For businesses that rely on website traffic, Google can be a fickle friend. One day you’re on the front page of search and the next you’re buried beneath your competitors. Why? One reason: updates. In 2013 the Penguin update targeted link bombers and “spamdexing” sites, or keyword-loaded sites with little value. A lot of search engine optimization was built on bulk links and many sites were penalized by the update as a result. In early 2015, Google rolled out “Mobilegeddon,” which prioritized Google search results based on the mobile-friendliness of sites. This was a huge change that devastated some websites and their rankings in search results.
Thankfully, there are clever ways to get leads that don’t rely on your position on a search engine results page. In fact leads, prospects, visitors, and customers come from many channels, including many Google doesn’t affect. The strongest organic non-Google strategies link multiple lead-generation methods with need-specific landing pages. Here are six of the best:
- B2B Social Media
- Email Newsletters
- Interactive Content
- Affiliate Marketing
1. B2B Social Media
A report from BIA/Kelsey projects social media advertising revenues will reach $15 billion by 2018. According to the Duke School of Business, by that time, marketers can expect to spend more than 21 per cent of their budgets on social media alone.
One strategy to boost your lead generation with social media is to share and gate your premium content with mobile-friendly opt-in forms. Post a link to your content on social sites with a unique image and headline. That link should send your audience directly to a landing page designed to collect leads and created solely for that one piece of content. If you send prospects to your home page or product pages, you miss the opportunity to get their contact information.
You can also use this method on Twitter and create Call-to-Action (CTA) links in your tweets that lead to landing pages. The CTA should entice viewers to visit your website. When curious prospects click your link, make sure they’re taken to an eye-catching landing page with a short form above the fold.
Managing and measuring your social media engagement can be difficult. That’s why it’s important to use tools specifically designed for B2B social leads; some are built to augment third-party platforms like Salesforce. These tools measure three key pieces of data: time, metrics, and most importantly, integration. You need to integrate your social media strategy directly into your sales funnel so you can track your leads without entering new prospects manually.
Driving traffic and earning new leads via social channels is one thing; understanding the difference in lead quality is another. Seth Godin puts it like this: “You can spend your time on stage pleasing the heckler in the back, or you can devote it to the audience that came to hear you perform.” In business, the way to parse out your true audience is with content and useful information. Newsletters are a great place to start.
2. Email Newsletters
Likes and follows are great, but conversions (people who become customers) matter more. Email newsletters and landing pages built to collect leads are a must if you don’t want to depend on Google for your traffic. But how do you get visitors to subscribe?
Most email landing pages are uninspiring and terrible at converting: Calls to action such as “Sign up for our newsletter!” can really mean, “Here comes spam.” To get them past this fear, let leads know exactly what they will receive and make it as easy as possible for them to take action. Every step of the marketing process must be valuable for both your customers and your company.
Accomplishing this is easier said than done, especially when you build landing pages. A number of tools exist to create landing pages quickly with drag and drop methods. Whichever tool you choose, make sure it:
- Builds mobile-friendly pages.
- Doesn’t require coding on your part.
- Allows for A/B testing.
- Integrates with your sales funnel and CRM.
Earning leads requires trust. Webinars and podcasts build trust and convert powerfully. Neil Patel of Quick Sprout says, “Webinars are so effective for me that I am able to generate $30 to $100 from each attendee depending on the offer. That means every time I have a webinar with 1,000 attendees, I am generating $30,000 to $100,000 in income by selling them services or products that they can use.”
How do you create your own webinars? Simple: teach, don’t sell. Focus your webinar content on answering questions and solving problems. This method produces more satisfied and qualified leads.
Also, organize your webinar strategy around niches in your target industry. One company that specializes in web security, hosting, and online acceleration organizes their webinar strategy around niches in its target industry. They regularly post webinars about specific threats, general malware, hosting how-tos, and other helpful information customers can use.
Do the same and be as specific with your webinars as possible. When your webinars resonate with the right audience, their shares on social media and through email will attract and convert more leads.
