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How To Implement Your SEO Strategy Across Your Sales Funnel

May 25, 2021

Because almost everything is done digitally these days, an effective search engine optimization (SEO) strategy is imperative for all businesses, regardless of the size. Before drafting your SEO strategy, it’s necessary to understand your sales funnel. 

This refers to the stages that customers go through before deciding to purchase a product or a service. It’s also known for many names—conversion funnel, marketing funnel, or purchase funnel. 

Whichever term you prefer to call it, the marketing funnel is a critical component in planning your marketing campaigns, tweaking your strategies, including SEO methods, and increasing revenues. Learn the basics of the sales funnel, how it works in the current setting, and how you can boost your business by injecting SEO strategies in your conversion funnel in this article.

What Is A Sales Funnel and How Does It Work?  

Whatever it is you’re selling, understanding the sales funnel is an essential process in which a business can base its marketing campaign upon. And as all of you may already know, an effective marketing strategy can lead to increased sales and profit.

The sales funnel started as the brainchild of advertising guru E. St. Elmo in 1898. It has undergone several tweaks since then, but the fundamentals remain the same. This makes the marketing funnel a universal and timeless theme for all ventures. Relatively, Elmo described the advertising strategy as follows:

  • Attract attention
  • Maintain interest
  • Create desire 
  • Get action

This was the frame in which advertising and marketing strategies were created in the traditional setting, obviously before the advent of the internet and digitalization. In 1904, the editor of Salesmanship magazine, Frank Hutchinson Dukesmith, identified four stages in the sales funnel:

  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Conviction

About five decades later, Arthur F. Peterson, a pharmaceutical company marketing and sales executive, coined the AIDA model. The acronym stands for the following components:  

  • Awareness 
  • Interest   
  • Desire
  • Action   

How Does The Sales Funnel Look Like These Days?   

These concepts may have been created more than 100 years ago. But the ideas still resonate these days. For instance, online businesses mainly identify the conversion funnel as composed of the following stages: 

  1. Awareness: There are so many digital marketing tools available these days—all at a marketers’ disposal. If you're a start-up or a fresh business, an SEO agency can help ramp up awareness about your products and services. We’ll take a closer look about this later.
  1. Consideration: The stage in which a potential buyer is already thinking about purchasing your offers but just need time to compare our product to other similar items available on the market. At this point, businesses should prove to interested buyers that they’re the better, if not, the best choice.  
  1. Conversion: Let’s face it—you just don’t wake up one day and decide you’re going to buy a property. On the other hand, impulsive buyers may be compelled to purchase items that they don’t really need. As a seller or service provider, you need to learn how to initiate an emotional connection with your audience. Doing the convincing at an emotional level can stir in the desire to purchase or avail of your products or services, increasing the possibility of conversions.
  1. Loyalty: Once the customer has decided to avail of your product and has proven that you’re one of the best in the industry (among other reasons), the client will turn into a loyal customer (check out Life Time Value of a Customer).
  1. Advocacy: In this stage, the buyer has already become a loyal customer and may become part of your marketing strategy. Word-of-mouth advertising is still beneficial these days, although it can manifest as product reviews and testimonials these days.     

An SEO strategy can draw in potential customers and target the appropriate target consumers. The challenge lies in standing out from the competition. As the internet is also a free venue in which anyone can use to broadcast anything, businesses are engaged in ferocious competition over who gets the users’ attention and sustains it. 

How Does SEO Stand in These Processes? 

  1. Awareness: SEO To Establish Awareness And Target The Right Audience

Being that your goal is to stir awareness and aim your campaign by reaching out to the appropriate market segment, your SEO technique may include ranking high in searches.

  • SEO + Social Media: Additionally, you can boost your social media presence and consider paid search to attract prospective buyers to visit your website and learn more about your products and services. You need to understand your buyer personas to come up with high-quality and relevant content, among other techniques, that pull up your search rankings. Make sure to avoid too salesy initiatives as this can discourage users from getting more interested in your brand.
  • Keywords: Your SEO strategies at this stage can also include seeking low-intent keywords from users who may not be interested in making any purchase yet. For instance, you can target the keyword ‘business insurance’ for clients who may key in these words in the search query.   
  1. Consideration: SEO To Convince Buyers That You’re The Best Option   

With your audience already aware and considering availing your products and services, your goal is to effectively lead the audience to choose your company. You can also follow up on your leads and convince them to do the same.  

