5 Ways to Use SEO to Get Leads in Your Marketing Funnel

seo and lead conversionMarketing is about selling. And if you’re not paying attention to the marketing funnel on your website as it relates to your business and how SEO impacts that, you’re probably not selling as much as you might otherwise be.

Good website design is about serving the customer, not your ego. And the marketing funnel that is—or should be an area of focus for you and your website–applies to every business across the board—B2B and B2C. By integrating organic SEO tactics on your website, you can get to some of those top of funnel leads and optimize conversions.

Want to know some easy ways to integrate SEO into the marketing funnel on your website? Here goes:

Explain What You Do

If we had a dollar for every business website we see that doesn’t do a good job of telling their brand story, well, we’d be rich. Explain it. Right there on the home page of your website. In terms that even your mom would understand. What does this have to do with search engine optimization? SEO is all about just one thing: telling search engines what you do. It’s that simple.

Focus on Calls to Action

Many websites and landing pages forget this key component of the marketing equation. If you don’t tell people what you want them to do, how is it you expect them to know to do it? Design your website and your landing pages with clear calls to action. If you’re really smart, you’ll design different versions of landing pages, with different calls to action and test them against one another (this is called A/B testing, and is also a component of a smart marketing and sales funnel strategy). The differences could simply be in design (e.g. placement of calls to action), it could be slight variations in copy and could also be slight variations in color.

It really is that simple: tell people what you want them to do. Then let them do it in a way that they tell you is most appealing to them. Leads to conversions …. that’s your marketing funnel at work.

Get Links

Links are Internet gold. And typically you don’t get them, you earn them. An easy way to earn links? Act like a nice person online, just like you do offline. Scratching your head over that one? It’s not so difficult.

Say you want to identify influencers on a particular topic. Let’s pick skateboarding, for instance. Maybe because you make a product that you think skateboarders will love. With a little research, you can easily find people who write great blogs about skateboarding. Hang out there. Comment on their blogs, make friends, share their content. Don’t spam them with information about your great product from the moment you ‘meet’ … just act like a human and make a friend. Support them and show them that you’re genuinely interested. After awhile, you’ll be amazed at what might develop. And pretty soon, they might just turn out to be one of your biggest brand advocates.

Back to links. Building friendships like this in the online space is what leads to incoming links to your website or blog. And the more time you spend laying the groundwork and making friends in the online space, and doing good for and supporting others, the more chances there are that they’ll support you – and one way they’ll no doubt support you is by linking back.

With Google’s latest updates, relevant organic links and social shares—which are indicators of trust—are becoming even more important. It’s worth it to build your network the old-fashioned way, by being a friend and by making friends.

Linking Out is the New In

Linking out is just as important to a website and credibility online as incoming links. Sharing links because we think they’re valuable is a fundamental principle of the Web. And sometimes we tend to lose sight of that. Every one of your blog posts (or pages of content on your website) should contain outbound links that are contextually relevant. There’s that phrase again: “relevant context.” And it’s never been more important than it is now.

When it comes to linking out and the benefits of doing so, we love these guidelines inspired by Bill (LoneWolf) Nickerson (who’s a master at this kind of thing):

  1. When you write a post, look for two articles that you can link to that relate to your topic. They don’t always have to support you — they can be contrasting opinions.
  2. When your post is inspired by someone else, link to it (we do this religiously).
  3. Spread it around. Don’t get all your links from one source. That’s kind of a ‘no duh’ statement – but don’t hit the Easy Button here. It’s not hard to find great, applicable links. And spreading the wealth pays it forward to a greater degree than linking to the same source multiple times.
  4. Don’t link outward expecting a quid pro quo. It might happen, it might not, it doesn’t matter.
  5. Big isn’t always better. Linking to big blogs isn’t always the most important thing. Sometimes by linking to a post by someone with a smaller audience you can make a bigger impact and form a friendship (and an advocate) more quickly.
  6. Don’t force it. If you can’t find something to link to that makes sense, don’t.

In summary, linking out is one part of an overall SEO strategy that will, if you do it correctly, pay off. And enhance your credibility, help you make new friends, provide more and better resources to your website visitors and, ultimately, evolve into a source of leads. We live this truth daily, and reap the benefits of this tactic.

Answer Those Questions

People tell The Google, every single minute of every single day, exactly what they are looking for, often by asking questions. If your keyword research focuses on what those questions are – those long-tailed keywords consumers are using to find what they want to buy, that’s smart. If you then use that research to add content to your website that answers those questions, that’s even smarter. That content can be in the form of pages on your website or it can be in the form of blog content. Either way, answering those questions will serve to draw them in and once there, you’ll have yet another lead in your marketing funnel.

There you have it. My thoughts on 5 things you can use to get leads in your marketing funnel. Which ones of these are you currently using? What results are you seeing? What have I missed?

Image by PinkMoose via Creative Commons

  • http://soulati.com/blog Soulati

    Woah. No comments on this amazing post? Maybe I’m the only one so impressed, but that can’t be. 

    I’m eating up this kind of stuff, and it’s my last horizon to master and dang do I hate it. Seems I’m already doing a a few of these things naturally, but I need to make it all come together and work harder for me.

    If I could just get my mind off the content and bridging analytics then perhaps it will. Sigh.

    Thanks for being a fab teacher. 

  • Mary Gordon

    Great tips, thanks for that. I’ll use some of those tips.

    Mary

  • http://brianvickery.com/ Brian Vickery

    Great suggestions, Shelly. And as much as I love our new website design compared to the one I hated on for years, we need to have more clear calls to action. I feel we do a great job explaining what we do now, and I really like the interaction/colors/etc.

    But we could improve on calls to action and outbound/inbound links.

  • ShellyKramer

    Thanks Brian. We’re working on that for our site, too. And I really think you’re never done – it’s really always a work in progress. And that you do things, test them, measure results, then test some more. Drives some people crazy but I like it!

    *Shelly Kramer* *| **V3 Integrated Marketing*
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  • http://www.growyourtalent.com/ Stacy Lindenberg

    Shelly, I liked these suggestions so much, I wrote them on a post-it right by my computer, so I could remember the tips each time I write a post.  Although I am new to blogging, I think this post is relevant to bloggers of all levels of experience. Thanks for sharing!

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  • http://www.3hatscommunications.com/blog/ Davina K. Brewer

    I’ve always tried to link OUT to good stuff – things different, stuff not everyone may have read, content that adds to my post. It’s one of the reasons it takes me a little longer to write. Now getting links, that’s something to work for but hadn’t quite managed just yet. And 1&5 go hand in hand; I know Marcus Sheridan @TheSalesLion is big on answering questions, explaining who you are, what you do – for the customer. Something my ‘whenever-I-get-it-done’ website makeover will tackle. FWIW.

  • Patricia N. Munoz

    Good suggestion …… I will try this for mine.

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