Best Google Forms Alternative for WordPress


Are you looking to create a distraction-free form landing page in WordPress? The biggest challenge has been all forms are controlled by your theme and not all themes have templates designed for forms. In this video, we’ll show you how to use Form Pages by WPForms to create a distraction-free form landing page.

For this tutorial we will be using WPForms Pro version which can be purchased here:

https://wpforms.com/

With the plugin purchased, install and activate it on your WordPress site and under WPForms, Settings add your license key for all of the plugin’s features.

With that set up, you can begin creating a form, in this tutorial we will create a quote form. WPForms will auto-fill based on the template you selected to use and you can modify the fields to suit your needs.

Next, we’ll go into Settings, and select Form Pages. As we didn’t install the addon it will bring up a popup asking if we want to install it. It will now add the form pages as a selectable option and in the options, we will check the checkbox for Enable Form Page Mode to make the form into its own page.

Select the Form Page Title for what you want the visitors to see, add the message to display before the form fields, decide if you want to change the permalink, upload a header image should you want, select the footer text or hide it, select the color, and finally select the style for the form.

Now when you go to the permalink you set for your form a full-page form should be visible on your site that uses its own design rather than taking from your theme’s templates. The form will have all of your customizations as well as all of the form’s fields you wanted to be added.

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=wpbeginner

Feel free to take a look at the written version of this tutorial here:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/news/form-pages-by-wpforms-google-forms-alternative-for-wordpress/

Check us out on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/wpbeginner

Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/wpbeginner

Check out our website for more WordPress Tutorials
http://www.wpbeginner.com

Read more: youtube.com

Read More

How to Embed a Facebook Video in WordPress


Do you want to embed a Facebook video on your WordPress site? With the popularity of Facebook live and Facebook’s videos, we’ve had several of our users ask if it was possible to embed Facebook videos in WordPress. In this video, we will show you how to easily embed a Facebook video and a Facebook live video in WordPress.

To start, you will want to visit the Facebook Embedded Video and Live Video Player page found here:

https://developers.facebook.com/docs/plugins/embedded-video-player

Here you will add the URL of the video from Facebook you would like to display as well as set the pixel width you want the video to display at and it should display below. There’s even the option to include the full post in a checkbox under the URL of the video box.

Now that your selected video is set, click the get code button to bring up the required code. For a Facebook video to display on your site you will need to add the first code block to your theme’s header. If your theme does not have a built-in method, you can use the Insert Headers and Footers plugin found here:

https://wordpress.org/plugins/insert-headers-and-footers/

With the above plugin, you would go under Settings, Insert Headers and Footers and add the code in the top box and click the Save button. This will automatically add the code in your site’s header for you. With that added you can add the second code from Facebook and it will embed the video the same as it would a YouTube video.

For a Facebook Live video, you will first need to go live due to Facebook’s limitations. That will allow you to right click on the date that you went live and copy the live video’s URL. Take that URL back to the Facebook Video Player Configurator to customize the display to how you’re wanting and click the Get Code button.

If you’ve already added the JavaScript to your header from another video or embed then you don’t need to add that for this new video. Add the second code block to your site where you want the live video to appear.

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=wpbeginner

Feel free to take a look at the written version of this tutorial here:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-embed-a-facebook-video-in-wordpress/

Check us out on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/wpbeginner

Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/wpbeginner

Check out our website for more WordPress Tutorials
http://www.wpbeginner.com

Read more: youtube.com

Read More

Best WordPress Hosting in 2019 (Compared)


Are you looking at different hosts and trying to find the right one for you? We’re speaking directly with our founder Syed Balkhi in this video to bring you his recommendations based on your needs. Come take a look at our video to help you decide what WordPress hosting would be best for your needs.

In this video, we mention hosting providers we are affiliates of and have negotiated discounts for. The hosting providers and our links are here:

Best Starter Hosting:
BlueHost:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/refer/bluehost/

SiteGround:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/refer/siteground

HostGator:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/refer/hostgator

Best Managed:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/refer/wpengine/

To Join Our Facebook Group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/wpbeginner/

For those just starting out, we recommend starting with a smaller, shared hosting to get you up and running with your site’s content. Shared hosting is a section of a server that you are sharing with other users. While your site’s content is your own, the resources your site uses to run are part of that server’s resources rather than all of them.

