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lead generation

how to generate leads online
How to generate leads online for small businesses – The Ultimate Guide 2018 1024 576 Zsolt Farkas

How to generate leads online for small businesses – The Ultimate Guide 2018

Most small businesses don’t have an endless marketing budget and can’t afford a superhero marketing team either. After a few unsuccessful tries, they run out of ideas about how to generate leads online, and they tend to think it’s just not for them (yet). On the contrary…

In fact, lead generation is a piece of cake. The hard part is not how to generate leads online, but how to nurture those leads so that they actually decide to buy something from your small B2B business.

By the end of this post, you’ll understand the few key things that can make or break your company’s lead flow, and you’ll know how to tackle the following questions:

  1. What should you do to generate leads if you only have a tiny budget?
  2. What part of the funnel should you focus on?
  3. Which channel is the best for you?
  4. Why is measurement crucial – especially for small businesses?

The way to generate leads online

The ‘temperature’ of your prospects in lead generation

During the lead generation process, the heat of your traffic will vary all the time. There will be strangers who don’t know you at all, others who may recognize your brand, and a significantly smaller group of people thinking about buying from you. Let’s take a look at each stage.

Strangers ❄️

In B2B marketing, the question is not whom you want to sell to (because you usually have a reasonable sense of your target market), but how you will be able to reach them and which message will work for them. People who have never met your brand before are complete strangers.

As leads, they’re as cold as ice. 😳

Prospects (awareness stage) 🌜

Prospects have interacted with your brand, your message or your online assets at least once before. You got their attention, but they are far from being convinced that you’re unique – and they don’t know whether they want to work with you or not. They definitely need more time and persuasion.

In this stage, you need ‘awareness type’ content that makes them more aware of your brand’s benefitsThis content is more general, focusing on the main benefit of your product or service, your outstanding expertise, your unique experience and your flexible attitude.

Prospects (consideration stage) 🌝

These prospects have interacted with your brand several times and they are aware of your offerings and overall brand identity. They know you and some of them might be ready to convert.

In this stage, you need ‘consideration type’ content that helps them get ready to convert and contact you with further questions or ask for a quote. These pieces are more about the details, like how-tos and case studies. In many cases, these prospects are on the fence, so you need to help them get through by providing them the ‘that’s right’ feeling through their content.

Leads 🌞

These people converted on your site – on a contact form, in a lead gen card, through the chat app – or they simply dialed your number. They want to know more. You’ve already gained their initial trust and they’re ready to dive more deeply with you into the details of a potential deal. That’s the group that marketers call MQLs (Marketing Qualified Leads).

The heat of a lead may vary, but most of the time the warm leads are the ones you can only screw up in the sales process. 7Digits closes roughly 60% of these hot leads in a whopping 2-3 week time frame – not a bad sales cycle for a B2B deal, right? 🔥

Hot means they are aware of your USP (unique selling point) and they want to work with you. (Of course, your pricing, proposed timing or other terms can always change things.)

Cold means they don’t even remember that they filled out a contact form (it happens sometimes) or they just wanted to see the price tag for other reasons (e.g., financial planning).

Customers 💵

Leads who bought something from you. You persuaded them and they voted with their money. Now, it’s time to convert them into evangelists and advocates. It’s a common mistake among smaller companies to stop the marketing activity at the first deal. Don’t fall into this trap; each customer has the potential to become a repeat buyer (depending on your business) or a promoter.

Promoters 💰

Customers who become advocates and promote your brand to others for free, only because they are satisfied. WOM (word of mouth) is still a huge marketing asset, even in 2018.

1. What if you don’t have the same amount of money as the Federal Reserve?

First, don’t be fooled: monetary assets in B2B marketing are less important than in the consumer segment. Here’s why:

First, most B2B companies have fewer, yet larger customers. Even if your keywords are much more expensive to target, you don’t need an army of buyers. Most small and midsize B2B businesses need only a few dozen – or even fewer.

Second, targeting in B2B is easy. Most B2B goods are so specific, and the right target market is so well known, that there’s little room for wasting ad dollars. Even a rookie agency can do targeting for you.

