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When Drug Rehab Marketing and Sales Fail: Why Tracking Keeps Them Aligned

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Drug Rehab Fail: Got Tracking

There’s an all too common phenomenon in companies across America that lives in marketing departments. In fact, it’s the last place we’d think would have this problem, but it’s not just evident; it’s a cesspool of inefficiency rooted in a lack of communication. Really? In the marketing department comprised of so-called experts in the field of communication? Yes.

And it’s no different with drug rehab marketing and sales. In actuality, this conundrum makes the addiction treatment business more challenging. We thought we’d provide some relief by sharing why tracking your efforts keeps your business better aligned.

Visual Cues Show Evidence of Addiction Treatment Marketing Mismatches

Let’s start with a simple illustration to represent ad marketing misalignment. First, hold up your right and left hands in front of you. The left hand represents your sales; your right hand represents marketing strategy and execution. Now, instead of your hands facing each other, they look in opposite directions. How can they work together when they are having separate conversations?

In order for sales and marketing to work cohesively, they must be agile and fluid, yet able to shake hands. If you haven’t taken a look at what your website is ranking for on a monthly basis, it holds the key in what you’re hitting and what you’re missing in client retention and prospect reach. It starts with a plan.

Not two plans — a single plan that encompasses sales and marketing in a way that champions both modalities and sets up a success matrix that is only achievable if they work together. Yeah, I know, good luck with that.

Sales and Marketing – Getting Past the Egos

Since the advent of advertising, sales was the evil stepchild of creative that spun into marketing as well. According to sales, marketing doesn’t know their head from their … well, you know what I mean. It could be laughable if it wasn’t such a serious fatal flaw to most companies. In truth, sales needs marketing to help them reach a large audience. In turn, marketing needs sales to better understand their customers, their industry and the need that brings them all together. Sales and marketing are best utilized as a collective funnel, not segmented silos that never touch.

In a recent article in Forbes magazine, research helps build a case for this business model: “When sales and marketing get on the same page, companies see, on average, a 67 percent improvement in closing sales and a 36 percent increase in customer retention.”

When you lead with your product or service, it creates a shared goal between sales and marketing that is much easier to accept and deliver on.

Organize Your Goals by Monitoring Inbounds and Outbounds

You could be spending more money than your competition, but if you’re not doing anything to track it, you’re throwing money and time down the drain. And unless you’ve just won the billion-dollar lottery, your drug rehab probably isn’t looking for a business loss to offset gains.

If you’ve got any broad scope marketing plan in place (and if you’re a new addiction treatment facility or service, pay attention) watch where your admits are coming from. Inbound marketing, which includes web content, social media and search engine optimization (SEO), is useful in getting your company brand and associated stories out into the world. Just because it’s award-winning creative doesn’t mean it’s getting results.

Make sure you have a person within your organization or external agency keeping a watchful eye on the responsiveness and overall engagement of each. See how often specific webpages, blogs, videos and other social content are viewed. From there, you’ll know what’s getting the most interest and where you need to make adjustments.

Outbound marketing is a different animal and not for the thin-skinned. It’s found in:

  • Event marketing
  • Telemarketing
  • Radio and TV spots
  • Press releases
  • Billboards
  • Direct mail
  • Email
  • The use of swag

To put it simply, outbound marketing casts the widest net of reach to consumers or B2B, with less desirable results because there is less of a niche to the audience.

Make sure to take an accounting of what inbound and outbound efforts rein in as far as ROI, and then alter the percentages where needed to get the desired results.

Lead Generation Results Are Multi-Layered, with Value in Each

Difference between Hot, Medium, and Cold Leads

Everyone wants the hot leads, the ones that respond to exactly what you have to offer and are ready to convert, now. Striking while the iron is hot is great for sales, though many forget the value of warm and even cold leads, especially in the addiction treatment and recovery space. Here’s why:

  • Often, it takes a prospect multiple media impressions before they go “hot.”
  • Cold leads may provide touchpoints for outbound marketing:
    • Wider net of outreach.
    • Most people know someone with a drug or alcohol problem.
    • Can help build referral base.

With any lead generation program, be sure to segment your leads and respond in the best manner possible to generate the most appeal for hot, warm and cold leads.

Web Chat Delivers in an Instant

To enhance the ability to capture leads as soon as they come to your website, consider using a web chat service. With it, you never miss an opportunity to engage with a prospect because the system does it for you.

The benefits to web chat are numerous and include:

  • Immediate engagement
  • Segments leads (hot, warm, cold)
  • HIPAA-compliant marketing tool
  • Secure and password protected
  • Delivers each lead to your email, mobile device or both
  • Increases leads, on average, from 35% to 40%

Understanding your cost per lead (per method used) may rule out some of what you’re already doing to bring in prospects and conversions. If your beds aren’t full, maybe it’s time to be open to suggestions.

Tracking Drug Rehab Sales and Marketing Is Only as Good as the Analysis

No one’s expecting you to be a solid expert on Google Analytics and other pertinent SEO integration. Whether you decide to take on those skills yourself or hire an expert who eats, drinks and sleeps that business, what these numbers tell you should dictate what you do in marketing and how sales should support the initiatives.

Results Are Learning Tools that Need to Be Applied for Growth

If your best idea received a cool reception from your lead gen campaigns or social media, dive deep into the numbers and responsiveness (or lack of) to look for silver lining. It’s always there even if the numbers aren’t. Perhaps your messaging was great but the timing was off. Whatever you do, don’t table it into the forever furnace. Archive it, as you could repurpose some or all of it in the future.

Revisit Addiction Treatment Marketing Spends Often

Consumers are fickle. Challenging as that is, it also provides an easy ability to reset a wrong and make it right.

Through reporting and client surveys, as well as ongoing interaction with your staff, you can reconfigure where your marketing dollars are better spent and devise a mix that reaches:

  1. Untreated clients/new prospects
  2. Family or friends of No. 1 above
  3. Alumni of your program/service
    • Success stories/testimonials
    • Former clients who have relapsed

Formulate an annual addiction treatment marketing budget and keep some dollars available for golden opportunities that may come about throughout the year, such as an industry co-sponsorship (special event or nonprofit organization), public relations opportunities and more. We recommend a multi-channel or cross-channel marketing approach.

Social Media Needs an Active Voice

Working Together to reach your goals
The whole point of social media is to create an active forum for people to receive information, develop a personal voice (applies to businesses, too) and share them on an ongoing basis. It’s all about engagement with your followers and enticing more people to join your group and become something greater than themselves. It’s what we all want.

Now, let’s dial this in to drug rehab sales and marketing. Social media is all about stories. In fact, Facebook recently added another engagement tool to their platform and called it “The Story.” Twitter may be removing its “like” button in the hopes that its users engage through more commentary instead of a feeble click of an icon.

Salespeople are full of stories and often use them to engage prospects, which ultimately lead to conversions. It’s how sales connects with their clients. Marketing creates stories to connect with prospects, existing clients and their referrals. If only sales and marketing could be on the same page with their stories….

They can.

Bring More Admits by Pulling Drug Rehab Marketing and Sales Together

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Is Cannabis Marketing Out from the Shadows and into Mainstream Legitimacy?

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Cannabis Marketing Going Legit - Eminent SEO
Marijuana. Legit. Are these two words separate entities or do they belong in a singular phrase? Wishful thinking or the reality in the not-so-far future? Depends on which side of the fence you sit on. But for   those who work within the cannabis industry, it’s legitimate and many advocates and customers can attest to it.

Just by looking at this specific business sector on its own merit, the numbers and associated forecasts for growth not only support a serious consideration but stands to be the next, big, missed opportunity (if you haven’t jumped in with both feet yet). So, whether you’re a grower, wholesaler, distributor, retailer or anyone with an ancillary product, how do you differentiate yourself from competitors? It’s all in the cannabis marketing you do and the way you do it.

