5 Ways to Convert Organic Traffic Into Qualified Leads

Are you optimizing your content for Google AND for conversions. Here are 5 ways you can turn organic traffic into qualified leads.

So you doubled the organic traffic to your site?

Awesome! 👏👏🏽👏🏿

But also, so what?

Let me explain.

We’re all in business.

Visitors are nice, but paying customers are better.

With all the attention SEO professionals give to optimizing for search, it’s easy to neglect the other really big, important piece of the puzzle: conversion.

Don’t Hunt Without Eating

Brand awareness is golden, but only if you can translate it into actual business.

All your keyword research, site optimization, and link building efforts are a waste if they don’t result in revenue.

Getting folks onto your site is hard enough, but it’s only the beginning of the battle.

Those visitors need to convert.

And they should be converting – 16% of organic leads should turn into paying customers.

To keep your leads moving down the funnel, you need to make sure that they’re landing on the right pages, getting the content they’re looking for, and can easily buy, subscribe, request a quote, or sign up.

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The good news: you have the tools in your arsenal to turn organic traffic into qualified leads.

So let’s dive into how to use them properly.

1. Match Content to User Intent

Understanding user intent is fundamental to SEO, so this isn’t necessarily a revolutionary idea.

The problem is, the concept isn’t always executed well for a number of reasons:

  • Prioritizing keywords solely by volume without organizing by intent.
  • Failing to communicate intent to the people developing content.
  • Choosing the type of content before performing keyword research.

Improve Existing Pages

The first step to addressing issues with intent is to look at your current pages.

Some of them may have been created before you had an SEO strategy.

So there’s potential for a quick win by improving existing pages.

Also, who doesn’t love to cringe at their old content?!

Look at the queries you’re ranking for that contain transactional terms, like “buy, “pricing,” “reviews,” or “testimonials.”

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  • Are the pages that rank for those queries serving up content that will drive your audience to convert?
  • Is the content easy to read, with easily accessible calls-to-action?

The past year, I’ve been working through a content audit I started in August for Leadfeeder’s blog.

Before I joined the team, they were working with a content marketing agency that focused solely on content creation, not driven from an SEO mindset. I identified 82 blog posts to rewrite.

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In less than 8 months, I managed to double organic traffic and increase conversions by 20% by improving their existing blog posts.

If a page doesn’t align with user intent, it may perform well for a short time, but eventually, Google will catch on.

Create a Framework for Existing Pages

Whether you’re doing all the work yourself or working with a large team, set standards for your content updates.

It’s the best way to streamline the process and make sure you’re following best practices.

Their content framework included a target word count, UX tactics, and guidelines on how to push lead magnets and calls-to-action more effectively.

Optimizing for Intent for New Pages

Moving forward, here’s how you can use intent more effectively:

  • Include user intent as part of your content plan and creative briefs. Writers are often given a set of keywords and told to “go.” Everyone involved in content creation should be talking about intent, not just SEO pros. The person who develops the copy needs to have a clear understanding of the question they’re answering with the content they write.
  • Talk about intent before you determine the content type. This means that SEO needs a seat at the table before decisions are made on content. Otherwise, you end up with a blog about accounting software pricing when what you need is a landing page.
  • Use intent to maneuver leads down the funnel. In fact, let’s address that in more detail in its own section.

Target Keywords Related to Buying Journey Pain Points

Even an intent-focused SEO strategy can fall short.

How?

Because your audience’s needs are increasingly nuanced.

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B2B buyers spend 27% of their time researching online before making a purchase.

And the buying journey is more like what my teeth looked like in 6th grade, crooked, rather than a straight, braces-enhanced, path down the funnel.

All that online research can’t easily fit into either “transactional” or “informational” boxes.

You can help guide your users through the process with content that helps them navigate that maze.

This is the pain point-first approach that Growth and Convert advocates.

For one client, they found that the highest conversions came from pages that addressed pain points in the buying process.

For example, pages like this are high converting because they address a pain point by comparing products.

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The pages that targeted high-volume search terms drew in users but converted at much lower levels.

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Moral of the story: Include content that speaks to your audience’s questions about the buying process itself.

Dig deeper into search queries to learn what your audience wants at different stages of the funnel.

