Creating a Content Marketing Plan That Will Improve Your SEO

Business professionals are beginning to realize the value of content marketing and understand that they need to put together a strategic campaign, but many just aren’t sure where to begin. Sound familiar? If so, this article is for you.

With our next three blog articles, we’ll give you step-by-step directions on how to start a content marketing plan that will improve your website SEO.

Step One: Determine your goals and outline a content marketing strategy that aligns with those objectives. 

It’s tempting to skip to the “fun stuff” (creating content and interacting with your target demographic), but unless you know exactly who your customers are and what they want from you, you could be firing arrows into the dark. Consider these points to illuminate and define your target.

  • Conduct keyword research
  • Consider both core and long-tail topics
  • Utilize your intuition
  • Research related topics, too

The point of keyword research is to direct your content creation. When you include the right keywords in your blog articles, you will drive more traffic to your site by improving the odds of those articles appearing in search results.

Start by asking yourself which keywords a prospective client might use to find your business online. For example, if you’re a plumber in Lansing, Michigan, the most obvious keywords for your business would be “plumbing”, “plumber”, “plumbing service”, and so on. Those are your core keywords.

Long-tail keywords tend to be three or four word phrases, and they typically describe exactly what the customer wants to purchase. Using our example above, a standard long-tail keyword might be “water heater installation in Lansing, Michigan” or “water heater installation in Lansing.”

These keywords are fairly obvious, but you can uncover even more valuable keywords by utilizing your intuition about your target demographic. What types of questions might they ask pertaining your business, products, or service? Related topics might include, “replace copper pipes”, “repair septic tank”, or “troubleshoot water heater”.

By considering these keywords as jumping-off points for content, you can appeal to potential customers who are already seeking very specific information (which you can then provide to them, of course). Then, by incorporating these keywords and keyword phrases into your website and blog content, you give yourself a better opportunity to be found online.

Hopefully these ideas will help you brainstorm content ideas for your marketing campaign. In our next article, we will discuss ways to create that content with maximum appeal to your audience.

If you have questions about keywords, contact us for more information, and don’t forget to follow along with this series; by the end, you will benefit from complete instructions for building a successful content marketing campaign that will also improve your website SEO.

Generating Leads is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

When you own and operate a business, generating leads is critical and understanding that not all leads will immediately by willing or able to buy your product or service is perhaps even more important.  These leads can come from a variety of sources such as seminars, advertisements, social media posts, emails, or Google searches. It’s encouraging to generate leads, but often frustrating when those leads don’t turn into clients.  Rather than labeling leads as “bad” when they don’t convert, consider a fresh approach.

So how do you get better results turning leads into closed business?  Remember, even a “bad lead” could turn into a “good referral” if it is nurtured properly.

There are two ways to address this question:

First, how do you define “results”? 

Second, after the lead is generated, what steps do you take to nurture the lead? 

Many business owners would define “results” as “sales”. There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, and that is indeed the end goal. But today’s sales funnel is far more complex and typically requires more work than a simple stimulus and response. In most cases, one touch (or even 2 or 3) won’t convert a prospect into a client.  Expecting that to happen is probably a case of wishful thinking.

Remember, attracting and converting prospects is much like marriage.  It rarely happens on the first date. It requires a courting period that may range from a few months to a few years.  Depending on the product or service you sell, your business model may require more relationship nurturing than others.  Clearly, buying a pair of tennis shoes will require less of a decision making process than retirement planning or health insurance coverage.  Most people need time to gather information and weigh their options before making a decision.

Marketing works in very much the same way. Since marketing is about forming relationships – with increased sales as a natural end result of good relationships – it can be helpful to reframe your expectations. With relationships as your expected result, now you can begin to understand marketing as a process. After all, no one forms an instant relationship. But in time, after you’ve nurtured a lead, they will be ready to commit to you.

So that brings us to our second point: What should you do to nurture those leads? 

Seek to understand your leads. A lead will make the decision to buy only when they are ready. And as you might have experienced yourself, most people will be scared off when they feel pushed into a commitment before they are ready. They need time to gather information, weigh their options, and develop trust in you. Therefore, it is important for you to gauge your leads and understand where they are in the buying cycle.

Educate your leads. Did you know that 96 percent of visitors who land on your website are not ready to buy yet? That’s because they’re at the beginning of the buying cycle, and they’re still gathering information. This isn’t the time to push for a sale, but it is an opportunity to begin the relationship. This is why blog content matters and contact forms are vital. If your visitors fill out a contact form, you can continue to nurture the relationship via email.