Facebook Changed the Dos and Don’ts of Marijuana Marketing, Again

Legal Cannabis Recreational Sales 2021 ArcView Group - Eminent SEOJust when we thought it wasn’t safe to swim with the sharks of Facebook, they actually stepped up to the plate of public outcry and accountability. After listening to their users – and most notably their former platform users – who were up in arms about the recent shadow ban on cannabis marketing, they copped to it.

Before Facebook made changes that support the industry, it prohibited user access to:

  • Marijuana advocacy group pages
  • Cannabis-related events (public and private sectors)
  • Licensed caregiver info for medical marijuana patients
  • Dispensary searches for CBD products
  • Information about new laws or regulations
  • Meetings, conferences and other educational series from cannabis-related associations

While Facebook has theoretically opened its doors to the cannabis community, at least for the time being, individuals, groups and businesses will need to be Facebook compliant in order to come out from the shadow bans effectively and be visible to the community.

The following are the new Facebook guidelines that enable medical marijuana advertising, dispensary marketing and others in the industry to maintain a viral presence:

  • Requires specific Facebook verification for users and pages.
    • Blue Verification Symbol – applies to brands, media and public figures
    • Grey Verification Checkmark – applies to individuals and businesses
  • Verifications allow for ranking/presence in search results.
  • Without verification, individuals, business entities, etc. will be blocked.

So now that you know what the new playing field is for Facebook, where do you go from here for advertising your thoughts, resources and the marketing information that’s pertinent to marijuana-related business?

Agility and Collaboration in Digital Ad Agency and Cannabis Client Partnerships

Digital Ad Agency and Cannabis Client Collaboration - ESEOYou know what you know; now, admit what you don’t know. In marijuana business outreach, there isn’t much room for faking it. Let me illustrate.

Not everyone is comfortable with recreational marijuana – some prefer the use of alcohol. On another parallel, many consumers prefer pharmaceutical drugs compared to CBD oils and other products for relief of health-related symptoms.

But for those who truly don’t understand the obvious faux pas in the advertising copy italicized above or subtle nuances in design for cannabis marketing, you would never know I just stated something that compromised the business. If you know cannabis marketing, you understand. If you don’t, I just made a medical claim about CBD oils. That’s a no-no.

If you are the owner of a dispensary, distribution channel or retail store searching for ways to increase your visibility in the marketplace, knowing the legal limits of your advertising and public relations content is immeasurable.

However, as a digital ad agency with expertise in cannabis marketing, our clients don’t have to know everything. We don’t expect them to. But what we do need from our marijuana-based clientele is a level of collaboration that is transparent and agile. It has to be, because it isn’t just that you’re competing with other dispensaries, other growers, or other advocacy groups, for example; you’re competing against what you can’t see – the black market of the trade.

Much of what is needed to effectively promote within the marijuana mainstream is founded in the same tenets recommended for the advertising agency/client partnership as a whole: It’s all about a relationship of fluidity and collaboration. It might entail more ego-headbutting … but the results are astounding and support building long-term, successful relationships.

Subject Matter Experts Are Worth Their Weight in Gold

Not all weed-related businesses are owned by people who partake in the product. Many don’t even possess the basic knowledge about what’s entailed in the various business verticals within the industry, but they do know numbers and when an investment shakes out as a lucrative endeavor. They might even know marketing. They could have the background in traditional marketing that provides a deep-rooted know-how of the importance in brand story, the need to promote local, the use of trade publications, online communities, and boosting community outreach.

If a marketing company or advertising agency tells you that they know cannabis marketing but don’t have the clients to prove it, don’t just walk away; run!

Marketing Marijuana Is Like Alcohol Branding, Seriously?

This Marijuana Buds For You - Eminent SEOTo pull from a well-known, popular tagline, “This Bud’s for you,” from Anheuser-Busch, imagine using it to promote a specific retail shop that has an exclusive strain of marijuana.

Let’s take it further: This particular product has been known to promote better sleep, though there is no U.S. scientific proof, merely the feedback from those within the cannabis industry who have used it.

Let’s say you’ve got a friend of a friend whose brother-in-law is in this amazing alternative-gone-country band, and the members commit to creating a jingle for this-bud’s-for-you. You can use it in your videos, email campaigns, website and radio campaigns, and maybe even television. I mean, why not? They did it for alcohol, right?

Yeah. So … NOT.

Legal-Ease, No Such Animal in Cannabis Marketing

Cannabis remains prohibitive on the U.S. federal law level. Although alcohol manufacturing, distribution and sales went through its drama decades ago with prohibition, etc., they came out of it and legalized it. Marijuana isn’t there yet … but the industry is changing seemingly on a monthly basis. And because it’s evolving that fast, businesses need to align themselves with marketing agencies that are knowledgeable.

We can also look at this sideways. Marijuana, as a business, is already more legit by the sheer fact that it has a pharmaceutical component to it. Research continues worldwide in uncovering the benefits to patients with various health issues that experience a reduction in symptoms or enhanced well-being due to cannabis use. Alcoholic beverage manufacturers and distributors can never tout that. But we still can’t claim it via marketing efforts either.

Without trademark protections available from the government, competitors within the industry can exercise bad ethical practices without a lot of backlash. In a way, those committed to the cannabis industry are virtual pioneers, navigating through unforgiving mainstream methodologies and advertising pathways yet to be discovered, let alone accepted.

Brand Identity Is Everything

Once you’ve got a handle on the legal and ethical best practices, it’s easier to be able to focus on the creative aspects of branding for cannabis marketing. One major consideration should be made for consumer persona or your audience. Especially in ad campaigns and social strategies that are trying to tug at non-marijuana enthusiasts, your prospects. You have to compete for their interest and convince them to step away from traditional mindsets and explore something new.

In a recent interview with Entrepreneur.com, Cassandra Farrington, Co-Founder and CEO of Marijuana Business Daily, defined the challenge as such, “Mainstream society … they don’t want to feel edgy, they want to feel like it’s as normal as having a glass of wine.” Yes, in the short term, it’s a tall order.

Some use celebrity endorsements to boost brand credibility and awareness, which can carry a lot of weight, but for those not wavered by star status, product quality will always reign supreme in brand loyalty. And celebrity popularity can change with a tweet or two. Though product quality can only be shared through word of mouth, and strategically placed trade communications.

Getting in Front of Your Back Story

Marijuana Plant Grows In Dirt - Eminent SEOKnowing your audience helps you generate your strategy but it also helps you define the overall tone of your campaigns: the language, cadence, look and feel of the copy and design.

If you want to reach baby boomers that are open to alternatives for pain management, what you say and how you say it should be congruent to them and what they care about. Again, you cannot make product claims, per se, but you can exude a lifestyle in your marketing.

If your audience is made up of Generation Z or millennials (especially for recreational use product offerings) create more of a buzz about your brand by providing a compelling story (or back story) about your business. This story could be something unique about the owner, the company mission or vision, or the employees.

What really resonates with the younger audience (over 21 years old only; have to remain compliant) is any story that speaks to sustainability. If you can espouse to lowering the environmental footprint related to the growing, packaging and distribution of the cannabis, that’s the kind of marketing tale that will go a long way.

Check out these 10 cannabis advertising and marketing strategies and see if your current program meets the criteria.

Pick a Niche and Then Be the Source of the Source

While cannabis companies cannot push product like traditional CPG marketing, industry advocacy is the best position to start with to set up for success. Over time and a solid, organic, digital marketing strategy, brand identity, market reach, customer retention and consistent referral business will come. Focus on being “the source of the source” within your market – part advocate/part teacher. Be the quintessential resource and, if possible, pick a specific niche and lead with that.

COO Joe Hodas of General Cannabis, an investment firm, and formerly a high-level Dixie Brands marketing exec, believes that “the increased growth of the overall market will allow niche products to proliferate and thrive.”

Is your cannabis marketing buzzworthy to consumers and referring businesses? We can help.