That said, even if you don’t have the budget for traditional keyword targeting, you still have plenty of options to generate traffic.

a) You can try the organic method – SEO lead generation:

This is where you generate multiple high-quality content pieces, based on SEO principles, for at least 6-9 months, and you try ranking in Google to achieve massive organic traffic. It is a long-term strategy and, if done right, you’ll enjoy a constant flow of leads.

b) The other option is to try paid campaigns based on the lead generation examples in my previous post. It will cost you money but you can expect immediate results, that is, as long as ice-cold leads can be viewed as results (Spoiler alert 🚨: they cannot). You’ll have to warm those up.

c) There are other ways of exploiting existing platforms’ traffic by bringing a significant number of people to your landing pages from sites like Reddit, Hacker News or Product Hunt – just to mention a few of the most well-known.

Unfortunately, most of these traffic bursts last only for a few days, and to be honest, I wouldn’t build a strategy on it. It’s a kind of nice-to-have extra visibility, but if your digital assets are weak, this won’t exactly make it rain. If your assets are well-optimized, the constant lead flow is coming in anyway, right?

d) You can make cold calls and cold emails, of course, but we are not in the mid-2000’s… Good old interruption marketing will make you look like a dinosaur, and your ice-cold prospects will have a terrible first impression of your brand, too.

All in all, generating traffic is not difficult – but this is only traffic, not leads. Eyeballs staring at you, but not spending a nickel. This is the point most agencies and freelancers get stuck at. The reason? They don’t plan the funnel…

2. What should your lead gen funnel look like?

Experts always debate about the ratio between the marketing and sales involvement in a lead generation process. I think lead generation techniques have become a lot more sophisticated during the past ten years thanks to rapid technological developments and a mindset shift.

sales funnel 10 years ago and now

Let’s see what a lead generation funnel looked like ten years ago and what it should look like today.

sales funnel 10 years ago

Ten years ago, companies usually listed themselves in online directories and kept their fingers crossed for the link they spent hundreds of bucks on to help them to rank in Google or Yahoo. The real pioneers were on Facebook and enjoyed the huge organic reach that FB provided at that time. None of these concepts work anymore…

After acquiring their prospects’ email address or phone number, these semi-digital sales teams started to follow up on those poor souls until the hopeless prospects bent their neck and said an initial ‘yes’ to the sales monsters just to be left alone…

sales funnel now

In current B2B marketing, you have plenty of options before contacting prospects. Thanks to sophisticated remarketing options and B2B strategies, around two-thirds of the whole lead gen funnel happens online without any sales involvement. No one wants to see the sales team in the early stages, and for their part, great sales people have also learned the importance of lead qualification – they don’t want to waste their time with cold prospects either.

And if you do it right, after your marketing efforts, your prospects will convert on your website and they will be ready to dive into the details of a potential deal. That’s how to generate leads online, and that’s what we call inbound marketing.

As you can see in the image above, you can mix marketing channels and make them strengthen each other. And with this online funnel, you can save a lot on the cost of your sales team.

3. Which marketing channel should you choose?

In theory, there are endless options in B2B, but practically speaking, you have 5 channels to choose from: Google, Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter and Youtube.

You need to look at your market, products, business model and skills, then choose those channel(s) that fit the best.

But how do you know which one you should choose? Let’s see a super short summary.

Google Ads (search)

This is your first choice if your market is well-known, which means you know the search terms that your prospects are searching for. Always think in the problem-solution combo when using search ads. It’s a very special state of mind when someone is Googling something: they want something to be solved. If you can provide a relevant solution for their problem, you win.

Though it is a good channel, it is freakin’ difficult to adopt. In order to advertise effectively in search engines, you’ll need at least a couple of months of optimization and fine-tuning by a pro. Want to do it by yourself? You’ll burn a mother lode of cash…

Facebook

With a wide range of targeting options, the blue social giant is a good choice if you want to target cold traffic in awareness campaigns or if you are retargeting your visitor base. The extremely sophisticated remarketing options give you the opportunity to segment your prospects according to their lead temperature. Don’t try to generate cold leads on Facebook, though – people browsing this channel notorious for short attention spans while scrolling down their feed.

