Focusing on a single traffic source is never wise. The good news, there are more ways to build leads, aprt from Google!
Have you been reluctant to learn how to market your business on Facebook? Whether you’re an SEO who thinks search engine optimization and AdWords will carry the day, or a website owner who figures social media is not for professional matters, you’re missing out on the way of the future.
Let me start by addressing the SEOs in this group. It is true that search can capture customers as they’re getting ready to buy. But if you really want to capture them at the right moment, according to Carter, your keyword choices for AdWords can be pretty limited. There may be 45 million searches for "shoes" every month on Google, but only 450,000 searches for "buy shoes." Your safest bet to capture customers, "buy shoes online," sees only about 90,000 searches every month.
That still looks pretty good… until you consider how many competitors are bidding to show their ads in Google for precisely that phrase. And don’t think your customers won’t comparison-shop with your rivals online!
But there’s even uglier news. On general, only about five to ten percent of the keywords actually turn a profit. Once you’ve discovered what those profitable keywords are and gotten the most out of them, does it make sense to throw more money at AdWords? And if it doesn’t, what do you do when you’re ready to expand?
Here’s another situation: say you’ve created a new product. Its functionality combines that of two older products. Which keywords do you use? Your instinctive answer may be "keywords for both of the older products," but it’s not that simple. Google dishes out quality scores on AdWords ads; these scores affect how much (or how little) you can bid to get your ad in certain positions. Ad position plays a major factor in its click-through rate.
Given all that, what kind of quality score do you think you would get if your ad is for a new device that both melts and blends widgets, when most people search for either a "widget melter" or a "widget blender"? You can bid for "widget blender" and "widget melter," but your ad’s quality score in AdWords might not be very high – because your product and ad are not perfectly relevant to either of those phrases. If you need to bid more for your AdWords campaign, you’ll need to sell more of your product to turn a profit. You might find, as one of Carter’s students did, that you can’t launch an affordable AdWords campaign for your new product.
Facebook, On the Contrary…
With Facebook, you are reaching people who further up the sales funnel. They’re not ready to buy right now. But they will buy eventually – and you’re paying a lot less for them, based on cost per click, than you’d be paying through AdWords. The fact that Facebook ad CPC is from two to ten times cheaper than AdWords means that you can afford to get those general customers.
How can you be so sure that they’ll buy eventually? With Facebook, you’re actually building a relationship with them based on who they are. You’re not trying to target keywords; you’re targeting what users like. Once a user clicks to "like" you (or your Facebook fan page, more precisely), you can post daily updates that they’ll actually be glad to see if you do it right. Try sending an email to your subscribers every day; you’re going to see a LOT of people opting out of your mass mailing!
The point is, you can use Facebook to do things that you can’t do via AdWords or other forms of marketing. Say, for example, that I’m using Google to look for new crochet techniques, and you’re a business that sells yarn and other crafting supplies (knitting needles, crochet hooks, etc.). You can’t sell me anything at that point, because I’m looking for information. Heck, even if I’m specifically looking for a particular type of yarn, I might just be curious about its properties, and trying to find a local source (rather than looking to purchase it online).
On Facebook, though, you can target my interests. You can find out that my friends and I are avid knitters and crocheters. You can set up an ad to appear on the right side of my page that I can "like" to become a fan. And if I actually *do* like it, this fact will appear on my wall and my friends’ walls – letting them know I thought your page was worth a look. It’s not quite as good as word of mouth advertising, but it’s close.
Once I’ve "liked" you, you can do things to encourage me to interact with your page and your site. For example, you can tell me when you’ve posted a new blog entry, or tease me with the free patterns I can get if I join your pattern club, or offer coupons good for a discount and free shipping on yarn I’ve purchased from you online, or…well, you get the idea. You can do this sort of thing practically every day, and it won’t bother me, because I’m the one who took the initial action to "like" you.
A Facebook Wall isn’t like email; it’s where people update each other briefly with what’s been going on in their lives. So if you’re brief in your updates (think Twitter-style short), your fans will interact…and want more. Keep them interested, and they’ll convert. It isn’t just the conversion that you’re after, though. Figure that will come naturally in time. What you’re really trying to do is build a relationship with someone who will become a lifetime customer.