Leads who want buyer’s guides, comparisons, product reviews, etc. may not be ready to buy today, but they may be ready to become a qualified lead.

2. Optimize for Branded Search Terms

Targeting branded search terms is another way to grab leads that are lower in the funnel.

When someone searches for “[your company] ebooks” or “[your company] webinars,” that’s a high-value lead that you want to satisfy. They’re aware of your brand and they’re asking for more.

Optimized pages that meet their needs are low-hanging fruit.

This is one of the tactics Gaetano DiNardi used to help drive a 400% increase in growth at Sales Hacker.

He found that there was search volume for “Sales Hacker webinar,” but no pages on their site where someone could easily find their webinars.

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The solution was a quick fix: a landing page that contained all of Sales Hacker’s webinar content.

The search volume on branded terms may be low, but these are valuable leads who are requesting your content by name.

Serving them the content they want pays off.

3. Nurture, Nurture, Nurture

Everyone who visits your site isn’t ready to convert right away.

It’s not you, I promise.

They’re just not ready for anything serious. But they’re open to a little content here and there. It’s like a coffee date with no commitment.

Lead nurturing – the process of engaging with leads across channels over a period of time – is an art and science in and of itself.

Since email is the primary, and most effective, channel for lead nurturing, I’ll focus on that in this section.

Segmentation

51% of email marketers say email list segmentation is the most effective way to personalize lead nurturing.

Automation tools like Active Campaign and MailChimp make it pretty easy to create audience segments.

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What are they based on? Any data you have:

  • Pages visited
  • Form capture data – title, industry, purchase cycle, etc.
  • Cart abandonment
  • Location

For instance, I’ve set-up automation nurture campaigns in Active Campaign after someone visits a product page, then an email is triggered to send them with a case study to help drive them further down the funnel.

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Segmentation is the gateway to personalization.

And with inboxes flooded with content, tailoring your message helps you break through the noise.

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Content

What should your message be?

Since these leads aren’t quite ready to buy, you should continue to offer useful, non-salesy content to endear them to your brand.

Anne Fairfield-Sonn of CiBO Technologies told Databox:

“Marketers should be creating and targeting leads with persona specific content. When a lead comes through, figure out what piece of content resonated with them and make sure to move them into that sales funnel. Understanding the content that appeals to your ideal audience is critical to helping your sales team to close the deal more quickly.”

Develop a cadence that balances promotion with education. You want to be a helpful, unobtrusive resource to your audience.

They signed up for content that helps them be smarter, better, or faster.

Offer that before getting to the sales pitch.

4. Make Double Opt-Ins Super Simple

Double opt-ins help keep your email database free of bots and bad actors.

The danger is in the possibility that users won’t bother to confirm their subscription.

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I Will Teach You To Be Rich added a three-step graphic to their double confirmation page to nudge subscribers along.

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The prominent CTA button goes to the user’s inbox and pulls up a search for the email address sending the confirmation email.

This version of the page gets an 82% conversion rate, up from 63%.

Every lead went through that page, so the nearly 20% increase had a major impact on their lead total.

5. Promote Your Content Upgrades

Ideally, the leads you attract with organic traffic will be drawn to your content upgrades.

But that depends on you communicating the value of those upgrades effectively.

Sleeknote was able to increase conversions by 177.78% on one of their blog posts by taking a few measures:

  • Making the blog introduction more enticing.
  • Moving lead forms higher up on the page.
  • Adding images and pithy copy to content call-out-boxes.

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Once someone’s on the page, you’ve got to sell them on a reason to stay. And then give them a reason to stay engaged before they leave.

With all the attention that goes to page copy itself, content upgrades can be an afterthought. To drive lead generation, it should become more of a priority.

Conclusion

Organic leads are valuable.

The challenge is that SEO can cast a wide net.

That’s why it’s important to remember that you don’t just need to optimize your content for Google; you need to optimize it for conversion.