Facebook is easier than Google to learn, but it also has its own rules and hints that take a lot of practice. It’s still cheap, but the cost of impressions get more and more expensive year by year. If you’d like to give it a try on your own, start with retargeting.

Linkedin

If your target audience consists of multiple decision makers or people with very focused job roles, you should give Linkedin ads a try. Job roles, industries, and company names can easily be targeted on LinkedIn, which is, without a doubt, the strongest B2B social channel – and the most expensive at the same time.

The ads manager dashboard is simpler than on Facebook and it has some great ad formats that will fit into your B2B marketing funnel (e.g., sponsored lead gen card, sponsored inMail). Compared to Facebook, expect to spend ten times as much.

Twitter

If you’re doing business in tech or media, your first choice should be Twitter. It’s astonishingly vibrant, but the noise is enormous. You have to have a well-built funnel with several steps in order to execute a winning strategy on Twitter.

First, you should run highly-targeted campaigns with ‘follower targeting’, ‘keyword targeting’ or ‘event targeting.’ Then, you can use ‘tailored audience targeting,’ which is Twitter’s jargon term for remarketing.

Youtube

Video ads are very powerful if they are edited well. On Youtube, you have several options, from the five-second ads to longer ones. If you have the budget to produce videos, you should include Youtube in your B2B sales funnel for sure.

One thing to consider though: while other social channels serve ads in a non-interruptional way, Youtube ads can be pretty annoying if done the wrong way. Be very careful with interrupting your prospects’ activity – this marketing approach is just one step more advanced than 20th-century cold-calling.

4. Measuring your funnel

Measurement should be the basis of any marketing activity. First and foremost, let’s implement Google Analytics on your site. If you’ve done that already, that’s cool, but have you set up your ‘goals’ and ‘ events’ in the Analytics dashboard?

If not, here is a cheat sheet for the essentials:

a) Connect the Search Console to your Analytics account. It will help you to see the organic search terms your website ranked for and the clicks that you received.

b) Set up goals that will serve as benchmarks for your analytics. If you set up the ‘contact form send’ as a goal, you’ll be able to see which ad brings you the most leads.

c) Set up your personalized funnel under the customization menu item. You should track every part of the funnel from the very beginning till the end.

d) If you use a marketing channel, put the pixel or the code that the platform provides in order to have a 360 view of the performance (like the pixel in Facebook or Remarketing tag in Google).

funnel analysis

(An example of an Analytics funnel)

As you can see in the funnel above, there is a way to measure every step of your users’ journey. Make sure that there are no big leaks, like at stage two (95% drop off) in the example case. If you see such a high drop off rate, you know at once where to focus your marketing efforts.

Final thoughts

Lead generation requires patience and discipline. Users won’t convert at the first engagement – that’s simply not the way it works in real life, so why should it work differently online?

However, with a consistent strategy and the right execution, you’ll be able to transform roughly two-thirds of your sales funnel into the digital realm and — more importantly — automate the whole thing.

Good luck with your leads! Please don’t forget to click on the ‘Tricks’ menu item to see the magic. I’m here to answer any question or comment and I really appreciate every share.

lead generation examples
5 lead generation examples – Get more leads with these PPC strategies 1024 536 Zsolt Farkas

5 lead generation examples – Get more leads with these PPC strategies

There are plenty of ways to acquire inbound leads online, and content marketing for SEO lead generation is one of them. The good news is that SEO theoretically could work for anyone. Then again, everyone wants free, automated leads – there’s a lot of noise and fierce competition. Since few people can run their business solely on inbound organic leads, what are some other options?

If you don’t have the SEO skills – and most people don’t – or you lack the time to write long-form content, your best opportunity is to run landing pages with paid campaigns.

In this post, I’ll take you through 5 practical lead generation examples to implement immediately to capture more leads for your and your team.

