What do you do when you’re not getting as many leads from your website as you think you should? Should you advertise more? Should you activate PPC (Pay-Per-Click advertising) or should you focus on creating outstanding content marketing to drive inbound marketing leads?
It’s a classic chicken and egg discussion — one that I just had last week with a prospective client who owned a regional office furniture supply company. So is there a single answer to this common b2b marketing quandary? I think there is… and today I want to lay out my argument for your consideration.
Good PPC Makes Bad Sites Fail Faster
There’s an old adage in advertising — good advertising makes bad products fail faster. It makes perfect sense. Good ads drive purchase of said product and as more folks buy it faster, they figure out the product really doesn’t live up to the advertising and thus become disenchanted, which drives negative word-of-mouth.
Toss in social media’s ability to spread bad news like wildfire and you have the perfect storm for product failure.
The same principle holds true for inbound marketing only the bad product is a poorly designed website and PPC ads take the place of social media.
Anyone can buy effective PPC ad buys that will drive more traffic to your website. But lack of traffic is usually not the biggest problem poorly converting websites suffer from. They suffer from poor design. Visitors become lost, frustrated and decide doing business with you just isn’t worth the effort when the competition is just a click away.
So you can toss PPC ads into your mix but then you’re just going to drive more traffic that still isn’t efficiently converting. Unfortunately, the law of numbers says that if you add 1,000 new visitors a day, some percentage will convert, which may wrongly convince you that your PPC strategy is working.
Use Content Marketing To Drive More Conversions
If you’re website isn’t converting at the rate you’d like, look first at your content and website design. Ask yourself these three questions. If you answer no to any of them, focus on fixing that issue before you invest a dollar in PPC.
- Is your website funnel optimized? If it’s not, you’re lead funnel will leak like a sieve and you’re going to waste money on lead generation tactics like PPC.
- Is your content optimized for search engines? PPC is the marketing equivalent of crack cocaine. Once you’re on it, it’s really hard to get off of it because it works. PPC drives ROI and it gets very hard to justify reducing a PPC budget to fund new tactics that may prove less effective in the short run but will drive far better ROI in the long run. But if you can optimize your content to appear naturally in search vs having to buy your way to the top, you’ll realize far better ROI over the long haul.
- Are helping or selling? Web surfers are self-educating, invisible buyers and your site has to either provide that educational material or risk losing that prospect to a competitor.
Inbound Marketing is an Inside Out Process
Traditional advertising and lead generation thinking is outside in thinking. You do things on other platforms (attend trade shows, buy ads in magazines, buy ppc ads online, etc) that are designed to get someone to raise their hand to identify themselves. Then you put them into a database and start your sales prospecting process. And that works when your goal is to “get a call” or “get a meeting” with a prospect.
But inbound marketing isn’t about getting “a” call or “a” meeting. Inbound marketing is about getting the “right” call or meeting with a pre-qualified prospect. The goal of your inbound marketing program shouldn’t be leads, but qualified leads. Thus, you have to think inside out. You have to make sure that every prospect that hits your website has everything they need (information wise) to convert into a truly qualified lead.
If you don’t have that in place, then you don’t have an inbound sales prospecting machine. And without that machine, you can drive as much unqualified traffic to your website as you like — you’ll never develop the kind of high efficiency painless prospecting machine that every company really wants to deploy.
So what do you think? What would you have told that prospect on the phone last week? Go with the PPC strategy or invest in a funnel optimizing his site and filling it with helpful content?
photo credit: “The Wanderer’s Eye Photography”