Digital PR: Our Step-By-Step Process (Case Study Included)


In SEO, digital PR is all about getting your brand placements in higher authority, mainstream media outlets. And as you may know backlinks from third party websites are one of the primary factors which improve your rankings within search engines.

So you can get links from these really high authority mainstream media outlets which are technically quite hard to get placements in then your brand’s really gonna be flying in search engines.

In the video above, we show you a real life case study for a client we are currently doing some low-cost digital PR outreach for and how we managed to get some of their placements and the benefit its had on their rankings in search engines, so stay tuned.

Step 1: Research

The first step in any digital PR strategy is all about research. This is when you go out there and look at what people within big publications are writing about – what the journalists are writing about? What are the main themes of publications? And you can do this by simply doing a Google search looking at some of the big publications in your industry and seeing if you can notice any themes within the space.

For example, you can go to Huffington Post, Forbes, the Times, the Mail Online dependant on the industry you’re working in and actually look at different ways or different angles which people are pitching in content and which angles that people are writing about in the moment.

Do they enjoy writing about primary research? We always find that primary research does really well with digital PR because it’s new to world. Alternatively is there anything in the news you can capitalise on are there any big events that you can be quite reactive to?

Are there things like Glastonbury, Pride in London? Is there anything that people are writing about in the news which could really capture their imagination in a timely pitch or a bit of research could do really well within the space at the moment?

It’s all about going out there and seeing what generally people are interested in writing about and fulfilling that need.

Alternatively you can take a more software-based approach where you can go online and use a tool like Ahrefs. You can type in a seed keyword and it will show you exactly what the most shared and the most linked to articles across the web. This can help inform a long-term strategy.

Step 2: Pre-Outreach

So once you’ve found the topic that you wanna write about, before you go and start creating a piece of content or creating an asset which we’re talking about in a sec is you wanna go and do some pre-outreach.

Now pre-outreach is simply when you take the angle of your story and do a little test sample. For example, you can email between 10 and 20 journalists or top tier publications that you want to get your article or feature placed on or your data placed on, outreaching those people saying we’re thinking about doing a study, we’re gonna interview x, y, z on x, y, z, would you be interested in the findings?

And if you email those 20 people and no one responds then it’s probably not gonna be the best idea in the world so maybe try a different angle, and pitch that again.

What you’ll find with good ideas is you’ll get one or two responses, you never get that many responses but you get one or two saying, yes, I’d be interested in finding the outcome of this study, so once you’ve done the research please send it back. Or even better in its pre-outreach phase people say, no, I wouldn’t be interested in that but I would be interested in x, y, z. So that means you can go away, refine your idea and that actually gives you some great insight before you’ve started your campaign. Too many times we see it when people just create a campaign in what they think people are gonna wanna see and they put so much blunt force behind outreaching something which has no traction and no interest within the market so pre-outreach is a key thing that you need to do at this stage of a digital PR campaign.

Step 3: Asset Creation

Now in traditional link building, people create guest posts which they outreach to industry publications or other people in their space, company blogs or whatnot. But in this situation we’re trying to get links from the top 1% of websites out there. These top websites in the world that gain most of the world’s traffic so we need to create an asset which is better than the 99% of all the other stuff out there.

What we like to do is we like to create things like microsites or custom graphics. In the video created a nice custom drawn graphic for an example company. And this graphic is a timeline which shows the evolution of eyelashes through the ages. Now going back to our research idea what we did is we found that there were all sorts of timely events coming up like Glastonbury so we did things like the LED eyelash, Kim Kardashian is an always reoccurring theme so it’s like an evergreen piece of content which we can use time and time again cause press love covering her and different things. So we got an artist, one of our designers to mock up the first ever impression of what the early eyelashes looked like.

Now to the main daily consumer of the news, this may not be that interesting but to people that actually cover this stuff, fashion people especially and the beauty and eyes and eyelash and makeup space it can be quite interesting and that’s what we found.

Step 4: Outreach

Step four was all about outreach. And when you do outreach you need to have a process to make sure you can customise all of your outreach to these relevant people like these publications you’re trying to get placed in.

We devise a wishlist of the 50 publications we’d love to get in and we create personalised emails, look for all of their previous work, make sure that we can reference what their interested in, why we think it’d be suited to that publication in general. And once we’ve done that and we start going down to the more tier two publications. That’s when we use software like BuzzStream, journalist databases like Cision and we create not templated outreaches but outreach which is easier to scale. And what we found out is it allows to get a lot more volume within the tier two then anyone that responds we can be able then to get back to them and offer them a unique angle even if they come back and they say not really that interested, at least they’ve responded so then we can go and put more personalization into the response back to them which we found leads to quite high success rates. How did this campaign do? And that’s the most important thing of everything. Now I think we got three or four digital PR links that we called them which are really high authority which come back to the site and we’ve done a couple of link building campaigns before of relatively low cost for this site and we got quite a few links back to the site that some movements but nothing real. After these four links dropped we got links from the likes of Virgin Media TV, we got links from Irish Examiner, we got links from Allure Magazine. I’ll upload the B-roll, I’ll show you the link to the publications we got. But we got some really strong publications linked to us. And within most of these publications linked back to the asset or the home page. So therefore the authority from these really powerful, relevant links was spreading across the whole site therefore the rankings for a lot of the keywords we were going for just shot up overnight. As you can see here we went from position 26 to position 1 for not a massive volume keyword but a keyword which is driving good sales none the less. And the fact that we jumped here from this is over 6,000 searches a month we’ve jumped up significantly and this is all of the back of these links landing and then Google’s database picking them up and just seeing us as much more of an authority. So if you can get links in these really high tier publications which other people find it really hard to get then you’re gonna be better than 99% of your competition. If you go after the same blogs, they accept guest posts then Google’s gonna be a bit me too, who’s gonna rank first? Google will decide on the day but instead if you can get these really high quality links by creating assets, you’re really gonna be in great stead to get some amazing links from some amazing websites which really do boost your authority and help your site in the long run rank for some seriously competitive keywords which in turn drive sales and that’s why we’re all in the game of SEO. So hope you found this video useful and I’ll see you next time, cheers.

