Using search marketing to generate business leads can seem like a daunting task. If you're not careful you can end up drowning in keywords! But if you do it well you can produce high quality leads for your business.
I'm a Senior Marketing Manager for the RBI lead generation business Approved Index
, which has generated over 300,000 business leads since 2004 using search marketing.
If you're considering using paid search and SEO channels to generate leads for your business then these tips are designed to help you clarify your strategy.
1. Segment & Profile Your Target Audience
Search Marketing may offer fairly new routes to market, but the fundamentals of old school marketing still need to be applied. By segmenting and profiling your audience at the start you'll ensure you don't waste time and money targeting erroneous keywords later on. Take a look at Emma Peskett's post on 15 initial considerations for lead nurturing programs
for some ideas.2. What Are The Information Needs Of Your Target Audience?
As part of the profiling exercise, take time to work out the information needs of your customers and highlight those that you could address in a way that is relevant to your business model. For example, Approved Index targets business buyers so provides visitors with buyers guides and pricing guides to help in the decision making process.
3. What Keyword Terms Do They Use To Search For Information?
Build a seed list of terms based on the profiling and information needs exercise. You may be able to flesh this out further by looking at your competitors' websites, your customer websites or websites that your audience regularly use.
Use this seed list as a starting point for your keyword research - tools such as the Google Keyword Tool, the Google wonder wheel or Word Tracker can be useful for this.4. Keep Your Landing Page Relevant
Make sure that every page that you send your visitors to, via paid search or organic search, is relevant to the search query they have made. Each page is a unique shop front that needs to draw visitors in and get them buying.
- Ensure the keyword phrase appears in the page title or main heading/sub-headings.
- Keep images relevant to the search and test to find the best fit. Images can have a massive impact on the conversion rate so make sure you use one that works best for your business.
- Try to include the keyword phrase in the page URL e.g. the URL of a page on Approved Index about website designers looks like this.. http://www.approvedindex.co.uk/webdesigners/
5. Focus On Your Conversion Rate
You want the conversion rate to be as high as possible whilst still bringing in good quality leads. Test different designs to see what appeals most to your customers - and be mindful to focus the design on getting a customer to convert. Try not to distract them with unnecessary information, confusing calls to action or links that take them out of the conversion path. You'll find some good advice at Bryan & Jeffrey Eisenberg Associates 6. Build Trust With Your Landing Pages
Find ways to prove your credibility through the design of your landing page. If you're affiliated with a well known brand or you've won awards/accreditations then include the logo on the landing page above the fold and link to a convincing About Us page. 7. Supply Information That Will Aid Conversion
As part of your customer profiling exercise you should find out what information will potentially aid a conversion on your website. For Approved Index this is buyers and pricing guides - but for your business it may be a map, an image of the product, or an interview with an industry leader. Come up with a few ideas and test each to see what is the most successful.8. Track & Regularly Analyse Crucial Data
If you're spending budget on paid search then you need to know exactly what return you're getting. The ideal is to be able to track revenue & profit per keyword as this will enable you to see what high cost per click/cost per conversion keywords are worth spending on, versus those that burn through your budget. If you can't get keyword level data, then working out your target cost per conversion should still allow you to manage your spending and achieve a decent ROI.9. Use PPC (paid search) Data To Inform Your SEO Strategy
If you're using paid search and SEO channels to generate the same type of customer for your business then the two activities should not work in isolation.
PPC activity can have a positive effect on organic rankings. By mining paid search data you can find high value keywords that you'll want to optimise content for via organic search, which could help reduce your PPC costs in the long run. Likewise, organic keywords that generate value for the business can be added to paid search campaigns to really maximise conversions for high demand areas.10. Don't Stop Testing
Search marketing is a dynamic world where the rules are constantly changing and competition is fierce so you can't stand still. Continuous testing is the only way you can keep pace - so test your ad text, test your meta descriptions, test your landing page designs, test your data capture forms and always test your assumptions.