Social media works in a similar fashion. Most people checking out your Facebook page are not ready to buy, but they might be enticed to click the “follow” button. Then you can continue educating them and forming a relationship. You will do this by posting helpful content and answering their questions.

Stay top of mind.  An initial lead generation won’t usually go anywhere if the relationship is not continued. You want to keep blogging regularly, posting on social media, and sending emails. Consistency is key.

Social media has become one of our primary modes of accomplishing that goal. You should be asking all clients and prospects to follow you on social media. But first, do your research on your target demographic, so that you will use the social media platform most relevant to that group. Facebook is great for the above-forty crowd, while Instagram is essential if you’re targeting twenty-somethings. Business-to-business marketing is appropriately geared for LinkedIn.

Email is more direct and personal, and will deliver your messages straight to your leads. Make sure you always ask every client and prospect for their email address. If you seek to understand their position in the buying cycle, you can create more personalized messages to nurture them along.

Bottom line: Keep in touch. You want to be the first name that comes to mind, when they decide they’re ready for your product or service.

When can you close the deal? Yes, at some point after you have established a solid relationship, you naturally want to ask for the sale. But when?

In order to answer that question, let’s evaluate your marketing practices so far. We will analyze the steps you’ve taken to generate leads, determine how to nurture those leads, and help you understand your prospects’ position in the buying cycle. We’ll show you ways to deepen those relationships, so that they feel ready to commit.

What is Content Marketing and Why is It So Important?

As a business owner, you already understand that reaching out to your target demographic and forming relationships with them is a positive step for your company. You may have even heard that “content marketing” is a smart way to achieve that goal… But beyond that, it might be a mystery. Content marketing is a vague term, and perhaps you’re not quite sure what it is or what it requires you to do.

That’s okay! This is a common question, and we’re happy to provide an answer for you. Read more

3 Reasons Why Advisors, Attorneys, and Insurance Professionals Should Use Google Alerts

Social media marketing, online marketing, digital marketing… Whatever term you use, all of these forms of marketing have one thing in common: Content. When you create great content, your customer base will find you relevant, helpful, and approachable. That’s the first step to forging relationships that are mutually satisfying and profitable.

Creating the right content is always a learning process. Ideally, you will first research topics of interest to your target audience, and then continue to evolve that content as trends shift. Google Alerts has emerged as one of the most effective tools to help you do exactly that. Read more

How Blogging Helps Advisors and Attorneys Boost Their SEO

Typically, one of the first things attorneys and advisors will think about when it comes to their internet presence is whether or not their website ranks highly with the search engines. Beyond that, however, they may not understand what needs to be done to improve those rankings.

SEO (search engine optimization) is the ongoing process of making a website relevant enough for the search engines to rank it highly for specific keywords. Read more

5 Email Marketing Misconceptions to Avoid

You might think that after 47 years, email marketing has been fully hashed out and we have decided upon a static, unchanging formula for success. Actually, no form of marketing stays the same year after year, because consumer habits and preferences change and we must change with them. The same is true for email marketing. Read more

Marketing to Millennials? Four Things You Need to Do Now

We’ve all heard the jokes about Millennials, and the entire generation has been blamed for events ranging from the closing of Applebee’s restaurants to the declining birth rate. However, the truth behind these lighthearted complaints is that Millennials are becoming a powerful consumer force, accounting for one-fourth of the entire population. You definitely don’t want to overlook them as they come of age. Read more

3 Digital Marketing Tools Every Business Should Have

You probably know that today, digital marketing is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. But beyond that, many business owners feel overwhelmed. With so many options at your disposal, which ones deserve your focus?

Experience has shown us that a successful digital marketing strategy begins with the following three tools. Read more

3 Ways that Content Marketing Can Build Your Bankroll

Stop and think for a moment how education plays a role in converting your prospects into new clients.

Yes, you likely educate people when you talk to them, but are you leveraging your website to help you do more of it?

If not, you’re probably leaving money on the table every month!

Here’s what you could accomplish with a strategic content marketing plan: Read more

5 Sneaky Ways Online Marketing Puts Money in Your Pocket

If you are going to spend money on marketing, you want to see an ROI, right? Of course you do! However, sometimes business owners think that the only way that internet marketing makes them money is if it generates new leads. Unfortunately, that’s misguided thinking.

There are a number of “sneaky” ways that you see profits from digital marketing. These profits are very real, but often forgotten or not considered. Read more

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