The rapid development of technology and the dominance of websites like eBay, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have changed the way we communicate thus making the online environment a key means of reaching potential clients. Online marketing adviser and director of TheOnlineCo James Parnwell shares his key strategies for digital lead generation.
Mr Parnwell emphasises that despite this increasingly digital world, “our psychology of buying hasn’t changed”.
“People are buying today with the same needs and wants, the same fears and aspirations that they had 20 years ago,” he says.
Choosing your marketing vehicle
Mr Parnwell stresses that when it comes to digital marketing, “we need to talk about marketing first and technology second”.
He says that when determining how to promote your brand online, it is important to firstly think about marketing in its most simple sense first.
“On one side we’ve got a service.
“On the other side, we’ve got customers.
“They’re all out there, and marketing is the process of communicating a message to them using a vehicle.”
Before considering what vehicle to use as a conduit for communicating a message to potential clients, Mr Parnwell says you should firstly examine your business.
Ask yourself questions like:
What is my Unique Selling Proposition?
What makes me stand out from others offering similar services?
Who is my customer – who am I targeting?
“Once we dig a bit deeper into that, a message will emerge. A call to action, or something that's unique about you to persuade people to engage with you,” he says.
“Then it's simply a matter of choosing your marketing vehicle to take that message to people.”
Mr Parnwell emphasises that it is crucial to get your message right before introducing technology which can add “an entire new level of complexity”.
Search Engine Optimisation
Mr Parnwell says that although Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the most time-consuming of the digital strategies that he recommends, it is also the most powerful.
He provides a few tips for improving the chances of your website showing at the top of Google’s search results:
Make your website “Google friendly” from a code perspective by eliminating duplicate content that can be generated by your content management system
Register a Google My Business account to show in the “local pack” of Google’s search results – i.e.: the top section that features local businesses including contact details and address
Have pages or terms on your website that relate to the suburbs in which your business is located to help your website show up in the “local pack”
Come up with about 50 keywords that people might search to find your business and write an article around each one for your website in order to rank for those terms
Mr Parnwell stresses that it is important to implement these strategies in order to achieve a strong ranking on Google.
Google ad words
Google is the go-to search engine for most people which means that it has the potential to reach a wider audience than other marketing avenues.
One way of reaching your audience through Google is by harnessing the power of the search engine’s ‘AdWords’, an advertising service for businesses to display paid-for ads at the top of search results.
Mr Parnwell points out that unlike search engine optimisation, Google ad words is a “now strategy”.
“You can get onto the front page of Google and get clicks and leads immediately,” he says.
He also highlights that Google’s display network can be leveraged for remarketing.
He explains that when customers visit your website, Google places a ‘cookie’ (a little bit of code that tells Google which website they have visited) on their browsers so that when they visit other websites they see continue to see ads for your business.
“This has the effect of showing people your brand multiple times,” Mr Parnwell says.
“Sometimes they’ll come to your website and they’re not ready to contact you yet, they’re just thinking about it. Maybe they’re looking at other agents as well; they may be looking at three or four.
“What you’re doing is you’re putting your brand, your message, your face in front of them multiple times to make them more and more comfortable.”
Mr Parnwell points out that in sales it can take five to seven touchpoints for someone to be comfortable and decide to do business with you.
He says that remarketing is a simple strategy that enables you to increase these touchpoints.
Mr Parnwell emphasises that although people predominantly use Facebook for socialising, it is possible to “disrupt” them.
“Disrupt their social experience with a message that is persuasive,” he says.
“If someone shows an ad that is compelling to you, that appeals to you, then you’ll engage with it and you’ll go buy it.
“We need to come up with compelling and engaging messages in order to persuade people to engage with you.”
He also highlights that more people spend time on the social networking than they do on Google and thus have a greater chance of being exposed to your marketing collateral.
He explains that there are different ways to target your marketing through Facebook:
1) Geographically: you can target the exact suburbs and areas to direct your marketing
2) Demographically: target certain income brackets or double income earners
3) Psychographically: target marketing to people who are of a similar mindset, e.g.: people who are interested in purchasing investment properties, people who are interested in buying their first home
Through targeting your marketing in this way, over time you can develop a “custom audience” which consists of people that have engaged with any of your marketing.
Mr Parnwell explains that this list can allow you to target your marketing to a very specific niche audience which can help to increase your leads in a cost-effective manner.