Defense contractors whose websites are evolving from online brochures to business development and marketing machines are gaining higher visibility and more business opportunities.
For defense contractors to survive and thrive today, modern marketing techniques are essential. Specifically, they need to generate more website visitors, convert them to leads, turn those leads into customers, and continuously analyze every step of the process.
To accomplish all that, there are five keys to turning a defense contractor's website into a lead-generating sales and marketing machine.
1. On-Page Search Engine Optimization (SEO) - While you might have a sharp-looking website that would impress a graphic designer, be mindful that search engines rule the Internet. Therefore, you need to give the search engines the right signals about what your site is about and the types of problems your business solves.
Within on-page SEO, there are two aspects to keep in mind: The “visible” and “invisible.”
- Visible on-page SEO includes things like the right keywords, page titles (with the right keywords), having keywords in your HTML tags and, even better, including keywords in the URL.
- Invisible on-page SEO includes things that you can’t see on the Web page but search engines can. The keywords play a role here, too. This is where you list your keywords in your site’s HTML code. Invisible on-page SEO also includes a how your site is displayed in search engine results.
A few things to remember about on-page SEO:
- Don’t bait and switch – make sure all the signals you’re sending to the search engines reflect the actual content on each Web page.
- Keep each page unique – if you have duplicate titles, keywords and content on multiple pages, search engines might interpret that as spam.
- Put the important words early – words used earlier in the title, URL, heading and content are given more weight by search engines.
- Use fewer, more focused words – the more words on each page, the more diffused the power of each word will be to search engines.
2. Off-Page SEO – This involves getting links to your site and actually carries more weight with search engines than the on-page SEO.
Each link to your site is like a vote that tells the search engine that your site is important. And while the number of links to your site is important, the quality of the sites linking to yours is even more important. That’s why you want to avoid buying links and/or having your site listed on directories on which any site can be listed.
Another important aspect of off-page SEO is anchor text (the text that is in the link to your site). For anchor text, a description of your industry or product is better than your name or “click here” because the link becomes not only a “vote” but includes some context for the search engines.
3. Blog – Blogging enables you to engage in a conversation with your customers, prospects and stakeholders AND improve your search engine rankings.
Having a blog helps you get more traffic from the right visitors for three reasons:
- Search engines give more favorable ranking to websites with fresher content. A blog is a great way to have a steady stream of new, useful content.
- People tend to link to interesting blog posts more than corporate Web pages.
- Each blog article has its own Webpage address, so there is an SEO opportunity to capture narrowly focused website traffic.
4. Convert Visitors to Leads with Forms - Once you’re generating more traffic to your site with SEO and blogging, you will want to capture visitor contact information with forms on landing pages. One of the best ways to capture leads is to offer premium content (whitepapers, eBooks, etc.) in return for contact information. You then can engage in “permission-based” marketing and nurture your leads toward a sale or next step in the procurement cycle.
5. Analyze Every Step of the Process - Internet marketing offers many tools to measure your marketing activities so that you can make continuous improvements. Things to measure include number of website visitors, website conversion rate (leads/visitors), lead conversion rate (sales from leads/leads), cost per lead or per sale.