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".
What's A Lead Worth?
Start by considering what a steady flow of qualified leads would mean to your business. Consider how different your business would be if day after day, week after week and year after year potential customers found your website and reached out for help, if you had a predictable, dependable and scalable lead generation machine. How much difference would that make and what would it be worth over the next 5 years, or however long a typical customer stays with you?
Start With Buyer Personas
We've gone into some detail in the past on the subject of buyer personas and how to develop them. This is the first "big" thing to get done; you can't attract people to your website if you don't know who you're trying to attract. Creating buyer personas helps you understand who your customers are and what problems they're trying to solve when they carry out a Google™ search. It's so obvious, yet it's so common for people not to do it or only do it in a half-hearted way.
Armed with your buyer personas you'll be well placed to carry out keyword research. This work establishes what your ideal customers, buyer personas, actually type into search engines, the actual search phrases they use. You can fast track this by interrogating other websites, perhaps your competitors, using tools like SEM Rush.
To find the really good stuff you can run a short paid search campaign using Adwords™ or try our Seed Keywords social keyword research tool.
It also makes sense to look at those pesky competitors, you know, those people who currently own "your" rankings on page one of Google. Understanding what they're doing, the effort they're putting in to secure rankings etc is vital. There's no point hoping the £3k a month you're spending is going to trump their £10k unless you create some killer strategies.
By now you'll know who your ideal customers are, what their problems are, where they look for information, what kind of information they prefer, common search phrases they use and so on. You'll have a clear idea of what you're up against, your competitors, and an all over big picture overview of the job in hand.
Armed with all this it's time to create a strategy.
This is the single most important aspect of your inbound journey and any inbound marketing agency worth their salt will insist on doing this as opposed to jumping straight into tactics.
Your strategy will look at your marketing objectives and create a plan for how you are going to acheive them using your website as the base. It will pull together your buyer personas, keyword research, competitor analysis and your current online marketing activity and identify where the gaps are and what you need to do to fill them. Typically, at the end of this process, you will have a plan of action, including a content plan for each stage of each buyer persona's decision making journey from first hearing about your business through to becoming a customer and advice on making sure your website facilitates each step of that journey.
Keep the Faith
Without a strategy you may well find yourself grasping at random opportunities and quick fixes that don't contribute to achieiving your objectives and instead waste your marketing budget. Much better to sweat the big stuff, stick to the plan, work hard and keep at it.