How do you find information about brands or services? When looking for information you probably think, “I’ll Google it!” If that’s you, you’re not alone. We all rely on search engines to help us find information we’re looking for.
The marketing world has changed dramatically in recent years, and Google Ads is one of the platforms driving this transformation. In fact, Google Ads has become one of the best tools for lead generation. If the ads are set up properly, they have the potential to send extremely targeted leads to your website to view your services or provide lead contact information by downloading a resource.
Let’s talk through how your firm can offer a resource through Google Ads to support your lead generation strategy.
Create a Valuable Resource
Every effective Google Ad will lead interested visitors to an engaging landing page on your website. One way to make a landing page engaging is to offer a downloadable resource that your target audience would be interested in. Maybe a case study, white paper, industry insider tips or a checklist for a new process related to your niche focus area.
Offering a take-away shows your firm’s thought leadership and expertise in a certain area. It also makes a visitor feel like they found what they were looking for, or better yet, they found a firm that can help support them.
Collect Contact Information
The best part about offering a free resource is that you can ask the lead to provide contact information to receive it. When you collect contact information, make sure you require the lead to provide:
What other information would be important for you to know about the lead? Maybe the company they work for, their location or job title. When designing this landing page, you can make these requirements tailored to your firm’s lead generation strategy, but don’t ask for too much information right away. Each click or required field on a landing page increases the chances for someone to opt out and leave. Keep the information needed to receive the resource simple, clean and quick.
Don’t rush online advertising. It takes time to find your mojo. Until you find your rhythm and see desired results, frequently monitor your ad and landing page. You can see how many people visit the landing page, if they are downloading your resource and if visitors from your Google Ad explore other areas of your website. All of this information can be tracked through Google Analytics.
If you notice that people are not downloading your resource, you may need to make the landing page more engaging to persuade and encourage. If you want more people to visit the landing page in general, try tweaking your Google Ad to better reach your target audience.
With a little patience and an open mind, your Google Ads will become an effective lead generation tool for your firm or association.
Your ad is running smoothly and you’re starting to collect lead contact information when visitors are downloading your free resource. Now what?!
Reach out to these new leads in a timely manner. Send a friendly email thanking them for visiting your site and learning more about the services you provide. Offer to answer any questions they have regarding the free resource they received. Are there any other questions they have that weren’t answered? Build the relationship and learn more about them. What types of services are they looking for? How can you support them?
Set aside time to contact these new leads. Following up is a critical piece to build your business development strategy, so set firm calendar reminders to incorporate it into your routine.
Google Ads can be inexpensive and target people specifically searching for the services your organization provides. An effective ad will drive potential leads to your website. An engaging landing page and resource will position your firm as a thought leader in the industry. Follow-through builds great brand recognition and turns these potential leads into future clients. Incorporate Google Ads into your SEO and business development strategy, and be prepared to be wowed by the results.
Your website can attract new leads. In this video, our Lead Design Consultant shares three ways to make sure your website is set up to support effective digital marketing tools. Use your website to support business development by having an up-to-date customer relationship management (CRM) system, integrate an email campaign series and create engaging landing pages. Check out this video to learn how to keep your website up-to-date to support these digital marketing strategies.
Read the transcript:
Is your website ready to support digital marketing?
The biggest issue I deal with lately is websites that have out-of-date structures. It’s difficult to add new landing pages or forms for marketing campaigns when the back-end tools are outdated.
There are solutions. Sometimes you just need simple maintenance, but other times you might need to develop a new website.
Let’s assume your website is in good shape. How else can you prime your website for effective digital marketing? Here are three tips.
Maintain your CRM.
If you have a customer relationship management system tied into your website, make sure that client information is up-to-date.
Also, conduct regular maintenance to keep the integrations functioning properly between your CRM and website.
Use the email automation tools.
Map out each message in your email campaign series so you can address any pitfalls that may come up.
Once you read through it, you could be missing some integral content. You want recipients to take action rather than drop off.
Also, ALWAYS test the campaign with a colleague to make sure everything works as it should, and that each email feels personal.