See How We Help Cannabis Businesses

Avatar for Melanie Stern

Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Vol. 82: 5 Quick Tips for Effective PPC Campaigns

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Newsletter Quick Tips Effective PPC Campaigns - Eminent SEO

Succeed with PPC

With all of the changes to the organic search results over the last couple of years, pay per click (PPC) advertising is as important as ever in the digital marketing world. An effective PPC campaign will both support and enhance your overall marketing efforts while helping you achieve a solid, measurable ROI.

Here are some quick tips to help with your PPC marketing:

Tip 1: Don’t underestimate the value of keyword research.
Keyword research is the core structure of the overall PPC campaign.

Tip 2: Write compelling ad copy.
Explain what makes your company different. You have two description lines to explain your offer and the advantage you offer over the competition.

Tip 3: Test landing pages.
Perform A/B or multivariate testing on your landing pages to find out which content converts the best.

Tip 4: Pay attention to analytics and keep testing.
Review CTR and other metrics regularly to be sure you’re not throwing money away on ads that aren’t working.

Tip 5: Use PPC data to aid your organic SEO strategies.
PPC and organic SEO don’t have to, and shouldn’t, exist in isolation. The lessons you learn in one campaign might help you with another.

Get More Details on These Tips and See Additional Ones:

Get Our Free PPC Campaign Guide

More Advice on Effective PPC Campaigns from Our CEO

''Most platforms have become ‘pay to play’ in one form or another, even Google. Do a search for a product or service and look at the types of results you get. More than likely, you will see multiple paid ads first in the results.'' - @dayofjen #PPCClick To Tweet

Featured Resources

In addition to following the 5 steps listed above and in our free eBook, the following reads will help boost your understanding and execution of PPC campaigns even further.

Pay To Play Era Of Digital Marketing Strategies - Eminent SEO

The ‘Pay to Play’ Era of Digital Marketing Strategies

See the Full Article

8 Tips for Effective Landing Pages

8 Tips for Effective PPC Landing Pages

See the Full Article

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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The Power of Demand Generation for Google’s ‘Zero Results’ Answers

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Google Zero Results Demand Generation - Eminent SEO

Google’s brief experiment with “zero results” answers – where simple queries would only produce a single, Google-provided result in response – struck many as a bad omen of things to come in the world of SEO.

An example from April of the temporary search engine change:

Google Zero Results Search 50 Yards To Feet - ESEOAfter all, how are you supposed to get traffic to your website when the search engine pages for your targeted keywords only display one featured snippet – and perhaps a handful of sponsored links?

While the Google zero results experiment appears to be dormant for the time being, it should serve as a sign of things to come. Here, we’ll take a closer look at Google’s new strategies, as well as how demand generation can help you take advantage of the recent changes.

Google Zero Results Show It Aims to Be a One-Stop Shop

As website owners and content creators, you’ve likely noticed that, in recent years, the amount of space dedicated to organic search results on Google’s first page has been shrinking. Sponsored ads dominate the top results now, and they are increasing more indistinguishable from the organic search results.

It’s not just paid ads boxing out algorithmic search results. Google’s own services, such as Google Flights, receive preferential treatment over similar third-party services like Kayak, Expedia and Hotwire.

Google Flights Search Box Phoenix To Boston - ESEOAnd even when Google does not have its own in-house services to place at the top of a search results page, it’s taking steps to make sure that users have no need to navigate away from a Google property.

For example, during the 2018 World Cup soccer tournament, Google users who searched the phrase “world cup soccer” were shown information taken from other websites. Users would find team standings, player stats and upcoming matches, all without ever having to leave the search results page.

World Cup Soccer Google Search Results June 2018 - ESEOYes, this feature might have been convenient for the people wondering which team Brazil would face in its next matchup. However, its mere existence surely ruffled the feathers of website owners who had hoped that their coverage of the tournament would drive organic traffic to their site.

Demand Generation Puts Eyes on Your Brand

It’s clear that the search engine giant is focused on taking a larger and larger portion of total web traffic and keeping it planted right on its own web properties. If it doesn’t have to direct attention your way, it won’t. The only winning move is to build so much demand for your brand that Google has no choice but to defer to you in order to satisfy its users.

Many SEO experts are calling this new strategy “demand generation.”

5 Winning Demand Generation Strategies

Here are five of the most effective steps that you can take to increase demand for your brand. When implemented effectively, these tips force Google to shine a spotlight on your products, services or your website in general.

1. Up Your Content Creation Game

Creating and sharing awesome content is an integral part of any successful demand generation strategy. If you already maintain a blog or publish articles on your website, consider ways that you can make your posts even more valuable to your visitors.

Start by asking yourself if you are providing content with original information, or if you’re just rehashing information that users can find elsewhere. Be the first one to shine a light on new trends and data. Or better yet, be the first one to the party by performing and sharing your own original research.

2. Share Your Best Stuff for Free

A key element in building demand for your product or service is cultivating trust between your audience and your brand. One of the best ways to build trust is by providing consumers with your very best stuff free of charge.

Earn Googles Attention With Demand Generation - Eminent SEO

This might seem counterproductive, but if your audience knows that you create things that add value to their life, they will be sure to view your brand as a valuable resource in the future. Additionally, those who value your free product, tool, resource or service are more likely to share it with others in their extended network. The recipients of your free giveaway thus morph into de facto ambassadors for your brand.

3. Cultivate Client Reviews

When it comes to demand generation, there is perhaps nothing more valuable than cultivating positive client reviews. The reasoning behind this one should be pretty intuitive. After all, it’s easy to hear a business owner’s big talk and dismiss it as empty bluster. A verified client testimonial, on the other hand, is much more credible, for obvious reasons.

Whether it’s a landing page testimonial, case study or customer interview, the voices of satisfied clients are powerful demand generators and should be part of any complete marketing strategy.

4. Guest Posts Get the Word Out

 If you are looking to branch out and reach a new audience, publishing guest posts in popular publications in your space can produce fantastic results. Guest posting is great because you have the opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader in your field while also drawing attention to your own brand.

When guest posting, it is important to remember that publications with a large following will generally only accept content from established writers, so it helps to start by submitting to smaller outlets before working your way up the ladder.

5. Social Media Is King (for Demand Generation)

There are few tools more powerful than social media when it comes to demand generation for your business. By regularly engaging with your audience through channels like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you can cultivate a loyal following that associates your brand first and foremost with the product or service you provide.

To make the most out of your social media presence, it is important to constantly test which kinds of posts generate the most response. It’s going to differ from industry to industry, so you will probably have to tinker with it for a while until you find the sweet spot.

Reshares, likes and comments are a great metric to measure a post’s impact, allowing you to zero in on your target audience. And once you know what works, you can make use of automation tools to schedule future postings, ensuring that you share content at the optimal time.

Start Generating Demand Today!

Now, demand generation might not be necessary for every industry, but if you want to thrive in today’s search engine landscape, you now have a better sense of how to get started.

Learn How Long SEO Usually Takes

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Why You Should Invest in Cannabis SEO for Your Canna-Business Right Now

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Cannabis SEO For Your Canna-Business - Eminent SEO

Are you a cannabis business looking for a smokin’ deal? Cannabis SEO is where it’s at.

For cannabis companies, it’s important to understand where your advertising dollars are best being spent. If you’re a start-up dispensary or product manufacturer, you’re probably wondering how you’re able to get your brand out there to potential customers. A cannabis SEO strategy for your business would be an ideal place to invest.

Organic Search Can Be a Top Lead-Generating Channel

Without the ability to bid on keywords that you’d want to target for conversions through Google AdWords, you can still rank for these keywords organically on Google.

Top Shelf Cannabis Dispensaries Google Search - ESEOFor the search query above, the first few results are organic listings. There aren’t any paid ads or local listings within the first few results, at least for now.

Cannabis Local Search Rankings Google Screenshot - ESEOAs you move further down the page for the same results, Google displays local organic listings and videos.

When performing a local search query, you’ll find that the results are still all organic, but make note that the local listings are the very top of the results.

