. That way you increase traffic to your website simply by an increase in referral links.
- Inbound links also help SEO. In order to really unlock the secrets of how to increase traffic to your website in the long term, let’s understand how inbound links aid the overall SEO strategy of your website.
SEO Basics to Increase Traffic
Inbound links, which are also often called “backlinks” are basically the “unit of currency” on the internet. A website rich in backlinks will obviously increase traffic and achieve better rankings in the search engines. So the more backlinks you have, the easier it is to increase traffic to your website, and that means you should start leaving your inbound links everywhere, right?
No. In fact, it may happen that instead of increasing traffic to your website, randomly spamming your link around the internet will likely get your site in trouble and Google may even stop visiting your site. Likewise, all backlinks aren’t created equal. Rather than spamming your link to anyone and everywhere, you need to focus on acquiring quality inbound links to increase traffic to your website.
Getting Quality Inbound Links to Increase Traffic
A good quality backlink should have the following three attributes:
- It must come from an authoritative website. Wikipedia.org is a good example of an authoritative website.
- It must use anchor text. Anchor text is the word or phrase that people click on to follow your backlinks. Choosing the right anchor text is one of the best ways to increase traffic to your website.
- It should use descriptive anchor text . It helps the person clicking your link know what sort of site they are going to and it also lets search engines figure out what keywords are related to the site. For example, if somebody links to your site using the anchor words “chicken coops”, your site will have better ranking for that keyword/keyphrase when somebody uses it to search for related websites.
Have you been backlinking to your website? Backlinking and generating quality inbound links is the best way for how to increase traffic to your website as well as improving your page rank and conversions.
Unless you happen to ship products to customers around the world, it’s likely that your small business is closely tied to your community. Nothing wrong with that – you friends and neighbors are your core audience. And even though they may pass your store or office every day, see your signage, and know your specialty, local consumers still turn to the Internet first to research everything from carpet cleaners to cosmetic surgeons.
So optimizing your website for local search marketing is key to your marketing strategy. Your goal is to make it easy for those in your community to find your site on a typical Google search.
Combine your location and your business description
Consumers search on keywords that may include both your kind of business and your city’s name, such as “Flower shop Tampa.” Populating your homepage, URL or H1 (the “headline” of each page) with your city or street location and a brief description of your services helps a search engine like Google, Bing or Yahoo to identify your site and position it where people can find it.
Tap into the power of Google
Google My Business is a free local search marketing service recognizable by its pinpointed maps. These city-centric results are tied to search engine optimization (SEO) keywords entered by users – words often as simple as “pizza.” Your Google My Business account should include one physical location (no P.O. boxes allowed) and up-to-date contact information. Not sure what keywords work best? Google AdWords can help.
If you’re not yet immersed in social networking, local search marketing is a great reason to start. You can find blogs and social sites tied to your community; by posting meaningful content there, you raise your profile among the people most likely to respond to your business.
What should you blog about? As a rule of thumb, avoid hard-sells and “me-centric” information about your business. Instead, create content that addresses your customers’ interests or concerns. If you sell fishing tackle, for instance, you may write about the five best places to troll for trout in your area. If you offer dermatology services, you may describe the effects of your area’s typical weather patterns on sensitive skin. And to keep it even more local, consider an article about the experiences of one of your best customers. People love to read about their friends and neighbors.
When you add your city’s name or other location-specific keywords into your blog title and URL. A title like “The Best Fishing in Portland, Oregon” will get more specific hits than “The Best Fishing in Town.”
One of the main reasons for a business to participate in blog marketing is to increase keyword rankings which in turn grows organic search traffic for their website. The more webpages a site has, the more opportunities a website has to rank for multiple terms. After creating all the necessary webpages for your website, like information about your services, products, landing pages etc., you should start thinking about a blog marketing strategy. Having a blog on your website will gradually increase the number of webpages and will set it apart from others that don’t have a blog. Blog marketing is an essential practice for getting more traffic and SEO.
