Research shows that your website is a critical element of your professional services marketing strategy. In HubSpot's 2016 State of Inbound Report, 73% of survey respondents said that inbound marketing was "my organization's primary approach to marketing."
And there's a reason for that - that's how B2B buyers conduct their buying processes. Search engine queries and visits to a seller's website are the top two methods B2B buyers use to conduct pre-purchase research. So it goes without saying that a well-designed, professional website should be a foundation of any company's B2B marketing strategy.
But your website is not a Field of Dreams - you need to do more than just have a professional website to attract potential buyers into your sales and marketing process. You need to take action so that buyers find your website when they are researching purchase options. So here are 3 simple tactics to help B2B buyers find you online.
Use basic on-page SEO to increase organic search visits
The foundation of search engine optimization are keyword phrases that buyers use to describe your industry and the problems you solve for your customers. In optimizing your website for search engines, you should develop a list of these keyword phrases that your prospects and customers use.
When these keywords are used appropriately on your website, you let Google know what your website is about. Before going into some basic on-page SEO tips, it would be helpful to watch this 7-minute video from Google on how their process works.
So now that you know a little bit about how Google works, let's go over some of the basic elements of on-page SEO. We will use the Rapidan Inbound homepage as an example to illustrate the concepts we're sharing with you.
- Page Titles - these are the descriptions you see in the tabs of your web browser. On the Rapidan homepage, the page title is "HubSpot Inbound Marketing Strategies | Inbound Marketing Consultant." This shows Google that we're an inbound marketing company and we work with HubSpot. As a best practice, you should keep your page titles under 65-70 characters. Titles longer than that will be truncated.
- Headers - these are the large text fields you see on websites. In the HTML language, there are six headers - H1 through H6, with H1 being the largest. The header that is oriented towards SEO says, "We help professional services firms generate leads with inbound marketing." Further down the page, there is another header that says, "We help our customers get the most out of their HubSpot subscriptions." These two headers send further signals to Google reinforcing the intent of the SEO strategy (we're an inbound marketing company and we work with HubSpot.) The first header is designed to pass the "blink test" - a visitor should be able to know what you do within three seconds of landing on your homepage.
- Copy - you should use your keywords naturally in your copy. Remember, good writing should always take precedence over SEO! The biggest mistake we see with website copy is that there' s far too much of it. Keep your copy short and to the point - give visitors access to more detailed information through lead generation offers like eBooks, webinars and videos. An example of copy used by Rapidan is, "Why purchase dead-end leads or use interruptive marketing techniques when a more effective, efficient, and affordable solution is available? Get the jump on your competition with inbound marketing." That copy is 46 words and 321 characters - short and to the point.
Good content drives buyers to your website
Now that you're website is structured to help search engines understand what you do and what kind of problems you help buyers solve, the traffic is just streaming to your website, right? Not so much. A professional website that is optimized for search engine is the foundation of a content marketing strategy that will attract potential buyers to your website.
Producing good content consistently is what will drive buyers to your website. The foundation of your content marketing process is a blog that addresses the topics your buyers have questions about. A blog that is frequently updated helps your Google results by:
- Demonstrating that you are consistently producing new content. One of the signals Google considers in their ranking algorithm is the number of pages about the targeted keywords on your website. Every time you publish a blog post, you add another page to your website.
- By producing good content, you generate other signals that show Google your content is authoritative. Good content gets shared on social media and other websites link to your great content - both of which are signals to Google that it's good and should be shared with searchers. Remember, Google's mission is to share the content that best matches the intent of a search.
- By being persistent and consistent with your blogging, you are continually creating new content. This also helps - if you see two options in a search one is from 2010 and one is from last month, which would you choose?
According to HubSpot, once you write 21-54 blog posts, blog traffic generation increases by up to 30%. The real payoff comes from consistent blogging - here's a graph that shows Rapidan's organic search traffic over 4 years of consistent blogging.
Content promotion is the real driver of website traffic
Creating and publishing a great piece of content is the first step in driving serious traffic to your website. But it will really benefit from a nudge - and the nudge is content promotion.
Good content will eventually find an audience, but do you have time to wait? Content promotion starts the snowball rolling down the hill to attracting visitors and getting it shared by third-parties, both of which send positive signals to Google (hence the snowball analogy.)
Here are a few tips to promote your content.
- Share your content on social media. It should be obvious that you should be sharing your great content on your social media profiles. Don't just share it once and forget about it. We recommend sharing new content weekly for 4-5 weeks to ensure maximum penetration in your social media audience.
- Encourage your employees, vendors, customers and friends to share your content. Having a third-party share your content provides social proof that the content is worthy. Social shares also send signals to Google that improve search engine performance. While good content will be shared organically, it's a good idea to ask your associates to share it as well.
- Use your content to answer questions on social Q&A sites like Quora. This is an often-overlooked way to promote your content. Find relevant questions on sites like Quora and use your content to add to the discussion. Caution - don't just share a URL to answer the question! Give a 2-3 paragraph summary that answers the question and offer readers a chance to take a deeper dive by clicking through the link.
- Use your content in your email prospecting efforts. A good marketing strategy will include both inbound and outbound elements. One way to promote your content is to add a link in prospecting emails. Write a short email addressing a pain point and offer the reader an opportunity to get more information by clicking through to your content.
Make sure to define a promotion strategy in your content marketing. Measure your activities and optimize your process based on data.
While it's critically important to have a professional lead generation website as the foundation of your marketing strategy, it's just that - a foundation. Try these 3 tips to help B2B buyers find you online.