B2B Remarketing: Boost Your ROI in Three Easy Steps

Remarketing is the process of bringing previous visitors back to your website to finish the conversion process – otherwise known in B2B as filling out a form.

Research shows remarketing converts up to 50% more traffic.

Not bad!

The only problem is, it is not as simple as knocking-up a remarketing campaign and raking in 50% more business. As always, there are plenty of obstacles lurking around the corner to drag your brand new campaign through the mud.

Here are 3 things to consider when optimizing your B2B remarketing campaigns.

1. Don’t use the same landing page twice

Has telling a person the same thing twice ever persuaded them to do something they didn’t do after the first time of asking?

Probably not.

It’s the same with landing pages.

Sure, sometimes life gets in the way of people hitting that ‘buy’ button, but in most cases, the user didn’t have enough information to move forward. Especially in long b2b buying cycles, customers need multiple touch points with brands and each time to receive more information to push them towards the bottom of that notorious sales funnel.

Take this simplified funnel as an example:

If only 2% of search traffic converts into business, that means 98% of people are in the ‘awareness’ or ‘interest’ stages of the buying funnel.

Instead of remarketing the same page they’ve already seen (and not converted on), you can assume they are aware of the solution they are trying to find – they just need more information to gently guide them to your product.

Here are three types of landing page you can use to move prospects toward that 30% conversion dream:

1. The thought-leadership landing page (awareness stage)

The first landing page you can hit them with is a content page (blog, white paper etc.) which is relevant to the solution you are trying to sell. This does two things:

  1. positions you as a company who knows what they are talking about (brand awareness), and
  2.  helps them along their journey towards working out exactly what it is they need

As Neil Patel says – you wouldn’t say yes to a marriage proposal from someone you’d only just met. So why would someone buy a product from you without getting to know your company first?

This is your company’s version of dating.

2. The credibility maximiser (interest stage)

The second page you remarked traffic towards contains social proof.

Remember that worn-out saying ‘nobody ever got fired for hiring IBM’? In a nutshell, this quote refers to IBM’s renowned credibility. Therefore, the person who chose IBM can’t be blamed for poor judgment if issues occur.

This is your IBM page.

Its objective is to showcase testimonials and successful case studies in order to put the buyer’s mind at rest. And if worse comes to worst they can say to their boss ‘look it’s not my fault they work with [insert impressive company name here]’.

Sorted.

In b2b we seldom market to the final decision maker. Therefore, it’s important to offer information which allows the recipients to sell your product internally to those who sign the cheques.

3. The conversion attempt (decision stage)

Finally, it’s time to seek dividends for your efforts. Once a user has shown significant interest in your content it’s time to hit them with the sales pitch.

This landing page consists of anything from; free trials, price comparisons, quote requests and more. The purpose of this page is to make it as easy as possible for the users to get into contact with your company.

Once they get in contact – it’s a nice easy win for the sales team.

Up to 80% of buying process now takes place before the first direct interaction with the company – Harvard Business Review 

2. Creating the best ads

So, you’ve got the landing pages set up, now all you need is to drive users back to your website.

Easy, huh?

Just create a few ads in various sizes and unleash them into the world? That’s one way to do it. However, in order to get the most users to return to your website – why not let them decide what ads they prefer.

Here’s how…

Create 4 variations of an ad sized 250x250PX. This ad is great for testing as it gets the most impressions on the GDN. If you don’t have a designer or agency you can get ads variations created on the cheap by the likes of Upwork or People Per Hour.

Once these ads have been created navigate to campaign > display network in your Adwords account.

Select no marketing objective and name your campaign.

Next, fill out the country you wish to target and daily budget.

Under the Ad delivery: Ad rotation, frequency capping, Digital content label, deselect ‘optimise for clicks‘ and select ‘optimise indefinitely‘.

This allows you to judge which ads perform the best. If ‘optimise for clicks‘ is left ticked, Google will choose the one they believe to be superior without testing – and we don’t want that.

Next Select your audience you wish you remarket to.

If you haven’t created audiences previously, here’s a video on how to do so.

Create a new ad group and upload the 4 images.

Ads should be approved within 24 hours.