VPS is the next step for your site as it grows, this is a server that separates a specific section virtually so all of that sections resources are for your specific site. This is similar to a dedicated server where the entire server is yours but these require more technical knowledge than other servers.

Finally, there is managed hosting, which is a style of hosting that scales with you as your needs grow. There are some limitations on what can be added to these sites but you will benefit from better support as well.

With the different types of hosting covered, there are four factors to consider when selecting which hosting provider you want to use. Uptime as you want your site to never go down if able. Speed, a slow server will eventually cause issues with your SEO. Features, a feature-rich hosting provider gives you even more tools based on your needs. Finally, support, having good support is great for if you ever run into any issues with your site and need a hand with solving the issue.

Keeping the above factors in mind, for a beginner we recommend not overspending, only purchase the plan level that would suit your specific needs rather than an oversized plan for a site just starting out. We’re recommending BlueHost, SiteGround, and HostGator as we’ve worked with them and have discounts that we have negotiated to get you a discount.

For enterprize or similar users, we recommend Pagely or WPEngine. For most we would recommend Pagely unless it is a starter site then we would still recommend BlueHost, SiteGround or HostGator.

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=wpbeginner

Check us out on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/wpbeginner

Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/wpbeginner

Check out our website for more WordPress Tutorials
http://www.wpbeginner.com

Read more: youtube.com

Read More

How to Add a Privacy Policy in WordPress


Are you looking to add a privacy policy to your WordPress site? A privacy policy tells your visitors what information you collect when they visit your site. In this video, we’ll show you how to add a privacy policy to your WordPress site!

WordPress has a built in template that you can start with by logging into your site, going under Settings, Privacy and it should bring up a page with the option to either select an already created page or create a brand new page. Either choose a page or create a new one to begin setting up your privacy policy.

If you’re creating a new page WordPress will bring you to the page where you can begin to edit each section based on the specific needs of your site. It will act the same as any other page in terms of publishing options that you can use.

With that page set up, you now want to give your users a method to display it. You could either add it to a menu or if your theme has a footer widget area, add it to your footer for your visitors.

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=wpbeginner

Feel free to take a look at the written version of this tutorial here:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-use-fomo-on-your-wordpress-site-to-increase-conversions/

Check us out on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/wpbeginner

Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/wpbeginner

Check out our website for more WordPress Tutorials
http://www.wpbeginner.com

Read more: youtube.com

Read More

Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Expert Tips for Creating Memorable Experiences Through Content Marketing

Have you been to a stadium concert lately? The big ones touring the country tend to pull out all the stops. It’s not just a singer on stage — they are usually supported by a giant jumbotron as backdrop providing flashy visuals, along with fog machines, laser lights, platforms rising out of the ground, special guest cameos… the works. 

Why is this? Because the bar has been raised. When fans plunk down the big bucks for tickets to see Drake or Carrie Underwood or The Rolling Stones, they expect more than seeing their favorite artists performing on stage. They expect an unforgettable experience that stirs all the senses.

via GIPHY

In content marketing, we see a continuing shift toward delivering full-on experiences. This emerging focus is evident in the steady growth of the term “content experience” in Google Trends over the past 10 years, and is now reaching a fever pitch as technology enables unprecedented sparkle and scintillation, while the shortening attention spans of our audience demand it. 

The theme for this year’s Content Marketing World extravaganza, as well as our interactive preview and the series of blog posts wrapping up today, all lead back to this crucial edict: elevating experiences and wowing the crowd. The good news is that there are endless ways to creatively approach this initiative, and today we’ll draw inspiration from CMWorld speakers who will be taking the stage next week in Cleveland to offer up some memorable experiences of their own.

The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth
3 Expert Tips on Stepping Up the Content Experience
#1 – Create Serial Content
It’s tempting to think about high-caliber content experiences in terms of pageantry and spectacle, but there are many simpler elements at play. Your audience wants content that it can contextualize, compartmentalize, and reliably look forward to. There’s a reason that almost every big Hollywood release these days is a spin-off, sequel, or reboot — viewers thrive on familiarity. For this reason, Jay Baer of Convince and Convert says serial content, steeped in quality and consistency, is a must.