Don’t forget about subject lines and pre-header text. Subject lines should be less than 42 characters to show up in the email field and create interest.
The subject line is very important to persuade the recipient to open your emails, click to your website or take some other requested action.
Set up a landing page for campaigns.
Less is more in this case. An effective landing page keeps the content simple so that your offer or downloadable resource is front and center.
To get more visitors to engage with you, only ask for the minimum information you need in a request form. Name, email and maybe their company.
Well written digital ads, emails and landing pages show that you understand the market you want to serve. Your resource should also relate.
Make sure it’s something that a lead in that market will find valuable. Valuable enough to share their email with you.
One final tip. Don’t forget to schedule a follow-up email for anyone that downloads your resource or fills out a form. It’s so important to respond immediately to these leads.
Your website can attract new leads. Be ready with a well-maintained website and your digital marketing strategy.
With fewer opportunities to connect face-to-face with clients, prospects, referral sources and coworkers, many firms and associations have found ways to connect virtually. Thanks to modern technology, we are able to continue reaching our target audiences online and just as effectively as in-person interactions.
If you have already started to incorporate virtual events into your marketing strategy, you know how much time and effort is needed to make these successful and worthwhile. Let’s talk through how you can continue to promote past virtual events to further expand your reach into the new year without having to reinvent the wheel.
Share on Social Media
Utilize your firm or association’s social media channels to spread the word about previously recorded virtual events, trainings, videos or podcasts. The content you have already recorded can still be an engaging way to connect with leads well into the future. Sharing these recordings showcases your teams’ expertise on social media. It will also encourage your followers to learn about the work that you’ve done in the past and keeps your firm or association top-of-mind moving forward.
By posting these previously recorded events on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube, you’re creating a library of resources for your target audience to reference in the future. What better way to stand out as a thought leader and provide accessible information?!
Social media tip: Ask the individuals presenting at your virtual events to share the recordings on their personal social pages. Their followers will be interested in this content which can expand your reach even further.
Utilize Other Creative Outlets
Your target audience is consuming information in new ways because of this virtual environment. It’s important that you stay up-to-date with how people are learning about your services, upcoming events and where they go to find new information.
Did you know that if you record a webinar, video or even a meeting, you can turn that content into a podcast? All you need is an audio converter software program, which transforms your video into a MP3 file. Once you have the audio file downloaded on your computer, you can edit this file to add an intro, outro and make any other audio edits. Display the finished product as a podcast on your website, share on social media and make available on other podcast sharing platforms.
It’s also possible to transform videos into blog content! Viewers who would rather skim through the content of your video or don’t have the ability to access audio can read a new blog with the same content instead. Take your video and create a transcript using a tool like Rev.com. After reviewing the transcript for any errors, you have already created a new blog post for your website with minimal extra effort.
Encourage Virtual Business Development
All of the content you work so hard to create (trainings, videos, blogs, podcasts, social media posts, etc.) prove that you’re a thought leader within your industry or niche. Encourage new business by sharing these resources far and wide. Share these resources during a sales pitch, display on your website and use them to encourage future speaking engagements. Showing that you have experience communicating your industry knowledge through these virtual platforms will expand your reach and business development opportunities.
Have you ever wondered how people are searching for information about your firm online? One of the most powerful ways to share your firm’s story is through social media! When someone decides to search Google for your engineering firm, chances are your social media channels pop up right away. Because social media is becoming increasingly popular, these platforms are a powerful tool to allow firms to connect, generate leads and position themselves as thought leaders.
Let’s talk through four reasons why your engineering firm should be using social media and how to incorporate it into your regular content marketing routine.
Social Platforms Boost Brand Awareness
Social media is a powerful way for brands to maintain client relationships while having the opportunity to be found by new leads. Your firm’s social pages can become a way to engage with clients at every stage of their journey with you. Whether they are prospective leads or current clients, your social media visitors can engage through comments, ads, video and firm updates.