Cannabis Dispensary In Arizona Google Search Screenshot - ESEOWithout paid ads taking up the majority of the search results, you have the opportunity to develop a website that can rank organically and see traffic from the organic search sources such as Google Maps and Google Organic.

How Do Websites Compete Organically on Google?

There is an array of organic ranking factors that Google considers before a website can organically rank in one of the top positions. These factors include:

  • Quality of website user experience and design
  • How the website functions on mobile platforms
  • Quality of website content
  • Which keywords the website is optimized for
  • Quality of other websites linking to this website
  • Social referral traffic and signals
  • Other referral traffic
  • User engagement on the website (time on site, bounce rate, pages per session, etc.)

By investing in a high-quality website design with optimized content up front, you are investing in your future SEO strategy – one that will bring your company qualified leads.

The longer you wait to invest into website SEO, the farther you're going to fall behind your competition.Click To Tweet

Cannabis SEO Is Your Best Bet for ROI

Cannabis Search Rankings Are Ripe For The Picking - Eminent SEOCannabis businesses will be required to invest in their own websites because Google, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are being very strict about their advertising policies for cannabis-related content.

Are there some loopholes to get found with paid advertising? Sure. However, don’t count on this for a long-term strategy if you want your brand to grow. It’s only a matter of time before the platform shuts down your ads or your entire page. So, tread lightly…

By investing in your website with cannabis SEO, you are developing unique content that will live on forever with Google. Blog posts can easily rank for years on end for a website as long as the topic is still highly relevant to the search query. This brings a large amount of organic traffic to your website with just one piece of content.

Now, multiply that one piece of content by hundreds of pages/posts on your website that could potentially rank for their own variations of different keywords. The possibilities are endless.

SEO is always a top lead-generating channel for businesses of any kind. People are using Google on their mobile devices to find:

  • Local marijuana dispensaries
  • Top-shelf cannabis strains
  • Legal news
  • How-to videos
  • And more

If your website provides useful information and content that speaks to that audience, you will see month-over-month organic ranking increases.

Have Patience with Rankings and Traffic

Keyword rankings lead to qualified organic traffic. As long as you’ve designed your website for optimal user experience, the site shouldn’t have issues converting that traffic into qualified leads.

All of our clients who have invested in an exceptional website and content with ongoing maintenance see a full return on their investment. Sometimes it can take a little longer to see results than anticipated, but the campaign will pay off. Just give it some time.

Related Post: How Long Does SEO Take and Is It Worth Investing In?

How Cannabis SEO and Social Media Work Together

A lead-generating SEO and social strategy will always work together as one unified campaign. For ongoing SEO, you’ll constantly need up-to-date articles or blog posts on your website to keep search engine crawlers coming back to your site and indexing your content.

Social media plays a large role in helping the content you’re generating on a weekly or monthly basis find an audience much quicker. By using social platforms to feed your audience the fresh content they want to read, your content will acquire social signals, user-generated comments and user engagement on the website. Those are three of ranking factors I mentioned above.

Puff, Puff, Pass the Competition

If you’re looking to invest in your cannabis company for long-term revenue increases, SEO can be your best option. We’ve already seen it happen with other cannabis companies. The longer you wait to invest in your website SEO, the longer it’s going to take to get ahead of your competition. Believe me, you’ll be able to smoke out the competition.

Our Cannabis Branding and Marketing Services

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Lacey Bertnick

Director of Accounts at Eminent SEO. I'm passionate about digital marketing and SEO. I've been auditing websites since I was 19 years old. Been steady in the SEO and digital marketing game for 10 years. I've learned a few things. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, healthy living, new experiences, writing, learning and evolving. I'm the type of person that will tell you how it is. If something isn't working for you, change it. Life is all about the evolution. Marketing isn't any different.

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Can Rehabs Survive Big Changes to the Addiction Treatment Industry?

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Big Changes To The Addiction Treatment Industry - Eminent SEO

We work with several addiction treatment centers, speak with new prospects weekly and work with other consultants, and across the board, we are definitely seeing a trend. Despite increasing demand, treatment centers are finding it harder and harder to get new patients leaving many to wonder, can rehabs survive the big changes to the addiction treatment industry?

Even after growing a new client’s website traffic more than 40 percent month over month…

Rehab Client Monthly Traffic Screenshot - ESEO…they are still reporting a rough month for admissions and voicing concerns about how the insurance companies are not paying out like they once did.

All Treatment Centers Are Struggling, Even the Big Guys

It’s not just the “ma and pa” centers who are feeling the pain. Big, well-known treatment centers are not paying their employees, closing facilities and filing for bankruptcy.

Elements Behavioral Health, the rehab center that operates the very well-known Promises Malibu that treated actress Lindsay Lohan and singer Britney Spears, filed for filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last month.

In the spring of 2016, Solid Landings didn’t have the resources to keep fighting the city of Costa Mesa, California. So, in a settlement agreement, Solid Landings agreed to shut down 33 sober living homes. Fifteen closed immediately. Just last month, they filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

The FBI raided Sovereign Health last year over patient allegations of insurance fraud. This year, employees are speaking out and even filing claims against the company, saying they are not receiving their paychecks and that no one is being forthright about why.

Why the Addiction Treatment Industry Is Hurting

If you are in the rehab business, you probably saw this video. If not, this might bring some quick clarity:

Despite its intentional focus on poking fun at the treatment space, this video actually hits home in a lot of ways for people familiar with the industry. And… it’s sad.

John Oliver may have not gotten all of the points right, but he touched on many issues that really reveal why the rehab industry is in the state it’s in now. For example:

  • Shady practices
  • Lack of regulation in the industry
  • Insurance fraud
  • Misguided ownership

But, that’s not all…

Google has made rehab advertising and marketing harder than ever.

  • It decided to make SAMHSA No. 1 organically for literally every single addiction treatment-related keyword. Although, just today, we are noticing other sites like Rehabs.com are now coming up in the No. 1 position for some terms again.Google Search Results Addiction Rehab Centers - ESEO

How to Survive Big Changes to the Addiction Treatment Industry

Stay strong, treatment providers. To keep your addiction rehab center afloat during these rough waters, pay closer attention to these five areas:

Evaluate Costs

Knowing how much to spend on operations, overhead and marketing is key to any successful business. However, in the addiction treatment space, there are specific operational pitfalls you can easily avoid by carefully reviewing your internal processes for lead follow-up, staff retention, ground marketing and other non-clinical-related costs.

Align Sales and Marketing Goals

Too many addiction treatment centers rely on the marketing team to provide results. However, marketing is only part of the sales funnel. And if a business expects marketing to perform, the sales team must work hand-in-hand with the marketing team.

Learn more: How to Build an Aligned Sales and Marketing Strategy

Diversify Marketing Efforts

Having been in digital marketing for more than 13 years now, we have seen how unpredictable the internet can be. Because of its volatility, we have always been a strong advocate of multi-channel marketing. What works today can, quite literally, be gone tomorrow, so you should NEVER rely on one source of marketing.

Invest in Branding

So many forms of advertising are built to force the buyer to continue to pay for ads indefinitely. Some platforms wait until you are dependent on their ability to direct clients to you to then jack up the price and force you to pay to get the same leads you once got for a fraction of the price. However, with branding, you are investing in yourself – and this always pays off in big ways long term.

Track Everything

The beautiful part about digital marketing is everything is trackable. The data can tell you where your audience is, what content they engage with, what questions they have, what their likes and dislikes are and so much more.

With the right tracking metrics in place, the data can also tell you which marketing channels are producing leads. And, when the admit team gets involved and provides admission data, we can even report back on which marketing channel produced the admits – and develop strategies that focus on the campaigns that convert the best.

Eminent SEO - Marketing ROI Report

Is the Face of the Addiction Treatment Industry Changing?