“This aids in recognition and findability and taps into the truism that multiple exposures are often needed to drive behavior,” Jay explains. And he says another key is making this serial content as easy as possible for your audience to get to.

[bctt tweet=”Ask yourself how your information and insights can be accessed with a minimum amount of effort or hassle for the consumer. – @jaybaer on minimizing content friction #CMWorld ” username=”toprank”]

There are any number of ways to serialize your content. Maybe it’s breaking a big idea up into a series of blog posts, dissecting various components. Maybe it’s a run of videos mirroring the format of a TV season. And of course, podcasts are gaining fast popularity as an inherently serial form of content. 

At TopRank Marketing, we’re all about serial content. You can reliably find our Digital Marketing News roundups (both blog and video) every Friday. Recently we’ve been running a Trust Factors series, examining the vital topic of trust in marketing from various angles. And in fact, you’re reading the final installment of a four-part series right now! Check out the previous “Wow Your Crowd” entries below: 

Wow Your Crowd: How Content Planning Sets the Stage for Unforgettable Experiences
Wow Your Crowd: How Content Marketers Can Create Powerful Audience Connections
Wow Your Crowd: How Influencers and Media Integrations Can Add Pizzazz to Your Content Act

#2 – Use Tools and Technology Thoughtfully
There are so many eye-catching technologies out there offering new ways to package and deliver content. But don’t be blinded by bells and whistles. Add-ons like interactivity only make sense if they actually serve a meaningful purpose. 

“The key for brands is to not just pursue these programs for the sake of doing it, or to ‘be cool,’ but to have a clear purpose and value-add,” says SAP’s Amisha Gandhi

For example, when scrolling through the Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth experience created by TopRank Marketing and Content Marketing Institute, you’ll be able to play games like shoot-the-duck and bop-the-clown. But these interactive gamification elements weren’t just thrown in for the heck of it; they’re meant to play up the midway/carnival vibes of the asset (and this year’s CMWorld conference).

[bctt tweet=”A memorable experience goes a long way. – @AmishaGandhi on raising the bar for content experiences #CMWorld” username=”toprank”]
#3 – Measure and Optimize
The trouble with all this talk about content experiences is that they can feel difficult to quantify and report on. I mean, how do you measure audience delight? What is the ROI of someone grinning with glee while bopping clowns on their browser?

To some degree, the benefits of a great experience are intangible, at least in the short-term. But we can still measure the impact by connecting consumption metrics with bottom-line results. 

“I think of content marketing metrics in two dimensions: Business outcomes (how content is contributing to the business) and engagement metrics (a proxy for how much the target audience likes the content),” says Chris White of Capital One. 

He breaks them down like this: 

Engagement Metrics: 

Views
Total view time
View-through-rate
Percent of target audience (in relation to total viewers)
Comments
Likes/Reactions
Scroll depth
Pages-per-session
Bounce rate 
Time-on-site

Business Outcomes

Brand awareness/consideration
Remarketing audience size
Web traffic
Conversions
Customer behavior (e.g., retention, adoption rate, referrals, etc.)  

If you’re getting it right with customer experiences, you’ll see growth across all of these metrics over time. From our view at TopRank Marketing, engagement metrics and business outcomes (or proof of ROI) are among the seven essential elements for content marketing performance dashboard. Also included: benchmarks, goals, real-time KPI monitoring, traffic trends, and breakdowns by topic/persona.

[bctt tweet=”Every initiative is paired with a specific business outcome to evaluate performance. Although we keep tabs on engagement metrics, they do not dictate success by themselves. – Chris White of @CapitalOne on measuring content performance   ” username=”toprank”]
Experience Is Your Content Differentiator
Turn content experience into your competitive advantage. Create things that amaze your audience and leave them yearning for more. Utilize new trends and tech when appropriate to elevate your content. And, at all times, validate your efforts by measuring the right things and letting your customers dictate your direction.

Is it silly to think about content marketing on the same terms as stadium concerts? I’d say it’s silly not to. 

We’re counting down the days until the grand experience unfolds at Content Marketing World 2019 on Sept. 3, 2019 in Cleveland. Before then, you can find plenty more guidance on taking your programs to the next level in our interactive experience, The Greatest Content Marketing Show on Earth.