  • SEO + Marketing Tools: Your SEO strategy should continue to work on giving your prospective clients more reason to pick you. Here, you can implement advertising and email campaigns to keep engaging your clients. Pay-per-click (PPC) advertising is useful at this stage. So are calls to action, newsletters, gated content, and webinars. Continue implementing on-page and off-page SEO such a link-building, content publishing, etc., that become more targeted. 
  • Higher Intent Keywords: Your SEO and other marketing methods should focus on higher-intent keywords. Taking from the previous example, you can target ‘the best value-for-money business insurance for 2021’ as your keyword. Additionally, think of other attractive offers that appeal to your clients who are at this second stage. For instance, offer free trials, free shipping, and money-back guarantees to lead them to conversion, which is the next stage.
  1. Conversion: SEO Aim To Turn Consideration Into Action 

Once your prospective buyer has gone through the two stages, next comes the crucial phase. Conversions happen when your prospective buyers embark on a positive response (or two). Ideally, it should include buying your products and services. However, it can also include other actions such as content downloads, availing of free trials, signing up for subscriptions, etc.

  • SEO Campaign: The goal is to get rid of conversion bottlenecks and effectively making conversions out of your leads. One of the ways to do it is to create organic and paid search campaigns, much like the second stage—only that you’re being more specific and convincing.

    In order to increase your organic search, you’d have to create relevant and high-quality content, improve page load times, and strategically use meta tags and target keywords. Another clever way to increase your search ranking is to publish a comparative review on your product versus the top three major players or competitors in your sector.
  1. Loyalty: SEO Campaign To Involve Customers

Most marketers think that their work is done after successfully producing conversions. But retaining customers is just as important as attracting new ones. Industry estimates show that getting new customers can cost up to five times as compared to making loyal ones.

This means you’ll be staring at missed opportunities if you fail to create customer loyalty.  You want you buyers to keep going with their purchases, which means higher return on investments (ROI) for your company.   

  • SEO Strategies: Continue with your established SEO practices, assess your website performance, and make some tweaks as necessary.

    At this stage, you can run advertising or promotional campaigns on social media and link it to your website. One of the conditions may be to mention your brand, using hashtags to describe your product or its main qualities, among other techniques. Search engine algorithms also consider brand mentions in search rankings and building authority, so make use of these elements.           
  1.  Advocacy: SEO To Generate New Leads From Clients

It may sound a bit exploitative, but we’ll say it anyway. You can turn you customers to generate new leads for your company. 

But it’s not all deception. Most of the time, if your customer is really happy with your products and services, including customer service, it’s highly likely that this customer will recommend your brand to family members, friends, and colleagues or all of his or her connections.

This is crucial as up to 83% of buyers are convinced to purchase products recommended by their friends, making it one of the most compelling and trustworthy reasons for conversions, according to Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey for 2013 and 2015.  Online customer opinions and editorial content were ranked equally in second place, garnering 66%.

In addition, a local consumer review survey done in 2020 by Bright Local indicated that 87% of consumers read online reviews, with 76% of them considering these reviews as trustworthy as recommendations from someone they know.

At this stage, you can build your positive reviews online, particularly in websites where most users turn to for unbiased reviews. Apart from reviews, you can ask your loyal customers for support by creating testimonial videos or quotes. Your company can also create success stories and case studies, with their permission.

Optimize these review pages for organic searches. If it’s a business-to-business (B2B) transaction, encourage your client to mention your brand or post their testimonials on their site, if it makes sense.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, SEO can be integrated at every stage of your sales funnel. It’s a continuous process that doesn’t stop at conversion. Creating an effective SEO strategy means you have to evaluate it often and make some improvements as necessary.     

Recommended reading: How to do Keyword research
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