Once the ads are approved, keep them up and running for up to 1 month (or more depending on audience size). Whichever ad receives the most conversions (content downloads, trial requests etc.) is the winner.

It’s then time to build out the winner in the different sizes accepted by GDN.

Congrats, you now have the best possible ad to drive traffic back to your website.

Note: in order to judge the best performing ad you need to ensure conversion tracking is properly set up. Here’s a video to show you how to do exactly that.

Add Remarketing Lists for Search Ads (RLSAs) to existing campaigns

RLSAs enable you to position search results in front of previous website visitors.

This underutilised cousin of display remarketing is an extremely powerful tool to ensure users revisit your website at the exact moment they search for one of your products via google or bing.

This is a great example of RSLAs by LinkedIn.

They know I’ve previously been on the LinkedIn ads page, but have not yet purchased. The next time I’m looking for ‘b2b marketing’ they are right there in the search results with a $50 free offer.

Cheers.

Just like display remarketing there are many ways you can utilise RSLAs. In this article we’ll be looking at the best ways to integrate RLSAs into your current search campaigns to ensure previous visitors see your ad next time they search for relevant products.

Let’s get started.

Log into your google AdWords account.

Go to an existing live search campaign and navigate to the audience tab.

Hit targeting

Select campaign in the drop down and then add campaign targeting > interests and remarketing

Select remarketing lists and hit the >> arrows next to the all visitors tab and save.

Navigate back to the audience tab in your campaign and you should now see this view.

Click on the bid section and increase by 100% (dependent on budget).

And you’re done.

You’ve set up your search campaign to increase your bid so previous users see your promotion in the search rankings.

This strategy is great for companies with small marketing budgets, as it allows cost per click for new visitors to remain the same, whilst bidding more to attract returning traffic.

Conclusion

Remarketing is an amazing way to bring prospects back to your website and offer them more information so they can complete their purchase, and you can, therefore, boost ROI.

That said, a successful remarketing campaign relies on 3 things:

– directing audiences to a new landing page to continue their learning
– testing ads to ensure you maximise audience engagement
– the ability for your audience to find you at key moments

Only then will you reap the benefits of that conversion bump of up to 50%.

Happy remarketing, people!

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How PPC Can Help You Dominate B2B SEO

With over 71% of B2B buying decisions starting with a Google search, it’s no wonder the marketing world is obsessed with getting to the top of search engines.

Higher rankings > More Traffic > More Leads > More Sales.

Unlucky for some, getting to the top of organic search results pages (SERPs) in 2019 is much harder than it was 7 years ago. Algorithm updates mean quick SEO hacks no longer work, and it takes time and money to rank at the top.

With this in mind, smaller companies need to identify SEO opportunities, so they can quickly rise through the SERPs without wasting resources on dead-end campaigns.

Using PPC to dominate SEO

Even though PPC and SEO are two parts of the same puzzle, they are seldom used in tandem. SEO departments get on with their job, PPC’ers with theirs, and the only time they talk is to discuss who gets the attribution for which lead.

Sound familiar?

The crazy thing is, all insights SEOs need to make awesome campaigns can be pulled from AdWords data. From keyword research to website flow, AdWords can be used as a tool to direct and boost all SEO efforts. This post explores 5 ways PPC can contribute towards your organic search strategy.

Purchase intent

If you’ve ever spent time ranking a product page for a keyword that doesn’t convert any users into sales, you know the frustration. You’ve dedicated time into a SERP boost, and the only metric you have to show for it is traffic.

I’m not saying traffic is bad, but you only have a finite number of product pages, and these pages are designed to drive business. So if they aren’t then you’ve got a problem, and the issue could be that your pages are ranking for the wrong keywords.

PPC campaigns are great for quickly testing the purchase intent of keywords. For example, a company who sells landing page software may be torn between ranking their product page for two primary keywords:

Landing Page Builder vs Website Page Creator

Regardless of how similar these terms are, there’s a strong possibility that one phrase carries higher commercial intent. So before optimising your page for one of the above, run a single keyword adgroup (SKAG) in AdWords, and see which one produces the most conversions. The winning keyword is the one with the highest purchase intent and the one you optimise around.

With over 85% of click results being on organic results, if you can generate a good ROI from your target keywords using paid ads, then ranking highly in organic search is going to supercharge your success.  

PPC is the quickest way for SEOs to predict the the financial returns of the campaigns the are about embark on.

Boosting rankings with killer meta

It’s no secret that click-through-rate (CTR) is an important ranking Factor. Google Engineer, Paul Haahr, said so himself at a conference (kinda):


To paraphrase: RankBrain (Google’s algorithm learning artificial intelligence system), promotes pages which get high CTRs and demote pages which don’t. They also test low ranking pages at the top of Google, and if they achieve high CTR then they stay there.

In short, if your meta-tags are not awesome, then neither are your rankings. The problem SEOs face when writing a meta-tags for a new page is the majority of what is written is guesswork. You can look at competitors for guidance, but there is no way of knowing if you copy will receive the best possible CTR.

Again, AdWords solves this.

AdWords allows you to experiment with meta-tags and descriptions. And by continuously testing multiple different paid ads you are able to quickly determine which copy which is going to drive the highest CTR. And every time a new ad achieves a higher CTR, you can change your SEO tags to match.

