Keyword research on the terms being used to find janitorial and commercial cleaners, indicate that in the United States more than a million searches were conducted in the month of March, 2012 on: janitorial services, commercial cleaning, office cleaning, and floor cleaning. If you have a business in the janitorial sector, you must have wondered at some point why you are not generating more leads from your website.
The team at Inspire and Acquire conducted a brief study of a small group of websites in the janitorial industry, whose names were chosen randomly from the MasterMind group on LinkedIn (permission was obtained from the group owner). Analyses were performed to determine the Internet Marketing Effectiveness of these websites and the results were not surprising. In this article we share the top 3 critical areas of online marketing that were shown to be problematic for business owners in the janitorial industry. We also provide solutions for dealing with these issues.
In a website analysis, a dynamic grade on a scale of 100 is given that represents Internet Marketing Effectiveness at any given point in time. For the websites we analyzed, the average grade was 43.14 with a range of 30.9 to 53.3. Considering that the average score for a typical website is 50, these scores are mediocre for an industry with a high level of online competition.
Each one of the websites we examined were plagued with a variety of structural and technical issues that prevent the websites from being found by search engines. Some of these issues include a variety of missing or incorrect codes and files that alter the search engine’s ability to locate, crawl, and index your website’s content. The most common omissions were the Robots.txt and XML Sitemap files. These files allow the search engines to access and crawl your website more intelligently. These types of problems were shockingly numerous and were present on all of the janitorial websites we analyzed.
The most relevant issue indicated for the websites we analyzed was the low amount of traffic being generated to the sites. In order to generate and direct more traffic to your janitorial website, you need to ensure all components of SEO are adequately addressed and you have to develop a social media marketing strategy (see below).
You cannot be expected to fix technical errors on your site yourself. The solution is to hire a good online marketing agency to diagnose your website, and identify the problem areas. A website developer and SEO expert will work together to fix these technical issues permanently. This will ensure that your rankings improve on the SERPS (search engine results pages) and your website is easier for visitors to navigate.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
The most serious atrocities located on the janitorial websites we examined were SEO in nature. Even the most basic SEO principles were misused, omitted, or impaired. If you want your website to be found by your potential clients, you need to utilize your keywords effectively. This means firstly, that your keywords are identified correctly through research methods and the use of high-quality SEO tools. Secondly, your keywords must be placed throughout your content (text) in a specific manner (yes there are rules for this). Were you aware that Google will penalize your website if you overuse keywords by ranking you lower in the SERPs? Keywords should never be one-word search term but rather three-word “phrases” and there should be no more than 3 of these phrases per website page. Not one of the janitorial sites we examined used keywords consistently or correctly.
There were several SEO content violations evident including missing meta descriptions, and meta keywords, titles that were too long, and low-impact text/HTML ratios. Again, these types of SEO errors contribute to low rankings by the search engines. For each of the janitorial websites there were also challenges to their backlinks. A backlink is a link that points to your website from other websites. Think of it as a popularity rating for your site. Link-building is one of the key elements of a solid SEO strategy that is required to get your website ranked.
There are several ways to address the SEO challenges of your janitorial website. You can hire an SEO specialist to conduct the keyword research for your website, submit it to you, and then you can write additional and/or improved content. The other option is to have an SEO expert conduct the keyword research and create the content for your website. If you do choose to write the website content yourself, we highly recommend that you have your SEO specialist read it and recommend revisions before you publish it on your site.
B2B Social Media Marketing
There appears to be a gross underutilization of the social media lead generating tools in the janitorial industry. Not surprisingly, not one of the business websites we examined had links or icons on their websites for the main social media platforms including LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or Google+. Although all of the owners of these janitorial companies had LinkedIn profiles, this was not evident on their website. Only one of the companies had claimed their Twitter account and username, and none were active on Facebook.