More Resources:


Image Credits

Featured Image: Created by author, June 2020

All screenshots taken by author, June 2020

A Clear Vision for Online Marketing, Lead Generation and Branding

The Vision Council’s VisionWatch market research reported that the total vision care industry generated $40.36 billion in revenue over the last year (2017). The amount included 22 million pairs of frames sold during the first quarter of 2017. The same report found that the independent side of the optical industry is the largest component of…

The Vision Council’s VisionWatch market research reported that the total vision care industry generated $40.36 billion in revenue over the last year (2017). The amount included 22 million pairs of frames sold during the first quarter of 2017. The same report found that the independent side of the optical industry is the largest component of the U.S. vision care industry, with $18.43 billion in revenue during the same period.  Of the glasses sold in 2017, eight million were online. Here is a clear vision for online marketing.

Purchasing glasses online is a significant shift in how consumers are looking at buying glasses and contact lenses. The trend is driven by emerging companies who understand how to use online marketing to change consumer shopping habits.

Creating an Online Model for Eyeglasses

GlassesUSA.com is of these leading online eyeglass marketers who offer a model for online marketing, lead generation, and branding leadership. Arie Tom, Senior VP Marketing at GlassesUSA.com, has gained extensive experience in online marketing over the course of the last eleven years that he is now applying to help the eyeglass retailer grow its online model.

Arie Tom explains, “My experience with online marketing began while I was working at McCann, which was, at the time, a traditional advertising firm. That’s when I first started to notice the shift of customers and budgets towards new emerging online channels, and my interest also shifted in that direction.”

It’s hard to even imagine what it was like back then in terms of technology. It was 2008 and the iPhone was only one year old, and Facebook was just three years old. Tom adds, “I watched the marketing landscape evolved, seeing the new and exciting opportunities.”

Soon after his experiences at McCann, Tom joined Google and managed large-scale advertisers in the eComm, health and gaming industries. “My years at Google really boosted my expertise in the online industry. It taught me how to leverage analytical, data-driven insights with creatives to scale up sales and lead gen campaigns.”

It’s those experiences that prepared him to lead the marketing team at GlassesUSA.com, considered to be the largest online eyewear department store in the United States. The company offers a variety of eyewear options for every style and price – from $19 for a complete pair of glasses to top brands that include Ray-Ban, Oakley, and Gucci.

Online Lead Gen Advice

It’s Tom’s own experience in growing the online eyeglass industry that provides the basis for his best tip for online lead generation in 2019. “Expand beyond just email lead capture. Users have shifted in the way they consume media. Their preferred channels to communicate with brands have changed as well. This creates an opportunity to grow user registration rates by offering additional, and more personalized, ways to connect.”

He recommended focusing on channels like Web push notifications, FB messenger bots, and SMS to leverage the best opportunities for more lead generation results this year.

Becoming a Stand-Alone Brand

Tom sees the potential for more businesses to establish themselves as stand-alone brands over the next five years by focusing on the online environment. His firm belief in leveraging the user experience, not just from the design POV, but also as a general business value, is how he sees companies achieving this goal.

He notes, “Companies need to ‘delight’ customers with a great product, service, and relevant information. Be unique and authentic in how you serve your customers. Only businesses that offer a unique experience to their customers will survive the competition against Amazon and other more direct competitors.”

He cites tactics like creating a personalized experience or product as well as building a community or establishing a business as an expert in a particular field. While he acknowledges these types of tactics take time to build and create, he has experienced how they will guarantee businesses more stability in the ever-changing ecosystem.

A Unique Prescription for Eyeglass Industry Lead Gen

Despite sharing some online marketing tactics and approaches with other types of retail businesses, Tom believes that the eyeglass industry differs in some respects when it comes to lead generation. “I would say that the eyewear industry, with an emphasis on prescription eyewear, is different from other industries in lead generation.

The Lead Gen difference comes from the fact that buying prescription eyewear online requires higher engagement from the customer. They must choose the right size, fit, color, and shape while also filling a personal eye prescription.”

Since purchasing eyeglasses is not a spontaneous purchase, Tom adds that the key to success is to keep in close contact with prospects and nurture them until they are ready to complete a purchase.

However, there have also been significant developments in lead generation over the past five years that have impacted their online marketing approach. “The biggest advances in lead generation relate to personalization and automation.

While email open rates are dropping steadily, it is now more important than ever to segment customers and delivers a more personalized, relevant experience. Personalization starts from the first stages of the lead capture — to the last of email workflows. It’s also important to secure a healthy account and reputation.”