The post Wow Your Crowd: The Recipe for Creating Exceptional Content Experiences appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

Read more: toprankblog.com

Read More

Kindness as Currency: How Good Deeds Can Benefit Your Local Business

Posted by MiriamEllis

“To receive everything, one must open one’s hands and give.” – Taisen Deshimaru, Buddhist philosopher

A woman stands in a busy supermarket checkout line. The shopper in front of her realizes that they don’t have enough money with them to cover their purchase, so she steps in and makes up the balance. Then, when she reaches the checkout, her own receipt totals up higher than she was expecting. She doesn’t have enough left in her purse.

“No problem,” says the young clerk and swipes his own debit card to pay for her groceries.

A bystander snaps a photo and posts the story to Facebook. The story ends up on local radio and TV news. Unstructured citations for the grocery store start crackling like popcorn. National news takes notice. A scholarship foundation presents a check to the clerk. When asked how he felt about it, the clerk said:

“Personally, I think it’s undeserved attention. Because she did something so good … I felt like it was my responsibility to return the favor.”

In the process, if only for a moment in time, an everyday supermarket is transformed into a rescue operation for hope in humanity. Through the lens of local SEO, it’s also a lesson in how good deeds can be rewarded by good mentions.

Studying business kindness can be a rewarding task for any motivated digital marketing agency or local brand owner. I hope this post will be both a pick-me-up for the day, and a rallying cry to begin having deeper conversations about the positive culture businesses can create in the communities they serve.

10+ evocative examples of business kindness
“We should love people and use things, but sadly, we love things and use people,” Roger Johnson, Artisan

As a youngster in the American workforce, I ran into some very peculiar styles of leadership.

For instance, one boss gruffly told me not to waste too much time chatting with the elderly customers who especially loved buying from me…as if customer support doesn’t make or break business reputations.

And then there was the cranky school secretary who reprimanded me for giving ice packs to children because she believed they were only “trying to get attention” … as if schools don’t exist to lavish focus on the kids in their care.

In other words, both individuals would have preferred me to be less kind, less human, than more so.

Perhaps it was these experiences of my superiors taking a miserly approach to workplace human kindness that inspired me to keep a little file of outbreaks of goodwill that earned online renown. These examples beg self-reflective questions of any local business owner:

If you launched your brand in the winter, would you have opened your doors while under construction to shelter and feed housing-insecure neighbors? If a neighboring business was struggling, would you offer them floor space in your shop to help them survive? Would your brand’s culture inspire an employee to cut up an elder’s ham for him if he needed help? How awesome would it be if a staffer of yours had a day named after her for her kindness? Would your employees comp a meal for a hungry neighbor or pay a customer’s $200 tab because they saw them hold open a door for a differently-abled guest?What good things might happen in a community you serve if you started mailing out postcards promoting positivity? What if you gave flowers to strangers, including moms, on Mother’s Day? How deeply are you delving into the season of giving at the holidays? What if, like one business owner, you opened shop on Thanksgiving just to help a family find a gift for a foster child? You might wake up to international fame on Monday morning. What if visitors to your community had their bikes stolen on a road trip and your shop gifted them new bikes and ended up on the news?One business owner was so grateful for his community’s help in overcoming addiction, he’s been washing their signage for free. What has your community done for you and how have you thanked them?What if all you had to do was something really small, like replacing negative “towed at your own expense” signs by welcoming quick stop parking? What if you, just for a day, you asked customers to pay for their purchases with kind acts?

I only know about these stories because of the unstructured citations (online references to a local business) they generated. They earned online publicity, radio, and television press. The fame for some was small and local, for others, internationally viral. Some activities were planned, but many others took place on the spur of the moment. Kindness, empathy, and gratitude, flow through them all like a river of hope, inviting every business owner to catch the current in their own way. One easy way for local business owners to keep better track of any positive mentions is by managing and monitoring reviews online with the New Moz Local.

See your online presence

Can kindness be taught in the workplace?

In Demark, schoolchildren learn empathy as a class subject. The country is routinely rated as one of the happiest in the world. At Moz, we have the TAGFEE code, which includes both generosity and empathy, and our company offers internal workshops on things like “How to be TAGFEE when you disagree.” We are noted for the kindness of our customer support, as in the above review.