With so much bad press, it’s no wonder individuals who are struggling with addiction are hesitant to go into treatment. After watching that John Oliver video, any family member would be right to question the clinical services, price and ethics of any rehab they are evaluating. Who wants to spend tens of thousands of dollars on treatment that might not even work? Tough sale.

The treatment center space is going to have to undergo a complete overhaul – including YOUR brand. You might offer a world-class treatment program, but if you continue to market it as you always have, you may be left in the dust.

The old methods of addiction recovery are already getting replaced by new concepts. Now is the time to evolve with the times. Here are a few of the innovative business models and ideas we think you’re going to start to see a lot more of:

Medically Assisted Treatment

Although medication-assisted treatment isn’t necessarily new, how treatment centers look at it and consider using it is evolving with the opioid epidemic. MAT is no longer simply the model for methadone and Suboxone clinics who supply a daily dose of the medication indefinitely.

Instead, with prescription drug addiction, there is a whole new set of pain medications that one must taper down from in order to be prescribed a different drug for pain management. Because of this, treatment centers should consider offering an MAT program and marketing it to EAPs.

Read more: Why Your Treatment Center Needs to Offer MAT

The Bridge Device

After working with Jim Peake of Addiction-Rep on messaging for The Bridge Device, we are convinced that medication isn’t the only way to change the way our brains work. The Bridge Device is a gentle neuro-stimulation system (NSS) device that attaches to specific points on the earlobe.

The Bridge is generally worn for four to five days while the patient undergoes detox. The device is reportedly reduces the pain of withdrawal and detox. Patients also say the process is comfortable and goes by quickly.

Telemedicine Rehab Service

One of the obvious problems regarding addiction treatment is providing an affordable option to meet the growing demands of lower-income residents in urban and rural areas. Patients may have a hard time finding transportation to their treatment provider. Additionally, trained health care professionals may be hard to find in certain areas.

Because of this, we predict a rise in telemedicine in the addiction treatment space. Counselors can communicate with patients via video calls and other digital communications. Even if you don’t offer “digital rehab,” you may end up considering remote patient monitoring and alumni follow-ups.

Rehab Community Sites and Pages

Online addiction recovery communities have sometimes earned a bad rep. In fact, The Verge recently put out this huge exposé on Facebook Addiction Support Groups and how the predatory behavior runs rampant there. Although I agree, and have seen the scams with my own two eyes, I still found myself defending the concept to the Addiction Treatment Ethics Group I am in on Facebook.

“The thing is,” I said, “there is a right way and a wrong way to do everything”. I then went on to explain that a group, page or website is not in the wrong as long as what they offer is not misleading.

It’s not unethical to offer community support or even refer to your own treatment center, as long as you don’t trick or lie to the individuals seeking help. And, it’s not illegal unless you SELL the leads. Community sites and pages provide a unique value to the web, and I think we will be seeing even more of them.

Cannabis for Addiction Treatment

Harm reduction is a known strategy for treating addiction, and it begins with acceptance. This philosophy aims to help those that would otherwise be unwilling or unable to simply quit. The intent is to progress into a less and less negative situation.

Some addiction treatment centers are now using medicinal cannabis in detox and as a maintenance protocol for severe addictions. Not all treatment centers will embrace the use of cannabis in harm reduction. But for those that do, there will be a market for those that want to maintain sobriety from a drug by using a less harsh drug, such as cannabis.

In Closing

If you work in the addiction treatment space, it’s time you took a close look at the direction this industry and going and how your brand will fit into the future of treatment. Are you ready to evolve with the changes, or, will your treatment center end up as just another rehab closing its doors?

As one of my favorite business authors, Tom Peters, says, “Evolve or die.”

Thomas Peters Quote Improvement Constant Change - ESEO

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Jenny Stradling

Owner and CEO at Eminent SEO in Mesa, Arizona. I started doing SEO and marketing in 2005. I'm a busy mom of four of my own and two step kids (and a grandbaby!). I owe my sanity to my partner in work and life, Chris Weatherall. I love sharing and engaging in business and marketing conversations, and I'm heavy into social media and blogging on these topics. I focus on quality, ethics, strategy, data and getting results. I work with a variety of brands and businesses with a special focus on addiction treatment marketing. I do this work because I care about making a difference.

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Vol. 79: How Well Do You Understand the Buyer’s Journey?

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Understand The Buyer's Journey Vol 79 Newsletter - Eminent SEO

Get Familiar with the Buyer’s Journey

You’ve probably noticed that consumers today are more cognizant and wary of sales pitches than in decades past. It’s becoming more and more difficult to walk up to a person and try to sell them your product. In fact, approaching them in such a direct manner may ruin any chance of selling them something they otherwise might be interested in.

“Don’t call us; we’ll call you,” might as well be today’s mantra among consumers. This is why it’s so crucial for sales and marketing teams to understand the modern Buyer’s Journey.

Companies may differ on how they interpret today’s buyer’s journey, but at Eminent SEO, we believe it progresses in five distinct steps:

Five Stages Of The Buyers Journey - Eminent SEODo you want to make that sale, after all? Then you have to be patient and feed your target customer the knowledge they need to make that purchase – likely weeks, months or possibly a couple of years down the road.

Once you get a grasp of the buyer’s journey, you will start to determine how long it usually takes to close one of your leads into a sale, and what you need to do along the way. You will also start to figure how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.

Do You Need Help Converting Leads into Sales?

Our Approach Gets Results

Buyer’s Journey Takeaway

The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach.Click To Tweet

Resources to Further Understand the Buyer’s Journey

Understand The Buyer's Journey To Convert Leads Into Sales - Eminent SEO

How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

See the Full Article

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How to Build an Aligned Sales and Marketing Strategy

See the Full Article

Business & Marketing Tips

Here are some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or developing a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:

  1. Segment your leads.
  2. Build a lead-scoring strategy and score your leads.
  3. Develop canned responses for your sales team.
  4. Invest in more targeted content for various buying stages.
  5. Start the conversation.
  6. Remember that less is more (simple landing pages).
  7. Automate as much as possible.
  8. Be timely in your responses.
  9. Be personal.
  10. Align your sales and marketing strategies (see the “Related Reads” section above).

Buyer’s Journey FAQ

Q: In which stage of the buyer’s journey do most Facebook ad referrals fall?

See the Answer

Through Facebook Ads, you can now target users who will then directly message you through Facebook Messenger.

Over the last year, our team has extensively tested this process. What we have found is that most of these leads are in the Awareness or Consideration stages of the buyer’s journey.

This means most people are eager to share the problem they are running into, but they are rarely ready to purchase anything right then and there. This lends credence to the fact you have to nurture your leads and remain patient.

 

Who We Help

The cannabis industry – medical and recreational – is blossoming and becoming quite competitive. So, how can new cannabis dispensaries and businesses raise awareness for their brands and get in front of potential customers?
Cannabis Branding And Marketing Services - ESEO

We Can Help.
Explore Our Professional Cannabis Branding and Marketing Services:

How We Market Cannabis Businesses

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Eminent SEO provides strategic SEO campaigns with measurable results along with expert website design, development, pay per click, content and social media and organic website marketing. 800.871.4130.

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Why Your Business’s Marketing Budget Needs to Increase This Year

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Increase Your Marketing Budget Needs - Eminent SEO
Whether your fiscal year begins in January or July, what you allot for marketing budget has much to do about what you believe you’re supposed to spend. And this belief could be founded on formulas or equations that have been passed on by business owners or prior leadership within your organization. Who knows? It could be from something you found after searching online (like that ever happens).

The following insights are my effort to help you discern between industry folklore and the reality of your marketing budget needs – to reassess this year, and to plan to make next year more pennywise instead of pound foolish.

The Life Cycle of Marketing Budget Creation

The very term budget, when spoken, heard and visualized, immediately invokes numbers and, for some, nausea, especially after a lackluster sales performing year. Before you ever get to working those numbers that will set up many marketing decisions to come, you need to take some vital steps to ensure that the budget will truly have a fair shake in supporting your endeavors. And these steps have little to do with dollars.

