When discussing digital marketing strategies with clients and prospects, I’m often told the primary goal is getting their product or service to show up on page one of Google searches.
Since it’s estimated there are 3.5 billion searches occurring on Google every day, and websites listed on the first page of a search query capture 71% of traffic, it’s easy to understand why a business would set its sights on attaining a top-ranked position as a critical marketing objective.
Of course, no business’ number one goal is REALLY optimizing its position on a search engine. It’s about the increased sales they believe will occur if they show up early and often in the results when someone is researching the products or services they sell.
One great thing about search is the opportunity to generate awareness for your business when a prospective customer is proactively looking at keywords associated with your industry.
But “opportunity” and “awareness” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll achieve “conversions” or “closed sales”. Essentially, you are generating top-of-funnel leads for which processes must be honed to move the prospect through your sales cycle as quickly as possible.
The issue with SEO isn’t a new one in the business world. Marketing goals have always tended to be long term and focused on setting a foundation for the company, creating a brand image, and generating qualified leads. Metrics tend to focus on impressions and clicks rather than problem solving or sales targets. In this respect, ranking on the first page of Google alone isn’t far removed from advertising in print or outdoor in regards to providing quality leads for your business.
The impact of any marketing strategy or tactic should be measured by the revenue it generates. When marketing and sales unite under a shared business objective, they are able to have a measurable impact on productivity, revenue, and ROI.
With increasing consumer confidence in off-site search results such as social media, directory listings on sites like Google My Business or Yelp, and customer reviews, a company’s actual website is becoming a less impactful in the consumer’s decision making process.
The most effective digital marketing strategies use impartial data to discern the target market’s intent when he or she is searching. With the proliferation of voice search, VR, and apps, not to mention the Amazon shopping experience, consumers expect to receive very specific answers to their questions. They don’t have patience to be directed to the homepage of a website where they then have to search a menu for solutions.
This is why it’s important to really understand the wants and needs of your audience and put out content not only for your website, but also on social media channels and directories where you can inform, impress, and inspire prospective customers to take action.
Whether your business is selling a product or a service, or targeting other companies or individual shoppers, it’s likely you have sales goals and a budget to manage. Awareness is great, but aligning your marketing strategy with converting prospects into clients is the real name of the game.