People tend to think like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams – If I build it, they will come. If I build a new website, I will get traffic and leads… If you’re reading this, you know that statement is just not true – you’re not getting many leads. For most businesses, a quick glance at their Google Analytics statistics tells us they are just not getting any traffic and have left their fate in the hands of organic search.
Take a look at this 6 question survey and see where you stand:
It’s expensive. If I spend $10 a click… I’ll go broke!
I looked at the AdWords thing and got frustrated. (My ads were rejected, my ads did not perform, or selecting keywords did not make sense.)
My ads were performing well… then performance crashed and ads started doing really bad. It just started taking up too much time.
I tried it and it didn’t work. I didn’t get leads or site traffic in enough volume to make an impact.
I had a contractor do it, but they didn’t seem to know what they were doing.
I just don’t have time for this.
It’s easy to guess what happened. In fact most people come to us because they don’t have enough time, or don’t have the technical expertise, or they are frustrated with their lack of traffic and leads. Yet, you’d not be a successful entrepreneur if you let set-backs throw you off the right path. However, I will suggest that the reason you are not seeing Search Engine Marketing (SEM…e.g., advertising on Google) as critical to you is because you didn’t yet see how it tied to achieving your goals as a business. Yet you intuitively know businesses make money at it or you wouldn’t be spending any time reading this. In fact, businesses make an average of $2 in revenue for every $1 they spend on AdWords.
Let’s talk about three ideas that are essential to SEM:
1. Buying (quality) traffic is necessary to lead flow on new or low volume sites
If overall site traffic is low, there will be no lead flow. However, the same problem occurs if the site traffic his high but the quality of that traffic is low; the net effect is still a limited volume of quality traffic.
This concept of buying “High quality traffic” as part of an SEM strategy is so critical we need to look at it further. Take our example company (described to the right): Buying the keyword “actuator” is too generic (there are thousands of types). But buying ads targeting the keyword “swing actuator” would bring a bunch of consumers looking for electric gates (opening a gate or garage door). SEM is about determining how people find your type of product and specifically targeting that searcher by using the right positive and negative search terms (-gate).
Here’s a silly example of what happens when people do it wrong: The search words ‘actuator baseball -wind -cards’ generates organic searches of robotic baseball throwing or hitting components; but, it also generated an ad leading to the site depicted below selling toilet brushes.
Remember… a marketer just spent $5 to get me to click through to the below webpage. Don’t make this same mistake – buy quality traffic, not quantity.
2. Traffic must CONVERT to be a lead
Imagine owning a store in a busy mall where people come only 20 feet into the store, turn around, and walk out. The traffic in this example is useless and generating more useless traffic would generate more wasted cost. That’s what’s happening to you every day. Ask yourself what’s wrong. You have all these different places people can go! You have information on your products and services people could read!
Each of those places a customer could go (even the banner links to general home pages) is an “offer” in internet marketing speak. Pages with multiple offers convert 266% LESS than pages with exactly ONE offer. There is a direct relationship between lead flow and the specificity of your offer. Companies with only ONE landing page convert very little traffic, but those with more than 30 pages convert 7 times that rate (700% improvement). I just felt your reaction – 30!? Actually the statistics indicate that about 15 separate landing pages is important: businesses with 15 pages have a 55% increase in lead flow over those with only 10.
Why is this critical? It’s not about building ONE experience that services the needs of ALL. It’s the opposite – and that’s contrary to the way most companies approach the problem. There is a nuance to the way people search which puts them into a type of buyer likely to be looking for a specific type of thing. Each type of buyer coming has different needs and demands different supporting information so a unique landing page with messaging unique to that person’s requirements might be necessary. Maybe the information required to sell the baseball actuator is different than that needed for other types of robotics or controllers – you need to find out because it affects your conversion rate.
Imagine walking into a store 20 feet and having the clerk hand you exactly what you want. To do this, you need to anticipate what people want, then give them a compelling offer they’ll explore.
3. SEM is the ONLY way to control and experiment with the customer buying experience and figure out what works for you
With SEM, you can buy a very specific nuance of traffic, and build a landing page designed for that type of buyer. Then TEST! It’s called A/B testing and it is the absolute cheapest way to look at how very small nuance changes in the way you represent your product can dramatically change results. Marketing is test, test, test and SEM gives you a miniature petri dish in which to investigate messaging. It’s absolutely awesome to figure out the difference in performance This spins off a whole set of marketing activity as you find the problems or words that convert to action (sales or leads). Something as simple as changing the words “I think” to “I feel” (keeping all else the same) can statistically change the perceived persuasiveness of a page’s content.
All these ideas center on one overall theme: strategy. Being clear in your mind how SEM connects to your business – and – why spending time on this benefits other areas of the business. In the internet, lead-generation world, “Strategy” cannot be some airy-fairy concept, it has to be tangible; it’s a rapid and iterative process of nailing down 1) why people buy your stuff; and, 2) how we can find more people who want it.
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