How is it possible to get so many customers from the Internet?
This is the number one question we get asked at Stratosphere Studio- how (and why) does all this work?
By clicking on this page, you most likely have moved through our site, checked out our case studies, and read about who we are and what we do. But you don’t quite understand how it is possible to do $1.5 million in leads from the internet in a year, or generate 40 leads in one month for a shop, or any of the numerous and growing examples and case studies you will find throughout our website. You might even be experiencing a little bit of disbelief.
Step One: Understanding a couple of key internet concepts
Major Concept #1- Realizing how Google works (and more importantly- how they make money).
With any discussion about why our style of marketing works, we first begin by explaining an important concept- the business model for Google, the world’s #1 search engine. The same advice goes for any other search engine as well (such as Bing or any others), but for this discussion we will stick to Google.
You first have to realize that Google exists to rent people the space at the top of every search results page for a very short period of time. We are talking about the Google ad. Google is always trying to find other ways to make money such as the self driving car, or smart phones and tech devices, but right now Google makes most of it’s money selling space in the form of Google ads (see the image below).
In order to charge a premium for those ads, Google needs to be the best and most used search engine in the world.
They have to be the best, most reliable source for answers to your questions.
We use the internet for many things, entertainment (videos), shopping (Amazon and e-commerce), connecting and communicating with people (Facebook and other social media), but we use Google to find answers to questions. We turn to Google for the Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How’s of life.
In order to have the best answers to any question you could ask, Google has to have access to all the content on the web, and it has to have a way to determine the best match to your question. Simple enough right?
But how does Google determine the best answer to your question?
This is where things start to get technical and complicated, but the short answer is that it relies on a mathematical equation, one that is a closely guarded secret (like the real formula for Coca Cola). And even if we had the formula, we probably couldn’t understand it fully. Even Google’s own engineers have trouble explaining how it works.
Speaking in broad terms however, Google takes into account the words you use on each page, the number of pages you have, the quality of the page, how people interact with your site, how long they stay there, how accurate the information is (such as your address and phone number) and how much other websites want to link to it.
The formula changes all the time at Google and each change is designed to address two universal truths about the business of internet searches:
A. The way we search is always evolving- We moved to mobile devices for our serches, we started searching phrases not keywords, and we are now beginning to do voice searches.
B. Companies will always sprout up to try and game the system (think about all the “guaranteed page one ranking for $150/month emails you get from India every day). Google will close these loopholes and penalize websites trying to game the system. A high ranking but low quality site is bad for business at Google.
How to be #1 on Google
Two paths to Google Page One ranking
Now that you understand this concept as outlined above, there are two paths you can take to rank #1 on Google:
A. You can pay them. But there are downsides such as monthly costs that never stop, and there are only three or four paid slots on page one of Google for any phrase or keyword. You are also vulnerable to being out-spent by your competition. Adwords operates based on an auction format where you enter your highest bid for a keyword. The person willing to spend more always gets the top slot.
B. You can create a great website with amazing content and get to the top for free.
We built our business at Stratosphere Studio helping companies like yours obtain Item “B.” We build great websites and we fill them every month with killer content. We get you found, noticed, and shared across the web.
Google Needs Your Great Content.
Major Concept #2- Every Google algorithm update is designed to make your search experience better.
If you spend any time studying blogs and materials from Search Engine Optimization companies, you will hear a lot of talk about Google algorithm updates, Google penalties and their latest mad dash to find a new way to exploit the new algorithm changes. Google’s constantly changing algorithm has been such a hassle for Search Engine Optimization companies, that many of them are just leaving the industry all together. Google’s algorithm involves a lot of machine learning, and it is constantly learning how we search for just about every phrase and term.
That is because at the end of the day, there remains one consistent and universal truth to how we use the internet, how we use Google, and how Google serves you. If you do this right, you will never have a problem ranking on Google, you will never have a problem attracting visitors and you will never have a problem getting those red-hot leads for your business.
