Do you find your leads, or do they find you? With search engine optimization, or SEO, you can confidently answer, “both!” Organic searches channel leads directly to your blog, product catalog, or landing pages. These leads are highly prized because you know they’re already interested in what you offer; all you need to do is learn more about them and nurture that interest. SEO can produce a significant uptick in organic traffic, but that’s only the beginning; you still need to demonstrate why your leads made the right choice in finding you.
Here’s how to nurture their interest once your SEO content has captured it.
Forging an Earlier Connection
When talking about the buyer’s journey, marketers sometimes minimize the preparations that go into their prospects’ decisions to embark on it. The first step happens long before you even know your lead is out there – sometimes so far before you know that your lead has already completed over half their customer journey without you. Organic traffic brought in from SEO typically arrives at an earlier stage of this journey, a stage at which leads are more amenable to guidance. Connect with leads when they’re just starting to become aware of a problem, and you’re in a much better position to offer solutions.
Learn about Leads
How you guide leads toward a buying decision depends on what they need to know, where they are in the decision-making process, and their authority to make the calls. The more you know about leads, the better you’re able to steer them toward the content that can make a difference to them. SEO allows prospects to self-sort into segments to a large degree, giving you insight into what they want based on the search terms they use and their movement through your site. Your SEO then doubles as an information-gathering tool so you can discover which nurture program works best for your leads as they enter your sales funnel.
There is no effective SEO without quality content, especially for B2B companies that have a much longer sales cycle and a much greater investment in lead development. A cardinal mistake many B2B businesses make is in skimping on content; some assume that in a highly specialized market, they don’t need to invest as much in educating their leads, while others assume the content they have is enough to keep new leads flowing in. Knowledge doesn’t expire, but the way you present it can. Search engines place a premium on novelty and frequency of updates. Blog posts, social media signals, and new gated content are critical to keeping your signal strong to search engines – and by extension to leads.
Turn Visitors to Leads
Take a look at your bounce rates, and you’ll see an important clue to the effectiveness of your SEO as a lead gen tool. You want your visitors to stick around long enough to share some information with you and become active leads. What are you offering them in exchange for their valuable data? Newsletter subscriptions, special offers for new visitors, and free content that explains SEO content in greater depth are some promising possibilities.
Inbound marketing starts with better control over who’s coming in. With SEO as an integral part of your lead generation and lead development strategy, you’re ahead of the game.
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