The “Internet Marketing Lead Generation Ecosystem” infographic is a visual representation of the entire landscape of online marketing, which helps companies see the possibilities and better understand how the pieces of Internet marketing — from traffic sources to campaigns to reporting — all fit together.
At the center of the infographic created by SEO Chicago agency Straight North is the COMPANY WEBSITE, the focal point of all online lead generation: Sales leads come from website visitors who either phone in or submit an inquiry form. Thus, companies with website content that attracts inquiries will build a big pipeline of sales leads. Unfortunately, many companies — especially small ones — fall woefully short.
Level the Playing Field With Quality Content
Small businesses may feel that it is impossible to create website content on the same level as what Fortune 500 companies can produce with their bottomless budgets and pools of pros. However, small businesses actually have a few huge advantages when it comes to content creation:
- Small businesses can have owners and leaders drive or even create content, whereas in larger organizations these tasks often fall to low-level staffers. Thus small businesses can create content with more “meat,” which strikes a responsive chord with customers and prospects.
- Small businesses are more nimble, and can move content from concept to publication in a matter of days or hours, giving them the ability to capitalize on industry news, new product/service developments, and other time-sensitive topics with broad and intense interest within the niche.
- Small businesses can experiment more freely than large companies, since they are not hamstrung with lengthy approval processes and stringent branding guidelines. Having the ability to try different content formats or writing styles, and to take a provocative editorial position, enables small firms to reach and influence new types of customers.
Investing in high-quality lead generation content does something invaluable for any small business: it makes a small company look big. Professional, well-written and elegantly designed content conveys credibility, expertise, organization and creativity. These attributes give website visitors the confidence they need to phone in an inquiry or submit a form.
How to Make Your Website Content Stand Out [INFOGRAPHIC]
The COMPANY WEBSITE hexagon in the infographic lists various content options for a website, most of which go unused by small (and even large) companies. Some of the less popular options, though, can really move the lead generation dial for a small business. For instance:
- Videos have tremendous appeal. Partly due to the explosion of Internet access on mobile devices, visual content is highly valued and frequently shared by website visitors. Video is very persuasive for explaining complicated products and services, personalizing a business and building credibility. Product demos, interviews of company owners, and facility tours are great options for video, and production costs needn’t break the bank for the video to be effective.
- Research reports from small businesses can be quite valuable, as long as the data is reliable. As anyone familiar with web content knows, opinions are everywhere, but reliable facts are rare. If you take the time to research issues of importance in your niche, customers, prospects and online industry publications will take note. Research published on your website will build credibility and interest in a hurry; in addition, other websites and blogs in your niche will cite your research, expanding your brand awareness and creating backlinks to your website that tremendously enhance SEO.
- Images, when professionally produced, can in and of themselves transform a mediocre website into a lead-generating machine. Again, website visitors love visual content — and are immediately turned off by overused stock photography and amateurish graphic design. There’s no better way for a small company to look big than by adding professional imagery to the website: product shots, panoramic facility photos, infographics, charts, graphs, etc.
For product and service pages, take special care, because these pages are the ones that do the selling. Things to keep in mind:
- Edit and proofread text. Small errors undermine credibility — big time.
- Lead with popular and important benefits. Put details farther down the page.
- Don’t tell the whole story: The objective is to get visitors to contact you.
- Use image captions to highlight key product/service features and benefits. People always read captions.
- Improve scannability by using snappy headlines and subheads, bold text, bulleted lists and short paragraphs.
- Place calls to action on these pages with valuable offers, such as $50 off an initial order. Visitors need an incentive to inquire.
- Make sure your phone number is in view and prominent at all times.
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Until your website content reaches a reasonable level of quality, it does not make much sense to invest heavily in Internet marketing campaigns, or tighten the support processes described in the lower area of the infographic. The website is the core of your lead generation efforts, and much like the human body, if the core is weak, the overall condition is even weaker. The good news is, once website content is up to snuff, any investment in lead generation marketing will produce far better ROI than what your competitors are likely to be realizing.
Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, a full-service Internet marketing agency that provides SEO and PPC services. With decades of experience in sales, marketing and management, Shorr has written for leading online publications including Entrepreneur, Forbes and MOZ. Follow him on Twitter.