Simply, PPC takes the guesswork out of optimising your meta-tags and gives your page the best chance to quickly jump up the rankings.

Dwell on conversions

Similar to the CTR, dwell time and user experience play a large role in how high your page ranks.

If your website solves the user’s problem, Google likes you, if it doesn’t, then goodbye page one. Rather than waiting months to see if your new organic searchers are fulfilled by your website, you can track the users’ behaviour flow from an AdWords campaign.

To do this, navigate to your Google Analytics account and go behaviour > behaviour flow.

Next, click on the drop-down and select advertising > adgroup.

 

This graph illustrates how your visitors interact with your website.

If there is a clear conversion path then chances are your SEO efforts will be successful. However, if you see a lot of red drop-offs on your landing page then it’s time rethink what your customers are actually looking for.

PPC acts as a way to expedite UX research and allows you to make modifications to your landing pages and flow. So when you start to move up the rankings Google keeps you there, and more importantly, you turn those browsers into leads.

Long-live PPC

There’s a perception that PPC is a short-term strategy, while SEO will drive your results in the long term.

The problem is that Google is forever pivoting towards favouring their paid search options. Today, if you are ranking #1 in the organic search you are still 5th from the top (at best).

Once more, B2B buying cycles are expanding as more alternatives present themselves. In fact, it’s likely the users will visit the website 3-5 times before becoming a lead.

To make sure you capture these prospects back to your site, it’s important to think about your SERP impression share. If you leverage PPC as well as SEO, you can appear twice on the same results page. Increasing the likelihood of receiving that precious click.

As mentioned earlier, organic rankings achieve 85% of the clicks, but what about the other 15%? If you integrate PPC and SEO, you are able to reach the whole market, not just part of it. It will also start to build the perception of industry authority and credibility with the searcher.

More importantly, if the worst does happen and Google decides to drop your organic rankings, at least you have a fallback. While PPC isn’t a simple beast, it’s far easier to get your ads show than it is to climb and retain the top organic spot.

Think of PPC as your security blanket.

The PPC conspiracy theory

Now, what I’m about to say has never been proven, but is something I’ve noticed.

*audience holds breath…*

The better your AdWords campaigns perform, the better your organic search rankings are.

More specifically, when my PPC conversions increase, my lower ranking pages seem to rise through the SERPs.

It could be a coincidence, but it appears Google wants to reward those sites who are performing well on their paid medium. And it makes sense if my website is showing relevancy for paid users, why wouldn’t it be the same for organic ones?

That’s one theory.

The other is, that whilst optimising my ads and pages using the AdWords data my site’s dwell time improved and better matched the intent of my visitors. Consequently raising my non-paid results.

Either way, I’m not the first to nice this. Moz recently released a video which suggests that, much like PPC, SEO also has a quality score. And seeing as over 60% of Google’s algorithm is a complete mystery to the everyday marketer, I’d be surprised if SEO didn’t receive any data from it paid-counterpoint.

While it’s not set in stone, creating well performing PPC campaigns could be buying you good grace from the Google Gods. Even if it’s not, it’s still helping you optimise your site for conversions.

Conclusion

The 2019 SEO game isn’t a quick or easy one. But Google is on a mission to reward those who are going about it properly.

Instead of wasting time, and going after rankings for keywords that won’t impact your bottom-line, duplicate your SEO campaign in AdWords first. This will quickly and easily give you the results of how successful your SEO campaign will be, and allow you to plug any fundamental issues with your site.

If you’re looking to create a positive SEO ROI in 2019, there’s really no better way.

How to Steal your Competitors’ Traffic [Step-by-step Guide]

There’s one thing I find more satisfying than increasing web traffic:

Stealing competitors’ traffic.

But hey, if I can offer the searcher more value then it’s fair game, right?

Over the year’s I’ve created a method in which any company can reverse engineer competitor’s most successful pages and beat them to the top spot of Google – and therefore win their traffic.

Better still, access to marketing software such as SEMrush enables you to achieve results with as little thinking as possible.

To prove this method can be applied to B2B companies, I’ll be using a small cloud-based accounting software company (for privacy reasons let’s call them companyX) as my working example.

I’ll be taking you through step-by-step how they could ‘steal’ over 1400 visitors a month from a large competitor.

Getting set-up

If you haven’t already, head over to www.semrush.com and create an account.

A limited free version is available, but I recommend purchasing at least the basic subscription. It’s a great tool I use on a daily basis, from anything to keyword research to brand monitoring.

Anyway, enough with the sales pitch.

Once you’re signed up enter the URL of the website you’re looking to acquire traffic for into the search bar.

In our case it’s: www.companyx.co.uk

This initial page shows an overview of companyX web analytics and offers key information.

Here are a few to highlight:

  • CompanyX are currently getting only 900 organic visitors a month
  • They aren’t spending anything on paid ads
  • They have roughly 174 backlinks pointing to their website.

This overview scratches the surface of a website audit SEMrush is capable of, but for the sake of this post it’s important to know the state companyX current organic traffic, so you can see their growth potential.

Finding competitors

Next, create a list of competitors’ sites.

