Eight tips to boost leads with SEO & SEM The terms “search engine optimization (SEO)” and “search engine marketing (SEM)” have likely come up in your conversations about digital marketing. You may even have a free program that builds SEO into your blog and website. But if your organization is missing well-developed SEO and SEM strategies, you are missing leads and losing business. These eight tips can help you create SEO and SEM strategies that attract leads and boost business.
Before you plan, brand The backbone of any marketing strategy starts with solid branding. Branding extends beyond your logo, listings and amenities. It’s about creating a marketing strategy that has a distinct, memorable voice. Your ideal prospects must hear that voice through the multitude of competitors’ voices and offers. Your branding strategy must also remain coherent through all your public-facing platforms, including your website, social media channels, business listings like Google and Yelp, as well as your property listings on ILS. Each piece forms a whole story that is customized for your target audience. Begin by working with your marketing team to ensure that your brand integrates clearly between public-facing channels. Once you’re satisfied with your marketing message and image, you’re ready to begin your SEM and SEO strategies and build powerful digital marketing campaigns.
Develop your keyword list Your branding will influence the list of longtail keywords that form the foundation of SEO and SEM. “Longtail” simply means that you’re working with a specific phrase rather than general terms. The more specific, the better, because that is how serious inquiries are formed in search engines like Google and Bing. For example, “Toronto apartments” is too vague to gather high-quality leads. A longtail keyword like “3-bedroom apartments near Casa Loma” or “studio apartments under $1,500 in Kensington Market” designates more serious inquiries. Deciding on your keyword list may require the skills of an SEO specialist. If you don’t have SEO and SEM specialists on your team, outsource this element of your digital marketing plan.
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Create clear targets & goals Decide on your target audience and your goals. Be specific. SEO and SEM specialists can help you create clear targets and goals for your upcoming digital campaign. Catriona Orosco, manager of RENTCafé Reach at Yardi, says, “It’s important to target for property locations and demographics and identify highperforming queries to maximize your ad spend. If you target common, broad search terms, you’re going to get a lot of low-quality leads.”
Let SEO work for you To capture quality leads online, you must increase the number of viable prospects visiting your website. After selecting strong keywords and defining your target audience and goals, digital marketing specialists can make those components serve you. They work behind the scenes to create your SEO strategy. A successful strategy ensures that your website ranks high on organic search queries. The right renters are then naturally guided to your properties. “People’s assumptions about what’s necessary in marketing are often outdated,” says Orosco. “SEO professionals are experts at guiding qualified prospects to your website. We are up to date on the latest algorithms and protocol changes made on popular search engines like Google. We stay educated and aware of what’s important in gaining a competitive advantage in search results.”
Create complementary SEM campaigns SEM uses paid advertising to direct traffic to your website and other platforms, and each set of paid ads forms a single campaign. SEM experts generate complementary campaigns that won’t compete against each other for prospects’ attention. “Your account should be actively managed by certified AdWords specialists, preferably Google Premier Partners,” says Orosco. “They have a combination of in-house expertise, as well as a strong partnership that helps them identify areas for improvement to test and adjust complementary campaigns to maximize performance.”
Monitor, adjust, win Your SEO and SEM experts should regularly track campaign performance and re-evaluate your digital
marketing strategy. They should report changes in leads, click-through rates and conversion rates. If this is your first foray into digital marketing, you may not know what to look for. The pointers below can help you get started. • You will want a strategy that increases leads. For example, a quality campaign can generate about a 160 per cent increase in leads. • Your click-through rate is the percentage of people who click on your ad to learn more. Click-through rates are surprisingly low. An average nine per cent click-through rate or higher indicates great prospect engagement. • Conversions are an essential indicator of success. Your conversion rate conveys the percentage of people who fulfilled your call to action. Your call to action may be booking a tour or signing a lease online, for example. A conversion rate between 5-10 per cent or higher is ideal. It shows that your digital marketing campaign is attracting quality leads that are interested in your product.
Avoid the easy (illegal) route Some companies may offer to send commercial electronic messages (CEMs) via email or text to all contact numbers gathered through your lead registration techniques. It would be great to get your content in front of all those eyes! Unfortunately, such contact is restricted under Canadian anti-spam laws.
SMS (text) messages are a popular mode of communication. When integrating SMS into your campaign, it is important to respect Canadian antispam laws. For example, a text messaging initiative requires recipient consent, proper identification of your business, and an unsubscribe mechanism for the recipient.
Trust the experts Your organization may have grown because your team members wear multiple hats. You may have leasing staff helping with social media posts and answering calls about maintenance requests. Your SEO and SEM strategies are far too important to leave in the hands of novices. SEO and SEM best practices are constantly evolving. To experience success, your strategy should include the latest best practice. Overlooking or misinterpreting applicable marketing laws may result in costly fines and litigation. A smart digital marketing strategy operates within the parameters of local law. Entrust your SEO and SEM campaigns to experts. It is the only way to ensure that you’re making a wise investment with measurable returns and minimal risks. By Peter Altobelli Vice President & General Manager Yardi Canada Ltd.
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