I have tried Google Adwords, LinkedIn ads, and advertisements placed on industry-specific online publications. Though these ads drove sudden bursts of traffic, the costs associated with advertisements are not sustainable for a startup. As a startup, we’re constantly altering our feature-set and pricing to find the optimal point that will close deals on a consistent basis.
If we continued to generate leads through costly advertisements, then we’d rapidly burn cash before we found the scalable and optimal method to close deals.
It was therefore vitally important that my team and I find a way to increase inbound leads without having to pay for them.
In April of this year, my team and I made a decisive decision to make RewardMe the internet thought-leader on customer loyalty and local marketing. Our first and foremost goal was to make a professional immediately think of “RewardMe” when they had customer loyalty questions or needs.
In 3 short months since April, we’ve increased our inbound leads by 70% without increasing our advertising spend. This post is about how I did it.
It starts with a thought-leadership blog
We immediately created the RewardMe blog, built to become a thought-leader in local marketing.
My teammate Joseph Yi and I write 2-3 blog posts per week about topics that will interest the marketing directors of restaurant and retail franchises and corporations in the US.
Growth of the RewardMe Blog
Take a look at the screenshot below of our Google Analytics:
It started off slow of course, but because we’ve stayed consistent and focused on writing high-quality content, our blog traffic has dramatically grown over the course of 3 months.
Write high quality content
To drive traffic and build back-links for SEO purposes, Joe and I have focused on writing high-quality content. The following are types of high-quality content techniques that we utilize:
1. The all-encompassing guide
It took me 2 weeks to create the Definitive Guide to Local Marketing on Facebook. The post is 4,271 words in length and generated 35 Tweets, 18 Facebook likes, and 15 LinkedIn shares.
The guide is built to teach a Facebook marketing beginner how to get started and immediately utilize techniques that the big brands use.
2. Fun and unique infographs
Joe spent a week to create the Evolution of Loyalty Programs Infograph. The research part took a while as we needed to find important milestones for how loyalty programs have evolved in the past 30 years.
Furthermore, we didn’t want to create a boring infograph. To spice things up a bit, we added the caveman loyalty program and the futuristic loyalty program from the movie Minority Report.
3. Posts that target specific keywords
I know that Yelp is a hot topic amongst local businesses and franchises. I’ve therefore written two posts directly targeting people that search about ‘Yelp for business’ on Google:
It’s worked thus far, as we’ve dominated the key phrase “How to get more Yelp reviews”.
4. Posts that spark debate and controversy
When Belly announced their $10M series-A round, we immediately responded back with a post of our own to catch the press surrounding the customer loyalty industry. I wrote a post comparing Belly vs RewardMe to drive online discussion and pick up awareness from investors.
Guest posts on authoritative online sites
To further increase our SEO, I’ve worked hard to get published on authoritative online publications and get link-backs for RewardMe.
These posts not only further cement out thought-leadership online, but also give us valuable links that will increase our search rankings.
How we drive inbound leads
The RewardMe blog has 2 very distinct links to download our case study that proves ROI for our clients. The case study includes my direct phone number and email so that a potential client can contact me to schedule the meeting.
The case study has been downloaded over 1,100 times and continues to be the main driver of inbound leads.
In the beginning of April, I received about 5 inbound calls and emails per week from potential clients; this week, I received over 30 inbound calls and emails – a dramatic 600% increase in leads in 3 months!
Utilize thought leadership as a long-term, cost effective marketing strategy to get potential clients to contact your business. Let me know if you have any questions in the comment section.