During the last few years, if I asked a dealer partner if they were using the Internet to generate leads, the conversation would steer to some sort of paid lead generation, whether it was pay-per-click (PPC), or buying leads from one of the many Internet providers that have sprung up and promised homeowners a connection with a pre-vetted dealer.

As I would ask about the effectiveness of Internet marketing done in this manner, I’d hear three recurring complaints…

  • Competition—Whether it was competing with large dealers in their marketplace with big enough pockets to invest heavily in PPC, or the reselling of leads often times associated with the internet lead providers, I’d hear a lot of dissatisfaction with the level of competitiveness of the leads.
  • Cost—With PPC, it’s often hard to know the exact cost of each click, as it is keyword-dependent (more on that shortly) and based on how many others are vying to be found for that keyword. On the provider side, I often hear dealers complain that while listing seemingly low per-lead prices, the overall cost as a percentage of revenue can be as high as the most expensive lead-gen sources.
  • Low conversion rates—This is probably the biggest criticism of each of these Internet lead sources. Converting both of these types of leads into sales (or even appointments) can be a daunting task.

When I think of Internet lead generation, I think of organic lead generation, especially through content marketing. Last time we talked a bit about the why. But, specifically, why is content marketing better than the routes above?

First, let me say that I personally have no issues with PPC and other paid techniques. I believe there are specifics uses for each. Here’s where I think content marketing shines…

  • Competition—Content marketing is designed to live on your site (and, maybe additionally, on other targeted sites leading the potential customer back to your site). While there’s certainly no guarantee that a customer won’t look at other opportunities, you’ll definitely have a less competitive lead that’s also not being “sold” to your competitors.
  • Cost—There’s definitely an investment of time, and you could certainly pay an outsourcer (although I’m not a huge fan of that as we’ll discuss down the road), but writing one blog post a week is certainly less expensive than PPC or paid provider options.
  • Conversions—This is where content marketing shines. Done right, content marketing positions you as an expert and an authority. Education can be so much easier than selling.

“Where do I begin?” Great question, as one of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to start down this road without a plan. Hopefully over the course of the next few visits, we can help.

Today, let’s start with an understanding of the search process. Recent statistics suggest that 81 percent of shoppers conduct online research before buying.

Whether that research happens before, or after, they’ve talked to you, the way you position yourself can increase the chances of the homeowner choosing your organization to satisfy their needs.

Some quick stats…

  • Don’t think “short…”—Less than 3 percent of Google keywords searches are one to two words.
  • Not all searches are created equal—Which search would you rather rank for…”What window frame is the right one” or “Reviews for the best replacement window in Nashville”?
  • People are becoming less keyword-oriented and more natural-language-oriented. When I search for something, I want the best result I can get, the fastest that I can get it. Because of that I tend to create longer search queries. 1 out of 5 search queries today is completely unique, meaning no one has actually searched that specific group of terms for the last six months.

The main takeaway from this research is that people aren’t looking for Google to tell them who to buy from anymore — at least not directly. Instead, they are using Google to do research on which company to buy from so that they can reach their own conclusion.

So, how can you use this information to allow that research to guide the homeowner to choose your company? All of these things happen as a result of an effective content marketing program.

That’s where we’ll go next time.

1 Comment

  1. Can’t agree more. Even though we find the more traditional means of marketing to still have great value, electronic marketing (as I call it) has improved our lead development significantly.
    Our challenge has been to convert the impressions, which we have a huge amount of, into actual clicks. Once we get them to our web site (our third now) we stand a very good chance the prospect will either form fill us or call. We have found that our close ratios are better too.
    The next challenge is to garner more leads organically rather than rely solely on PPC. This is proving to be very difficult since our market is full of very high volume, high profile companies. We have turned to social media to help in this area and we think we have hit a home run. We’ve noticed when we post regularly via social media there is an uptick in our web business that doesn’t correlate with normal PPC activity driving our cost down.
    Regardless how we proceed, electronic marketing is far cheaper than the traditional means of getting our message out. I don’t know if we’ll see TV, radio and print be totally replaced, but their import on the marketing stage is changing greatly.

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