What happens if you start doing SEO, asocial media, or Google Ads advertising, but you have no content? Or context?
Usually, very little. Here’s why.
It’s All About the Content– But What Kinds of Content?
The Internet and the web especially, is filled with content.
Good content. Bad content. Controversial content. Funny content. Your name. It’s there.
And if you nail it, you find amazingly helpful remarkable content.
The thing is, though – would using the web still have value to you if one day all of that content disappeared?
What if every search you made came back with “No results found for…”?
You’d probably switch browsers to make sure it wasn’t a bug in your current web browser.
You’d probably even check the other two search engines.
You’d likely ask a co-worker, friend, or family member something like, “Hey, where the heck did all the stuff on the web go?”
And then you’d likely be in withdrawal over the Internet search addiction that we now all have.
So we know that nothing happens on the web with search engines if no content exists. Right?
Don’t Let Your Website Become a Ghost Town
But if you’re trying to develop remarkable content to get people to pay attention to your company online, start by asking yourself, “OK. Which people?”
Even mainstream, extremely popular general interest websites have specific users in mind when creating their content strategy.
However, if you don’t have the resources of digital giants like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Baidu, or Yahoo! you most certainly need to be much more specific about the kinds of content you create and its audience.
Start with Buyer Personas to Drive Content
Before you start blogging, optimizing your website for each engine, promoting your stuff on social media, or investing in Google Ads, you’d better take a couple of steps back and
- Set SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound)
- Build a buyer persona for each of your ideal clients
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal client of yours based on research and
Each buyer persona will dictate the strategies and tactics to use:
- Which topics and keyword phrases are each buyer persona looking for help with?
- How do they like to research information?
- What kind of experience are they looking for from a company like yours?
- How do they use social media?
If you invest in SEO, social media, or pay-per-click advertising without this framework, 9 times out of 10 you’re going to fail miserably. Why?
It’s All About Them, Not You
Because most of what people are searching for are solutions to their problems, not yours.
Don’t let your ego, or your boss’, dictate what content you publish on your website.
Your buyer personas – your ideal clients – the ones that pay the bills – these are the folks that will tell you what your home page, website navigation, and most of the core pages on your website need to address.
With any other priorities, you may just be spamming the search engines with self-serving crap that no one wants to read.
However, if you do this right when a stranger lands on your website for the very first time –
after discovering your website on a search engine results page, you’re looking
for the two-pronged emotional reaction:
- Holy crap, is this stuff helpful! I’ve been searching for hours for a solution to this problem. And I can’t believe I finally found it.
- Who are these folks again? And what else do they have to say? Cool. They have more blog posts, more videos, and a free eBook on this same topic. Yes, I have to download their eBook. Sure I’ll give you my information – because I now trust you – in return for access to the free eBook.
So you’ve now used your remarkable, buyer persona-focused content to transform a stranger into a website visitor successfully, and then a website visitor into a lead.
But there’s another really important caveat to all of this – the context of that visitor’s search.
Don’t Put the Cart Before the Horse with Inappropriate Context
Remember a few moments ago when I mentioned that most people are searching for solutions to their problems?
That is what’s known as the first stage of the buyer’s journey – the awareness stage.
The buyer’s journey is the active research process that someone goes through in between when that person first learns about your business and when that person ultimately becomes a client. It’s
- Awareness – searching for a solution to their problem
- Consideration – comparing available solutions
- Decision – getting ready for purchase or a conversation with sales
For many new to Inbound marketing and content marketing, most of the content on their website and most of the content that they so desperately want to apply search, social, and PPC advertising towards is in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey.
As a result, their website, their social media, and their blog are infested by largely selfish, shortsighted, ego-driven motivations.
Think about the last time you purchased or leased a car. How would you have felt if on the first visit to the showroom, the salesperson only wanted to help you if you were going to purchase or lease that day?
(Ironically, this situation happened to my family and me just this past weekend while out shopping for an elliptical machine for my home. Once the salesperson discovered that we were not buying that evening on our first visit to the store, his attitude became very selfish and shortsighted.)
Not a very sound strategy for any product or service that has a considered purchase decision with a lengthy sales cycle!
Or what if a friend of yours that’s single built a profile on an online dating site that included something along the lines of “Marriage-focused. Only willing to go on dates that lead to marriage within 24
Sounds ridiculous when you put it into those terms. But that’s what most websites, most SEO efforts, and most PPC campaigns focus on – appealing to the 5% or 10% of visitors that are sales-ready now. And they do this while offending and severely alienating the other 90% of visitors, that could be a really good fit, that are just beginning the buyer’s journey.
People are doing incredible amounts of research on their own before they’re ready to engage with your company. By most accounts, 60% to 90% of the decision-making process is over before a prospect contacts you, so proposing marriage on the first date is a recipe for failure.
The Bottom Line
If you want to make sure that your search engine optimization, social media, and pay-per-click campaigns don’t fail miserably, be sure to:
- Create remarkable, helpful, educational content that’s personalized for each buyer persona
- Have contextually-relevant content that’s appropriate for each stage of the buyer’s journey
What’s the biggest belly flop that your company has ever made with search, social media, or PPC advertising? How did you turn it around? Share your struggles and triumphs in the Comments below.
And to make sure that you’re covering all of your bases with a full-funnel, persona-driven strategy that attracts more visitors, leads, clients, and revenue, enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.