Insights From Google Analytics:
How Content Marketing Strategy Drives Up University Sprinklers’ Website Traffic
University Sprinklers has been consistently and purposefully blogging about irrigation-related topics since April of 2014. It is most certainly paying off.
I regularly tell my clients that content marketing strategies like blogging and posting to social media are “long game” strategies for generating leads from your website, but once they start to work, they are pure magic.
The proof is in the pudding: since we launched University Sprinklers’ new website, their overall website traffic has risen by 41.1%, and requests for quotations and service appointments have everyone in the office literally run off their feet. Business is GOOD. Really good.
What Are They Doing Differently From Before?
When Ron Wizinsky at University Sprinklers and I planned their recent website redesign, I had several strategic objectives in mind. Firstly, the site needed to be fully responsive, so it looked as good on phones and tablets is it did on a desktop computer. Secondly, we needed to refine their website content so that it was “search engine optimized”, i.e. ranked well in search engines like Google. Those topics are blog postings in their own right, and will be saved for another time.
The third strategy, a “Content Marketing” strategy, was to post useful and timely information to their blog, and to dovetail this with social media, to drive a larger number of pre-qualified, unpaid visitors to their website, so that they could be converted into paying customers.
Effective Content Marketing Means Less Reliance on Paid Search
Thanks to Google Analytics, a free tool I incorporate in all my websites, we can tell a lot about where University Sprinklers is getting their website traffic, and how it has changed over time. For example, we know this:
- Traffic from “Paid Search” on their site has grown by 50%. That’s nice to know, since that traffic is bought and paid for, in the form of Google AdWords Pay Per Click advertising. So they are getting some bang for their buck there.
- “Social” is up by 41%. That means that more people are coming to their website via Facebook, Twitter, GooglePlus, and LinkedIn. Since all we do is post links to their blog posts in these social media sites (and that is set up as an automated task), we really ought to credit the blog with that traffic. But that increase in traffic hasn’t come through search, it has come through their social media pages. Nice!
- Organic (i.e. unpaid search) has grown by 108% in the past year. This is the big win, because that is all free traffic we did not have to pay Google for. And here’s the icing on the cake: we know from Google Analytics that visitors who come to their site through organic (unpaid) search are twice as likely to complete a “Request a Quotation” form than visitors who come via Google AdWords. For University Sprinklers, their free organic traffic “converts” twice as often as paid traffic. Excellent!
The Proof Is In The Search Engine Results
Thanks mostly to a wealth of search engine optimized content on their site, University Sprinklers generally ranks very well on Google. For example, for the search “irrigation system installers”, they consistently pop up as #1, #2 or #3 in both the ads and the unpaid search results, sprinkled among their competitors and suppliers. But the real “content marketing” success lies in the search results for so-called “long tail keywords”, or broader, less frequently searched topics. Long tail keywords are defined as keyword phrases that consist of between two and five words, usually used when searching for a rather specific item.
Example One: Positions #3 and #7 for “irrigation and chafer beetles”
In the example below, you can see that University Sprinklers ranks in both the #3 and #7 organic positions, thanks to a blog posting regarding the dreaded chafer beetle problem that is plaguing Vancouver area gardens. Here we see that in addition to the blog posting itself (position #3), the social media posting on University Sprinklers’ Google Plus page ranks on page one as well (position #7), which emphasizes the weight Google places on Google Plus, and why it is important to have a Google Plus page, even if you don’t spend much time there. Google likes Google Plus.
You may ask why University Sprinklers, who is not in the business of tackling chafer beetles, would care how they rank in a chafer beetle search. Well, a gardener who is concerned that is or her lawn is being ravaged by chafer beetles, is likely a home owner, and probably takes some pride in their garden, and may well consider purchasing an irrigation system at some point, especially once they go to a website like University Sprinklers’, and see how easy it can be to have and maintain a beautiful garden when you don’t have to worry about watering it all the time!
Also noteworthy: Do you see any competing irrigation companies ranking in this organic search? Nope. Not a single one.
Example Two: Position #5 for “Vancouver stage two watering restrictions”
In this example below, we see University Sprinklers ranking in position #5 for the search term “Vancouver stage two watering restrictions”, via Google Plus, for a blog posting telling irrigation system owners how to reset their irrigation timers to meet brand new restrictions on lawn sprinkling in Vancouver. This blog posting had two goals: firstly, to help customers reset their timers (via video tutorials), thereby cutting down on free service telephone calls being fielded by the office, and secondly, to reassure clients and prospects that they can still get value from their irrigation systems during a water shortage.
Again, notice the complete absence of any competitors in this search result.
So What’s The Takeaway?
When done right, blogging pays off as a Content Marketing Strategy. According to HubSpot, companies who blog receive 97% more links to their website. Content helps you get found on Google, while building engagement and rapport with your prospects. By using content to demonstrate what you know and how you’ve applied it before to solve a similar problem that your prospect has, you can demonstrably lower the risk of working with you over other businesses. Producing content that answers the commonly asked questions you get during the sales process means you can direct people to these resources in a repeatable fashion, saving you time during the sales process.
If you are thinking about adding a blog to your website, and don’t know where to start, get in touch and we can talk about what’s involved, and how I can help.