As your firm gains followers on social media, routinely posting allows your brand to stay top-of-mind. Your followers are interested in your content, and more likely to engage with you as you post more frequently. Social media is also a great way to connect visually with your followers! Create videos and images that represent your brand and specific projects you’re working on.
Incorporate Social into Your Routine
Let’s not sugar coat it. Your firm creates a lot of valuable content to highlight your work. Use social media as a space to share blogs, videos and other content you’ve worked hard on, such as project updates and information about your firm’s culture.
Sharing information regularly (we recommend 2-3 times a week on your selected social platforms) makes it easier for people to see it on their feed and find information they are looking for on your pages. Most importantly, active social media pages encourage your followers to share the content you post! By creating something “shareworthy,” your firm can extend its reach.
Maybe your firm dabbles in social media, but you’re not posting regularly. Make a plan to consistently keep these platforms updated, keeping your followers in-the-know and to position your firm as thought leaders within your industry. You’ve already made the content; now how can you make posting to social part of your normal marketing routine?
Utilize Social Media to Satisfy Business Objectives
Your firm has big goals! Now more than ever, social media is a way to help you achieve them. Looking to generate more leads? Wanting to connect with employees in the new virtual age? Hoping to become known for your construction, engineering or architecture work? Want to stand out in niche areas? Be more social!
You have the ability to focus on certain topic areas on social media, helping you stand out against competitors. Social media platforms are a great resource for your firm to connect with other thought leaders in the industry, reach new clients/project partners and engage with referral sources. Use these platforms to highlight your firm’s experience in creative and engaging ways.
In addition to better supporting your firm’s social media pages, encourage leaders of your firm to engage with important prospects or clients through their personal pages. Use social as a way to remain connected and aware of what your potential clients care about and how your firm can support them in the future.
Earn Quality Leads
Social media is a way to engage with quality leads because your best followers will care about the topics you share and post regularly. Potential leads are people who follow your firm or who follow the leaders at your firm. They engage with your content and maybe they have already sent a direct message to your firm through social. Here are some ways to make sure quality leads can get in touch:
Provide contact information. Your contact information should be up-to-date and readily available on all of your social media profiles, highlighting how your firm prefers to receive inquiries—whether by phone, email or a link to a contact page on your website.
Add direct links. Wherever possible, make sure each post has a clear link and a tempting call-to-action. The majority of the links used on your firm’s social media channels should be encouraging followers to visit your website for more information, and they should align with the firm’s business objectives.
Take advantage of lead gen forms. Certain platforms offer a paid ad format that’s specific for lead generation. Anyone who clicks on your ad can submit their contact information with the click of a button. Your firm can reach out and connect with these quality leads in the future.
Other ways to find quality leads on social media include joining Facebook or LinkedIn groups, following hashtags and industry influencers, and monitoring who regularly engages with your content.
Now you know more about the power of social media! It’s time to take advantage of this tool in constructive ways to increase brand awareness, meet business objectives and generate quality leads.
Let’s geek out for a moment, and we promise that it will be a great benefit to your accounting marketing success. There are three SEO boosters for accountants that we see firms miss all the time – but you don’t have to!
Let’s talk about page titles
There seems to be a misunderstanding about the difference between “page titles” and web page headlines. Too often, the page title is just a duplication of the headline on a web page. This is a disservice to ‘bots and humans. Here’s why.
The tabs at the top of a web page show your page titles. They should tell the viewer what the page is about and should be 60 characters or less, including spaces, so that it’s easy to read the tab
Your page title also shows up in search results (the purple headlines below), and it helps the search engines determine if the content you promise matches what the visitor wants. It also helps humans quickly scan their search results and choose to click. The right page titles encourage clicking on your site.
SEO Booster Tip #1: Write a page title that is different from your content headline when creating new blog copy or web content marketing. Make sure that it “sells” your content appropriately and uses the right number of characters to convey your topic. Build the page title into the back end of the web page, so it is unique to that page.
Keywords in Web Content
Keywords aren’t just for the back end of your website. Where appropriate, you should include your top keywords in the body copy of your web content such as introductory copy, blog posts, bios and careers pages.
