If you haven't guessed yet, I'm a huge fan of using analogies, metaphors, and similes to help explain marketing concepts. Website lead generation is like fishing. Blogging is like squat thrusts. The list goes on!
The reason I like using this method so much is that oftentimes, abstract marketing concepts and strategies are hard to visualize and ultimately understand by simply explaining them. I find it easier to convey a complex idea when I can compare it to something much more uncomplicated. So it comes with (hopefully) no surprise that today's Question Marketing challenge blog post incorporates an analogy!
It comes from Greg at Precision Marketing Partners. He says:
"My biggest challenge is attracting the right kind of prospects to my website."
I've talked about finding keywords for traffic building purposes and creating Top Funnel content to capture leads, but I haven't really talked about the middle ground, which is the mysterious universe where website stalkers lurk before converting as a lead.
This nebulous environment is sort of like stranger-to-lead limbo. It's occupied by a group of website stalkers who are coming from a vast array of different traffic sources, poking around, and waiting to do something. So how do you capitalize on these stalkers? The same way anyone would when they want to bring people into their social-sphere, mingle and develop relationships. Throw a house party!
A Step-by-Step Planning Guide for Throwing a House Party (or, Bringing the Right Prospects to your Website)
1.) Plan and Research Ahead of Time:
So, you're throwing a house party (i.e. want to bring the right types of prospects to your website). The first step of this process requires careful planning. Anyone who has thrown a successful house party knows that they don't "just happen." There's a ton of pre-party strategizing that needs to happen. Guests need to be identified, concessions need to be prepared and activities need to be planned. Same thing goes for bringing the right types of prospects to your website. You’ll need to figure out the means for getting them to your site. From experience, the best way to bring the right prospects to your site is to first understand them. I recommend following this process to ensure you’re primed to bring the right types of the prospects to your website:
- Define target personas--or the profiles of folks who you want visiting your site. This is super-important--so much in fact that I think I mention persona development in just about every post I've written in this Question Marketing series.
- Identify the keywords these personas are searching for (these are like the invites to your house party). This is what connects your house-party (or website) to the outside world, so do you due diligence to understand if what you're doing is correct!
- Start researching Social Groups that you can partake in to get the word out about your website. Nothing works better in getting people to attend your house-party like a social gathering of like-minded individuals! Utilize LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Lists/Chats and do some Facebook research to understand where your audience might be hanging out. This will come in handy during the next phase, when we send out the invitations.
Important Note: What Makes Your Party Inviting?
From past experience, I know that people won't attend a party if there's no clear benefit for them. That’s why we have goodie bags when we’re younger and free beer when we’re older.
Why would people want to come to your house-party?
Why would they want to come to your website?
Think deep down what your target audience cares about most that you provide. Is it that damn good seven layer dip that you make? Maybe it's your subscription to Showtime. Those two points use the house party analogy, so when using this strategy to appeal to website prospects, keep the value proposition aligned with your business product/service offerings. I suppose if you're a restaurant or a hotel chain, those two points could be relevant respectively, but you get the idea--whatever the value proposition is, make sure it’s evident on your website and is clearly connected to the research you did in the three points above.
2.) Creating, Delivering and Sending the Invitations:
Once you’ve gotten past the planning phase, it’s time to write and send out the invitations (the equivalent of On-Page Optimization, Content Creation and Social Community outreach)
- On-Page SEO: Spend time optimizing for On-Page SEO (or, the house-party equivalent of writing invitations). After uncovering the right types of keywords ensure that they're included in the right places in the web pages’ content.
- Blog Content Creation: Create blog content that appeals to your target personas. This is like putting up fliers for your house-party across the right types neighborhoods. Okay, so you probably have never done that (or if you have, it was only in college for your fraternity/sorority party, but you get the idea).
- Social Community Outreach: That research you
3.) Setup (mostly) before the guests arrive:
Now, before you jump the gun and start promoting the heck out of your website, it’s very, very important to make sure your assets are in order before the guests arrive. Here’s a quick checklist to run through:
- Create content and ensure that it’s aligned with your target persona(s) (i.e. you don’t want Omaha steaks catered for a house-party crowd of vegans).
- Setup the relevant calls-to-action that will entice prospects to convert
- Plan ahead with what the “next steps” will be once your prospects arrive and start to mingle—will you nurture them via emails after converting? Always have an end-game in mind so your guests don’t get bored and leave early.
Keep in mind that everything doesn’t need to be perfect before the guests arrive. There will definitely be adjustments. There might even be a party foul. But shake it off--you’ve prepared for this! So roll with the punches and keep on making changes as you see fit to make the website as successful as it can be.
4.) Be a good host:
When the party starts rolling, just don’t sit back and wait for the magic to happen. Observe what people are doing—take note of their behavior and make the event as inviting as possible for them. This is the equivalent of dissecting your website’s analytics, understanding who your prospects are, what they’re doing, learning from this knowledge and taking away actionable insight for improvement. Here are some tips you can look out for:
- Observe what web pages your prospects are most attracted to and take advantage of this knowledge by placing relevant, enticing Calls to Action for content offers on these pages.
- Understand your prospects’ first touch source—meaning the referring website, social media channel or organic search term that led them to your site. With this knowledge, you can understand if you are in fact driving the right types of hosts and the context for their visit. You can use this insight to figure out how to make your content offer Calls to Action more relevant (mentioned in the point above).
5.) Keep the party going. All. Night. Long.
Once everything is up and running and you’re being an accommodating host, keep the house-party going! Fizzling out early means your guests will do the same. Observe what they’re doing; keep refining the process, developing the right types of content and keeping them engaged.
Hope that helps, Greg. Think of prospect attracting like a house party and you should be on track to driving a successful website visitor pipeline to your site. Alternatively, you can think of holding a house party like website prospect attraction and you might throw a pretty decent party. It works both ways! Lastly, if you actual business IS a house-party, then you just killed two birds with one stone in this blog post. Incredible!
To my fellow readers and marketers, what are the analogies that you use for complex marketing concepts? How do they resonate with your audience?