Then, automation is the second most significant development. Tom notes, “Automation enables businesses to make the most of their customer databases. They can effectively manage lists that have millions of subscribers with real-time responses and consistent workflows.” For GlassesUSA.com, automation made email marketing ten times more effective and scalable to manage.

Advice to Follow

Although some of Tom’s insights relate specifically to the emerging online growth area of eyeglasses and eyewear, many of the online marketing, lead gen, and branding tactics can serve as best practices for all types of online businesses intent on bringing their products and services to a new audience.

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Brad Anderson

Editor In Chief at ReadWrite

Brad is the editor overseeing contributed content at ReadWrite.com. He previously worked as an editor at PayPal and Crunchbase. You can reach him at brad at readwrite.com.

9 Ways Your Content Marketing Can Generate Leads and Close Sales

Content marketing performs nine functions that help both B2B and B2C marketers generate more leads and ultimately close more sales. Find out how upping your content marketing game can close more deals.

Find out how upping your content marketing game can close more deals.

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Robert W. Bly

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Author, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant


6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly’s The Content Marketing Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Content marketing performs nine functions that help both B2B and B2C marketers generate more leads and ultimately close more sales. Let’s explore them:

1. Sets the specs. Content marketing can edu­cate prospects on what features, functions, and capabilities they should look for when buying a particular type of product or service. If you’ve presented your criteria in a white paper or other medium that looks like useful information and not a sales pitch, readers will absorb and accept your guidelines. They’ll then use the spec­ifications you’ve set.

Say you sell motionless mixers, one of the products I helped market at Koch Engineering. In your ads, you offer a booklet called 7 Things to Look for When Specifying Motionless Mixers. Prospects read it and use your criteria when looking to purchase motionless mixers. And whose mixer fits all seven criteria perfectly? Yours.

2. Makes the prospect beholden. This is the principle of reciprocity as described by marketing expert Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. When you give somebody something, they feel obligated to give you something in return. Giving a prospect free content doesn’t make them feel obligated to buy your product, but it does make them inclined to give you a little more of their time and attention than they otherwise might.

More than half of buyers strongly agree that if brands packaged relevant content together, it would help expedite the research phase of the buying cycle. Content marketing includes delivering person­alized, segmented, relevant content to your existing customers. By keeping your current customers engaged and updated with great content, you’ll improve your long-term customer retention rates.

Richie M., one of my newsletter subscribers, told me in an email, “This is just a short note to say that I really enjoy your emails. I can tell when they’re commercials, but don’t mind them, because you generally also give me worthwhile information. I believe that’s why you’re successful. When I receive useful information in free emails, I’m more likely to purchase additional information—and I have.” Richie’s response is what you hope for when writing content.

3. Generates more inquiries. A lead-generating promotion with a free content offer can produce more than double the response as the same campaign without the free offer. Good content marketing is that effective. By publishing new and relevant content on your digital channels, and doing so often, you can increase the likelihood of new customers finding out about your business, its services, and the value you can bring them. Plus, prospects are more likely to return to your website when they know you fre­quently add fresh content.

4. Gets you new customers. Many marketers acquire new customers through their blogs. Whether your content first caught a prospect’s eye on Google or a white paper they downloaded on your site tipped them over the edge, content marketing plays an important role in the B2B purchase life cycle.

Typically, a B2B prospect searching for a product may work through 70 to 90 percent of the product search, research, and eval­uation process before contacting the vendor, according to Forrester Research. B2B vendor research happens online, and one thing that can help move the prospect down the pipeline is publishing valu­able content on your website, email, search, and social channels.

For emails sent regularly to your opt-in elist, half or more of the messages should be content, while fewer than half should be sales emails. If you send too many sales pitches and not enough good content, your unsubscribe rate will spike. So will your “mental” unsubscribe rate, meaning that although people won’t ask to be removed from your list, they just stop reading or even opening your emails.

5. Establishes you as the expert. Publishing content on your industry, niche, or area of specialization helps position you as a recognized authority in your field, and prospects would rather buy from knowledgeable experts than ordinary salespeople. In a rapidly chang­ing industry, content marketing can help force your team to stay up-to-date on changes and trends, which can become invaluable in your product development efforts.

It shouldn’t be solely the marketing team’s job to generate all the material used in your content marketing efforts. Account managers, SMEs, and even long-term clients and site visitors can be engaged to help create great content.