Don’t assume that search engines will organically find your services without some keyword bread crumbs. But also, add the keywords so they make sense when reading the copy. To prove our point, we’ve highlighted keywords in the body copy below because you wouldn’t notice them otherwise. They just blend into the story we’re telling.
Also, while you may rank for a keyword that is misspelled, don’t misspell it in your body copy. And don’t “stuff” your copy with keywords so it becomes a mess of terminology with no value to the reader.
SEO Booster Tip #2: Be clear on the keywords you want to rank for based on your web analytics and business goals. Brainstorm topics that match those keywords. Write your content, then proof it for areas where a keyword makes sense to include in the body copy. This approach is easier than trying to write around your keywords in draft 1. Give yourself SEO bonus points if you can use a keyword in your headlines, too!
Too many accounting websites entice visitors with good information, then miss the business opportunity to invite visitors to explore further. Think about the things your buyers want. How should your web pages lead them to take action?
You can use your standard CTAs:
View our services.
Sign up for our newsletter.
See our work.
Now let’s get creative. As more people use their mobile devices to “scroll” your pages, you could offer several calls to action throughout one page:
Related video to view
List of hyperlinked services
Related blog posts
How do you make the exploration easy and interesting? Emphasize page design just as much as your SEO integration. Include a mix of copy and relevant visuals that make a positive impression.
SEO Booster Tip #3: Ask your website users to get to know your firm better and get connected for a continued conversation offline. Your website can do that with the right calls to action integrated throughout your site, persuading your audience that you are the accounting firm for them!
Is your website looking a little neglected? Regular maintenance to a website is critical to the functionality of your web pages, but also to your image and brand. Unfortunately, website maintenance doesn’t always happen like it should. In this video, graphic design consultant Robert Wasiluk describes four key areas of your website that should be updated regularly and how an outsourced website consultant may be able to help. Learn how!
If you prefer to read this content, the video transcript is below.
I have worked on a lot of websites, and one thing I notice is that the technical and visual aspects of websites can be neglected.
Sometimes you have an agreement with your web hosting provider to maintain the site with regular updates and back-ups.
and sometimes those updates don’t always happen like they should.
You need someone inside your firm who proactively reviews your site and makes sure that technical elements are reviewed and updated as needed.
If you don’t have someone inside the firm, then you need to schedule regular meetings with a outsourced website consultant to make sure it does happen.
Here are four areas to keep an eye on and ask about:
Number one. Core, plugins and themes. Your website has certain features that need updating or pages can start to look weird or don’t function right for visitors. You will start getting page and functionality errors, and your website can become vulnerable to malicious attacks.
Number two. Old content. Do you have pages that no one visits? Check your web analytics to see where you have high bounce rates or outdated content that no one reads. You can hide or eliminate those pages to help with easier navigation and improve site speed.
Number three. Page load time. Sometimes your website will tell you when it needs replacing. It takes forever for pages to load. There are a number of reasons for slow load times, so this needs attention or you will start to lose visitors.
And number four. Overall design and first impression. Does your site use an old color scheme or dated stock photography that make visitors think you’re not modern enough to handle their needs?
With a home page refresh, you can send the right brand signals to new and current clients. Pay attention to your website image.
It might need a makeover.
There are many other things that keep websites fresh and interesting, such as keyword and meta description updates. Let me know if you have questions about your site’s design and functionality. I’m here to help!
Dawn Wagenaar and Christine Nelson co-authored an article in the August 2020 issue of The Marketer for the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS). This national magazine is a premiere publication for marketers and business development professionals in the A/E/C industry and other professional services.
We are honored to contribute our knowledge to A/E/C professionals and those who serve them. Below is the article in its entirety, reprinted with permission by SMPS, which reserves their magazine for members as a benefit. Let us know if you have any questions about your website SEO and how to optimize it for visitors, clients and leads!
Creating Dynamic Websites for Secure Online Marketing
While some firms have been fairly agile in moving to an online workflow and marketing approach, even before COVID-19, others are still counting the costs and missed opportunities of a delayed response. Although dynamic online marketing and business development have been available for many years now, adoption in A/E/C has been slow or even nonexistent.
