Few people need to be convinced of the importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). With a total of 64 percent of all web traffic likely coming from organic searches, it’s definitely a meaningful way to surface your business to potential customers. Local SEO continues to grow in importance as well, especially now that over half of all searches occur on mobile devices, which makes local targeting much easier.
SEO alone, however, isn’t sufficient for local marketing. Making your website easy to find is important, but it takes much more to genuinely draw consumers in. Small businesses that rely soley on SEO are missing several key avenues to drive growth. Below are four integral parts of a successful marketing strategy that suggest SEO isn’t enough:
Do you know where all those new mobile searches are taking people? In large part, they’re going to business review sites such as Yelp or Google Plus. According to its CEO, Yelp is growing its mobile web traffic at 37 percent year-over-year. In most cases, Yelp will turn up higher in search results than any SEO-friendly website, mostly because of its hundreds of millions of unique visitors monthly.
That means it’s just as important to optimize your business for local review sites as it is to optimize it for searches. High quality reviews from customers will make your business more visible and more appealing on these sites. Marketing automation software such as Signpost can help with this by encouraging customers to share their thoughts on your business on channels like Yelp and Google+.
2. Businesses need lead nurturing to build relationships with potential customers.
Another shortcoming of SEO is that it focuses entirely on getting people to your website, with no thought for what comes next. Having a potential customer visit your site is a good first step in the sales funnel, but it usually takes significantly more effort to drive conversions.
In fact, nearly 80 percent of new prospects never become customers, but companies that excel in developing relationships with customers at every stage of the sales funnel generate 50 percent more sales with 33 percent less cost.
How do you excel at lead nurturing? Companies should have a process in place to pinpoint sales leads. After getting someone to your site or store, you should make sure to encourage them to share their contact information. That way, even if they don’t make a purchase, you can target them later with email marketing and SMS marketing.
You should also ensure that you make it easy for people to give feedback and have quick and effective customer support to respond to any concerns. By making it easy for people to give feedback, you improve customer service and learn ways to improve your business.
3. Consumers are more likely to trust referrals and personal recommendations.
In the past decade, the value of customer relationships has skyrocketed. Faced with an endless bombardment of advertisements, consumers are less likely to trust marketing (which includes business websites) and more likely to trust friends, family, and even online testimonials.
According to Nielsen, an overwhelming 92 percent of consumers believe in recommendations from friends and family more than they do any kind of advertising or marketing. For that reason, having existing customers refer their friends to your business tends to be extremely effective. Not only are people more likely to trust referrals, but with Facebook and Twitter, people can reach hundreds of friends and followers with a click of a button.
In addition, you should always be looking for ways to drive more value from your existing customers. Loyalty programs and special deal notifications can be great tools to create a positive customer experience and get your existing customers to be even more active.
4. Data analytics are essential for future growth.
When consumers visit your site or store, they don’t just represent potential leads. They also represent valuable data points that can help you better configure your business and marketing efforts to meet the needs of your customers.
Unfortunately, most local businesses don’t have the time or expertise to turn that data into actionable recommendations. That’s why the Harvard Business Review declared “data scientist” to be “The Sexiest Job of the 21st Century.” The combination of massive demand and a very limited number of people with this skill set means data scientists are hard to find and can command a hefty paycheck.
Fortunately, Signpost’s marketing software offers business analytics tools that can help you make sense of the numbers and lead to quality, data-driven decisions that drive growth and efficiency.