Blog Marketing Basics: Identify Long Tail Keywords
The initial step in a blog marketing strategy is writing your posts about keywords relating to your industry and niche. Other than the quality, blog marketing should focus on creating content around long tail keywords. For example, let’s say that you want to write an article about bikes. If your content is written around the keyword “bikes”, the chances are that your article will not show up on the first page of search results. That’s because it is a general term and there are many webpages already optimized for that keyword. People typically search for keyword phrases, for example, “how to repair a bike.”
There are better chances that you would rank higher for that keyword phrase although it may not bring so much traffic as the keyword “bikes”. However, if you write a number of articles using similar keyword phrases, the chances are that your website may drive a significant amount of traffic and make your blog marketing strategy a success.
Optimization is Essential to Blog Marketing
After coming up with relevant keywords, the second step in a blog marketing strategy is to optimize your blog posts with your keywords. Your keywords should be included in the page title, the URL for the page and the H1 tag. Some companies make the mistake of putting their name before the keyword in the page title. If you do want to include the company name, make sure that the keyword is inserted first. For example, if your company name is BikeHaven, your page title should look like: “How to repair a bike | BikeHaven.”
Publish your Optimized Post
The last step of a blog marketing strategy is to publish the post. Google and other search engines will index your site in a few days or longer depending on how frequently you update your site. Since search engines like fresh content, if you publish your content more often, your posts will get crawled faster. Posting your RSS feed to FeedBurner, Twitter and Ping-o-Matic will also help your site get indexed faster.
Is your lead program suffering from low lead volumes? Are you constantly on the look-out for ways to improve your lead program? The first question to ask to get the ball rolling is “How many landing pages do we have on our website?” If you are able to easily count the number of landing pages you have on your website with just your right hand, then you need to seriously consider building more landing pages for your site.
Landing Pages – An Important Component of Your Lead Program
It is important to understand that the landing pages are the lifeblood of a successful lead program. It is interesting to note, however that having “many” landing pages can be especially important for optimizing your lead program. Based on a recent study that was conducted on this premise, it was discovered that there is a strong correlation between the number of landing pages a website has and the lead volume they are able to generate every month.
More Landing Pages = More Leads
In this study, the websites of some 4000 businesses were analyzed. The study showed that websites with 31 to 40 landing pages were able to get 7 times more leads, compared to a website with only one to five landing pages. In addition, websites with more than 40 landing pages were able to get 12 times more leads, compared to sites with only one to five landing pages. Using these results, it clear to see that not only is it important to have landing pages, but it’s even more critical to have “many” landing pages than the competition to have that bigger advantage when it comes to your lead generation efforts for a successful lead program.
The logical conclusion of the study indicates that more targeted offers convert to more leads, since each landing page consists or must consist of a targeted offer. This holds true for both B2B and B2C businesses. This data may show a strong correlation between the lead volume generated and the number of landing pages a website has, but it does not necessarily suggest direct causation. There are still a number of other factors that needs to be considered for a successful lead program. Are your offers attractive enough? Do they solve your visitor’s problem? These factors, combined with the overall strength of multiple landing pages, help to determine the effectiveness of your lead generation program.
Content marketing works best with a strong lead program. Inbound marketing such as SEO, webinars, blogs, social media and more certainly help to drive growth in their own right. However, having a strong lead program in order to capture those incoming leads is just as important as the content marketing itself. After all, inbound traffic is useless if you aren’t able to capture and convert them.
What is the Secret to a Great Lead Program? Here are the Top Five Tips:
- Content! Content! Content!Generate new, informative content that will get people interested and conversations going. High quality content is the best traffic generator for your web presence. The content you provide can be a research report, an ebook, survey results etc. Your lead program must always start by taking a good, hard look at your content to be sure that it has the potential to become the foundation of your lead program.
- Write Blog Articles to Support your Content. Once you have quality content, you now need to publish and distribute it. Think about the most interesting and important pieces of your content and then write a short blog article on two of the most important pieces. Every blog post provides another opportunity to reach out to an ever larger audience. Be careful to avoid the sales pitch approach on your blog. If you constantly bombard your readers with your pitch, lead program or not, they’ll run in the opposite direction. Keep them around by offering them quality, engaging content.