On a spectrum of digital priorities for the new decade, more than 50% of professional services firms emphasized new content creation, but less than one-third were focused on analytics or website design, according to the 2020 High Growth Study by Hinge. This begs the question: With the amount of time it takes to develop and post new content, what’s the true benefit if no one sees it?
Lead generation through content requires analytics, which in turn require dynamic digital platforms. The Hinge statistics would need to be flipped for a true revolution to an online marketing and growth platform. For firms that are serious about growth through online marketing, here are some basic upgrades in SEO and security they need to consider.
Updated Web Platform
Sometimes, an old platform just can’t continue the digital journey, particularly if platform themes weren’t updated regularly along the way. In that case, your firm may need to invest in a new platform or updated theme to make the website more secure and searchable.
To help you decide if you need a web refresh or a whole new website, conduct a site audit to identify important things like missing metadata or outdated site functionality.
Secure Web Certificate
A secure website is dependent on many things, but one easy way to see if you have a baseline secure website is to see if your URL address is “https” rather than “http.” New websites are already developed with “https,” but some need back-end work to update their certificate and avoid search engines labeling them as not secure—and advising visitors to leave immediately. You don’t want that happening, as most antivirus software won’t even allow visitors to open or use unsecure sites.
ADA Compliance and Opt-In Policy
Do the images on your website have descriptions and alt tags to comply with Americans with Disabilities Act requirements? Are font sizes large enough? Do your videos have captions and transcriptions? If not, it’s time for an update.
Strangely, we see this common problem, even in new websites: The back-end analytics code is added twice, or it’s skipped altogether. The site’s analytics should be checked postlaunch to make sure pages are indexing properly and the analytics are collecting data on visits. If the web developer doesn’t do this, invest in a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) expert to make sure your firm isn’t losing weeks or months of visitor data.
Once your analytics are in good working order, create tutorials or training for staff on which analytics are important for your firm to track. Monthly SEO reports have no meaning unless they’re translated as part of your overall marketing and business development goals. You need to know if content campaigns are working and attracting visitors and leads in order to know which ones to repeat or maximize.
This is a huge area of digital marketing but is far too often missed in the development of content. Your firm should have a set of strong keywords and phrases that are searched for your specific services. You can create the list by seeing which bring visitors to your website now, and then add related keywords and phrases.
Keyword research is just as much an art as a science. Success can depend on whether people are searching on mobile devices, through voice assistants, or on their laptops. Balance popular or widely searched keywords with those that are more unique to your firm and geography. Use more than one keyword tool to create a strong list.
This is a huge area of digital marketing but is far too often missed in the development of content. Your firm should have a set of strong keywords and phrases that are searched for your specific services.
Once you have a solid keyword list, your content needs optimization. This means that keywords get incorporated strategically into headlines and body copy, but also that page titles and meta descriptions are built into all new content. You can make this step easier by creating a blog template that asks the writer (or ghostwriter) to add in the SEO while they are writing the content. Be mindful of character counts in page titles and the sensible use of keywords for your readers.
As part of your SEO campaigns, you may choose to focus on certain key phrases that align with the services you’re promoting each quarter for growth and leads. This will keep you focused on attracting visitors for those services, but also help your firm improve its search engine ranking for those phrases. Again, this is an art and a science because search engines continually update their algorithms and methods of ranking sites for relevant content.
Some of the rankings also consider if your firm is conducting paid digital advertising. This is, of course, how search engines make their money.
Calls to Action
Too many websites leave visitors trying to figure out where they should go next. For example, it doesn’t help to say, “Contact us for more information” at the end of a blog post with no detailed information or link.
Strategic calls to action guide visitors directly to the link of a related blog post, video, or whitepaper. Entire content campaigns take the visitor on a path from blog post to client success story to whitepaper to service area and a formal needs assessment or query. This is how qualified leads happen directly online. The visitor qualifies themself and requests a call, more information, or a demo.
