Digital Marketing: Four Steps to Optimizing Your Online Presence for the Best ROI.
January 06, 2021
By Jason Gervais, president and CEO of WEB ROI, a digital marketing agency.
Credit: WEB ROI
You’ve worked hard and built a strong, successful company. There has been some blood, sweat, and maybe even a few tears. Long days followed by late nights trying to work the tools and run the sales, marketing, staff, bookkeeping…the list goes on and on.
Until a few years ago you probably never thought you needed a website or online presence. Or were you an early adopter? Any renovation companies that started building and optimizing websites before 2008 found out quickly how powerful they can be.
But in the past 10 years, the digital space has become a sea of competition, kind of like the old Yellow Pages, with every Tom, Dick, and Harry vying for a spot on the coveted first page of Google.
Maybe you’ve been there, maybe not. But when it comes to actually making a return on investment when it comes to your online presence, you need to put more into it than a basic website and some Google Ads. This article will highlight the four key factors to consider maximizing your Website ROI.
1 – Attract Your Ideal Buyers
You probably think that since everyone is on social media, you should focus your time, energy, and money posting your pictures on Instagram and Facebook. While this is very important, actually having your content seen by your ideal target audience on social media is much more complicated than you might expect. In fact, the majority of people liking your social content are your past customers, friends, and family. Without some ninja growth tricks or paid advertising, it’s going to be much more challenging to get your social content in front of a mass audience.
And the problem with social media is that they are not actively in the market to buy from you or anyone. They are just hanging out. Some may be in the market, but most are not.
Start with Search
People who are in the market to buy something start with search engines. In fact, search engines drive 300% more website traffic than social media.
Simply, there are only three ways to show up on page 1 of Google:
1. Google Ads – Pay Per Click advertising is the fastest and only guaranteed way to show up on page1 of Google. And the advertiser can control everything from cost, to keywords that you are willing to pay for clicks on, to geography.
2. Google My Business – also known as Maps or Places. This is the map listing of three companies for a keyword search query.
3. Organic Search – these are the natural listings on the first page, usually below the ads and map.
All three are critically important to a successful online strategy and ROI.
Google has made it easy. They even send out $300 offers for companies to sign up and try Google Ads themselves. Some have seen success; many have burned through a lot of money and swear paid search doesn’t work at all.
Like any construction project, even with the right tools, it’s not hard to royally mess things up. It’s usually worth the investment to hire an expert to do the work rather than risk a majorly botched project. There are a lot of nuances that the Google Automated software does not include which will help reduce your cost per click and cost per acquisition of a new lead or sale.
Google Ads is a critically important part of a successful digital strategy. There are 20 total spaces on page 1 of Google (7 ads, 3 maps, 10 organic). So having your ad running means you own five percent of the real estate for a given keyword phrase, and you only pay if someone sees it and clicks on it.
Google My Business
This has had some different names over the years. It used to be part of Google Maps, then became its own entity known as Google Places and recently was renamed Google My Business.
The trick here is what’s called the “Three Pack,” those top three spaces that are visible in the first page listing on Google before the user clicks on “more businesses.”
This requires a bit of skill and patience, but some of the basics that you need to take care of are claiming your listing, ensuring you have name, address, and phone number consistency in your listing with all other references to your company online including your website, choosing the correct category for your company, and ensuring you are using the appropriate keywords in your business listing.
Showing up in the natural rankings on the first page is all about your keywords and content strategy. The days of snake oil, black magic, and trickery to get Google to rank you well are long past. You need to identify keywords that have significant search volume with low relative competition, write excellent content (longer content is better), and create or earn valuable inbound links to your web pages.
More than 40% of business revenue is captured by organic traffic. If you are missing this part, you have a big problem.
Earlier I talked about the 20 listings on the first page of Google. With a proper strategy, you should occupy at least three] of those spaces, meaning you could take up 15% of the available real estate. If you had a choice, would you rather be seen once, twice or three (or more) times on the first page?
2 – Differentiate Yourself
If your most of your website content includes the words “we” or “I” or repeated references to your company name, the chances are you sound just like everyone else in your space.
Have you ever heard the saying, “No one cares how much you know, until they know how much you care”?
What about WIIFM, everyone’s favourite radio station? OK that one may be confusing. It stands for What’s In It For Me.
People care about themselves. So, your content should be directed at them, their problems, their fears, their frustrations, their worries, their pain.
So often I hear people say they never read website content. It’s true that people don’t care to read all about you. But they will care when you are describing a specific problem they have. And when you present a solution to their problem, they will be much more perceptive to contacting you.
Your content is not just the words on the page. The images are just as important. Using low quality, small, grainy, unpolished, unstaged photos can actually hurt you a lot more than help you. Investing in high quality images or a professional photographer will most definitely differentiate you and be worth it in the long run.
3 – Convert Visitors to Leads
If you want someone to do something, what is the best way to let them know? Ask them!
Don’t expect your website visitors to know the best way to connect with you. And don’t make them hunt around for how to connect with you. Make it obvious.
Not surprisingly the most common action people take on a website is to make a phone call. So where should your phone number be on your website?
Everyone that visits your website arrives at the top of the page. Your logo goes in the top left and your contact number should be in the top right along with a call to action button that opens a form. No matter where they land in your website, they will see your logo, phone number, and a call to action that is easy to act on.
Then, as visitors are reading your content, there should be more calls to action in the middle and at the bottom of the page.
In the past 14 years, our team has focused on getting as high a conversion rate from our clients’ websites as possible. We track every action taken including phone calls, request forms, information downloads, live chats, and signups. While the global average conversion from websites is in the two to four percent range depending on industry, our office average last year was 9.5 percent. Everything we do is focused around maximizing the conversion of visitors into leads. These are some of the best practices we can share.
4 – Nurture Your Leads
When is the last time you had someone contact you for a quote and after you visited and gave the quote, they never got back to you? Maybe things changed? Maybe they couldn’t afford it? Maybe they have other priorities? Maybe they aren’t quite ready? What about those who visit your website, but they are just gathering information and they aren’t ready for you to come and give them a quote just yet?
You need to use your website as a tool to capture contact information or get people to connect with you on social media. Then you need to use your content, blogging, images, and so on to educate them and make them fans of your work, trust your expertise, and have your name come to mind first when they are ready to make a purchase decision.
If you are not yet using email to stay in touch and educate your audience, you are not alone. In fact, 42 percent of marketers do not send targeted email messages. Only 49 percent of businesses say they use some form of email automation.
Yet email remains one of the most successful ways to improve your website ROI. So, you should be using it too.