The No. 1 Rule

Unlike in B2C, where prospects might fall in love with your product in one or two steps, B2B lead generation is a longer process. Top B2B lead generation companies know there have to be several ‘touch points’ before a company buys anything from you.

Let’s break down the process of customer acquisition into three basic steps (this is an oversimplification, but it’ll do for now):

Awareness  ›  Consideration  ›  Decision

These are the bare minimum steps to build your campaigns, so don’t aim to generate leads in one single step. Read my lips:

It just won’t work.

(And if it does – as it may for certain low-value B2B goods and services – those leads are going to be cold as ice simply because those businesses will have an incomplete buying experience. Yes, the buying experience matters in B2B too – at least if you want to grow your business!)

Important things to know

You can skip this part if you’re already well aware of how B2B online marketing works in general.

The main purpose of B2B marketing

The basic point of B2B marketing is to generate hot leads who are ready to purchase so that the sales team basically just needs to close them. According to recent studies, two thirds of the entire sales process is online, which means that prospects don’t want salespeople popping up until they’re ready. That’s why inbound marketing has more and more potential.

KPIs to follow

CPM, CTR, and CPC are all important performance indicators, but I’d encourage you to keep your focus on the CPA (cost-per-acquisition). For a given period, this is the ratio of all the money you spend pulling in new customers to the number of new customers that you actually acquire. CPA highlights the effectiveness of your marketing efforts as a whole and helps you figure out how to proceed strategically.

Your ROAS (return on ad spending) is the amount you make as profit, spending X on lead generation. Don’t make the mistake of counting the entire sum of the revenue – keep your eyes on the profit instead (that is, ROAS will depend on your profit margin as well).

Also, don’t forget to count LTV (customer lifetime value 💰), which should be much more than just the first-time revenue from your customers – if they’re likely to spend additional money later on, make a reasonable estimate of the long-term profit that you can expect on average.

Lead quality-based feedback

When we generate leads at 7Digits, we take measurement very seriously, and you should too: always measure the effectiveness of your campaigns. You can’t optimize what you don’t measure.

We always match leads of different quality with the ads that brought them in. That way, we can terminate underperforming campaigns and double down on the ones that convert. 📈

Lead generation examples

Let’s see 4 marketing channel methods and 1 cross-channel solution where we implement this 3-step approach.

1. Facebook

Many people say that Facebook doesn’t work for B2B marketing because people visit the pages of the ‘blue giant’ to relax and see what’s going on with their friends – ads only annoy them. And yes, if the ads are irrelevant and poorly targeted, that’s right. But with laser-targeted and properly-served ads, it works like a charm.

To clarify: The people scrolling on Facebook are the same people who search in Google and check their colleague’s status update on Linkedin. The audience is similar on these channels.

Here’s a recipe for generating leads on Facebook.

Facebook lead generation flow

1)  If you start with direct targeting, you are in the awareness stage. At this stage, you need to communicate only the value proposition and benefit of your service or product. Do not try to convert here – it won’t work. This stage is about your brand’s awareness and building a base of good impressions for the next step.

You can choose among several Facebook ad formats, like the image ad, carousel ad, video ad or slideshow.

As a campaign objective, I would use ‘brand awareness’ or ‘reach.’

2)  In the next step, you should focus on engagement, ensuring that people understand your value proposition and piquing their curiosity further in order to move them into the consideration stage.

For this, I would highly suggest using the canvas ad, which is basically a mini landing page inside Facebook after they click on a normal ad in the feed. Its only purpose is to soften your audience before you convert them to your site.

As a campaign objective, I recommend ‘traffic.

3)  In the third step, you can try to convert your target audience. But focus on those who interacted with your ads or those who spent the most time on your website. (You can build various custom audiences as well.)

PRO tip: One of our favorite moves in this stage is engagement-based retargeting. You can create a remarketing custom audience list in Facebook to select those who either engaged with your ads or clicked through to your canvas.

The ad format will be the lead generation card, and the objective is lead generation. At this decision stage, you can ask for an email address, mobile number or company name (and other info based on your sales team’s needs).