- Webinars – Another valuable approach to disseminating your great content could be a webinar. Once your blog articles and your content start getting attention, invite your readers to a webinar. Webinars are a simple and effective method for capturing leads as they will be giving you their email address (and sometimes additional contact information) prior to the webinar when they signup. Webinars are also a great way to start a discussion about your content and to encourage people to share (post, tweet, etc) not only your webinar announcement and signup information but your site link as well.
- Support Your Social Media Campaign – After you have your content and blog posts published, share them through social media. Your webinar landing page should be easy to retweet and share on Facebook. Choose a short URL instead of a longer one. Take advantage of LinkedIn Groups to start a discussion by posting questions prior to your webinar.
- Follow-up by Email – And the final lead program tip, be sure to record your webinar and send the link or recording to those people who registered for it. It is a great opportunity to spread your content even further. Folks who were satisfied with your webinar are much more likely to redistribute it via social networks, which in turn will generate more leads and traffic for your business.
Needless to say, these are just some of the elements that can go into a quality lead program but the above five tips should be able to get you started. And remember, quality, informative content coupled with a solid lead program can help you get quickly started on the path to success.
Based on a recent industry study (pertaining to lead generation), conducted at over 4000 companies, “more is better” when it comes to marketing and content creation. With regards to landing pages, blogs, and other content, data indicated that companies which created more content generated more traffic and more leads. This is called, “content marketing,” and it is currently playing a key role in the fight for rankings and visitors.
Content Marketing – Why More is Better, and other content, data indicated that companies which created more content generated more traffic and more leads. This is called, “content marketing,” and it is currently playing a key role in the fight for rankings and visitors.
- Businesses with more than 400 individual indexed pages had the highest lead generation and traffic
- Companies which blogged more than 20 times each month experienced the highest returns in leads and traffic
- Businesses that had more than thirty-one landing pages were able to consistently generate nearly ten times more leads than the “less that 5” landing pages category
Why More is Not Always Better
Obviously, the realization that “more is better” may lead a few folks into incorrectly believing that they need to quickly ramp up all of their marketing of content. They begin dividing pages, and they post super-short micro blog posts several times a day all in the name of content marketing. But the notion of “more is better” when it comes to content marketing also needs to be tempered with quality, unique content.
The key to content marketing is more than just “more is better.” The real secret to content marketing is “more unique, quality content is better.” For content marketing to boost page rank, visitors, conversions, ROI and other metrics, the content has to be fresh and informative.
Content Marketing Means Leaving No Stone Unturned
When it comes to the topics and keywords important for your website or services, discuss every aspect of them on your blog or other venues of content. Analyze key questions, generate content based on the latest trends, and even take a look at the pros and cons. Just remember that good content marketing always subtly leads the reader to the conclusion that the pros vastly outweigh any and all cons.
Build up Your Landing Page Offers to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts
Having lots more landing pages in and of itself is not enough for successful content marketing. You also need to add enticing offers to those pages. If you don’t have the time or resources to create eBooks, webinars or other more in depth content marketing items right now, don’t worry. Your content marketing strategy can also include offers such as free or reduced price trials, demos, consultations, newsletters, and more. These are all solid ways to boost your content marketing efforts without requiring a lot of time or money.
How to Get More Pages Indexed Quickly
- Team Member Pages– Do you have staff bios on your site? A very simple content marketing strategy that many businesses overlook is to create Staff bio pages.
- Regional – Also be sure to create individual, unique pages for the different regions, states, or cities you offer your goods or services to as this is an easy way to not only grab a better share of longtail keywords, but also to improve your overall marketing efforts by getting more pages indexed.
- Questions, Questions, Questions– Do you have an FAQ page? A contact page? When it comes to marketing content, there are tons of pages you can create in order to give your site a boost.
What are you waiting for? Get started with your new content marketing plan today.
Image above by Melvin Gaal (Mindsharing.eu)