Your future customers need what you offer, but is your digital marketing strategy helping them discover you? Building some simple habits and sticking to them will boost your website's discoverability over time. If you persist, your business website can become a go-to destination for your prospective customers.
Your marketing goal is to call prospective customers to action and make a sale. But they follow you on social media to learn, grow, and get value from your expertise. These competing interests may cause you to go to extremes. Either you may be generous to a fault and never ask for a sale. Or, you may constantly hound your followers to take action. Neither extreme will produce a healthy return on investment.
First, be generous. When you give away your high-quality expertise, discerning people take note. Don't just share articles and memes you collect from other sources. Apply your unique spin and breakthrough concepts to the ideas that are circulating on social media.
Most of us share poorly curated content on social media. We make no effort to add context and expertise to the content because we prioritize quantity over quality. We collect and share without taking time to read and absorb what we're broadcasting. And this is understandable.
Social media often feels like a necessary evil, and we have heard that success requires publishing content on a schedule. That may be partly true, but given the abundance of information on the web and the scarcity of true wisdom, it is refreshing to follow feeds that value quality over quantity.
Second, be present. Wherever your customers congregate and socialize, join in the conversation. At a local business meetup, you would contribute, offer friendship, and serve others. Use social media in the same way by joining groups, commenting on posts, and sharing valuable resources. Be a good citizen.
We make too much of the differences between digital and face-to-face interactions. While digital is a less immersive experience than in-person meetups, the same rules of etiquette apply. Getting to know others and empathizing with their challenges will pay off in the long run.
Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back. — Luke 6:38 NLT
If you are not yet using social media for your business, here is where to start. If you are a consumer brand, Facebook and Instagram are ideal platforms, and Twitter works well for technical brands. All businesses should implement a LinkedIn strategy, but business-to-business brands will flounder without that platform.
Third, ask for the sale. Give far more than you sell, but don't forget you are investing in fundamentally transactional relationships. If no one buys from your company, they will lose your valuable input. Give much more than you sell, but keep in mind that a relevant sales offer is generous too. We are not running charities. People don't buy out of pity. They buy because we solve their pressing problems, and what could be more generous than that? So don't be bashful. Make great offers and share them whenever appropriate, but make your social interactions about your customer and not about you.
Website discoverability results from many small things done well. Your social profiles link to your website. Your sales posts on social channels call on prospects to click through to your website, and search engines index your website to provide valuable content to their customers. All this success depends on doing a few common-sense, technical things well.
Link building is critical to your long-term digital marketing success. But don't believe the hype about generating thousands of incoming links to your website overnight. Healthy link building must become a habit.
Always ask for links when
- giving interviews
- speaking at conferences
- writing for publications (all print publications are online now)
- sharing testimonials when others serve you well
- being mentioned online
Get listed on professional directories such as
- your local chamber of commerce
- industry directories
- social media profiles
Create compelling content others will want to share
Always ask for links where appropriate. As time goes by, high-quality incoming links will accrue, and Google will boost the authority of your website. Your content will begin to out-rank competitors, and organic search traffic will increase.
Creating high-quality, shareable content is the most effective way to increase your website's discoverability. While some experts say publishing often boosts your search engine results, frequent publishing is not a search engine ranking signal. Rather than churning out content, focus on producing content your customers and prospects will value.
When your website visitors find value in your content, they are more likely to share it and link it from their websites and publications. Long-term, those incoming links are one of the most valuable assets your web presence can build. So don't obsess about the amount of content you publish; focus on quality.
That said, it is best to stick to a publishing schedule for two reasons. When you publish regularly, visitors will return to your website to see what's new. A regular schedule puts you on the hook to keep writing and creating videos and podcasts Content creation is hard work. You will need support and accountability to see it through.
Don't forget keyword research. When you consider potential topics, use tools like Answer the Public and Google Trends as part of your decision process. These tools will help you craft your content with the words and phrases others use to search for your content.
Don't put the cart before the horse, though. Topic selection solely on keyword research may drive traffic to your website, but that traffic may not be helpful for your business. Start with your strategic objectives. What customers do you want to attract, and what are the pressing concerns you can address for them?
Websites accumulate nonessentials. As you try to attract website visitors, remember this: website visitors who ignore your content and your calls to action do not help your business.
Thousands of looky-loos will only increase your costs. Savvy digital marketers are not interested in traffic; they want qualified prospects to find the resources they need. Our survival depends on helping prospective customers make an informed decision to hire us or buy our products. That is why we create content.
Most business-to-business websites benefit from focusing obsessively on clear, compelling calls to action first. Once those are in place, relevant articles, videos, or other content can support your call to action. Well-constructed content serves to arouse interest in our business and to support the decision-making process of interested prospects. These are the primary reasons we publish original content.
To make your content discoverable, don't confine it to a blog page. While a blog or resources page helps people find your content, support your calls to action with relevant content. As I write this article, the FlareMark home page features an article titled "Can Digital Marketing Save My Business?" next to a call to action inviting prospects to start a project. This juxtaposition helps visitors go beyond comparison shopping to think about the value we offer. Invite people to consume information that supports their buying process by placing those resources near your calls to action.
To boost the discoverability of your content, keep the structure of your articles simple. Use a clear visual hierarchy with headings, short paragraphs, and lists to allow readers to make quick forward progress. If someone finds your website but is intimidated or confused by its structure and leaves without engaging with your content, they have not discovered what you have to offer. It would be a shame to waste your effort by neglecting to edit for readability.
Just Do It
Nike is on to something big with its slogan. Just do it. Success only comes to those who choose execution over analysis. Learn what you can from the ideas I've shared and implement them in your business. Do more to help your future customers find you. You won't regret it.