Why SEO isn’t enough to generate leads

Hey there, here’s a newsflash for you: SEO isn’t enough anymore. Your competitors are vying for the same keyword phrases that you are. So when push comes to shove and everyone is climbing their way to the top of the search page for the most clicks; who wins the new customer?

Well, if you depend on only SEO to get people on your website and choose not to focus on the user experience once they get there, certainly not you. As one of my favorite writers Marty Neumeier says in his book Zag, “An overabundance of look alike products and me-too services is forcing customers to search for something, anything, to help separate the winners from the clutter.”

“We’re Getting People to Our Website, but the Phone Isn’t Ringing.”

Sound familiar? You’re not alone. If you’re looking at your analytics and notice that your traffic is trending steadily up but not resulting in an increase in leads, this is a potential red flag that what’s on your website isn’t resonating with potential buyers.

I’ve talked with enough C-level executives in my day to know that their first priority is always SEO as the leading (or only) strategy. They want to make sure that their pages are optimized for specific keyword phrases. And they typically invest in PPC (pay per click) and other SEM (search engine marketing) tactics. But they put very little effort towards amplifying the user experience on their actual website. This is a huge mistake.

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion.” Dale Carnegie

You need to make sure that your investing time, money and effort into creating content that is geared directly towards helping your customers, ultimately addressing their pain-points. And perhaps even more importantly, focusing on WHY you are the best choice for them. While it’s important for them to know that you can help them with your offered services, It’s not about selling your services at this point. It’s about selling your story and WHY you do what you do in the first place. It’s about sharing the stories of those you help and creating the emotional connection that can convince a customer to do business with you.

Leading with Your Brand Story

If we go back to what Marty Neumeier says about customers searching for a differentiator to separate the winners from the clutter, leading with your story is your one true advantage over your competitors. It’s the one thing that you can say that they can’t. If you can transform your website content to not be service or product oriented, but a true storyteller of who you are and who you help, it will be easier for a customer to distinguish you from your competitors.

If your content doesn’t do that, your customer may go elsewhere. Quite possibly over to your competitor. So if you can put your effort into creating quality content, focused on your customers, you’ll begin seeing higher conversions with your marketing efforts. Basically, highlight your authentic brand story.

Here are four tips to help you start transforming your content today:

Start with why
This is the heart and soul of why ANYBODY does what they do. So why do you do what you do? People want to know that they are in good company with those they do business with. By sharing your brand story with your customers, you can emotionally connect with them and inspire action. For more on Why, visit Simon Sinek’s website.

Focus on how your products and services will make your customers better
People aren’t buying your products or services because of what they do. They buy them because they think they’ll become better by using your products or services. So if your content is focused merely on the features and specifications of your products and services and not the benefits, you’ve got some work ahead of you.

Make it easy for them to do business with you
People don’t want to be sold. They want to make the decision themselves without being pushed into it with a cold sales pitch. This is why car buying is one of the most hated tasks of all time. So don’t make it difficult for people to get information about your products and services. Give your potential customers the information they need upfront so they can make an informed decision before picking up the phone. This not only helps them, but also helps you qualify the people that contact you.

Don’t be scared to talk price
This is the line that so many people are afraid to cross. Whether it’s because they are scared their competitors will see their pricing or they will scare a potential customer away without being able to hear their problems, most businesses just don’t want to do this. I get it; people are afraid to talk about money. While I understand some of these fears, what I don’t believe in is not giving people an idea of what your costs can potentially be. By giving ranges or “starting at” pricing, it will help streamline your sales process by pre-qualifying people upfront. It can even be something as simple as having a budget area on the contact form of your website. Overall, if they can’t afford your services, why should you waste your time trying to sell them something they can’t buy anyway? If they truly see the value, and you’ve done a great job at creating compelling reasons that they need what you have, you’ll notice a difference in your sales process once they’ve already been privy to pricing.

Bottom line? SEO is great and an absolute necessity, but used alone in a marketing strategy, has very little impact on lead generation. If you want to convert more leads into customers, focus on your content and tell your story. If you do this, you will most certainly notice a difference in how you are selling both on your website and out in the field.

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