You probably already have a good idea of who your competitors are. It’s worth writing these down so you can compare it to the suggested list from SEMrush.

SEMrush’s list of competitors is derived from which companies you are competing with online. More specifically, which companies are competing for the same keywords.

This list is great at highlighting competitors you didn’t know existed but pose a threat to your online success.

To find this list of competitors, navigate to organic research > competitors in the left-hand column.

Here’s a list of companyX’s online competition, as seen by Google.

For the purpose of this post, let’s select a well known competing accounting software company you’ve probably heard of – Clearbooks.

Clearbooks competes with companyX on 31 different keywords.

The problem for companyX being, that Clearbooks drives over 33,000 organic visitors a month, while they bring in short of 1,000.

Let’s take a closer look at Clearbooks and work out how we can start stealing their traffic.

Competitor analysis

Click on the clearbooks.co.uk link and you’ll see a familiar overview screen.

The first thing we need to do when analysing Clearbooks site is seeing which of their pages are most successful in driving traffic.

To do this navigate to organic research > pages.

This view brings up all Clearbooks web pages which acquire the most search engine traffic.

Clearbooks homepage brings in the most visitors – over 17%.

This is common for websites, due to the majority of traffic consisting of branded searches.

The important pages are the ones after the homepage. These consist of what look like blogs.

This is a perfect example of content marketing from Clearbooks.

They’ve done their research and worked out what information potential customers are searching for and created blog posts around these queries, in order to attract relevant traffic to their website.

This is good news for companyX, because if played right they can piggyback Clearbooks content success and use it to start driving their own relevant traffic.

How?

Firstly, companyX needs to select a blog page they can analyse.

For example, www.clearbook.co.uk/what-are-accruals-and-what-is-accrual-accounting – which brings in nearly 4% of Clearbooks overall organic traffic.

I don’t know much about accounting, but I assume people searching for accrual based terms are either small business owners or people working in finance. Either way, there’s a high chance a lot of this traffic is companyX’s target market.

Once the blog link is clicked, companyX will be presented with the blog page’s stats:

This blog post alone brings in more visitors than companyX’s whole site. Luckily, now we’ve found a relevant page that receives lots of traffic it’s time to start the stealing.

Learning from competitors successful pages.

The first step for companyX is to find out what keywords drive users to this page.

They do this by scrolling down to the keywords section and clicking on view full report.

This list is made up of all the keywords and search terms that trigger Clearbooks accrual page.

CompanyX now needs to select the accrual based keywords they are going to focus their piece of content on.

For this example let’s use: ‘accrual accounting‘ as their targeted keyword.

It’s got highish search volume (1300 a month), and it’ll be easy to rank for other accrual related terms in the process.

Creating a better resource

Now the hard bit starts…

Next, companyX needs to create a resource page better than Clearbooks.

Brian Dean calls this the Skyscraper Technique.

This method outlines ways your content can ‘one-up’ competitors content, by doing one of the following:

  • make the content longer and more informative
  • make a more recent version, with more relevant up-to-date examples
  • design better-looking content

Let’s have a quick look at Cleabooks accrual post, to see how any of these apply.

Without going into a full page audit, there are straight away a few things that can be done to create a better post.

For starters, this post was created nearly 2 years ago. Even though it’s evergreen content, there could be recent updates in the world of accrual accounting worth adding in (just a guess).

However, the bigger opportunity lies in the fact that Clearbooks post on accrual accounting isn’t as informative as it could be. I know this because I’ve looked around at other sites like Investopedia, who have a more detailed post on accrual accounting.

The best thing for companyX to do it type their target word ‘accrual accounting’ into Google and analyse the top 5 result (Clearbooks is #4), and work out how they can create a superior resource using the skyscraper technique.

Only then will they be able to create the best accrual accounting resource out there.

It becomes obvious why the resource needs to be superior in a later section.

Optimising content

Once the content has been created it needs to be optimised for the term ‘accrual accounting’ so Google can clearly identify the contents focus.

Here are a few things for companyX to consider when optimising their new page:

  • relevant URL (e.g. www.companyx.co.uk/accrual-accounting)
  • keyword term ‘accrual accounting’ in H1 tag
  • use of keyword in first 100 words
  • Keyword use and enticing Meta Description (e.g. Accrual Accounting: The Definitive Guide)
  • Use of LSI keywords

You can find a more extensive guide to optimising content here: https://moz.com/learn/seo/on-page-factors

Cool!

CompanyX now has superior content which has been optimised for the term accrual accounting.

The final stage to is to ensure companyX ranks above Clearbooks in Google when user’s search for accrual accounting.

Getting the traffic (AKA stealing customers)

It’s no secret that the main SEO ranking factor is the number of backlinks pointing towards a landing page.

The more links companyX gets from relevant domains, the more likely they are to appear above Clearbooks on accrual accounting terms.

How can they do this?

We’ve already stolen the content idea from Clearbooks, why not steal their backlinks too?

SEMrush allows you to see which domains are linking to specific pages.

However, as you can see, Clearbooks don’t have any backlinks pointing towards this piece of content.

This is common in b2b blogs, and their high rank is probably due to high-quality on-site optimisation and domain authority.