2. Google

When we talk about Google search, users are typically already in the consideration stage because they have an intent – a problem they want to solve.

What does this mean for you?

If you react with relevant copy (in search) and also have an appropriate landing page, you can easily skip a step, so you’ll only need one more stage to convert them. (Highly skilled marketers using various elements of influence psychology might even be able to convert in one step – but this is about as rare as free rent in Silicon Valley.)

More often, you’ll target cold traffic on Google. Here is the path to make it work for you:

Google lead generation flow

1)  Depending on your budget, you can start your lead generation campaign either with a bumper video ad format on Youtube (needs more money & time to produce) or a banner set (definitely a more budget-friendly option) in GDN (Google Display Network).

2)  After you generate traffic to your site, you can use the so-called RLSA remarketing campaign, which will enable you to bid higher for those users who have already visited your site previously and are searching for terms related to your business.

Let’s bring this traffic to a web page that gets traffic only from this source. That way, in the third stage, you’ll be able to remarket to users who went through this specific step of the sales funnel – even through a different ad platform. That means you can start the funnel with a search ad through Google and remarket through Facebook – or basically any other channel.

3)  After you set up your web page-specific remarketing list, you can start your GDN and/or Youtube campaign again, based on your financial capabilities. Bring your traffic to a ‘convert page’ and generate leads from them.

3. Linkedin

Linkedin is probably the best channel in B2B marketing, though without a doubt the most expensive. With its job role, industry, company profile and company size targeting options, it won’t be an issue finding the right people. But finding the right audience is just the beginning.

Linkedin lead generation flow

1)  In the awareness phase on Linkedin, you start with a little hack. It’s called profile auto-visiting. We have a little tool for it that will be your secret weapon on Linkedin.

If you auto-visit either your connections or a specifically targeted group on Linkedin, they’ll get a notification that you viewed their profiles. So you can get your first valuable impression for free with this trick. Pretty cool, huh? 😉

2)  In the consideration stage, target the profiles you visited with sponsored content. You can convert the traffic to an informative landing page, where you list the benefits of your product/service. Always use micro-conversions to engage them.

Expect $5-8 CPC (cost-per-click) and, at first glance, poor CTR (0.1-0.3%). Yeah, it’s sometimes 10x more expensive than Facebook. However, the laser-focused targeting will compensate your higher ad spend.

3)  Sponsored inMail is the last part. It has to be short and sweet. I would say that the open rate of your letter will be around 80-90%, but it doesn’t mean that the prospects will write back. It all depends on your copy and your profile. (Some people will check it before writing back.)

🚨Important. Before you create this campaign, read about the magic of writing outstanding inMails, because it’s a different ballgame than email or ad copy.

4. Instagram

I think Instagram has mainly been used for branding. But this doesn’t stop you from acquiring leads from the platform.

After all, Instagram is growing rapidly, it opens new opportunities continuously (IGTV is the latest), and its user base just hit 1 billion in June 2018. 👏

So if you want to collect leads on Instagram, here’s a feasible strategy:

Instagram lead generation flow

1)  Either you’ll need to have a solid user base already in place or run ads with Instagram placement. Then, select users from your target audience who have interacted with your post, ad or profile.

Choose the Instagram business profile’ engagement-based remarketing option and target the active users back.

2)  The ad format for the consideration stage should be an Instagram story ad, which is a vertical ad (video or image) that appears in your audience’s story. Since it’s the newest ad format, the CTR will be much higher than normal (meaning that you can keep the costs low).

For a landing page, you need to have valuable content or a case study page. This will give you credibility and a great foundation for the final part of your campaign.

3)  In order to convert your warm prospects, you should target those who expressed interest towards your content. You’re looking for users who did not bounce but rather stayed on your page and/or interacted with it.

Use a simple Instagram image ad format and bring the traffic to a ‘convert page’ that has only 1 goal – to convert these users into hot leads.

PRO tip: Use testimonials, social proof and other trust factors to establish your credibility once again.