According to Stanford psychologist Jamil Zaki, people “catch” cooperation and generosity from others. In his study, the monetary amount donors gave to charity went up or down based on whether they were told their peers gave much or little. They matched the generosity or stinginess they witnessed. In part two of the study, the groups who had seen others donating generously went on to offer greater empathy in writing letters to penpals suffering hard times. In other words, kindness isn’t just contagious — its impact can spread across multiple activities.

Mercedes-Benz CEO, Stephen Cannon, wanted employees to catch the kindness bug because of its profound impact on sales. He invited his workforce to join a “grassroots movement” that resulted in surprising shoppers with birthday cakes, staff rushing to remote locations with spare tires, and other memorable consumer experiences. Cannon noted:

“There is no scientific process, no algorithm, to inspire a salesperson or a service person to do something extraordinary. The only way you get there is to educate people, excite them, incite them. Give them permission to rise to the occasion when the occasion to do something arises. This is not about following instructions. It’s about taking a leap of faith.”

In a 2018 article, I highlighted the reviews of a pharmacy that made it apparent that staff wasn’t empowered to do the simplest self-determined acts, like providing a chair for a sick man who was about to fall down in a long prescription counter line. By contrast, an Inc. book review of Jill Lublin’s The Profits of Kindness states:

“Organizations that trade in kindness allow their employees to give that currency away. If you’re a waitress, can you give someone a free piece of pie because the kid at the next table spilled milk on their foot? If you’re a clerk in a hotel, do you have the authority to give someone a discounted rate because you can tell they’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day?”

There may be no formula for teaching kindness, but if Zaki is right, then leadership can be the starting point of demonstrative empathy that can emanate through the staff and to its customers. How do you build for that?

A cared-for workforce for customer service excellence

You can find examples of individual employees behaving with radical kindness despite working for brands that routinely disregard workers’ basic needs. But, this hardly seems ideal. How much better to build a business on empathy and generosity so that cared-for staff can care for customers.

I ran a very quick Twitter poll to ask employees what their very most basic need is:

Unsurprisingly, the majority of respondents cited a living wage as their top requirement. Owners developing a kind workforce must ensure that staff are housing-and-food-secure, and can afford the basic dignities of life. Any brand that can’t pay its staff a living wage isn’t really operational — it’s exploitation.

Beyond the bare minimums, Mercer’s Global Talent Trends 2019 Survey of 7,300 executives, HR experts, and employees highlighted trending worker emphasis on:

Flexibility in both hours and location to create a healthy work/life balanceEthics in company technology, practices, and transparencyEquity in pay ratios, regardless of genderEmpathy in the workplace, both internally and in having a positive societal impact with customers

It’s just not very hard to connect the dots between a workforce that has its basic and aspirational needs met, and one possessing the physical, mental and emotional health to extend those values to consumers. As I found in a recent study of my own, 70 percent of negative review resolution was driven by brands having to overcome bad/rude service with subsequent caring service.

Even at the smallest local business level, caring policies and initiatives that generate kindness are within reach, with Gallup reporting that SMBs have America’s happiest and most engaged workers. Check out Forbes list of the best small companies of 2019 and note the repeated emphasis on employee satisfaction.

Kindness as currency, with limitless growth potential
“I wanted a tangible item that could track acts of kindness. From that, the Butterfly Coin emerged.” Bruce Pedersen, Butterfly Coins

Maybe someday, you’ll be the lucky recipient of a Butterfly Coin, equipped with a unique tracking code, and gifted to you by someone doing a kind act. Then, you’ll do something nice for somebody and pass it on, recording your story amongst thousands of others around the world. People, it seems, are so eager for tokens of kindness that the first mint sold out almost immediately.

The butterfly effect (the inspiration for the name of these coins) in chaos theory holds that a small action can trigger multiple subsequent actions at a remove. In a local business setting, an owner could publicly reward an employee’s contributions, which could cause the employee to spread their extra happiness to twenty customers that day, which could cause those customers to be in a mood to tip waitstaff extra, which could cause the waitstaff to comp meals for hungry neighbors sitting on their doorsteps, and on and on it goes.