The universal truth is this: Forget about trying to please Google, instead focus on pleasing your customer.
Its that simple. Build a great website, keep tweaking it to make it better for your consumers, fill it full of amazing content (blogs, posts, guides, articles, etc.) and Google will send you the traffic they would have otherwise sent to your competitors who are doing none of these things.
So how then does one accomplish this “Amazing Content” nirvana that we describe?
That answer is also very simple:
They ask, You Answer
Think about all the questions you get asked by customers every single day, and answer them. Put yourself in their shoes. Think about what kinds of searches they perform online every day to find businesses, products and services like yours, and give them that.
Our content follows the simple rule of “They Ask, “You Answer”, and our hats off to Marcus Sheridan for pointing that out to us many years ago. This brilliantly simple philosophy has allowed us to build a company helping other businesses get more customers.
Step Two: Converting visits into leads.
A boatload of visitors to your website doesn’t make you any money, but a boatload of web visitors who have converted to web leads does. The next step after you build traffic is to build a pathway for the visitor to identify themselves as a person with interest, and a potential buyer.
Here is where the conversation can start to get more complex and situation specific, but we will continue the discussion as a broad concept.
Once you have your website visitors, next you have to convert those visits into customers. This is where the leads come from. You have addressed a customer’s question on your page or blog post, now you need to make it easy for them to take action with you.
Make it easy for your customers to transact business with you online.
Create some compelling “calls-to-action” on your site that point to a landing page with a form.
In 2017 we generated $1.5 million dollars worth of leads from two tools- ‘Schedule an estimate’, and ‘Get an online estimate’ for one of our customers. Of course the content we created that attracted them to the website in the first place was very important, but the leads came from those two tools.
But there is some skill involved, and bit of good salesmanship helps.
Step Three: Measure, Adjust, Refine.
Finally, we get to the measurement stage. This is when you discover what is working and do more of that, and fix what is not working or eliminate it altogether.
Nearly everything on the internet can be measured: visits to the site, words used to find you, pathways through your site, backlinks, bounce rate, time on site, etc.
With time and even just basic measurement tools, you can fine tune your messaging, track the buyer’s journey through your website, fix the dead ends, and make improvements to those elements that are really working. You can also do A/B testing to determine the best course of action for any new element you are thinking of adding to your website.
For our customers, we track everything. We strive to reach a point where we can be predictive in our efforts on the internet. For example, if we know what the visitor to lead ratio is, we can determine how much additional traffic it will take to increase lead revenue for a particular month.
We look at how many pages it takes before someone becomes a lead, and try to reduce that count. We look at what pages are being visited and which ones are being ignored. We even track people by zip code and other demographics to discover areas for future content.
This is how we are able to generate tens of thousands of visits a month, and generate hundreds of thousands of revenue per month.
The tools we use
There are many paid and free tools available to you to track and measure the performance of your website. Google analytics is a good start, although it can be pretty confusing to some, and the data it shows is lacking in some specifics. It also does not do a good job of tracking which people specifically convert on a form.
For our customers we use a mix of tools including Hubspot, Moz Pro, and Ahrefs, as well as our own spreadsheets that we have developed to collect and make sense of the data.
Hubspot allows us to track visits, leads, and customers, as well as detailed information about those people who became a lead. We can dig into the data and find out how many times that person visited the site, what search terms they used, where they live, where they searched from, what pages they visited, and a whole lot more.
MozPro helps us get a snapshot of individual page rankings, and it also searches for errors on the page such as missing meta tags on photos etc. We get a weekly report with errors to fix and we continually update them.
Ahrefs is a great tool to measure links and backlinks to your site. Just as important as links are, it is also important to rid yourself of bad backlinks. These are links from spammy sites that could potentially harm your ranking.
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Admittedly, this was a lot of information to read. But the goal was to make a seemingly complex concept, understandable. We hope that we we were successful in the endeavor.