5. Cross-channel

As you can see, you have plenty of options to bring your prospects through different online marketing funnels and, at the end, convert them into leads. You can implement these lead generation examples right away in your marketing mix.

When we talk about cross-channel campaigns, you should always keep in mind for each stage to use the appropriate message and ad format, and don’t try to convert too early or soften up your prospects for too long. (Yes, this can also be a reason for poor conversion.)

cross channel lead gen flow

1)  In the last lead gen example, we’ll use Google Ads (search) in the awareness phase.

It’s a strong start because we already know that answering a specific search is usually stronger than targeting cold traffic.

2)  After bringing users to our landing page from several relevant searches, we start to run a remarketing campaign on Facebook based on website visits. Here, in the consideration stage, you can use several of the ad formats mentioned before, but the main goal is to engage those users who are already in the funnel.

3)  In the last stage, use the same remarketing options, but now on Linkedin. Run a lead gen card in order to acquire those users who went through the first two steps of the funnel.

Conclusion

B2B lead generation has several key touch points that are essential to implement in your funnel – that’s the key takeaway. Be sure to use the appropriate ad formats and remarketing options at each stage, and don’t try to convert too early! Also, many people make the mistake of adding lower quality leads at the top of the funnel when they experience poor results – that’s a Shut-up-Google-and-take-my-money kind of bad idea. Find your prospects, even if takes more time and don’t dilute your traffic!

These lead generation examples are just a few of all the options at your disposal. Use them as-is or add in your own twist. It’s up to you.

Please feel free to share your thoughts with us, or just hit the share button if you liked the tactics above. I have a loooong list of B2B marketing content to unleash and every share encourages me to write more posts like this one. 😉

seo lead generation
How to use SEO for lead generation – The Cornerstone technique 1024 536 Zsolt Farkas

How to use SEO for lead generation – The Cornerstone technique

You have probably heard the saying that ‘content is king.’ It’s a saying for a reason: content marketing is effective and profitable, and if you do it right, you can generate massive organic traffic from search engines.

Let’s dive deep into SEO lead generation.

In B2B marketing, you have almost no choice but to create high-end content consistently. But it is time-consuming and you may not know the right strategy. Frankly, it can be too much of a hassle.

I’m going to show you a technique that’s so effective it looks like a miracle. It will help you create a massive SEO based lead generation funnel that will grow into a money making machine. 🤑

SEO lead generation in practice

Let me introduce the Cornerstone technique, which relies on the most profound long-form content in a given field based on SEO principles.

Let me explain in detail.

First of all, why do we need it? Because with a mediocre 300-word article you will get nothing, certainly not ranking for a competitive keyword in the search engines. That’s why you need well-optimized quality long-form content that has tremendous value.

FYI: The optimum article size is around 2350 words, according to MOZ research. If anybody knows, it’s them.

The Cornerstone is the best of the best. The king 👑 of content marketing. With 2000+ words, it’s more of a novel than an article, and the quality needs to be outstanding.

The Cornerstone technique in a nutshell:

SEO

• Make it keyword optimized
• Include LSI* keywords
• Build backlinks

Value

• Research in advance (e.g. Buzzsumo)
• Make it the best content in its topic
• Include concrete & practical examples

Engagement

• Use micro-engagement options
• Use social sharing buttons
• Make your post memorable

Backup

• Write other posts related to your cornerstone
• Link these posts to your cornerstone
• Anchor text** should be the cornerstone keyword

The ultimate question

For the cornerstone to hold weight, it needs to be insightful, and ideally unique. Should we really share the valuable knowledge that we gathered over years of hard work? What about competitors? Isn’t it a bad idea?

Not really. Let’s see some arguments:

  1. If you really know your space, you know that even if you share today’s ultimate knowledge, it will be obsolete tomorrow. And your competitors will always be 1 or 2 steps behind you. 🏃🏻
  2. The content can generate credibility without any sales effort from your side. So you are saving money in the long run.
  3. Without high-quality SEO optimized content, you will have no chance to rank properly in Google results. Consistent content is among the main ranking factors in Google.