In fact, during the early months of working-from-home this year, we saw a noted increase in search queries and use of website contact boxes by visitors who were desperate for information on a variety of business needs. They found it easiest to ask a question via contact box. The firms that were ready to respond quickly got the lead.
Flip the script on your website experience. Focus now on the infrastructure and right analytics that will get more eyes on your informative content. Your 24/7, secure, and optimized website will pay dividends when you can’t market in person.
Here’s a free tool to get started. Our SEO Checklist helps you determine where your website could use some updates to attract leads and persuade referrals.
Writing content for your blog and website is just one part of an effective content marketing strategy. You need a good SEO strategy for your content to be found organically online. In this video, hear from Christine Nelson, Communications Consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, as she shares some important considerations when it comes to your SEO strategy and how keyword research and technical elements are critical elements in this strategy.
If you prefer to read the video transcript, you may find it below:
Do you write content for your website? Then you probably know that fresh content is a great way to bring visitors to your website to learn about your services. If you are writing a blog post or two…or more a month, that’s great. Keep doing that. But I also urge you to step up your game with search engine optimization.
Due to the volume of new content produced every day on the Internet, your great content will get lost without SEO. SEO is a broad term for many things that search engines consider when sending visitors to your site. These include user experience, mobile friendliness, and a number of other technical aspects like website page speed and website security. Just to name a few.
They also look at the trustworthiness of the content and they look at how many other quality sources, also known as backlinks, are pointing to your content. You can optimize your blog posts in several ways.
First, do keyword research for the services and topics you want to write about so that you have a better chance of people organically finding your content through their online searches.
You also need to think about your reasons for writing content. Is it to inform visitors about important information? OK, but is it also tied into the services you provide? Your blog content needs a strategy that informs, but also leads visitors to a decision. Otherwise, that’s a lot of energy spent with less hope for new business.
As we’ve found with clients who request SEO help for their blog, it’s also best to optimize your content while it’s being written rather than after it’s posted. What I mean is, don’t forget about the back-end of your blog post. Elements like page titles, meta descriptions, header tags and alt text will help search engines and visitors know if a search result is a good fit for them.
In my experience as a ghostwriter, writing a blog post is the easy part. But to get more visitors viewing your content and learning about your firm, you also need SEO built right into it. Otherwise, your website might be invisible to great potential clients.
Interested in learning more? Call us at Ingenuity.
When we get asked to consult on a website or begin working with new clients, we often come across situations where they don’t have control of all their digital assets, websites are not updated regularly or outdated themes are still being used. These situations can affect website security and SEO, putting your firm or association at risk.
In this video, Robert Wasiluk, design consultant at Ingenuity Marketing Group, discusses the differences between a hosting service and web management service. He also shares some of the technical aspects of a website that firm leaders and marketers need to keep in mind. Afterall, it’s not just about the pretty colors and sleek design.
If you prefer to read the video transcript, you may find it below:
How do you know when it’s time to do technical updates on your website? Maybe it’s something you don’t think about as a firm leader or marketer because your website host should handle that, right?
Well, we’ve seen situations where sites are not optimized regularly, leading to lower visibility on search engines, page errors, and outdated themes that make it difficult to add content.
A hosting service is different from a web management service. Your site host is the company that has agreed to let your website “live” on its server. A web management service will actually work with you to update your site and make recommendations for content optimization.
Can you do site optimization in-house right now? Is your in-house IT team well versed on how content should be optimized for marketing? Or are you stuck with an unresponsive vendor that you call every time you want to do a design update or add a photo?
When we develop and optimize websites at Ingenuity, we don’t host the sites. But we do strategize on the best methods for your firm to keep your site updated and in good working order.
Actually, you work directly with me on those updates.
The danger of not updating your site with regular maintenance and SEO is that search engines like Google will stop displaying your site as a search result. That’s bad. You could have great content, and no one is seeing it!
When is it time to make sure that your site is SEO optimized and easy to perform back-end updates? Don’t wait until there are technical difficulties.
Schedule regular updates on the back end of your site that actually support your marketing efforts, and call Ingenuity if you have questions about how tech and marketing should work together.