There’s an artisan in Gig Harbor, WA who rewards kindnesses via turtle figurines. There are local newspapers that solicit stories of kindness. There are towns that have inaugurated acts-of-kindness weeks. There is even a suburb in Phoenix, AZ that re-dubbed itself Kindness, USA. (I mentioned, I’ve been keeping a file).

The most priceless aspect of kindness is that it’s virtually limitless. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be quantified. The Butterfly Coin idea is attempting to track kindness, and as a local business owner, you have a practical means of parsing it, too. It will turn up in unstructured citations, reviews, and social media, if you originate it at the leadership level, and share it out from employee to customer with an open hand.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Read more: tracking.feedpress.it

Read More

17 WPForms Power Hacks To Grow Your Business Online


Looking to grow your business online and convert more visitors? WPForms is the best WordPress form plugin for beginners to create forms on their WordPress sites and digital marketers know that forms are more than just a simple way for users to contact you. In this video, we’ll cover powerful tools inside WPForms to help you grow your business online.

This video brought to you by WPForms, take a look at their site here:
=================================
https://wpforms.com/
=================================

For the discount, use our code: WPBVIP

To begin this tutorial we will be using WPForms premium and we will install the templates addon to give us powerful templates to start out with rather than a blank form where each field needs to be manually added.

WPForms’ conditional logic allows you to change what is shown and where the form is sent based on the user’s choice. This means, as an example, you can send the filled-in forms to different department emails based on the type of question or selection that the user inserts in your form or modify the confirmation message.

With the pro addons, you have the power to connect WPForms to tools such as Google Sheets, Slack, or Salesforce to let your team know about high importance messages through those different tools.

For dropdown options, WPForms has presets for filling in information such as countries, postal codes, states, months, days, or even your own custom lists. If you’re wanting to prevent everyone from only selecting the same option you can even select the option to randomize the choices per user.

There are tools for Geolocation, hidden fields, GDPR, and terms of service to give you all of the tools you’ll need to get for your site’s forms. For one time purchases, you can add PayPal and Stripe integrations for fundraising or other small purchase needs.

To prevent spam, WPForms has honeypot on by default as well as reCAPTCHA should you want to protect the form further. If you have multiple sites you can import or export the forms to each site among may other powerful tools available.

If you liked this video, then please Like and consider subscribing to our channel here for more WordPress videos.
https://www.youtube.com/subscription_center?add_user=wpbeginner

Feel free to take a look at the written version of this tutorial here:
https://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/how-to-use-fomo-on-your-wordpress-site-to-increase-conversions/

Check us out on Facebook
https://www.facebook.com/wpbeginner

Follow us on Twitter
http://twitter.com/wpbeginner

Check out our website for more WordPress Tutorials
http://www.wpbeginner.com

Read more: youtube.com

Read More

Lead Volume vs. Lead Quality By RuthBurrReedy

Posted by RuthBurrReedy

Ruth Burr Reedy is an SEO and online marketing consultant and speaker and the Vice President of Strategy at UpBuild, a technical marketing agency specializing in SEO, web analytics, and conversion rate optimization. This is the first post in a recurring monthly series and we’re excited! 

When you’re onboarding a new SEO client who works with a lead generation model, what do you do?

Among the many discovery questions you ask as you try to better understand your client’s business, you probably ask them, “What makes a lead a good lead?” That is, what are the qualities that make a potential customer more likely to convert to sale?

A business that’s given some thought to their ideal customer might send over some audience personas; they might talk about their target audience in more general terms. A product or service offering might be a better fit for companies of a certain size or budget, or be at a price point that requires someone at a senior level (such as a Director, VP, or C-level employee) to sign off, and your client will likely pass that information on to you if they know it. However, it’s not uncommon for these sorts of onboarding conversations to end with the client assuring you: “Just get us the leads. We’ll make the sales.”