The step-by-step guide

 

#Keyword research

Either use the keyword tool from Google Ads or Ubersuggest, you should look for relevant words or short phrases that have solid monthly search volume (at least a couple of hundred, if not thousands).

PRO tip: Use Buzzsumo to find the most-shared content in any topic accessible on the Internet. It shows you the TOP content with the best social numbers. Using your chosen keyword plus this info, you’ll have a clue what you should write about.

#Publish it as a page

And not as a blog post. This is because Google ranks posts and pages slightly differently and the structure in your sitemap (that Google bots are scraping) is important. Publish your cornerstone as a page and your additional posts in blog post format.

#Design

It’s not easy to make your content stand out against everyone else’s. A text-only article will have little chance to excel. Make sure your content is both compelling and well-designed. Squared content, background colors, buttons, quotation marks, flip boxes and other eye-catching elements can definitely make a difference.

#Backlinks

The most important factor in SEO lead generation. Backlinks from high-authority sites (sites that are trusted by Google) can make or break your position. In order to get this kind of link to your site, you have to be proactive and reach out to bloggers and journalists to bring their attention to your valuable content.

Note: It won’t be the easiest task, but with proper techniques and communication it can be achieved. Start with the Tier 3 players, then go for the bigger players. Believe us, that works better than the other way around.

#Internal links

Don’t forget to link your own page(s) inside your cornerstone. You need to find at least one related post to link to. Usually, 2-3 internal links are enough.

PRO tip: Yoast SEO plugin has an awesome feature that recommends posts that you can link from the cornerstone based on their text analysis. Pretty cool.

#Updates

Cornerstones can generate leads for years if they are updated regularly. An update every 1-2 months can definitely help your ranking. An answer to a comment, a downloadable PDF or rephrasing of a section can be equally good.

#LSI keywords

It’s very important to include the so-called ‘LSI’ (Latent Semantic Indexing) keywords in your cornerstone. I don’t have to mention that it is one of the main ranking factors. We generally use Ubersuggest to check these keywords.

#Social shares

How much is your content worth if it doesn’t have social engagement? Not too much. You always have to put a social sharing bar under your content because you have to enable users to share your stuff and spread the word. Always customize your bar, because if you have Google+ and Tumblr as sharing options, you will seem weird in 2018. 😐

Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, WhatsApp, Messenger, and Email is a great and relevant combination of channels. We use Easy Social Share Buttons and we love it.

#Distribute

After you finish your cornerstone content, don’t expect the miracle to happen without proper distribution. You’ll need to pay for the boost. Target a relevant audience and craft some Facebook and/or LinkedIn ads.

Your goal is to generate ongoing traffic. At first, with paid campaigns, but later with organic traffic, if you do it right. We usually spend a couple hundred dollars per cornerstone in the first weeks, and then from time to time promote it again.

But in order to rank high enough to get impressions and clicks from searchers, you have to follow these rules and get backlinks from trusted sites (not from link farms or directories 🤖).

Our experiences with cornerstones

We usually write 1 cornerstone every 2 months. We’ve been doing this since January 2017 and 2 of our cornerstones bring us the vast majority of our leads.  As you can see, the organic traffic started to rise at the beginning of this year because of our consistent content strategy. Now, SEO lead generation is working like a miracle. We get between 40-60 leads per month.

organic traffic riseYou should also know that it takes weeks, if not months, to write a cornerstone well. 2-3 weeks are the minimum, and sometimes we work on a cornerstone for 5-6 weeks with many iterations. And we know how to write effectively. My partner is an award-winning blogger 🏆 and I also have 3 years of concentrated experience in content marketing.

Should you start?

If you have a B2B company and there is a lack of valuable content in your industry, you should definitely start. It will bring you credibility, a competitive advantage, and massive organic traffic in the long run.

Even if your field is full of high-quality content, you can still think about your options. If you have enough money to start, do it. It will pay off.

If you want to read more about lead generation techniques, we have other posts for you. Otherwise, best of luck, and tell us what you think in the comment section below. 💬

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