Keys to Successful Marketing Budgets Life Cycle - Eminent SEO

Take a Good, Hard Look at Who You Really Are

As you’ve probably already guessed, there is no steadfast rule on just how much of your overall business budget should be dedicated to marketing efforts. Because every business vertical is different, so too are the marketing needs of each enterprise, eventually effecting the spend necessary to get the desired goals achieved.

If you are a consumer-based company with a product or service as your calling card, the marketing budget will undoubtedly be costlier and more general-public-facing than if your company catered to B2B markets.

Marketing Budget Mistake #1: Not truly understanding your own brand.

If you haven’t taken the time to establish your company brand, there’s a trickle down of miscommunication that ensues. This will assuredly result in missing the mark on your audience, sales and client acquisition and retention.

Now Remember What Your Clients Really Look Like

Company owners, marketing directors (no matter how good you are) and creative geniuses often carry a level of delusion about whom their product or service attracts. In our minds, we glamorize who we are and, in turn, who our audience is.

There’s nothing like that swift kick in the butt during a public appearance, conference or trade show that wakes us up into, “Oh…so you’re our customers…” This resets brand messaging and affects marketing spends.

Marketing Budget Mistake #2: Having no clue about your customer base.

Once your business accurately connects with your product or service audience, then your marketing messaging can speak to their needs through your brand to nurture long-term relationships, referral business and conversions on both fronts.

Where to spend your marketing budget is, in large part, founded on the places most likely to capture your audience. Now’s the time to switch hats (no, not to a black hat), to take off that corporate hat and be your customer.

If You Were Your Client, How Would They Find You?

Before you start adding line items to your marketing budget for what remains this year and planning for the next-year spend, consider the human behaviors of your customers. Think about their physical attributes, emotional needs, mental acumen and anguish, even their insecurities. Because somewhere in all of that is the place(s) where you will identify strategic pinpoints in their days to hit them with who you are and why they can’t live without you. This is the sweet spot.

Cross-Channel Marketing Maximizes Your Budget Spend

As long as you’re spending money to get more business, set up your marketing in a way that boosts each campaign through heightened reach and stronger impressions. You can achieve this when you use multiple marketing channels that cross-promote one another.

Marketing Budget Mistake #3: Deploying one-off initiatives.

Need an example? If you are spending money on pay-per-click campaigns, be sure to include hyperlinks within the campaign landing page that keep visitors on your website, possibly leading to a product or service page, or even to a blog post.

For more traditional marketing, if you’re advertising on a radio station (yes, companies still do that), make sure you get value adds through a presence on the radio station’s website or have your radio spot mention a promo code for a special deal – but one that only applies if the customer goes to your website or calls and mentions the promo code.

It isn’t just about capturing your audience: You have to tell them what to do and where to go. Your business leads your customers, but they must feel as though they are in control. Sounds like a personal relationship, doesn’t it? Yeah…it is.

Once You’ve Found Them, Spend Your Money on Keeping Them

In sales, it’s all about keeping the conversation going. “No” is just no today; it could be a “yes” tomorrow. This is the premise regarding social media engagement. Foster the relationship. Talk about things that matter to you and your audience. Give them something to think about, talk about and share to get others talking about it. Be informative, yet entertaining. If you do social right, your followers do the work for you.

Marketing Budget Mistake #4: Relying on social paid boosts alone.

Annual Marketing Budget Toward Online Initiatives Statistic - Eminent SEOMany companies scramble to increase their followers, likes, views or shares by paying to boost Facebook, Instagram or Twitter posts. Until your social presence gets a solid footing, the practice of boosting may be a necessary evil. But don’t count on it as a long-term strategy.

Working a social platform well is all about building your profile and followers organically. Like every other marketing program, it’s a long game usually played for 90 days to 18 months before seeing real, consistent results. You can’t just put your big toe in it. Jump in wholeheartedly and get your hair wet!

What to include in your market budget going forward:

  • Social videos
  • Search engine optimized content
  • Online chat programming
  • Blog outreach (backlinks, linking to other sites, guest bloggers)
  • Email drip campaigns (enough touchpoints and upsells without being annoying)
  • Direct response marketing (extremely targeted campaigns)
  • Public relations (it’s free!)

Best Practices After the Marketing Budget Needs Are Set in Stone

Keep a certain amount of marketing dollars fluid. Meaning…give your business some cush. Without having some extra funds available to use at your discretion, your business may miss golden opportunities that you couldn’t have planned for, but nonetheless have presented themselves out of left field.

In addition, many companies experience the fourth-quarter panic, where any remaining funds from a current year’s marketing budget must be spent or they lose it. This phenomenon is common in the VAR (value-added reseller) market. Therefore, the best way to avoid this panic is to keep on top of your marketing month to month.

Reassess marketing initiatives every 30-60-90 days to ensure there are no gaps in the life cycle of your marketing budget (noted earlier in this article). By staying tuned into your plan while it’s in action, it allows for a nimbleness that enhances marketing scalability. This strategy also empowers creative agility when needed, allowing you to keep your budget running lean while having room for unexpected marketing opportunities that will undoubtedly arise throughout the year. They always do.

Recommended Market Budget Spend

The following figures reflect how you should allocate your marketing dollars, based on industry trends and consumer behavior forecasts:

  • Online marketing – 45% of your overall marketing budget, broken down into:
    • Search engine marketing – 47%
    • Social media – 25%
    • Online video – 11%
    • Other online channels – 17%

Budgeting for online marketing is on the increase while traditional media advertising spends continue to drop year after year. According to eMarketer, “TV ad spending is 35.08 percent of total media … total digital ad spending is 38.4 percent of total media.”

These figures are for 2017 and represent how consumer behavior has shifted, and continues to shift, toward online screen usage (mobile platforms).

Stay Open to Sharing Costs

One aspect of your marketing budget that you may overlook in the planning stages is in shared sponsorships or co-op dollar spends. This is when your business can partner with another company and share the marketing opportunity.

The cost to participate in these programs is decreased as the expense is shared, and when done right, the benefits far outweigh the dollars spent. Moreover, the relationship between you and the business(es) in cooperative marketing efforts provides a seamless exchange between audiences.

Co-op marketing advantages include:

  • Your business engages your current customers.
  • Your business engages new prospects.
  • The business increases its market reach.
  • Increased market reach occurs at reduced cost.

Can’t See the Fund Forests from the Trees

Sometimes, we can put emotion and ego into our business and the decisions we make about the business. It’s hard not to. Your business is your baby. However, one of the most difficult, yet loving things you can do for your business is to let go of it.

Refer your online marketing strategy to a third party who can review your company goals, marketing budget spend and short- and long-term missions to devise a solid plan that will make the most out of your marketing dollars without shedding a tear.

Here’s Where Sales and Marketing Collide and Thrive

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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Why Adding a Web Chat Feature to Your Website Gives You a Market Advantage

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Adding A Web Chat Feature To Your Website - Eminent SEO
As a business owner, you take pride in the products or services you provide to others. If you are a strategic marketer representing a business, part of your action plan includes positioning your client in a manner that maximizes their visibility and entices a specific audience to ultimately convert a sale. It isn’t as easy as it used to be. Here’s why.

Over the last decade, the sales cycle got so…much…longer. Conversely, though, human behavior dictates instant gratification. How could one possibly merge the two effectively? By adding a chat feature to your website, you’ll get in front of interested parties faster, increasing conversion rates by 30 percent or more.

Patience Has Lost Its Virtue

Customers Abandon Online Purchase Statistic Forrester Report - Eminent SEOThe adage “good things come to those who wait” was created long before internet technology came about. True, many savvy would-be buyers take their time before making a purchase decision, but the process has drastically changed from when Baby Boomers were young. (Ugh!)

Now, Gen X and Y dominate the eCommerce playing field, with Generation Z moving up quickly. To these three consumer targets, patience was never looked at as a virtue, but a complete waste of time.

