If your business is struggling and you need leads right now, inbound marketing is not for you. Now, that might seem like a strange thing for an inbound marketing agency to say, after all, we're in the business of making money by helping people with their lead generation. The thing is, inbound marketing isn't a quick fix for a sales funnel that's dried up, it's something to do when your revenues are in good shape and you want to make sure they stay that way.
Red Evolution Opinions & Musings
I often have conversations with people, potential clients, who are frustrated because their websites don't deliver leads. The thing is, we make no secret of the route to success. In fact, we spend a lot of time blogging on the subject and freely share the information people need to get their websites working for their businesses.
But most people are more interested in sweating the small stuff, they look for easy fixes, low effort activities that will propel them up the search rankings overnight... but they don't exist. They should really start sweating the big stuff. This is what we mean by "the big stuff".
This week Square 2 Marketing's chief inbound scientist Mike Lieberman had a cracking rant about the state of marketing in the modern era. It's well worth a read. Although we've had a great week, securing a government contract and starting conversations with some great businesses, I'm 100% behind Mike, people's expectations are messed up, and that's putting it politely.
SEO has always had an air of mystery about it. It goes back to the early days when it was possible to improve your rankings in Google by using slightly dodgy tactics. Remember keyword stuffing, invisible text and the numerous meaningless directories that linked back to your site.
Does your website help people who are not quite ready to buy or simply show them the door if they don't have their wallet to hand? The way people buy today has changed: buyers want to get informed and if you're not informing them, someone else is. But does this matter?
I'm a competitive ballroom dancer, it's something I really enjoy and I compete at the highest level. Following a disappointing result at the British National Championships last November (we made our finals but weren't placed, as we'd hoped, in the top 3) I decided to add to the team I rely on for coaching.
We arranged a guest lesson and duly went along. The guy's opening gambit was hard to take. "You need to make some fundamental changes or you're finished. If you don't change you're going to slip down the rankings and disappear." Ouch, that hurt, but I'm so glad he said it, tough love is rarely a bad thing and if it's based on a desire to help change something, it's priceless.
If your website's slipping down the rankings or if it's never been ranked then perhaps tough love is your best bet and here's what we mean by that.
I had a very interesting, if a little frustrating, conversation with a chap on our website LiveChat today. He wanted to know, not unreasonably, what an SEO company actually does. Although we're an inbound marketing agency we're also well known for being SEO specialists and we do our best to explain SEO to people outside the industry, hence the enquiry. The conversation raised some interesting points so I'll cover them in this blog post.
Several times a week we get asked, "How much per month does SEO cost?". Despite providing lots of content (blogs, videos etc) educating people about SEO, it seems the message is not getting through. So, the time has come for some simple no-nonsense advice about what SEO costs.
In a fast-moving world, it's understandable that businesses who put some energy into improving their organic search results want to see dramatic improvements, quickly. The problem is, improvements are usually incremental and require hard work and persistence. Impatience leads to taking shortcuts and often brings poor results. You simply have to accept it's a long game and here's why.
The enquiries we get on a daily basis thanks to our targeted lead generation activities fall into one of a few categories, the most common being denial, borderlining on anger. The anger is about the lack of search engine rankings and traffic being generated and it usually goes something like this.
A recent enquiry we received via our website went something like this, "If you get me leads I'll be able to pay you to get me leads". In other words, they had a website that didn't do any effective lead generation, it didn't generate enquiries.
No rankings in Google™, no traffic, no enquiries, no leads. This, in turn, meant they had no money to invest in search engine optimisation (SEO) and Inbound Marketing, activity that brings customers to you instead of you going to them. If this sounds familiar, then you're almost certainly not ready to hire an agency to help you.
According to the HubSpot State of Inbound Report 2016, the top marketing challenge is generating traffic and leads, with 65% of companies putting this challenge well above other common issues like securing budget, managing websites and hiring talent.
We get plagued with calls and emails from companies offering their web development and SEO services. I guess that's kinda funny given web is what we do, but when you've deleted the 10th email that day and answered the 5th call, it starts to irritate. I'm sure you're in a similar boat and you're also pretty much done with the whole cold calling brigade.
Is it possible that's how your potential clients feel about you? Are you bugging people at the wrong time, in the wrong way? Or worse, are the efforts of your marketing spend simply being ignored?
Imagine if you could find out what your competitor's websites rank for in Google. Imagine if you could see just how valuable the traffic they get from Google really is. Well, you can with this great tool from SEM Rush.
I feel privileged to work in what I believe is a dynamic and exciting industry and I'm lucky to work with a diverse range of businesses, large and small, throughout the UK and beyond. I've been doing web stuff since 1995 and I still think it's amazing, it still excites me.