You’ve probably already heard that if you’re not using SEO as part of your marketing strategy, you’re missing a great opportunity to bring in more qualified leads by attracting more organic traffic to your website.
The real truth about the role of SEO for lead generation might surprise you.
SEO is more than a lead generation tool.
The fact is that without thoughtful SEO, lead generation suffers an opportunity cost. You’re losing leads to the competition long before prospects become aware of your offering.
Before we dive into the good stuff — the revolutionary stuff — let’s back up to look at how marketers traditionally think about lead generation tactics.
Oh yes, the marketing funnel.
Here’s the thing about the funnel that no one really talks about:
The funnel is blind to the digital customer’s journey.
Because the internet has changed how we decide what to buy.
It’s time to forget the funnel.
Instead, let’s talk about…
The Zero Moment of Truth (ZMOT)
Google introduced the concept of the ZMOT in the 2011 ebook, Winning the Zero Moment of Truth. The phrase refers to the discovery and awareness stage in the buying cycle when the consumer researches a product prior to the seller’s knowledge.
In other words, you need to get on your customer’s radar strong and early because they’ll select one of the top options they saw first.
According to GE Capital Retail Bank’s most recent Major Purchase Shopper Study, 81% of shoppers conduct online research before making a big purchase.
It’s become the norm for customers (even B2B customers) to start their buying journeys with a Google search. As online search becomes a bigger part of purchase decisions, the dwell time at the Zero Moment of Truth is longer than ever before, and the number of customer touchpoints has grown exponentially.
While you’re waiting for visitors to stumble into your marketing funnel, your competitors who show up at ZMOT have already intercepted them and started to gain their trust. If you don’t meet your customers with valuable content at the moment they start their research, you’re losing out on their business.
The decision is being formulated sooner than ever before!
How will you show up for your customers at their Zero Moment of Truth?
Using SEO to redefine lead generation.
Every micro-moment along the way of a customer’s journey is an opportunity for you to show up and guide them to your site. A comprehensive SEO and lead generation strategy will help you uncover and understand those moments and present your solution in real-time to customers who are looking for it.
“80% of success is showing up.”
Woody Allen got it right when he pointed to the importance of being in the right place at the right time. A deliberate lead generation SEO strategy helps you show up.
An equally important question is, what will you show up with?
Zero in on search intent to generate content aligned with what users are searching for and why they’re searching for it. That way, you’ll be in the right place at the right time (across multiple screens and devices) with the information your prospects need, presented in the format they want.
Showing up for searchers with helpful content they can trust paves the way for lead generation, bypassing your competitors’ funnels and bringing prospects straight to your front door.
How to use SEO for lead generation.
1- Know your audience.
It’s not enough to know the basic demographics of your prospects. In order to really understand how they think, you need to learn as much as you can about their personalities, interests, values, opinions, and needs. Talk to your sales team and customer service reps for valuable insights into who your audience is and what words they use to describe their problems. Also, try social media listening to tune into what your customers are talking about.
2 – Be seen in their search results.
Keyword research will help you narrow down what your prospects are looking for. Create keyword themes to bring your solution to SERPs for queries relevant to your product or solution. Then, dig deep into search intent so you can anticipate why people are searching on these keywords and what kind of content will be most helpful to them.
3 – Create a content plan.
Once you know who’s looking for answers and the keywords they’re using in their searches, you’ll want to develop engaging, informative, and high-quality content for them in the formats they prefer. Some competitive analysis can help you see what types of content — blog posts, podcasts, videos, or whitepapers — rank well and help your brand build authority with your target audience.
4 – Remove technical barriers.
5 – Know how you’ll capture leads.
Use the intel you’ve gathered about your target audience and lean into your content marketing strategy to develop an offer that will drive conversions of prospects into leads. Will you use a juicy content download to entice people to share their information with you? How about a free trial? Or, maybe you have a marvelous email newsletter they can sign up for.
6 – Monitor and measure.
Set up GA conversion goals so you can track monitor and measure how your SEO strategy is generating leads.
7 – Assess progress.
Because the digital landscape is constantly changing, developing an SEO strategy isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. Watch for algorithm shifts or changing competitor strategies that could impact your search rankings.
8 – Adjust and repeat.
Make changes as needed to improve your lead generation and increase conversion rates.
In a nutshell.
In the final analysis, there’s no need to choose between allocating your digital marketing resources to SEO vs. lead generation. Ask yourself how many potential leads you’re losing to your competition because they’re being found at the Zero Moment of Truth and you’re not.
If lead generation and the revenue growth that comes with it are top priorities for your business, it’s time to get started on an SEO strategy. You can leverage an SEO agency to deliver top results. Want to learn more? Reach out for a free SEO consultation.