Earlier this year, I conducted a survey of around 120 digital marketing consultants to understand the kind of leads they were seeking for their business. Not surprisingly, nearly 70% of the respondents had more than 25% of their leads coming from online search. Beyond these organic leads, Adwords, word of mouth referrals and content marketing were all extremely popular marketing channels to secure inbound leads for business.
Inbound lead generation is often regarded a better alternative to cold calling and cold-emailing. This is because the leads that you receive are from targeted prospects who are looking to hire a marketing agency. On the other hand, cold calling requires experience with sales and is often a numbers’ game.
However, such inbound leads are not as easy to convert as they appear to be. For one, prospects looking to hire a consultant seldom send out feelers to just one company. They often fill out enquiry forms on multiple websites that they come across on Google. This way, it is not only easy to evaluate the various bidders, but thanks to competitive bidding, they can often extract a sweet deal. As a marketing agency, you have to hence compete with other providers for the client, although it is technically an inbound query.
So how do you convert these leads better? Here are a few tips to remember.
Always capture phone numbers
Your customers are spoiled for choice today thanks to the internet. But even today, a number of marketing agencies do not bother displaying a lead generation form on their website and simply wait for the prospect to call them for appointment. Prospects do not call up agencies as much as they used to. The onus is on the agency to call the prospect and fix an appointment. So the first thing to do is display an enquiry form and gathering the prospect’s phone number.
Call back immediately
Think of this from the perspective of the prospect. They have just realized that their website needs work and they are spending a lot of time evaluating various providers to identify good agencies to work with. If you call them back the instant you received an enquiry, you are likely to catch them at the very moment they are seeking an agency. Waiting for it to be business hours or getting back “within 24-48 hours” is not really something that a prospect wants.
Set up appointments to discuss audit reports
One reason why agencies take the cliched ‘2-4 working days’ to respond to enquiries is in order to thoroughly study the prospect’s website and provide them with useful inputs while talking to them. While this is noble by intent, it does not help converting clients. Instead, the strategy that works is to call the prospect immediately after receiving an enquiry and asking for an appointment date. This way, you can demonstrate to the lead that you can be trusted and is “always available”. Also, setting up an appointment ensures that the prospect does not go ahead and finalize another agency before they talk to you.
Discuss face-to-face whenever possible
The points mentioned above are not “strategies’ in the sense that they are the bare-minimum that an agency must do in order to be seen at least as qualifiable as the rest of the agencies that the prospect is talking to. For higher conversions, you must however walk the extra mile and see if you can set up a face-to-face meeting. Nothing establishes credibility and trust like a physical meeting does. In doing so, you shall be able to establish a personal rapport with the prospect; something that other agencies may not have. This typically helps with raising your conversion rates. However, do realize that this is only helpful if the expenses in meeting prospects justifies the project costs.
Do you rely on inbound leads for your SEO business? What tips do you have for fellow marketers looking to increase their lead conversion rates?
Thanks to mobile apps it’s now easier than ever to to run your SEO, PPC, AdWords and Social Media campaigns directly from your phone. That’s definitely a big deal when you’re traveling or if in an industry that requires a lot of time out of the office.
While that makes your professional life a whole lot easier, it can be a challenge to narrow down the most useful apps. According to Statista, there were 1.3 million mobile apps in the Apple App Store alone in September, 2014. To help save you an endless amount of time scouring through Google Play or the App Store, here are seven incredible apps that you need to use for SEO, PPC, AdWords and Social Media campaigns.
Note, before using 3rd party apps, make sure things are approved with your employer (if you are in-house) or your client (if you list tools that you utilize in your agreements). 86% of apps used for business were not sanctioned in 2014, and the last thing you’ll want to do is add to that number and the amount of Shadow IT issues occurring with third party apps.
This free app is absolutely essentially if you own a website. It runs tests that check your social media presence, Google ranking and the amount of backlinks. It also provides suggestions on how to optimize your website, such as the proper length of titles and description. It also notifies you of any broken links and even comes equipped with keyword suggestions so that you can optimize blog posts and ad campaigns.
SERPs provides a powerful app for Android and iOS users that delivers daily SEO data, like ranking, link metrics and monitoring of organic traffic. It even integrates with Google Analytics so that you can discover which keywords are most effective. Other features include being able to spy on your competitor’s backlinks, local rank tracking and having the power to run test which techniques are working for your business.
You can install the SERPs.com app for free, but you’ll need a login to continue. This means that you’ll have to purchase a plan. The Starter plan begins at $999/month.
Google Analytics remains a necessity for SEO. With the Google Analytics app you’ll have real-time reports that highlight your page’s traffic, visitor information, how long people stayed on your site, which content is performing best and your AdWords campaign is performing. That’s a lot of information at your fingertips for free – there is a premium version if you need something more robust.
Speaking of Google, there’s also the AdWords Express Apps that you should also download if you want to reach more customers. Through this app you’ll be able to create an ad in under 15 minutes, which will appear in Google search results, Google Maps and select partner sites. Once your ad is up and running you can then view how many calls or clicks it is generating. You can also adjust your budget accordingly. It’s a great solution for both online and offline businesses.
