In our previous articles we’ve introduced SEO in the context of an overall Inbound Marketing campaign; now it’s time to get a little more into the detail.
We’ve talked about the importance of “relevance”, i.e. how closely does the content of your site match what the user was looking for. It’s a really important consideration. But we’d go even further, and contend that the single biggest thing that you need to focus on is “empathy”. So what do we mean? First let’s examine the Dictionary Definition: “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another”. So let’s develop this when we think about SEO and inbound marketing.
You have products and services to sell. You also have competitors. People want to buy the products and services that you sell, but they don’t know where to get them from. Once they find a source, if that source is a good one, they will probably stay loyal (as usual, think about your own buying habits either for business or personal use). So it’s important that you get found first; that your content is high quality; that the buying process is quick, straightforward, and of course secure; that you supply the products and services in a timely fashion; and (it should go without saying) that you provide exceptional customer service after the sale is complete.
Back to this “empathy” word then! Put yourself in the shoes of your potential customer, at every one of the stages above, starting with what they would type into a search engine. Try it yourself! Type some specific searches, then type some general ones. Use alternative words. Compare and contrast the results. What do you learn? You may be surprised at what you conclude!
The 5-stage model
Remember what we said in a previous article?
- Attract traffic
- Convert visitors to leads
- Convert leads to sales
- Turn customers into repeat higher margin customers
- Analyse for continuous improvement
We’re now thinking “empathy” too, and of course we’re always thinking about delighting the customer, but it all starts with attracting traffic in the first place. If you don’t get found, you’ll never have the opportunity to delight your customers!
Can I have some specifics then on how to get found?
In our last article on SEO we gave you some pointers. Essentially, an effective strategy will have these components:
- high quality content …
- … that gets linked to …
- … and Social Media …
Let’s have a quick look at each in turn.
High quality content
What you put on your web-site should be
- unique (the only, or one of very few, source(s) of the information that the user is looking for)
- high quality (well-written, insightful, thought-provoking, interesting)
- valuable (what the user wanted!)
And it’s not just about the main content of your web-site either! Writing regular blogs will attract more traffic, inbound links, social media buzz, positive brand awareness, and will ultimately result in more leads and sales. But think carefully about what you write – company news or product specifications may not be all that interesting to the people you want to attract!
This follows on naturally. The higher quality and thus more talked about your content is, the more people will want to reference it – links to your site from other sites is an excellent way of attracting more traffic.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Tumblr (and all the rest) … didn’t even exist when SEO first developed, but you’ll know from your own experience that they are now all-pervasive and still growing rapidly! Your potential customers will be using Social Media, and so you can use it too to connect at a more personal level.
So I’ve been attracting people to my web-site – but what next?
So far so good, but simply attracting people isn’t enough (back to the 5-stage model). Next time we’ll focus on the next stage, which is how to convert visitors to leads.