In the early days of Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), digital agencies would boast about the huge influx of traffic they could direct to your website.
Using a variety of techniques, some shadier than others, they would make sure you were appearing at the top of search results. The higher you ranked, the more traffic your website would receive. Job done, right?
Getting traffic to your website is only the first step. It’s what those people do once they’re there that determines whether your website is successful or not. In digital marketing, the strategy we use to get websites into a successful position is called ‘attract and convert’.
In an ideal world, each lead that reaches your sales team fits into your target market and already understands the value and benefits they’ll access from your business’s offer. We call these leads ‘qualified leads’.
It sounds simple, and in a way, it is. You want your ideal target market to first be able to find your website, and then become customers.
Let’s break down both stages.
Attracting your ideal customers
Even though Google is consistently stamping out the shady SEO practices we talked about earlier, SEO is still one of the most important factors in attracting the right people to your website. Combined with more technical optimisations (such as building backlinks on other domains, improving your page load speed and ensuring your website is mobile-friendly), creating great content that solves your target audience’s problems is crucial.
Those technical SEO updates improve your website authority, so when you add well-written, comprehensive content targeting your audience’s challenges, you’ll see your content consistently reach the top of the search results.
The most effective way to create content that attracts your ideal customers is to first really focus in on who your ideal customers are. To develop a buyer persona, you need to ask yourself a few questions about them. What motivates them to buy your product? What problem do they have that your product solves? What sort of language do they use? The more you know about your buyer personas, the better you can attract them.
Use this information to start building content around the questions they have and information they need. This is where good content marketing becomes the champion of your SEO efforts. When they search for those questions, make sure you’re the one turning up in the search results with the answers.
Content you could create that would help you attract new visitors includes:
- Listicle blogs
- Organic social media posts
- Paid advertising on search engines and social media
- Educational ebooks
- Infographics of relevant statistics and industry research
- How-to videos
Converting visitors into customers
Let’s say someone in your target market has watched your clever video explaining how to solve the problem they have. They enjoyed it, found it useful and now they’re on your website, ready for more information. This is where SEO passes the reigns to conversion optimisation.
Once this person has landed on your website, you need a plan that will help you communicate with them and encourage them to move to the next stage in your sales funnel. For most websites, you’ll want them to perform a desired action such as calling you, filling out an enquiry form or purchasing your product.
Websites have changed so much over the past 10 years. With the rise of search engines, social media, email marketing, CRM and now on-site behaviour tracking, a website can no longer be viewed as a singular entity.
Your website is now the hub, the central component of your digital marketing efforts, the online salesperson for your entire brand.
When thinking about how you’re going to turn your visitors into qualified leads, it’s important to consider the bigger picture, rather than just your website.
Content and tools you can use to convert your visitors and leads into customers include:
- Automatic lead nurturing emails
- Case studies and testimonials from happy customers
- Remarketing ad campaigns to stay front-of-mind for your website visitors
- Free consultations
- Discounted sales
- Conditional content that only displays after your lead has performed a specific action
Your plan of action – a data-driven website strategy
You should map out your sales funnel to make sure all your digital marketing channels are working in alignment. If you structure your efforts using this simple marketing methodology, taking care to provide information and a positive experience for people at each stage in your funnel, your website will be able to work for you, not against.