This is good news and low hanging fruit for companyX, as they only need to acquire a few high-quality links to boost themselves above Clearbooks.

It’s time to head to ‘Google’ to see who’s backlinks companyX can steal.

Simply Type ‘accrual accounting’ into Google, select the top result and input the URL into SEMrush.

In this case, it’s a blog from Investopedia.

You can see this page from Investopedia has 148 backlinks.

Probably they reason they’re #1.

Next, navigate to organic research > backlinks > referring domains

This list show’s you exactly which domains are pointing towards Investopedia’s accrual page.

Click on trust score, so you get a list of backlinks sorted from highest to lowest domain score.

(Hint – the higher the domain and trust score, the more valuable the backlink.)

In order to steal the backlinks, companyX needs to find out which page from the website is linking to Investopedia.

To do this click on the number under the backlink column:

This will then bring up this view:

Under source page, we can see the exact page the link is coming from, along with the anchor text.

Great.

The final step in the process of stealing traffic is outreach.

Outreach

Outreach refers to emailing web owners who currently link to competitors content, in order to get them to link to your content instead.

Using the information above, companyX is now able to outreach to all websites currently linking to Investopedia’s accrual page, and notify them about their ‘superior content’.

This is where it becomes obvious why a superior piece of content needed to be created.

Websites are only going to make the effort to change linked content if it will provide their readers with more value.

And the only way to ensure that is by making a superior piece of content.

I know, cool, ey?

If you’re struggling to word your outreach email, Brian Dean, in the Skyscraper Technique offers some tried and tested email scripts to use when trying to steal users links, for example:

Once website owners relink to companyX’s content (and they will), that’s when they’ll appear above Clearbooks in Google and start stealing their traffic.

That’s enough to double companyX’s monthly organic traffic!

And then. once the user has visited their site, companyX can put them into a remarketing funnel to drive them towards a purchase!

Sorted.

Conclusion

In this post we’ve walked through how to:

  • identify online competitors
  • identify their top performing pages (and the keywords that drive users there)
  • identify how to make superior content
  • and, finally how to boost content above competitors – therefore, stealing their traffic.

All using SEMrush.

One final thing to note is that building backlinks in the early stages can be time-consuming. To ease your work you can use this tool – Linkio.com which can be a huge time saver and also will automate your process and give you the exact link building game plan for any target website.

I hope you found it useful, and if you want to get started stealing traffic for your company just enter your URL in the search bar below to get started:

Happy stealing, people!

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The 8 Best Surrey Business Blogs 2018

Best Surrey Blogs Award

Whether you’re a solo dog walker or multinational solicitor, there’s huge value you can offer the world through your company blog. At B2Bmetric we like to recognise when companies go above and beyond to craft content that inspires and informs their readers. Which is why we’ve created this award celebrating 8 Surrey-based companies that have nailed content marketing, so much so that we had to write about them (in no particular order):

1. Bristow Burrell Chartered Accountants

With over 50 years’ experience, Bristow Burrell Chartered Accountants is a Guildford-based company who create near-daily content covering industry news in an easy to digest format. From writing about GDPR, to pension-savers they’re on a mission to write actionable post their readers can use in their day-to-day lives. Instead of trying to persuade customers they’re accountancy experts, Bristow Burrell go the extra mile to prove it through their content.

A great example of this is their extensive resource section: www.bristowburrell.co.uk/resources

2. Enjoy The Adventure

Enjoy The Adventure is living proof you don’t need a business to start a blog, but instead, you can turn a blog into a business. Writing about her passion for travelling Jess creates refreshingly transparent guides for people looking for places to visit around the world. As a winner of the Surrey Digital Awards, Jess’s blog has already been recognised as a blog to keep your eye on for the future.

You can follow Enjoy The Adventure’s journey on Twitter: @enjoyadventures

3. Plant Passion

Fresh from the Surrey Hills Claire created Plant Passion back in 2012 to combine her love of horticulture and locally grown flowers. Like many start-up founders, she came face-to-face with the challenges of growing her business, and there’s no doubt her blog played a part in helping her dream come into fruition.  

From reading Plant Passions’ blog it not only shows Claire knows A LOT about flowers but that she cares to. The time and effort put into creating this level of content is no small feat, and I’m sure it keeps her customers coming back for more.

You can follow Plant Passions’ journey on Twitter: @Plantpassion

4. Natalia Barbour

Natalia Barbour’s interior design business pride themselves on combining style and functionality, which becomes apparent as soon as you enter their site. With in-depth blogs on home design trends, Natalia has done a great job of portraying her company both online and offline. In a time where the majority of first impressions are through a companies website, Natalia Barbour has poisoned themselves as being the preferred choice by all surrey-based web searchers.

You can check out their latest projects and content on Twitter: @NataliaBarbour

5. RHW Solicitors

It’s easy for corporate organisations to sound rigid in the communication they have with their audience. RHW Solicitors, on the other hand, have put a huge focus on creating user-friendly content that resonates with their readers. With blogs that focus on everyday issues, they’ve made themselves a great source of information well before someone may need their services.