Sam Ovens is a great example here. His ads always result in a ton of engagement:
Neil Patel is another great example:
When you look at it that way, two things become very clear. First, Facebook isn’t going to go away. Second, you can’t afford not to learn how to market yourself and your business on Facebook. If you’re an SEO, your clients will thank you; and if you’re a small business, you’ll be pleased with the results.
No business owner has the time to do a lot of SEO, but you can delegate the SEO basics to an employee or freelancer. Even doing basic SEO tasks can make a difference to what page of Google’s results you appear on. Take control and prioritize.
Your Top Priorities
- SEO Basics
DIY SEO comes down to proper site management, fresh content and making your site attractive to users.
SEO is too important to leave to chance. Neil Patel puts it very clearly in his SEO guide,
“If you ever need to hide a dead body, you should place it on the second page of Google search results.”
You MUST do everything in your power to improve your search engine results pages (SERPS) ranking, or no-one is going to find you.
Good site management is a part of SEO that can be outsourced, or delegated to a trusted employee. This SEO Chat article runs you through the basics of SEO and can form the basis of your employees’ training.
The most time-consuming aspect is keyword research using the free Google Adwords tool, but even this is not a task you need to do yourself. With basic training and the right tools, your content team can identify keyword phrases to target.
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Installing the free Yoast SEO plugin on your blog will ensure writers’ awareness of the importance of correct keyword density.
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Yoast also checks for paragraph length, sentence length and other readability factors that will affect your user time-on-page and bounce rate statistics.
Yeah, yeah. We all know content is king, but it takes time!
There is no way to avoid it. Regular fresh and insightful content is part of what will rank your site higher in search engine results pages (SERPS). There will be nobody else who understands your business as well as you, but you need to change that. If you don’t educate writers into how your business works, you will be stuck writing everything yourself, other important tasks will crop up, and the writing won’t happen.
Even the best writer works better with input from you regarding your services and clients.
Take the time to explain your business and how it works to your content production team. Educate your writers about your customer persona, his needs and how your company solves them. Make your business values clear, have a content production plan and feed your writers plenty of ideas for articles.
User Experience (UX)
The most important person in your organization is imaginary. Your customer persona should be writ large in every office, and room in your premises. Use an image of this imaginary persona as a screensaver on all your computers, put posters featuring his image on the backs of all the doors ion the washrooms and in the staff canteen.
If your users dislike your website, you are doomed.
Your site has to look good, use colors users like and that will elicit the emotions related to your business objectives. Minimize clutter, maximize contrast and ensure everything shown on a page is the optimum size, color, and shape. Negative space is every bit as valuable as page components, so avoid trying to do too much on any one web page.
Each page should have one purpose and one purpose only. The rationale behind a web page’s existence should be obvious. Navigation through your site should be simple and easy to use, regardless of the screen size someone is using.
Building links to your website is essential, but if you build them in the wrong way, Google will bury you on page 200 of its SERPS.
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Safe link-building activities:
- Learn what links point to you by installing the free Incoming Links plugin
- Provide high-quality and insightful resources people in your niche value and will link to without any prompting
- Build your reputation by sharing everything you know without asking for payment
- Design infographics that link back to you when others install them on their sites
It is well-nigh impossible to do even basic promotion without a large team.
If you only focus on one promotion channel, let it be YouTube.
Forget videos about your business; they won’t show in Google and no-one is interested. But, videos that show how to solve problems are another matter.
Ryan Stuart from Webris says Youtube video promotion is vital as part of your top-of-funnel marketing and engaging customers.
Much SEO can be done in-house using basic training and free WordPress plugins to help inform decisions. You must delegate content production, but feed writers with ideas and company information frequently. Concentrate your social media presence on producing How-To videos on YouTube.
As a small business owner, or solopreneur, you’ve heard that content increases website traffic,and maybe you know that it also helps build brand trust and credibility.
And although you may be keen to try it for yourself, you’re looking for some kind of reassurance that after all your hard work, it’s a viable ROI.
In the case studies to follow, all three companies were young startups that decided to do things differently in order to get the edge over their competitors. Using content as their primary marketing strategy, they experienced tremendous results that enabled dramatic growth.
Have a read. Be the judge about whether content is a good ROI or not.
Case study 1: Turned problem into a solution with online course content
End result: $20K in 5 days
Company: Design Pickle
Design Pickle, founded by Russ Perry in January 2015, offers a flat rate per month for an unlimited amount of graphic designs. Most large corporations have their own graphic designers, so this company’s clients are predominantly small businesses and solopreneurs.