The sales cycle has become lengthy; just ask any salesperson in the tech, automotive, real estate or retail fields – to name a few. Before people could pull up Google and search for answers, they would have to rely on physically entering a brick-and-mortar store and trusting the knowledge of the on-site sales staff.

Today, consumers intermittently search online for months, gathering information, comparing products, pricing and associated reviews. While some will continue online through the end of the sales cycle and purchase via a shopping cart, others take the time to go to the physical business to get a feel for the product or service, its people and culture before buying. And even then, they often go back to the virtual store to make the purchase.

How to Turn Today’s Searchers into Immediate Buyers

Let’s turn the focus on you for a moment. After all, you’re a part of the same buying pool as everyone else. You’re reading this blog online; we all live in the virtual space, more than many of us are aware of or would like to admit. As such, we put an incredible amount of emphasis on not only what we find online, but also on what others say about their life experiences offline.

Simply open Facebook or Twitter and there’s a variety of rant available to read. There are also the ever-popular puppy or foodie posts all magnified through the ability to reply, comment or chat. So why not capture customers in the manner they’ve already grown accustomed to?

Chat It Up

Introducing web chat for business. Think of it as a robust layer to online presence that gets you in front of customers and prospects faster than anything else. You already know the benefits of individualized customer service when a customer comes to meet you face to face: It gives you the opportunity to be of service and to sell with the advantage of ongoing engagement.

Web chat provides the same opportunity – by allowing you to meet consumers where they are the moment they are on your website. Any business without web chat defines “you snooze, you lose.”

Strike When the Iron Is Hot

The advantages of having web chat mirror the same principles as the three-second rule in advertising: As a business owner, you have about three seconds (if you’re lucky) to get the attention of your audience – whether it be through an old school print ad, radio or television commercial, pay-per-click channel, etc. Why? Because people have zero attention span. And the attraction of the next great swipe and scroll makes it easy to lose your audience to your competition.

The beauty in adding live web chat to your website is that it provides a vehicle for consumer engagement, bringing a true and unique user experience at the precise moment you have their attention. Moreover, people tend to make purchases when there is an emotional connection between themselves and a product or service.

Sample Sites that Use Web Chat to Increase Sales

Car Dealers

Chapman BMW Chandler Homepage Live Chat Button - ESEO

Retailers

Zappos Homepage Live Chat Menu Feature - ESEO

Food & Beverage

Winedotcom Homepage Live Chat PopUp - ESEOAn unexpected web chat pop-up might not be well received in every instance, but the conversion rates it brings are well worth the annoyance it sometimes invites. But, as you can see in the three examples above, there are various levels of discretion when it comes to offering a chat option on a website.

It’s up to your business (and the tool you choose) if you want the chat to pop up automatically or if you want the user to make the first contact. It will probably take some tinkering (A/B testing, perhaps) to figure out what speaks to your visitors the most.

Brand Recognition Lasts Longer with a Personal Experience

Imagine you’re looking for a pair of jeans. Yes, the search can be a conundrum, and more so when attempting to find the right fit from a website. What are the chances of having to return whatever you purchased? Pretty good, I’d say.

But if you have a web chat available at the time a shopper is looking at a specific item, before they click on a size, the user could ask how the sizes typically run or how much “give” there is to the fabric, for example. Now that buyer has been given accurate information, there is more comfort and trust in the product, and potentially an increase in product purchases and return visits to the site.

One more thing: Every good online experience will be shared with friends or family and followers. It’s amazing what a single, positive consumer transaction can do to build brand awareness, market reach and sales volume. And it can start with a chat.

Consider the Right Time and Space When Adding a Web Chat Feature

Most smart device users don’t need to wait to search for information until they are in front of their desktop or laptop. They seek and find what they need to online the moment the idea strikes them – via cellphone or tablet.

When considering a web chat platform, make sure to include design elements to maximize the user experience for smart devices. This means don’t let the chat pop-up take up too much valuable real estate on the screen. If the pop-up overwhelms the rest of your website content, then you’ve blown any goodwill with the user.

People Think They Know What They Want Until You Tell Them

Not all shopping involves purchasing. There is an art to shopping; some people thrive on it while others avoid it like the plague. Shopping is almost like a romance.

There’s an element of mystery, and when you finally make the decision in wanting to have it (product not people), you pay for it. The frustration is in the decision-making phase.

The Power of Indirect Persuasion

What might be appealing to the eye often differs to its reality, especially in product presentations that exist on the web. Deceptive? Perhaps. But it’s also about how humans perceive them.

We have expectations irrespective of what is real and how we want it to be. Marketers know this phenomenon well, as they’ve witnessed it during focus groups – in rooms filled with people who give their opinions and responses about a product based on what they’ve seen or experienced during the testing session.

What researchers have discovered about human behavior is that what we intellectually say to describe how we feel about something may differ from how our brain and bodies react. It’s called neuromarketing.

People are comfortable with what they already know. But what they don’t know is a web chat manager’s dream and a gateway to nurturing new customers and upselling more product.

Web Chat Is Just One Piece of the Larger Lead-Nurturing Puzzle

See How We Generate Leads

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Melanie Stern

Looking at the world through word-colored glasses, I am continuously in awe of how we evolve as people in business. We strive to communicate in a direct approach and, when we see fit, through subliminal channels. As a content strategist, I look forward to sharing all perspectives to help entertain, enlighten and engage more in others.

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How to Convert Leads into Sales by Understanding the Buyer’s Journey

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Understanding The Buyers Journey To Convert Leads Into Sales - Eminent SEO
Sales … leads … where do I begin? So many businesses are finding it difficult to generate qualified leads. Many businesses are also generating the wrong types of leads and not converting them into sales.

As a business owner, you’re probably wondering how to:

  • Generate new leads for your business.
  • Convert existing leads into deals.

The good news is an effective digital marketing strategy will be able to produce qualified leads for your business. We’ve been successful with all of our clients and achieving their goals for lead generation. The drawback is businesses have to invest into managing the leads properly and leading them through the extensive buying process.

Getting to Know Lead Life Cycles and the Marketing/Sales Funnel

First, you must understand that there are different types of leads and respective life cycles. A lead life cycle is defined as the life of a lead or prospect.

Website Visitor/Prospect

This is not considered a lead yet. This is someone who is doing their research and came to your website through a marketing campaign.

Marketing Qualified Lead

These leads are doing their research still. They may have come from Facebook or an eBook offer download on your website. These leads aren’t ready to be sold. They are looking to be educated.

Sales Qualified Lead

These are leads that are ready to make a buying decision. They have already done their research on your product or service and are sold on it.

The New Marketing And Sales Funnel Pyramid - Eminent SEO
All they need to be sold on is the fact that you are the company that can fulfill their needs.

Opportunity

This is when a lead has transitioned into an opportunity to become a client.

Customer

When the opportunity has paid for your product or service!

Track Your Leads Down to the Source

How we determine different types of leads is:

  • Where the lead originated from
  • The content the lead engaged with

This is where lead tracking is SUPER important. If you don’t have call tracking or lead tracking of any kind, you need to get that first.

When there is proper lead tracking installed on the website, we can tell where the lead originated from down to the source of the call with dynamic call tracking. By knowing where the lead came from, our team can dissect the data to understand user intent. That’s where the sales and marketing funnel comes in.

Depending on the lead source and content they’re interested in, you can determine their stage within the buyer’s journey.

The Buyer’s Journey Breakdown

Let’s face it, the sales process is VERY long. Now that the internet exists, buyers want to see everything possible before making a decision.

By understanding the buyer’s journey, you can learn what to expect for the duration of closing a lead to a sale. You will also know how to qualify your leads better and provide them with useful resources.

Awareness Stage

This is the stage where the prospect identifies there’s an issue and that they need help. They are not yet educated on what that solution is, but they are aware that an issue exists. This is the stage where users will normally convert on offers such as eBooks, blog posts or newsletter sign-ups for more information.