You can keep updated with their near-daily blogs posts on Twitter: @rhwSolicitors

6. The Denture and Implant Clinic 

Many companies struggle with coming up with ideas for blog posts and end up writing about the first thing which comes to mind. The Denture and Implant Clinic are not one of these companies. Taking a solution-focused approach, they’ve listened to clients and created highly relevant content around questions asked. In doing so they’ve created a resource they know their readers are going to love, without guessing.

If you’re ever stuck for content ideas, take a leaf out of The Denture and Implant Clinic’s book and turn to your customers for topics.

7. Dad Blog

With several awards already under his belt, John from dadblog.uk is another great example of someone who has turned a blog into a business. From partnerships with big brands to selling t-shirts, John has done an amazing job in turning his life stories into a revenue-generating machine.

As well as the written word, John has taken his content to the next level by creating videos on YouTube to appeal to a much wider audience.

You can follow dadblog’s story on Twitter: @dadbloguk

8. Bonnie Dogs Grooming 

As a dog owner myself, I could instantly relate to the articles written on Bonnie Dogs Grooming’s website and found myself scrolling through them to find out more. This should be the aim of any business blog. If your customers can relate to your content you’ll become their go-to company for years to come.

Unlike the above blogs mentioned, Bonnie Dogs Grooming doesn’t post that frequenly, but when they do they really hit the mark.

You can keep up to date with their content on Twitter: @BonnieDogs

 

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B2B Lead Generation: A Beginners Guide (2019)

b2b lead generation
Let’s face it… the only thing we really care about as B2B marketers is generating leads for our sales team.

We sit in meetings and report on what we’ve contributed to the bottom-line. Marketing is no longer just branding, it’s about tangible results, and we’re on a mission to generate as many marketing-attributed leads as possible.

That said, B2B lead generation can be hard, and to make things worse there’s a lot of bad information out there. People telling you to buy email lists and getting the sales team to make cold calls isn’t helpful.

This article is going to put a stop to the stone-age approach, and layout how B2B companies should be generating leads through digital marketing in 2018.

First things first, what is lead generation?

Lead generation is the process of attracting and converting strangers and prospects into someone who has indicated interest in your company’s product.

Simply, it’s about converting someone who has never heard of your company, into a customer. This is commonly referred to as ‘Inbound Marketing’.

But like most things, generating leads isn’t black and white. Some leads may purchase immediately, some may be interested but have no demand, and some may never be interested to buy.

This is where marketing and sales teams can fall out. Marketing end up passing all inbound ‘leads’ over and the sales team come up empty-handed. This is simply because the majority of leads are not ready to talk to sales. In fact,  only 27% of the leads sent over to sales people are properly qualified.

To avoid this problem leads can be categorised into two groups:

Marketing qualified leads (MQL)

A MQL is a relevant lead which is not ready to be sold to. This user may have downloaded an ebook or attended a webinar so you know they’re invested in your industry, but they are not yet in the market to buy.

MQLs make up the vast majority of inbound leads, so it’s no wonder why many marketing teams get labelled as providing ‘rubbish leads’ when they’ve been passing them over to early. Just because you’ve downloaded an ebook, doesn’t mean you’re ready to buy a new software solution…

Sales qualified leads (SQL)

A SQL, on the other hand, is a lead which has the intent to buy. These leads are actively looking to purchase and could have requested pricing or a product demo. These are prime leads for the sales team to convert into customers.

More importantly, these are the leads sales are happy to see in their inbox.

Why not always go for SQL leads?

You’re probably thinking, why don’t I just attract ready-to-buy leads? It would save me loads of time and make me mega popular with the sales team.

In an ideal world this would be the case, but the truth is that 98% of your leads are not ready to purchase on the first visit. So if you’re only focusing on leads who are ready-to-buy, you’re leaving ALOT of money on the table.

The following focuses on a simple process you can use to attract MQL’s and turn them into the SQLs you’ll love.

B2B Lead generation starter kit

Before you can start reeling in the leads, there are a few things you need to get you started.

1. Customer persona: like any good marketing campaign, you need to start by defining who you want to target. If you can’t picture your ideal customer, how can you be expected to attract them? A good persona uses a data-driven approach to discover the biggest pain points of your customer, their gaps in knowledge, and how they consume information. If you haven’t got one already, here’s a great guide to persona creation.

2. Content: once you’ve chosen a persona, next craft a piece of content to solve one of their business challenges, or fill a gap in their knowledge. This content can take many forms:

– ebooks
– webinars
– Podcasts
– Free software
– Whitepapers
– Video series
… the list goes on. 

Creating content your readers love isn’t always easy, especially in B2B. If you’re struggling to come up with a topic your audience will genuinely love – follow this guide on how to write content in boring B2B industries.

Here’s an example of an ebook we created at b2bMetric for our readers:

3. Landing page: once your content is identified and created, you’ll need to build a dedicated landing page for it to sit on. This page outlines the incentive of why the reader should give up their email address in order to receive the free resource. 

As you can see, this ebook isn’t a run of the mill blog post. It covers every aspect a B2B marketer needs to know in order to rank highly in Google Search. The job of the landing page is to illustrate its value to the reader so they hit ‘download’.

4. Form and call to action (CTA): now you’ve got your landing page sorted you need a way to gate your content. Gating simply means users need to enter their email address before downloading the asset. The action of filling out the form is what converts them from a browser to a MQL. 

