Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is one of the most effective digital marketing tools. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most isolated. In most cases, it remains solely focused on attracting web traffic. As a result, most digital marketers keep missing the opportunity to turn it into a potential sales-and-lead-generation magnet.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with conventional lead generation strategies except that their scope is fast shrinking owing to the rapid expansion of the digital landscape. Modern SEO, on the other hand, has started expanding well beyond site optimization and search engine ranking. With seven out of ten customers visiting a business or making a purchase based on information they find online, you need to up your SEO game considerably. Your marketing efforts will generate more leads if you strategically integrate your SEO strategies with it.
Here are four tips for generating new sales and leads through SEO.
1. Create Tangible Buyer Personas
You cannot focus only on technical SEO if you want to generate new leads. You need to target specific topics using the most relevant keywords to create an SEO ecosystem. However, you can’t achieve this if you fail to attract the right prospects. Random marketing is more dangerous than no marketing at all. So, you need to create detailed buyer personas and keep your SEO efforts focused on them.
A full-fledged buyer persona includes the following –
- Demographics such as age, gender, income, profession, family, location, and education.
- Personal likes, dislikes, interests, and hobbies.
- Common challenges and pain points.
Make sure to create personas that clearly define your target consumers as it will allow you to tailor your SEO strategy accordingly. You may have already segmented your customer base into broad groups. Use these groups as the starting point to collect more information about your potential buyers.
You can use online surveys, interviews, quizzes, and feedback polls to approach your prospects to collect more data. Scanning their social media activities will also provide you with information about their followers, and the people and trends they are following. Alternatively, you can also analyze your website to see how prospects are interacting with your product or services.
2. Target Customers Based on Their Purchase Cycle
You will need to align your content and overall SEO efforts with your sales funnel. Identifying the particular stage in the purchase cycle which each of your customers belongs to will allow your brand to have multiple touch points, resulting in more sales and leads. They may vary depending on the type of your product or service and market niche. But, a typical buying cycle consists of the following five stages:
At this stage, your prospects have just become aware of your brand. So, your SEO efforts should focus on providing them with more information about your brand via blog posts, infographics, and videos.
You can target prospects with more information at this stage. However, you can now try to engage them with long-form content such as eBooks and guides. It is also the right time to ask them to register for your weekly newsletter.
At this stage, they are looking for solutions to specific problems. So, you can target them with precise content. Keep it focused on their pain-points and how your product or service can improve their life. By now, they have probably made up their mind to make a purchase.
At this stage, they are ready to make the purchase. But, they are also searching for products or services similar to yours and looking for the best deal. You need to target them more aggressively at this stage. If you have any offers or special discounts, now is the time to let them know.
At this stage, you are looking to retain the prospects who have become your customers. Sharing information about new arrivals or seasonal offers, the latest developments in your niche, and other value-added content is probably the best way to encourage loyalty.
3. Identify User Intent
Although you have crafted a buying cycle, not all potential customers will abide by it. They will come and go as they please or spend days and sometimes even weeks stuck at the same stage. This is where knowing their intent can come to your rescue. It allows you to understand what the prospect wants to do.
Chances are you already have a list of keywords that your prospects use. All you need to do is sort them based on the user’s intention and align your SEO strategy accordingly. Usually, there are three types of search intent keywords:
Informational queries often mean the user is trying to look for more information on the said matter. For example, a search term such as “How to sell online” means the user is looking for more information on how they can start selling online instead of where to sell online.
Search terms or keywords that aim to reach a particular site or a place of business are called navigation queries. For example, if a user searches “Where to sell online,” they are probably looking for a website where they can sell products online.
Transactional queries are high-commercial intent keywords. People who have the intention to buy often use keywords with transactional intent. They include keywords such as “buy,” “free shipping,” and “coupons,” among others. For example, “Buy iPhone X” or “Buy furniture with free shipping.”
If you know what the user’s intention is, you can target them with relevant and personalized content. In other words, you can reach the right kind of people at the right time, resulting in more sales and new leads.
4. Use Local SEO Strategies
Local SEO can also play a critical role in generating sales and new leads, especially if you have a local business. It is an excellent way to drive more foot-traffic to your brick-and-mortar store. Almost one-third mobile searches are related to location and 78% of these lead to an offline purchase. While after performing a local search, more than 70% of consumers visit a store within 10 miles.
Join Google My Business
Add your brick-and-mortar store or office to Google My Business to increase its visibility in local searches. Make sure to add the name, contact information, work hours, and address as well. You can also join local business directories as they drive more web traffic and help rank better in local search results.
Optimize Your Content
People will use specific keywords to search for local businesses. For example, a person looking to spend a weekend in the San Francisco Bay area will use the search term “Hotels in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Including this keyword in your blog posts, social media posts, and infographics are the best way to reach your target audience. Make sure to use the keywords naturally though. Keyword spamming should be the last thing on your mind.
Modern SEO can be successfully used to generate sales and new leads. From creating strong buyer personas to getting more coverage for your local business on the digital landscape, it can be instrumental in improving your online marketing efforts. Hopefully, the above four pointers will help you generate more sales and leads through SEO. However, this is a never-ending game. So, you will need to keep evolving your marketing strategies over time. Tell us how you plan to keep up with the ever-changing SEO and digital marketing landscape in your comments.