Since SEO agencies often don’t have access to our clients’ CRM systems, we’re often using conversion to lead as a core KPI when measuring the success of our campaigns. We know enough to know that it’s not enough to drive traffic to a site; that traffic has to convert to become valuable. Armed with our clients’ assurances that what they really need is more leads, we dive into understanding the types of problems that our client’s product is designed to solve, the types of people who might have those problems, and the types of resources they might search for as they tend to solve those problems. Pretty soon, we’ve fixed the technical problems on our client’s site, helped them create and promote robust resources around their customers’ problems, and are watching the traffic and conversions pour in. Feels pretty good, right?

Unfortunately, this is often the point in a B2B engagement where the wheels start to come off the bus. Looking at the client’s analytics, everything seems great — traffic is up, conversions are also up, the site is rocking and rolling. Talk to the client, though, and you’ll often find that they’re not happy.

“Leads are up, but sales aren’t,” they might say, or “yes, we’re getting more leads, but they’re the wrong leads.” You might even hear that the sales team hates getting leads from SEO, because they don’t convert to sale, or if they do, only for small-dollar deals.

What happened?

At this point, nobody could blame you for becoming frustrated with your client. After all, they specifically said that all they cared about was getting more leads — so why aren’t they happy? Especially when you’re making the phone ring off the hook?

A key to client retention at this stage is to understand things from your client’s perspective — and particularly, from their sales team’s perspective. The important thing to remember is that when your client told you they wanted to focus on lead volume, they weren’t lying to you; it’s just that their needs have changed since having that conversation.

Chances are, your new B2B client didn’t seek out your services because everything was going great for them. When a lead gen company seeks out a new marketing partner, it’s typically because they don’t have enough leads in their pipeline. “Hungry for leads” isn’t a situation any sales team wants to be in: every minute they spend sitting around, waiting for leads to come in is a minute they’re not spending meeting their sales and revenue targets. It’s really stressful, and could even mean their jobs are at stake. So, when they brought you on, is it any wonder their first order of business was “just get us the leads?” Any lead is better than no lead at all.

Now, however, you’ve got a nice little flywheel running, bringing new leads to the sales team’s inbox all the livelong day, and the team has a whole new problem: talking to leads that they perceive as a waste of their time. 

A different kind of lead

Lead-gen SEO is often a top-of-funnel play. Up to the point when the client brought you on, the leads coming in were likely mostly from branded and direct traffic — they’re people who already know something about the business, and are closer to being ready to buy. They’re already toward the middle of the sales funnel before they even talk to a salesperson.

SEO, especially for a business with any kind of established brand, is often about driving awareness and discovery. The people who already know about the business know how to get in touch when they’re ready to buy; SEO is designed to get the business in front of people who may not already know that this solution to their problems exists, and hopefully sell it to them.

A fledgling SEO campaign should generate more leads, but it also often means a lower percentage of good leads. It’s common to see conversion rates, both from session to lead and from lead to sale, go down during awareness-building marketing. The bet you’re making here is that you’re driving enough qualified traffic that even as conversion rates go down, your total number of conversions (again, both to lead and to sale) is still going up, as is your total revenue.

So, now you’ve brought in the lead volume that was your initial mandate, but the leads are at a different point in their customer journey, and some of them may not be in a position to buy at all. This can lead to the perception that the sales team is wasting all of their time talking to people who will never buy. Since it takes longer to close a sale than it does to disqualify a lead, the increase in less-qualified leads will become apparent long before a corresponding uptick in sales — and since these leads are earlier in their customer journey, they may take longer to convert to sale than the sales team is used to.

At this stage, you might ask for reports from the client’s CRM, or direct access, so you can better understand what their sales team is seeing. To complicate matters further, though, attribution in most CRMs is kind of terrible. It’s often very rigid; the CRM’s definitions of channels may not match those of Google Analytics, leading to discrepancies in channel numbers; it may not have been set up correctly in the first place; it’s opaque, often relying on “secret sauce” to attribute sales per channel; and it still tends to encourage salespeople to focus on the first or last touch. So, if SEO is driving a lot of traffic that later converts to lead as Direct, the client may not even be aware that SEO is driving those leads.

None of this matters, of course, if the client fires you before you have a chance to show the revenue that SEO is really driving. You need to show that you can drive lead quality from the get-go, so that by the time the client realizes that lead volume alone isn’t what they want, you’re prepared to have that conversation.