Why is HubSpot such a popular tool for marketers? Because it pretty does everything you want and need when it comes to your marketing campaign. Whether it’s scheduling social media posts/emails, monitoring what others are saying about you online, review effectiveness of marketing campaigns and connect with leads with through Contact Records. Now you have access to all of this information through the HubSpot App – available for both Android and iPhone. After your 30-day free trial, you’ll have to select a plan which starts at $200/month.
Hootsuite is another tool that is often discussed among online marketers because it’s one of the best social media tools available. Not only can you plan Facebook posts or Tweets, you can assign tasks to team members and review analytics reports. You can also target audience by location, listen to the online conversations involving your business, locate better leads, create a social media marketing campaign and provide customer service. Hootsuite has a Free plan, but the Pro Plan starts at only $10/month.
If you’re looking to curate potential content ideas, stay up-to-date with the latest industry news or see what your competitors are sharing, then look no further than Feedly. If you haven’t heard of Feedly, then just know that it’s a news aggregator application which allows you to select the feeds that interest you the most. It’s a free service that can run on Android and iOS devices, which means that you can keep check your feed whenever and wherever you want.
What are some of your favorite SEO / SEM mobile apps?
Your content is one of the greatest tools you have at your disposal, from a marketing point of view. It gets your name out there, attracts attention, bring in regulars, markets your brand, builds your authority, connects you to other experts… you would be hard pressed to find a way it wouldn’t be helpful. Having a consistent, high quality blog can launch your entire career, and turn a hobby into a money making venture.
But how does it rank with the content of your competitors? Competitor blog audit involves gathering data that allows you to compare your work with someone else’s, or to get a feel for what your target audience is looking for in a successful blog. It is something that every blogger should be taking part in regularly; to make sure they are constantly evolving with the needs of their potential readers.
Step 1 – Determine Your Competition
While you may be able to get some idea of what people are reading by looking at the biggest industry blogs on a topic (such as TechCrunch or Gizmodo, for example), chances are that you are nowhere near their level of visibility. Maybe someday you will be, but for right now you should focusing on websites that are more direct competitors.
Put as few as three on this list, and as much as five. If after you have made this list you feel the need to put some big names on there, one or two could be added. Just keep in mind that these big names will be best case scenarios for the future, as a goal in mind. When comparing their data, it should be as part of a longer term strategy, with the bulk of your information coming from the direct competitors to start out with.
Helpful tool: Use BuzzSumo to find recently active and successful blogs on any topic!
Step 2 – Look At What Content They Provide
Not all blogs are all about text blog posts. Multiple media forms is just a part of an overall, well rounded content strategies on the web today. Look and see what your competitors are doing on a regular basis. Infographics? Podcasts? Videos? Slideshares? Mini clips, like Vines? Comics? Are they specializing in one or two, or have they branches out into every niche possible?
Helpful resource: Here’s an easy guide to understand blogging easier
List all content under each name, and see what sites have what media in common. You should be able to narrow down what is working and what isn’t based on who is trying what.
Step 3 – Figure Out What Is Popular In Each Media Type
It is pretty simple to get an idea of what is bringing in the most benefits for your competitors blogs. SEO ranking is part of this, but we will look at that in another step. Right now, you should be looking at their engagement.
Helpful resource: Give this tool any blog RSS feed and it will pull out recent articles and their social media numbers
Comments, social media shares, and referral traffic present a clear picture of how people are reacting to those topics, the tone of the post, and the media style. Take a collection of links to the most engaging content on those sites, and include it in your spreadsheet.
Step 4 – Start Sorting Out The Most Popular Posts In Each Category
Take the links you are finding, and start sorting them into categories by media type, topic, or style. That will give you a look at what is working most for each site. Note any patterns that begin to emerge, where the sites have data in common. If three of your five competitor blogs are getting a lot of engagement on posts that include infographics, but not a lot on audio podcast downloads, that should tell you something.
Helpful tool: Our Social Media Tool will process lots of links for you and return helpful social media stats and author details:
You can also start to compare these links to your own content, to see what it has in common (or doesn’t) with your own posts. This process is excellent for pointing out things you may have been doing wrong, or just not quite nailing down.
Step 5 – Look At Competitor’s SEO Tactics
Finally, you want to know how people are driving traffic through direct searches. That means taking a look at the keywords they are properly exploiting, and those they aren’t.
You may be able to find some keywords they aren’t targeting, and take advantage of those ones yourself. Or find some keywords that you should be pushing for, as pushing past their SEO rank is an easy way to start getting more traffic.
What To Do With The Data
Essentially, this is just a way to seeing what is working for others, and what isn’t. How you choose to use it is entirely up to you. You could either start to focus on the same topics and media types that they are, or you could go the alternative route and start to focus on the areas that they are lacking. Both have a chance of improving your content strategy, and so boosting the popularity of your site.
Personally, I prefer to use it more loosely. I will see what topics or content get the most mileage, but will try and find a way to incorporate that into my own interests and work. Never forget that while you are auditing your competitors to see how they are improving their own success, you don’t want to copy them. You have your own strengths, your own readers, and your own style. You want to be easy to distinguish from the rest of the crowd.
You should be conducting a competitor audit at least once every few months. It just lets you keep an eye on rival sites, as well as find opportunities to connect with others, or get warning when something on your own site needs to change. As you can see, the positives are endless.
Do you have any tips for conducting competitor blog audits? We would love to hear about them, so let us know in the comments!