In exploring marketing best practices at the top of the sales funnel — that stage in the buying process where you invite prospective customers to consider your company for their inkjet printing needs — it’s essential to understand how Google helps people find what they’re looking for.
Tweaking your website here is known as search engine optimization (SEO), making it more likely your company and services will appear toward the top of search results. This is important because as much as 92% of search traffic clicks happen on the first Google page. Internet users rarely keep turning the search page to find additional options.
SEO done right is a specialized skill, so ask an SEO expert to analyze your keyword click successes and tweak your site to improve click-throughs. You, however, are essential to the process, assuring that your SEO efforts dovetail with your internally developed marketing strategy and tactics.
Where to begin?
Both you and your SEO expert have to start with the keywords you think will trigger first-page search results. In other words, you have to figure out the minds of your target audience to come up with keywords they might use to find your services on the internet.
Are your best keywords things like “direct marketing”? Meh.
How about “I need a brochure” or “printed sales materials”? Will these really help prospects find you on the internet? The problem here is that your competitors are probably using the same keywords, and you’re always playing catch-up.
Google can help here, with its free Google AdWords Keyword Planner which proffers a variety of phrases that return good click results, and Google Trends that shows how specific phrases are popular over time. Try to avoid generic signals keywords that don’t advance you against your competitors in the Google search page listings.
Think different, as Apple used to say.
Are you in the Midwest? Think about choosing keywords like “direct marketing + Columbus, Ohio”. Are you focused on direct mail campaigns for financial institutions? Consider keywords phrases like “acquiring new banking customers”, or “boosting small business checking accounts”. Health care? How about such keywords as “enhancing health care customer service”?
Importantly, these phrases have nothing to do with your products but everything to do with what your prospects are looking for. That’s what’s so important in marketing to the top of the funnel: inviting folks in to consider their needs, not your solutions.
A gathering storm is voice search, so don’t forget to ask your SEO consultant to optimize for things like Google Alexa. According to The Nielsen Total Audience Report 88% of smart speaker activities included voice-initiated search for factual information. You might not have an Alexa device yourself but your customers may, and this is definitely the future.
We’ll address content marketing more thoroughly in a subsequent blog, but remember that all of your content, including blogs and white papers, are findable online via keywords. Phrases like “direct mail success stories”, “successful printed matter”, or “powerful health care communications” can draw in internet search results, so add these types of phrases into your content.
Of course you’ll have great printed images to display, but avoid generic photo names like "client1.jpg". Instead, tag them with compelling specific accomplishments like “successful direct mail piece” or “how nonprofits benefit from variable printing”. These also will tend to improve search results.
You get the idea. Even while working with an SEO tech, it is you and only you who understands your marketing plan, and who has a grasp of the keywords that will attract optimal internet interest among your prospective customers.
Christopher Hosford is editor at large for Target Marketing. Former editor-in-chief of Nielsen’s Sales & Marketing Management magazine, he’s covered all aspects of sales, marketing, and cutting-edge marketing technologies.