Nearly everyone we meet is interested in having a number one ranking on Google for their business. But what percentage of those people are really thinking about what that would mean for their business day-to-day?
Much like a celebrity having to get used to being swarmed by media and fans, businesses that earn the number one (or two or three) position on Google need to get used to A LOT of attention - and not all of it is going to be good.
But, but, but...you're okay with the downside of being too well known, or too rich, or number one on Google. Right? Before you answer that, consider a few things.
Not Every Lead is a Good Lead
Roughly 60% of all search engine visits go to the top three results for any query. That's a lot of traffic for those businesses. But what percentage of that 60% actually lead to a sale? For transactional queries (availability, price, proximity, urgency), it's likely substantial. But for B2B or consultative businesses, it's going to be significantly less.
The truth is that many of the people who are clicking on the top three positions on Google may not be doing any research about who you are or what you do before reaching out. When you're easy to find, anyone and everyone can find you.
Now your phone is ringing off the hook. Your email is filling up. You're at the top of Google and at the end of your rope. So how on earth do you weed through those new contacts to find the good leads your business really wants?
Be Forward-Thinking With Your Strategy
If you're casting a wide net and dominating multiple SERPs on Google, you're going to get mass numbers - but you might not be catching the specific fish you're after. Now is the time to take a hard look at the number of search terms you're dominating and make sure they're all necessary and representative of the type of work you want to be doing. If you're in a top position for a search that isn't in line with your ideal business, dealing with leads from that search will only distract you from leads that are more ideal.
Once you've figured out how to narrow your search traffic, it's time to plan for how you're going to deal with an influx of new emails, phone calls, and unscheduled "opportunities". Try to create a pre-qualification guideline that your team can use to weed out the wrong prospects. And if you can, have a system in place to even offer help to the wrong prospects by referring them to other businesses that might be a better fit.
The longer you're at this, the easier it will get. You'll be focusing your efforts on your best prospects. And you'll be generating good will even when people aren't a good fit. (You might even be helping to grow your business community as well). If you find you're referring a lot of contacts to a specific business, it doesn't hurt to reach out to them to let them know you're doing this. You never know, they might start to do it for you in return.
Remember, Every Call Costs You Something
The great thing about using search for lead generation is that it brings in new prospects without the additional cost of advertising. However, those leads still cost something - your time.
If you don't have a plan for how to manage your time, your best prospects and existing customers aren't going to get the focus they deserve. And all these great new opportunities you're getting can potentially be more trouble than they are worth.
You only have so much time, attention, and expertise (or inventory) to go around. To make the most of it, you have to be selective... even when the people who are contacting you aren't.
Okay, so you've run the gauntlet of organic leads both great and small and popped out the other end with your sanity still intact. Do you consider creating a service to meet the requests? If people are coming to you for it anyway, why not?
That's something we came to realize recently at Kayak. With the economic downturn impacting our local business community - and local search results featuring us at number one - Kayak set out to create a budget-friendly version of our full inbound marketing websites: optimized local websites. While not our core deliverable, we're happy to support local businesses be providing a premium website service to help them succeed through the downturn.
KAYAK's 3-star lead quality guideline you can use to vet your leads...
- Has the lead done their due dilligence to qualify you as a good fit? If their first question is What can you do for me? or How much do you charge? chances are they haven't.
- Does the lead ask you to do it for them, do it with them, or teach them to do it themselves? The answer here gives some important insights into the working relationship they are seeking.
- Is the lead someone you want to work with? What's the reputation of the company, their team, and their business category.
This post originally appeared on the Kayak Online Marketing blog.