Most small business owners don’t have a content design strategy in place, and therefore, the customer retention rate for graphic design services in particular is generally low. What Perry found, was that once clients received their designs, they would cancel their monthly subscription.
Design Pickle needed a way to grow and to educate its clients on marketing strategies.
Enter Pickle University online courses. The courses, hosted by Kajabi, an all-in-one marketing tools third party online course platform, allows Design Pickle to upsell and bundle services for discounted prices, and is used as a lead magnet to secure new, and empowered clients.
The launch of the first course brought in $20K within 5 days from pre-sale email marketing to people who were already on Design Pickle’s email lists. The key here, was that Perry identified a need; to educate clients on process and industry, and filled that need by providing online courses to help educate and grow the businesses of his clients.
By developing business and marketing courses, Perry is able not only to increase profit passively while still growing his graphics design business, but can also help his clients strengthen their businesses.
Image Credit: Design Pickle and Kajabi
Russ Perry (back, middle) is the founder of Design Pickle.
Original source of case study: Kajabi
Case study 2: From outbound to primarily inbound
End result: 6 X boost in website traffic and 4 X more customers
Industry: Software developer for health industry
Glofox is a startup founded by Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly in 2014, and experienced rapid growth with its software developed for gyms and fitness studios. The problem was that the direct sales strategy they were using to acquire customers, was costing too much. Their approach required the use of too many complex systems which were not playing nicely together.
Image Credit: BusinessAndFinance
The founders of Glofox: Conor O’ Loughlin and Anthony Kelly.
O’Loughlin and Kelly decided that they needed to attract customers to their website instead, by creating an inbound marketing machine. Using HubSpot, they set up a blog, created landing pages for targeted traffic, optin forms and smart call to actions. They say that by using content, they “are positioning ourselves as industry experts and thought leaders in our field; we blog constantly, we have a weekly podcast and we produce ebooks and user guides.”
Similarly to the first case study, the founders of this company say that creating personas was a vital part of their inbound strategy.
Since the swap from outbound to inbound marketing, Glofox has experienced a 6 X boost in traffic, and has 4 X more customers.
Original source of case study: HubSpot
Case study 3: Infographic backlinks strategy for new blog
End result: Website traffic increase of 963% in 6 weeks
Company: ChewieSays (now HerePup)
Perrin Carrol, who started the ChewieSays blog, identified an opportunity in the pet niche, after noticing that there were not a lot of smaller pet sites providing good content, and that a handful of big pet sites were completely dominating the Internet.
Carrol needed a strategy to compete with the handful of some seriously big competitors in the niche. To go up against them would entail producing some brilliant content, and promoting it in order to get quality backlinks to his site.
What Carrol did (and this is key), was to identify what was proven to be important to his target audience, and create an infographic around it. Doing his due diligence, he came up with the topic of “ways that pets improve human health”.
Armed with the 22 points gathered from his research, he hired a freelancer to design a pretty basic infographic to use as “bait” for authority websites, in order to get quality backlinks to his site. The link to the ChewySays website, was placed into introductory content on the infographic, which is good for SEO.
Finding prospective blogs in the niche that might have been interested in publishing the infographic, he contacted 92 bloggers and got a positive response of 5.4%.
Once those bloggers confirmed their interest in the infographic, Carrol removed as many barriers as possible, to make sharing the content easy.
The end result was eight niche-related, white hat backlinks which provided a dramatic surge of traffic to his new blog.
Image Credit: Backlinko
The infographic that sparked traffic to a new blog.
Original source of case study: Backlinko
Three startup companies achieved dramatic results, all from using content as their primary marketing tactic. In summary, here’s what they did and what happened:
- A graphics design startup launched online courses as a way to grow, and to educate clients. Proving the need for the online courses, was the $20K that was generated as a result.
- The cost to acquire clients was proving too expensive for a software developer company, and the founders decided to switch to a primarily inbound marketing strategy, seeing a 6 X boost in traffic and 4 X more customers.
- The founder of a brand new pet blog, needed a way to compete with major sites that were dominating the industry, and with a cleverly designed infographic, received eight quality backlinks, boosting the traffic by 963% within six weeks.