An art director once taught me how he learned to draw in art school.
When an amateur (like me) draws, we don’t draw what we actually see. We draw iconography to represent what we are looking at. Circles for eyes. A triangle for a nose.
However, when an artist draws, they truly see their subject. Eyes aren’t circles. They are spherical, and change as the iris moves, as the subject expresses emotion.
Customers face this same challenge. They don’t really see your brand or marketing. They quickly compartmentalize based on past experiences: eye à circle, long copy à boring, luxury car à overpriced.
To spark ideas that will help your customers (and even your team) really see, read on for examples from a law firm, consumer discount website, and consultant.
This article was published in the MarketingSherpa email newsletter.
“To look is a skill. To see is an art. We must help our prospective customer see,” Flint McGlaughlin taught in Above-the-Fold Optimization: How to improve conversion with powerful bullet points.
That statement is true on three levels.
We must help our customers see that we exist.
Once they know we exist, we must help our customers see our message.
And finally, we must not fall into this trap ourselves. As marketers, we must flip that lens around and see how well this is all performing.
To spark your next great idea, in this article we bring you a specific example from each of these levels. First, a law firm shares its SEO tactic for grabbing the top-ranking for a keyword in less than a month. Then, a consumer discount website optimizes the design of its blog post to increase traffic by 30%. And finally, a consultant saves $1K per month in ad spending by better understanding its funnel.
The Hive Law is a family law firm in Atlanta. The firm offer services like estate planning, probate, divorces, and adoptions. The team was looking at how to find keywords in the estate planning niche.
Their goal was to find keywords that sites with a lower Domain Rating (DR) than The Hive Law website are ranking for. The team wants to be able to easily go in and outrank those sites for the target keywords. They do not look at keywords that large sites in their industry are ranking for because they cannot easily beat them.
“Search in Google for a variation of your keyword + your city. For us, it was ‘Estate Planning Lawyers Atlanta,’” said Shawn Breyer, Owner, The Hive Law. “We ignore the large sites like Justia and Superlawyer.”
The team ignores website with DRs of 80+. They look for the sites with low Domain Ratings of less than 30. The fourth position had a DR of 13.
Creative Sample #1: Domain Rating of website ranking for “Estate Planning Lawyers Atlanta”
“Then, we plug those URLs with a Domain Rating less than 30 into Ahrefs or Semrush,” Breyer said. The team looks at the “Organic Keywords” the competitor is ranking for. They want to find local keywords that are easier to rank for. So, in this example, they filtered by “Atlanta.”
Creative Sample #2: Organic keywords low DR competitor websites are ranking for
This gave the team a list of 60 keywords in Atlanta that have low competition. They find low competition keywords by looking at keywords that low DR sites are ranking for.
They went through all of these keywords and looked at the search engine results page (SERP) results for each one. They were looking for a keyword that is full of sites with a lower DR than their website in the top 10 results. In this example, the keyword “Atlanta High Net Worth Family Lawyers” doesn't have any results with a higher DR than their site.
Creative Sample #3: DR for competitor websites ranking high on the SERP for the keyword “Atlanta High Net Worth Family Lawyers”
So, the team chose the keyword “Atlanta High Net Worth Family Lawyers” and wrote a comprehensive blog post on that topic. “We use Clearscope to make sure that we are covering the topic more in-depth than our competition,” Breyer said. They always aim for a Content Grade of A++, a higher word count, and better readability than the competition.
Creative Sample #4: SEO content optimization platform review of new blog post
The team published a blog posted entitled “Atlanta High Net Worth Prenup Attorneys” on March 21, 2022. By April 20, 2022, their site had the #1 SERP ranking for the following keywords:
“This is how you easily outrank your competition. And how you start scaling your site to rank for relevant, revenue-producing keywords,” Breyer said.
The ClothingRIC website was started in 2013. The goal has always been to build a solid blog section by hosting high-quality content. But despite their best efforts, the team has never been able to gain significant traffic on its blog.
Five months back, they decided to shift their strategy and make the blog content more visually rich. This meant integrating graphs, interactive charts, and colorful imagery in new posts.
For example, last year the team conducted research and posted a report on consumer spending trends on Easter. “Although this post included the latest stats from authentic studies, the page didn’t attract enough traffic. Even those who clicked on the post didn’t stick around for long,” said Chris Nddie, Co-Owner & Marketing Director, ClothingRIC.
Creative Sample #5: Previous visual approach to blog post headline
Creative Sample #6: Previous visual approach to blog post body copy
“You can see how this page lacks any aesthetic appeal. Even the images aren’t captivating enough to keep the reader from clicking away,” Nddie said.
This year, the team decided to give this page a little makeover. Instead of just abundant whitespace with lines of text here and there, they made the post more graphical and fun to view for readers.
Creative Sample #7: New visual approach to blog post headline
The team decided to organize the information and represent it with little icons, making the otherwise boring information more palatable for the readers.
Creative Sample #8: New visual approach to blog post body copy
Compared to the previous blog post, the visually optimized version attracted 45% more clicks. The bounce rate on this post is 35% compared to the previous post which had a 62% bounce rate. “It only took a few posts on our social media pages for the readers to come flooding through,” Nddie said.
The team performed the same exercise with a number of other articles and made previously dull posts more visually interesting for readers. The overall effect of this strategy has been a 30% increase in the website’s traffic.
Workspace Strategies is a shared workspace management and consulting firm. The team got a partial picture of the effectiveness of its digital advertising through its analytics platform but had no way to track the source of leads who contact the firm by phone so it didn’t really understand its advertising return on investment (ROI).
Getting these ROI insights became urgent with the arrival of COVID-19. Occupancy rates dropped dramatically, and Workspace Strategies’ building operators and developers suddenly started questioning every expense.
“Workspace Strategies was spending a decent amount of money on social media ads each month. I hypothesized that it was ineffective but had no way to prove it,” said Jason Tiemeier, Director of Operations, Workspace Strategies.
The team installed a business communications and analytics platform for call tracking and call recording, and to track conversions from individual Google My Business (GMB) accounts for its locations in Kentucky, California, Texas, Colorado, Tennessee, Maryland, Ohio, and Florida.
Thanks to the tracking, they quickly discerned that indeed social media advertising was not a good source of leads. “We learned that 80% of our leads come from Google (organic, AdWords, GMB) with GMB being the bulk of that. The other 20% comes from referrals, signage, networking, and Craigslist,” Tiemeier said.
The team also monitored recorded phone conversations with incoming leads. They soon realized that some staff members were trying to close sales over the phone instead of just getting leads to commit to a workspace tour. Previous analysis had shown that Workspace Strategies could close 50% of sales once leads walked in the door. But long phone conversations only served to suppress sales.
“We’re no longer putting budget into social media advertising — and we have the data to back that decision. And thanks to call recording, we’re no longer having 15-minute phone calls that only serve to talk people out of a sale,” Tiemeier said.
Thanks to these insights, the team was able to eliminate $1,000 per month in wasted ad spend. “By monitoring both organic and paid channels, Workplace Strategies is now able to easily identify where their leads are coming from and better discern where to invest their marketing dollars,” said Madelyn Wing, Director of Partner Marketing, CallRail (Workspace Strategies’ business communications and analytics platform).
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