Driving leads to your landing page.

So you’ve got your lead magnet and landing page sorted. All you need now is traffic. Here are two of the best lead generation tactics used by B2B marketers to drive highly relevant leads to your landing page.

Search Marketing

Generating MQLs using PPC is often overlooked. Instead, B2B marketers use AdWords to target companies immediately ready to buy. This can work, but as mentioned if you only target these leads, you’ll leave a lot of money on the table.

Companies like Wordstream have figured out that while the majority of their competitors are promoting ‘sales focused’ ads using AdWords, they’ve taken a different route and promote ‘research focused’ ads.

For example, if I type ‘landing page best practices’ into Google I see the following results:

The top results are instantly trying to sell me services. But Wordstream has noticed that my search query isn’t a ready-to-buy one. Instead, they’ve offered me an outlet for more information. Once I click on the ad I’m presented with the following landing page:

They’ve now received my personal information and I’m officially a MQL for Wordstream. On the other hand, their competitors have lost the opportunity to turn me into a lead because they were pushing for the instant sale.

Take away: while pursuing SQL using Adwords can be lucrative, you need to ensure you are only promoting ‘sales focused’ ads when consumers are looking for them. If the consumer is looking for information, don’t waste your budget trying the hard sell. Instead, generate an MQL using ‘research focused’ content…. like Wordstream.

Social media

There’s always been a big question mark over the success of social media in B2B lead generation. There have been ‘studies’ which show how ineffective it is, like this one:

And some which suggest it’s very effective, like this one:

The truth lies with how B2B companies use their social accounts. Companies who frequently upload self-promotion posts are going to fall short. On the other hand, companies who direct both organic and paid social traffic towards their free asset pages are going to drive many more leads.

LinkedIn is the B2B goldmine. With over half a million daily active users, LinkedIn is ideal for getting your content in front of a highly relevant audience. Just like paid search, Linkedin may not be the cheapest advertising platform. But we’re not looking for cheap leads. We’re looking for relevant leads and future customers.

The great thing about LinkedIn ads is how granular you are able to target.

You can target by company, industry, job function and even seniority – which is why 79% of B2B Marketers view LinkedIn as an effective source for generating B2B MQL leads.

Take away: LinkedIn ads are a great way of generating MQLs from relevant companies. Just remember not to go straight for sale, instead, direct them towards your value-adding landing page to convert.

You’ve now got a flurry of relevant MQLs coming in and It’s too early to them over to the sales team, so what can you do? 

Lead Nurturing (turning MQLs into SQL’s)

Lead nurturing, simply put, is the building of relationships with MQL’s who are not currently ready to buy. Its goal is to educate the prospect and build trust, so when the time comes to buying they think of you.

The obvious: email nurture streams

The guys over at Demand Gen Report found that nurturing leads through automated email streams increased opportunities by 30%. This is due to the fact that MQL’s need upwards of 5 touchpoints from a company before they convert into a customer.

Automated email streams are simply pre-programmed emails that trigger when a lead has downloaded content from your website. It’s a great way for small companies to achieve these 5 touchpoints, without having a massive sales team.

Take this example of a small lead nurturing sequence, which acts as a mechanism to drive leads automatically down the sales funnel.

Although brief, it illustrates how powerful automatic emails can be in passively guiding customers towards an eventual purchase. It ticks along in the background and slowly encourages the MQL’s to engage with your company, thus converting them into a beloved SQL.

Email streams are a whole topic in itself, so in the interest of staying on point, here are some great resource for creating email B2B nurture streams that convert  MQLs to SQLs:

B2B Email Drip Campaign Ideas and Examples
7 Steal-Worthy Drip Campaign Examples (And Why They Work)
7 Lessons from Top-Performing Drip Email Campaigns

Making it multichannel

In the past, nurture campaigns solely consisted of email marketing. Today marketers are able to go beyond the limits of email and use a mixture of remarketing, social media and dynamic website content achieve better results.

If you’ve received someone’s email address, there is much more you can do with it than simply send them an email. Ad platforms like Facebook and Linkedin allow you to upload email addresses which are matched to user’s profiles. You can then target ads to those specific users.

If you’re unsure of how this works, check out this video on LinkedIn Matched Audiences (38 seconds in).

You’re now able to target information to your MQLs across several channels. And so long as you’re providing them with relevant and insightful content, they’re being navigated towards your product.

Awesome.

Here are a few of the best posts on lead generation strategies:

– What is Lead Nurturing? (& How to Do it Right)
– How to Nurture Your Organic Leads
– B2B Lead Nurturing For Dummies 

Conclusion

Lead generation and nurturing have proven to be a scalable and effective strategies. However, it’s not always a quick process. From the first interaction a customer has with your company, it takes time for them to build the trust needed to become an eventual customer. It happens almost without them knowing it.

Your job as a marketer is to:

  1. Identify what content will lead the customer finding your company for the first time,
  2. Find ways to successfully promote that content,
  3. Work out which content you can provide to nurture them from first time visitor through to a customer.

A lot of work needs to be done in the background before you see any tangible benefits.

So get planting those seeds, and the results should follow!

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