Podcasts offer a unique way to engage and influence potential leads. In fact, podcasts are essential for one specific reason: The human brain detects confidence in voices faster than we blink. On top of the psychological, trust-building benefits, the cultural transition to a mobile mindset has aided podcast popularity. Why? Because podcasts are consumable on the go. Even better, compared to 30 million active blogs on the Internet, there are only about 200,000 active podcasts.
Of course, it’s not enough to record a few bits of audio and post it for download or subscription. Companies without a podcast strategy will be ignored. To host a lead-generating podcast, you need a targeted audience, a consistent agenda, and a regular posting schedule. Listeners make up their minds quickly—0.2 seconds—whether or not they want to devote time to your podcast. If you create a high-quality, strategic podcast, organic, high-quality leads will find you.
5. Interactive Content
Interactive content is a popular form of content that responds to a user’s actions. Let’s take a look at two types of interactive content: quizzes and dynamic infographics.
Quizzes that test knowledge, repurpose successful content, or personalize user content are traffic magnets. In fact, data shows that on average, a quiz is shared 1,900 times. Gate your quizzes to create fun and creative opt-in forms.
Boosting leads with this specific type of gamification will require your team to get creative. If you need some ideas, here’s a start:
- Knowledge Tests
“Test Your Industry Prowess with This 10 Question Quiz.” Everyone likes to see how they stack up compared to other people, so show aggregate stats after they complete.
- Repurposed Blog Posts
A post that drove above-average shares and comments can be reworked. For example, take “4 Tips to Boost Mobile SEO” and turn it into “Test Your Mobile SEO Super Powers.”
- Info Exchange
“Would you rather…” quizzes build a clearer picture of your customer’s demographic and psychographic makeups while simultaneously capturing leads.
“What City Should I Live In?” This type of quiz creates fun and valuable insights for your visitors and boosts form completion.
Surveys show how respondents stack up in return for their lead information. Visualize the results with a map, graph, or table.
“What’s Your Budget” or calculators like the one in this case study can convert at a rate three to four times higher than even the most effective lead generator content.
- Personality Quizzes
“What Type of Boss are You?” and “What’s Your Conflict Type” provide useful feedback, insight, and leads.
Presenting data visually in an infographic is a popular form of content marketing. The new spin is the animated infographic. With a solid interactive infographic, you can take a large amount of hard-to-digest data and display it neatly for consumers. These infographics help the user understand a complex topic and remove “data overload” by giving the user control over the learning process.
Many companies lack the budget and expertise required to create truly great interactive infographics. Here’s a list of 20 tools to get started regardless of your company’s capabilities.
6. Affiliate Marketing
Affiliate marketing programs, despite the risk of scams, can be a terrific tool in your Google-free strategy. Do your research and you may see up to 20 per cent of your online revenue in affiliate-generated sales in one year.
Affiliate marketing works like this:
- Sign up for an affiliate network.
- Select which products, services, or pages you want to promote.
- The affiliate provides traffic directly to your selections.
- When a customer clicks and follows the affiliate ad to your site and makes a purchase, the affiliate network records the transaction through a tracking link.
- Once the sale goes through, the affiliate is paid a commission.
Here are few vital dos and don’ts of affiliate marketing:
- Do know who you’re dealing with and independently research each affiliate program.
- Do track your traffic and sales independently.
- Do review each payment at the transaction level to understand how it started and how it arrived at your site.
- Don’t pay a fee to join an affiliate program. Joining should be free.
- Don’t use networks that make money by selling your information to subcontractors, instead of selling your products.
- Don’t rely on affiliates to send you their own reports.
Affiliate marketing has great potential to boost online leads and conversion. But remember, the best results come by combining this strategy with others.
Great Leads from Great Sources
From working with outside vendors to ramping up your in-house lead generation methods, you can drive organic leads to your site without Google in creative, cost-effective ways. Implement a few of these strategies in your online marketing plan so you don’t panic next time Google rolls out another jaw-dropping update. Peace of mind beyond Google is priceless.