6. Educates the market. Content marketing supports your sales efforts, but its first mission is to educate and inform, not make blatant product pitches. Nine out of 10 of the top-performing B2B content marketers put their audience’s informational needs ahead of their company’s sales message, reports the Content Marketing Institute.

One marketer of content management software (CMS) was the first to integrate their CMS with analytics, ecommerce, and other applications. But the market didn’t yet understand the benefits of this integration, so the marketer published a white paper explain­ing them, with good results.

7. Drives sales. Content can be strategically disseminated at various steps in the buying cycle, helping to accelerate each step and ulti­mately increasing sales. The sales funnel takes most buyers through four stages: getting their attention, gaining their interest, creating desire for the product, and asking for the order. Each stage can use both selling (copy) and education (content).

8. Improves search engine ranking and discovery. Search engines love new, relevant, indexed content. When you host content on your website—whether through blog posts, white papers, or web copy—you can improve your search engine ranking and the like­lihood customers will find your website. According to accounting firm Ignite Spot, a blog on your website will lead to 434 percent more indexed pages on Google and 97 percent more inbound links. By increasing your indexed pages and links, you’ll make your site more reputable in a search engine’s eyes. Higher search engine rankings mean interested prospects are more likely to discover your site when they search for relevant keywords.

9. Drives web traffic. Search engine discovery combined with social posts that point to your site can increase your web traffic consider­ably. According to HubSpot, if you’ve got 51 to 100 pages on your website (consider each blog post to be a unique page), you’ll gen­erate 48 percent more traffic than if you had under 50. Increased traffic means increased engagement means increased revenue.

Turning Google traffic into leads, and what’s new in SEO

Julian Shapiro Contributor Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, the growth marketing team that trains startups in advanced growth, helps you hire senior growth marketers, and finds you vetted growth agencies. He also writes at Julian.com. More posts by this contributor We’ve aggregated the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month,…

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Julian Shapiro
Contributor

Julian Shapiro is the founder of BellCurve.com, the growth marketing team that trains startups in advanced growth, helps you hire senior growth marketers, and finds you vetted growth agencies. He also writes at Julian.com.

More posts by this contributor

We’ve aggregated the world’s best growth marketers into one community. Twice a month, we ask them to share their most effective growth tactics, and we compile them into this Growth Report.

This is how you’re going stay up-to-date on growth marketing tactics — with advice you can’t get elsewhere.

Our community consists of 600 startup founders paired with VP’s of growth from later-stage companies. We have 300 YC founders plus senior marketers from companies including Medium, Docker, Invision, Intuit, Pinterest, Discord, Webflow, Lambda School, Perfect Keto, Typeform, Modern Fertility, Segment, Udemy, Puma, Cameo and Ritual.

You can participate in our community by joining Demand Curve’s marketing webinars, Slack group, or marketing training program. See past growth reports here and here.

Without further ado, onto the advice.


What are some new, advanced SEO strategies?

Our community ran an SEO masterclass in which we discussed Google’s algorithm updates and shared advanced practices for writing blog content in a data-driven manner.

Tactics for turning blog visitors into leads

Based on insights from Nat Eliason from Growth Machine.

SEO traffic can sometimes be a vanity metric if you’re not converting it into lead flow. Here are three ways to convert blog visitors into leads:

  1. Prompt blog readers with quizzes to help them identify the product/plan that’s best suited for them. Then require their email address to see results. Follow up with drip emails.
  2. Create “Buyer’s Guides” — downloadable PDFs with nice visuals that help readers figure out how to accomplish their goals (e.g. “paleo cooking starter kit.”) Again, require an email for them to download the complete guide.
  3. Pixel your blog visitors and retarget them with Facebook ads. Have the ads send visitors to landing pages that match whichever blog content category initially drew them to the site.

How to (re-)target business customers with Facebook ads

Based on insights from Nima Gardideh of Pearmill and Julian Shapiro of Demand Curve.

Most people use their personal email address on their Facebook/Instagram account. So if you’re collecting business emails during your user onboarding process, Facebook can have a hard time matching those emails to the corresponding Facebook profiles when creating custom targeting lists. 

 Here are a few tricks around this: