Remember that time you decided to run a marathon, didn't train, rocked up and nailed it? Or that time you bought a guitar and within 10 minutes you were knocking out killer riffs and writing songs despite never having played before? Thought not. Digital marketing, Search Engine Optimisation and web based lead generation are a bit like that and here's why.
That's A Real Graph
The time series graph at the top of this page is a real graph. It tells the story of a company who wanted to penetrate a really tough and competitive market. It shows how we helped them create a website that was growing in authority and building search engine traffic. It also shows the point at which they decided to stop working with us and rebuild their website in-house. Can you spot when that happened?
This graph, up to the point it fell off a cliff, is common. Very little improvement at first, followed by a steady rise getting steeper. It's often referred to as being up and to the right. I've no doubt things would have continued to improve and the quality leads would have started to flow if they'd stuck with it, but they didn't.
Creating A Lead Generation Machine Takes Time & Bottle
The mistake the guys at "ahem, we can't say" made is their bottle went. Despite the data clearly showing they were heading in the right direction they gave up. They would have been better off not starting in the first place and sticking to Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. PPC is a great alternative when you need to secure leads quickly, content marketing and SEO aren't.
Take It From Google, This Stuff Takes Time
In this recent video from Google about how to choose an SEO, Maile Ohye outlines how it can take anything from 4 to 12 months to start seeing any benefit from search engine optimisation work. That's not us saying that it's Google. If you're considering hiring someone to help with SEO or simply trying to better understand SEO, this is 11 minutes well spent.
So What Next?
It means, as we've said many times, that if you don't make a start you're always 6 to 9 months away from search engine success, and as success in this area is at the heart of creating a lead generation website it's vital. It won't fix itself, there are no shortcuts, you've got to create a website that deserves to rank and that means working hard and being patient. If you follow the plan below you'll be in good shape.
Create Your Ideal Customer Profiles
We've previously gone into a lot of detail about creating ideal customer profiles or buyer personas. We know to some it sounds like marketing fluff and a complete waste of time, but it isn't. Knowing your perfect customer opens the door to creating the right story and the right messaging. It also helps to fine tune your keyword research so you better understand what keywords to target. It's a vital exercise, so don't skip past it.
When this work is done you'll know who you want to attract to your website, you'll have a clear understanding of the problems they are trying to solve and you'll have a detailed knowledge of the words and phrases they type into the search engines when they're looking for solutions. You remove the guesswork and reduce the wasted effort.
Review & Analyse Your Competition
To be better than your competitors and to get your website in front of the right people at the right time you need to know what you're up against. In simple terms, your competitors are the companies who already appear in search results for the search terms you want to appear for. Amongst other things you need to know:
- What keywords do they rank for? You can find great keyword ideas by analysing your competitors.
- Does their website rank by accident or by design? Are they actively chasing search traffic?
- Is their website strong and well established? Well established sites can be hard to beat for some keywords.
- Are they aggressively going after the people you want to talk to and if so how are they doing that?
- Are they using PPC and if so what search terms are they bidding on?
There's more but covering these points will stand you in good stead.
Create A Strategy & Plan
Now you have a detailed understanding of your ideal customers and strongest competitors you're ready to formulate your (dastardly) plan. I can't tell you what that will look like in this article because it will be particular to your business. Suffice to say, your plan needs to detail your story and messaging, the kind of content you're going to create, including when you're going to create it, and the tools you're going to use to measure the effectiveness of what you're doing.
Like most good strategies, it's your blueprint detailing where to play and how to win.
Monitor, Analyse & Improve
As you start to roll out your strategy you'll see some of it work and some of it fail, this stuff is not an exact science. This is why it's vital that you monitor and analyse the work you do, constantly improving and tweaking it. This is the beauty of marketing in the 21st century, there's a constant feedback loop helping you fine-tune the work you're doing until you discover the sweet spot and start to see qualified leads coming in.
Of course, it doesn't stop there. When one campaign starts to deliver you'll start working on new campaigns and over time you'll see leads come in across a whole range of your business's offerings. Once you see it working it becomes addictive.
So What Does All This Cost?
The cost of creating a successful web-based marketing machine varies from business to business. In competitive markets, it can take many months of work before results are seen, in less competitive markets things can happen a lot quicker.
Agencies that provide online marketing and search services have different ways of charging but in essence, they sell resources and expertise. To understand what this costs it's helpful to review the skills and salaries of people who do this work.
Look On The Job Boards
If you look at job boards you'll see job titles such as SEO Manager commanding salaries starting at £35k all the way up to £70k and beyond. Lower level PPC Executives come in at around £25k and web designers and developers range from £15k are the very low end through to £25k mid-range and perhaps £40k at the higher end.
As we've said before, hiring your own team would cost between £100k and £150k per annum.
If you've got any questions relating to information in this article don't hesitate to get in touch. We don't charge for an initial chat and we're very happy to offer advice. Simply book a website review.