Consideration Stage

This is the stage where the prospect has started doing their own research for the problem they need help with. They will usually engage with offers such as:

  • Case studies
  • Downloading a brochure about your service
  • Browsing your products or services
  • Learn more about your team

It’s important to educate them extensively about your specific offering during this stage.

Decision Stage

Prospects that are ready to make a decision will simply call, email or chat with you directly. They have made the decision to move forward with a certain company, and hopefully you are that company. You still might need to do some nurturing for prospects in this stage, but they are definitely sold on the idea they need your product or service. They just need to be sold on your specific offering and company.

Service Stage

When the prospect has converted into a paying client, it doesn’t mean the nurturing stops. You have a reputation to maintain and a client to keep happy now. This stage is very important to maintain a happy relationship with your client by providing a superior customer service experience.

Brand Advocate Stage

When you have a happy client, they automatically turn into a brand advocate for your business. Get them to follow your social media platforms to give you street credit about your product or service. Positive reviews from happy clients create assets that you can use for your business long term. The other benefit is, other people will read them and consider your company!

Five Stages Of The Buyers Journey - Eminent SEOLead nurturing should never stop after they decide to purchase from you. There are many ways to stay in front of your current clients and nurture them into purchasing from you again or promoting your brand to their friends and family.

Understanding Lead Sources and Buyer Intent

There are various sources that generate leads if you’re investing into multi-channel marketing for your business. Sources are where the lead actually originated from, not where they converted from.

For example, your lead came to your site originally from a Facebook ad. Then they visited your blog, your services pages and left the site. They come back in a month after they’ve done their research and Googled your brand. They initiate a chat with you on your website.

The original source of this lead is still considered the Facebook ad. They’ve just been nurtured along the buyer’s journey to get to the Decision stage where they Googled your brand directly to make that next step. The lead source is not your website chat.

Here’s a breakdown of a few digital marketing sources that generate a large volume of leads:

Google Organic Search

This one gets a little tricky because you can have users from any stage within the buyer’s journey come to your website from here. What we typically like to look at the most is what type of content the user came in to see. If it was a blog post, for example, that user would be in the Awareness stage, because our blog post strategy is typically less salesy and more focused on educating.

If the user entered via a service or product page on your website, that means they’re typically searching more Consideration-type keywords and are looking to assess your company for that product or service.

Google Paid Search

Google paid search is very similar to Google organic search. Most companies like to bid on the keywords that are going to produce conversions. If that’s the case, then the majority of these users would be in the Consideration stage. Some might even be in the Decision stage and are Googling your brand directly to make that phone call.

Read More on Modern Paid Marketing

Facebook

Facebook has spent a lot of time and money optimizing its platform so businesses can connect directly with their distinct audiences. With Facebook ads, you can actually target users to message you through Facebook messenger.

Our team has tested these campaigns substantially in the last year and learned that these leads are more in the Awareness or Consideration stages. Most people want to chat about the problem they’re running into, but they’re not necessarily ready to buy.

A snapshot on the various sources that you may consider for a marketing campaign:

Multi-Channel Marketing Venn Diagram - Eminent SEO

96% of website visitors aren’t ready to buy yet, according to Marketo.Click To Tweet

How to Nurture Leads to the Next Stage

Lead nurturing can be extremely effective when done correctly. The problems we often face are:

  1. Marketers don’t understand the business well enough to do the lead nurturing for the business owners.
  2. Sales teams don’t understand how to nurture leads by utilizing digital content.
  3. Sales teams don’t have a process for closing leads into sales.
  4. All the above.
Converting a lead to the decision stage is only the beginning of another process: the sales process.Click To Tweet We have laid out some simple steps to consider when nurturing leads or coming up with a lead-nurturing strategy for your sales team:

1. Segment Your Leads

First things first is to segment your leads into the correct buckets. Remember the marketing and sales qualified life cycles? You need to segment leads into those two buckets, at minimum. You can always expand into more lead types if your business has many more.

Marketing qualified leads should be sent more informative and education-related materials. These materials may include eBooks, quizzes, videos, blog posts, infographics, etc.

Sales qualified leads should be sent more consideration related materials such as brochures, case studies, team bios, product samples, etc.

Each week, have a dedicated employee sort through the leads and determine which type of lead they are.

2. Build a Lead Scoring Strategy and Score Your Leads

Each business is unique and requires a custom strategy for this to work. Your strategy should include all of the digital assets you currently have and which assets you need to expand on to help nurture your leads along.

Digital assets can be considered:

  • Blog posts
  • Website landing pages
  • Videos
  • eBooks
  • Case studies
  • And more

After you have a strategy built with the content you want to provide, you must also develop a lead scoring strategy for the various life cycles of a lead. Develop a tagging system to tag your calls and messages, so that you can easily sort these leads at a later date when it comes time to follow up.

3. Develop Canned Responses for Your Sales Team

To make their job even easier, you can help them by developing canned responses for frequently asked questions. If you’ve owned a business for a while, you probably already know the basic questions your prospects often ask. Have those answers ready with the appropriate content and call to action for those various lead types.

4. Invest into More Targeted Content for Various Buying Stages

If you find that certain digital assets are not helping your team close the deal, you have to invest into better targeted asset and content development. Digital assets will benefit your brand and website for years to come. Develop assets and content for each buying stage based on what your prospects are asking/wanting.

5. Start the Conversation

With today’s generation wanting instant gratification, your prospects do not want to be sold. Being more conversational and personal in your approach to customer service is extremely important. Instead of sharing salesy materials (unless they ask), share a quiz for them to take or a new book to read. They want to be provided with the materials to self-educate.

6. Less Is More

Since people want instant gratification and have an attention span of a 3 year old, the best way to approach any landing page is to provide fewer options for the prospect. Always have one clear call to action on the landing pages you deliver during your lead-nurturing process. That way, they aren’t distracted by everything that’s irrelevant to your conversation, and they’re more likely to convert on that CTA.

7. Automate as Much as Possible

There are many tools out there today that can help your business automate your sales- and lead-nurturing processes. These tools make it easier for your sales team to send out emails, automatically respond to website chats and messages, create proposals, automate unqualified leads through a funnel and manage the lead pipeline in one dashboard.

8. Be Timely in Your Responses

According to Hubspot, leads are 21 times more likely to enter into the sales process as a qualified lead when contacted within five minutes versus 30 minutes after a touchpoint on your website or social platform.

9. Be Personal

The digital age is full of automation. There’s a fine line between automated and manual responses. When your team is responding to an email or a Facebook message manually, make sure to always keep the responses personalized. It’s all about personalization and providing relevant resources to what the prospect is asking.

10. Align Your Sales and Marketing Strategies

This is probably the most important part. If your sales and marketing teams are not communicating regularly, you have a problem. Marketers today have much more insight than sales teams because they are the ones reading the data every single day while your sales team is out selling.

Marketers can and should:

  • Provide the sales team with existing targeted content to share.
  • Develop more content for certain types of leads.
  • Help automate the sales process.
  • Help with canned responses.

Read More on Aligning Sales & Marketing Strategy

Your Turn to Convert Leads into Sales

This post might seem overwhelming, but the main takeaway is to know that not all your leads from digital marketing campaigns are ready to buy. In fact, the majority of them are not ready.

The buyer’s journey is a long road, and sales teams need to understand that leads don’t close overnight. They also do not want to be sold. A solid strategy requires an integrative sales and marketing nurturing approach. Good luck out there!

Avatar for Lacey Bertnick

Lacey Bertnick

Director of Accounts at Eminent SEO. I'm passionate about digital marketing and SEO. I've been auditing websites since I was 19 years old. Been steady in the SEO and digital marketing game for 10 years. I've learned a few things. I love music, pitbulls, traveling, hiking, yoga, healthy living, new experiences, writing, learning and evolving. I'm the type of person that will tell you how it is. If something isn't working for you, change it. Life is all about the evolution. Marketing isn't any different.

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