Resist the temptation to qualify at the keyword level

When a client is first distressed about lead quality, It’s tempting to do a second round of keyword research and targeting to try to dial in their ideal decision-maker; in fact, they may specifically ask you to do so. Unfortunately, there’s not a great way to do that at the query level. Sure, enterprise-level leads might be searching “enterprise blue widget software,” but it’s difficult to target that term without also targeting “blue widget software,” and there’s no guarantee that your target customers are going to add the “enterprise” qualifier. Instead, use your ideal users’ behaviors on the site to determine which topics, messages, and calls to action resonate with them best — then update site content to better appeal to that target user

Change the onboarding conversation

We’ve already talked about asking clients, “what makes a lead a good lead?” I would argue, though, that a better question is “how do you qualify leads?” 

Sit down with as many members of the sales team as you can (since you’re doing this at the beginning of the engagement — before you’re crushing it driving leads, they should have a bit more time to talk to you) and ask how they decide which leads to focus on. If you can, ask to listen in on a sales call or watch over their shoulder as they go through their new leads. 

At first, they may talk about how lead qualification depends on a complicated combination of factors. Often, though, the sales team is really making decisions about who’s worth their time based on just one or two factors (usually budget or title, although it might also be something like company size). Try to nail them down on their most important one.

Implement a lead scoring model

There are a bunch of different ways to do this in Google Analytics or Google Tag Manager (Alex from UpBuild has a writeup of our method, here). Essentially, when a prospect submits a lead conversion form, you’ll want to:

Look for the value of your “most important” lead qualification factor in the form,And then fire an Event “scoring” the conversion in Google Analytics as e.g. Hot, Warm, or Cold.

This might look like detecting the value put into an “Annual Revenue” field or drop-down and assigning a score accordingly; or using RegEx to detect when the “Title” field contains Director, Vice President, or CMO and scoring higher. I like to use the same Event Category for all conversions from the same form, so they can all roll up into one Goal in Google Analytics, then using the Action or Label field to track the scoring data. For example, I might have an Event Category of “Lead Form Submit” for all lead form submission Events, then break out the Actions into “Hot Lead — $5000+,” “Warm Lead — $1000–$5000,” etc.

Note: Don’t use this methodology to pass individual lead information back into Google Analytics. Even something like Job Title could be construed as Personally Identifiable Information, a big no-no where Google Analytics is concerned. We’re not trying to track individual leads’ behaviors, here; we’re trying to group conversions into ranges.

How to use scored leads

Drive the conversation around sales lifecycle. The bigger the company and the higher the budget, the more time and touches it will take before they’re ready to even talk to you. This means that with a new campaign, you’ll typically see Cold leads coming in first, then Hot and Warm trickling in overtime. Capturing this data allows you to set an agreed-upon time in the future when you and the client can discuss whether this is working, instead of cutting off campaigns/strategies before they have a chance to perform (it will also allow you to correctly set Campaign time-out in GA to reflect the full customer journey).

Allocate spend. How do your sales team’s favorite leads tend to get to the site? Does a well-timed PPC or display ad after their initial visit drive them back to make a purchase? Understanding the channels your best leads use to find and return to the site will help your client spend smarter.

Create better-targeted content. Many businesses with successful blogs will have a post or two that drives a great deal of traffic, but almost no qualified leads. Understanding where your traffic goals don’t align with your conversion goals will keep you from wasting time creating content that ranks, but won’t make money.

Build better links. The best links don’t just drive “link equity,” whatever that even means anymore — they drive referral traffic. What kinds of websites drive lots of high-scoring leads, and where else can you get those high-quality referrals?

Optimize for on-page conversion. How do your best-scoring leads use the site? Where are the points in the customer journey where they drop off, and how can you best remove friction and add nurturing? Looking at how your Cold leads use the site will also be valuable — where are the points on-site where you can give them information to let them know they’re not a fit before they convert?

The earlier in the engagement you start collecting this information, the better equipped you’ll be to have the conversation about lead quality when it rears its ugly head.

Sign up for The Moz Top 10, a semimonthly mailer updating you on the top ten hottest pieces of SEO news, tips, and rad links uncovered by the Moz team. Think of it as your exclusive digest of stuff you don’t have time to hunt down but want to read!

Read more: tracking.feedpress.it

Read More