By Paul Kirch, Websites and Leads
Digital influence exists all around us. From online advertising to social interaction through Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and countless other social media applications, it’s nearly impossible to avoid being part of the digital stream of information, insights, and distractions. Clearly, not all content is influential and may simply be adding noise. Just look at email, an ever-popular form of communication within the digital realm that is wrought with unreliability. After all, recipients can ignore messages, correspondence may just get lost in the shuffle, or perhaps it can even end up mistakenly labeled as SPAM or junk mail.
The average business professional receives 120+ emails on a given day, so despite the hurdles, there is a great deal of reliance on email for communication. To put the volume of email traffic into perspective, according to a study THE RADICATI GROUP published in 2017, more than 269 Billion emails are exchanged every day. This jaw-dropping statistic clearly represents the level of adoption of digital streams of correspondence. There are many avenues to pursue when it comes to digital marketing. I want to focus on three core strategies that will help you drive brand influence:
1. On-page Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Quite simply, this is the process of preparing your website to communicate effectively with search engines, such as Google, Yahoo, or Bing. An optimized website has an analytic component to track visitor activity, showing where they spent time, how long they were on your site, and various other behavior metrics. In addition, your images, text, and other elements have specific tags to show the search engines that your content is relevant to your business.
Optimization includes a sitemap designed to help these engines understand your site content and structure so they can have a clear understanding of your offering. Search engines reward good content that is relevant with more visibility and higher ranking. On one hand, their process for determining this has a level of sophistication and intelligence. On the other, it’s an automated process with limitations so it’s up to the site owner to “show” that your content is pertinent and relevant to your service offering. For those that believe their site is optimized because it’s a new site, think again. Optimization is rarely included with basic site design and is considered an add-on service.
Search Engine Optimization is as much of an art as it is a science. For SEO to be effective we first must understand key words. There are two types of key words to consider. Short-tail keywords are specific words or smaller phrases that might describe your offering. Focus groups, online research, surveys, and marketing research are all examples of short-tail keywords. Long-tail keywords are more in-depth phrases that are typed into search engines to find relevant offerings. An example might be, “taste test kitchens in Atlanta, Ga.” Notice this is a more specific search phrase.
For SEO, it’s important to understand which phrases and words are being searched for that might represent your brand. Using tools such as Google AdWords tool, you can determine the words being searched for and how often they are leveraged. More importantly, you can also determine if your competitors are also using those phrases. Low competition and high search volume often yield a great opportunity for being ranked higher in the search engines for those specific phrases. An SEO plan requires constant monitoring of these phrases and continual testing to maximize results. Once you have determined your optimal keywords you must leverage those words and phrases in your site content, content headings, images, titles, and possibly even URLs to maximize results.
I’ll bring a more in-depth look at SEO in future articles, where we’ll look at backlinks, domain level keywords, page-driven (or on-page) keywords, social metrics, page-level (and domain-level) link authority, and more. For now, simply understand that SEO is designed to drive relevant organic traffic to your site. SEO may not be a great investment for every business or service offering. However, there’s always benefit in higher search rankings for your brand as this helps drive organic traffic.
Conversion Rate Optimization is the art of maximizing lead conversion and lead capture for website owners. CRO often involves testing of multiple elements and site factors, often including split-testing, to determine how best to convert a visitor (possibly driven through SEO efforts) into a qualified lead or an actual sale. If your business does not offer an online product that can be purchased while on your site there will clearly be more steps to convert a lead. However, through a solid CRO strategy, these leads can be qualified long before they reach your sales team’s hands. Opt-in tools, optimized content, layout testing, and other elements are tested to determine the highest level of conversion.
So many site owners are concerned about driving visitors to their site. Despite the incredible power of CRO and the high return on investment (ROI), it is likely one of most underutilized tools in the digital marketing landscape. Without CRO many of website visitors leave without taking any action, costing site owners time, money, and opportunity.
These three areas often work together to progress a lead driving strategy. Clearly, an On-Page SEO strategy can maximize the impact of SEO. And CRO is dependent upon site visitors, which can be driven through various channels, which should include a solid SEO strategy. Having a website without focusing on lead generation and lead conversion is a lost opportunity. A static business card website does not drive engagement. It may provide a level of awareness but this alone doesn’t often fuel a sales pipeline. “If you build it they will come” is a great premise for a movie, but it has very little value when it comes to digital marketing.
Your online presence should attract visitors and engage through dynamic value-based content, solid lead capture strategies, and should be optimized to maximize lead conversion. You’re either adding more digital noise or you’re driving digital influence. The choice is yours. If you have any immediate questions or want to learn more today please message me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Paul Kirch, 27-year marketing research executive, is the founder and President of Websites and Leads, a digital marketing agency dedicated to serving the marketing research industry. His firm is dedicated to helping its clients take their static business card web page and turn it into a lead conversion tool, developing dynamic lead magnets that convert to real customers. Websites and Leads committed to driving growth and sustainability for its clients.