People ask us this question quite often. And I think the better question is: where does the sales funnel start? Because the “driving traffic” part is part of the funnel. Every single visitor to your website has become part of the sales funnel.
That is where the problem lies.
With organic SEO traffic specifically, the funnel begins at the search itself. Thus our first question is:
What is the intent of the person searching when they find us?
Many searches are non-commercial, like “weather San Francisco”. You can largely assume when someone searches for the weather, they are not planning on it leading to the sale of a service or product.
That is not a negative thing. Capturing an interest based audience is a great path to product sales.
The web page that the searcher lands on when coming via non-commercial keywords needs to recognize that imminent purchase is not likely at this moment. Traditionally, the most efficient sales funnel for that type of intent is an interest based email list that would make them aware of you, help them see your worth and value until they are ready and have need to begin the buying process.
If your sales funnel doesn’t include a path for people not even considering a purchase today, it will never be as profitable as you’d hope. Because a sales funnel’s job is to help a potential buyer make a decision that will benefit them, even if that moves them to another product.
SEO OUTSIDE THE BUYING PROCESS
Let’s take the weather search for example, “weather San Francisco” is non-commercial for sure. But suppose on the “San Francisco” page they land on you offer them “Never Be Caught Off-Guard: 15 Free Ways to Be Alerted of Storms and Snow” . . . and they opt-in to get it. Those people that do have taken the 2nd step into the sales cycle. They might not have started the buying process for themselves, but your emails may start that for them.
This is a list of people with an interest in weather. Who might be interested in that kind of list? Perhaps a company marketing a Weather Alert App? Perhaps even a company marketing a DIY Screened In Patio Kit.
Not everyone will take that option either. Some people just want to know the weather. That is totally fine and normal. Just remember that the reader doesn’t have to be in the buying cycle to be in your sales funnel. Part of the buying cycle is being aware of products they can buy. Getting them on your email list can begin that journey for them. You get to be the one to introduce to them a life changing product.
SEO FOR THOSE CURRENTLY IN THE BUYING PROCESS
As content marketers we have the opportunity to invite “prospects” to our website by writing and optimizing copy for different keywords. Through research, if you are an email marketing company and find that the keyword “benefits of email marketing” is highly searched, then you have an opportunity to create a page that answers the question.
“Benefits of email marketing” is a commercial search in the “evaluation” period of the buying cycle. That means they are looking to buy, but maybe not today and not until they’ve figured out which service is best for them. You must know that the moment they search for that topic and click the link to your site, they have entered your sales funnel.
1. Searching for “benefits of email marketing” means they are in that state of mind right now.
2. Clicking your search result link means they believe your article is going to help them make a decision.
3. They have now been in your sales funnel for 6 seconds, it’s your job to move them to their next question or action.
While this is true for everyone who lands on this page, it is important to know the difference, between traffic that originated at the search engines, paid search, referral links or social traffic. Because an effective sales funnel will need to address the needs of people differently in order to move them to the next page.
- SEO traffic is people who have no idea who you are but are researching this very second
- Referral traffic is people curious and slightly interested who are arriving at the recommendation of something they already trust
- Social traffic is people who know who you are, or are one friend removed, not necessarily interested this second, but curious.
- Paid traffic is people who likely don’t know you, are very interested in the topic, and have had buying on their mind recently (though maybe not this second)
That means the traffic from search engines and paid traffic have to overcome the objection of “I don’t know if I trust this website yet”; whereas, your best friend on Facebook doesn’t have that objection and likely doesn’t need that information in their buying process.
If you are an email marketing company that is receiving this SEO traffic, then you need to not only give the reader all the benefits information they are seeking, but also need to acknowledge the trust factor as they move to the next step. Little things like “Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval”, “Established in 1982”, “Over 1,000,000 clients served” and testimonials can be the difference between a reader pressing the “back button” or clicking the “See a Price Comparison Next” button.
This is where testing comes into play. What information will help the reader be comfortable, trust the information and want to learn more from you?
THE SALES FUNNEL
It is important to plan out the needs of the reader in each step of the Sales Funnel. That means your SEO’d blog posts, not just your sales page.
It is important to understand the Sales Funnel begins before they get to your site. Each click and search is confirmation from your reader that they want this information . . . which means your job is lead them to the next.
Finally, it is important to ask yourself on every page of your website “What is the Next Best Click?” for the reader? If you have 34 things for them to choose from (among related posts, comment box, ebook in the sidebar, navigation bar items) how do they make it to the next page of the buying process? Because for a lot of people, the Back Button, ends up being the Next Best Click until they find someone who will make it crystal clear.
All the traffic in the world could come to your landing page without ever making a sale if you don’t respect the traffic itself. The question isn’t how do we get more people into the sales funnel, the question is how do we get people in the sales funnel to take the next step.
And the answer lies in all of the above. Know your product. Know your customer.