Forty-one percent of B2B companies generate leads on Facebook, and companies who use Twitter generate twice the number of leads per month than companies who do not use it. Business.com reports that 55% of B2B survey respondents search for information on social media channels. The individuals you want to target (the decision-makers) are conducting the majority (70% according to Sirius Decisions) of their information-gathering before the sales person in your company even reaches them and they are doing this online through social media platforms.
In an article I published on our website recently, I outline the benefits of B2B social media in more detail. A social media marketing strategy will improve lead generation, enhance search engine optimization (builds long-term links back to your website), and allows your buyers to find you.
Although we are unable to address ALL of the issues for improving your online marketing in one article, here are our key recommendations for improving your janitorial website and creating an online presence:
- Write more SEO-enhanced content.
- Extend the registration of your domain.
- Promote your business and website through social media.
- Be more consistent with your keywords.
- Set a name for all of the images on your website.
- Optimize your website for mobile browsing.
- Speed up your website.
If you have any questions about how to improve your online presence or achieve better results from your social media efforts, we would love to hear from you. Simply contact us!
This week Hubspot published an article on their site stating that 63% of B2B companies don’t generate leads from social media. Since this has not been my experience with the B2B companies we work with, I thought I better give this article a thorough read. I came to the same conclusion I always do: the reason why some B2B companies aren’t getting better results is because they aren’t carrying out their social media marketing effectively. A solid, successful B2B social media marketing campaign consists of: research and analysis; a well-developed online marketing strategy; more research; careful and consistent monitoring; and measurement and evaluation. Then – repeat steps 3-5.
I disagree that the reason why companies are not experiencing success is simply due to the “disconnect between content and social media.” The recommendations given in the Hubspot article are issues that should never need to be addressed when a B2B social media campaign is conducted by an individual or a team of people experienced and knowledgeable in this field. It should not be your responsibility as a business owner to develop, implement, and monitor your B2B social media marketing campaign.
Conversion Forms and Website Design
There are many factors that can contribute to ineffective B2B social media. For instance let’s look at conversion forms and website design. The Hubspot article suggests that you have a landing page with a form for collecting information about your prospective client. These are also known as conversion forms. The Inspire and Acquire team starts with an analysis of the B2B company’s website. During our analysis consideration is given to the condition of the existing website from the intuitiveness of the navigation or menu, to the value and completeness of the content.
The tools we use to analyze the website give us all of the information we need including the deficiencies of the site from both a design and SEO perspective. The analysis also tells us what is missing or incomplete such as: meta tags, XTML sitemaps and of course, conversion forms. A conversion form is never missing from a well designed website.
The B2B social media article also suggests that you need to have a method of funneling website visitors to a conversion form. If your website developer has utilized proper design principles in the development of your website, this should not be an issue. We collaborate with our clients to set goals and objectives for each page of their website. This results in a menu structure that ensures easy navigation throughout the site. The menu makes it very clear how to “Contact Us” which means it is unnecessary to have methods for funneling visitors to your conversion form from every page within your website. It starts with doing things right, from the beginning.
I have only addressed two of the recommendations in the Hubspot article. If a B2B company compounds all of the other components of an online marketing strategy that could be executed incorrectly, is it any wonder that 63% are not experiencing outstanding lead generation and sales?
B2B social media works. Plenty of businesses are doing it right and getting results (see the info graphic below). Entire books are written about it and blogs exist that are dedicated it. I agree with strategist Brian Solis in one of his brilliant articles where he says, “….to bring about change does not take technology, it takes courage.” Take the courageous step into the B2B social media arena but do it RIGHT!
Side note: I’m curious about the sample of 3,000 B2B companies that Hubspot used in their study. Which stage of their online marketing campaign were they in? For instance, it would be useless to assess effectiveness of online marketing for B2B companies in the initial stages of implementation.
It took you a month to get your LinkedIn profile to “75% complete.” You put up a Facebook Business Page but you’re not sure how to grow your fans beyond your family and close friends. Although everything you read indicates you can make great connections and promote your business on Twitter, you don’t know how to use it so you haven’t claimed your branded URL there yet. On top of all of this, you performed a quick search for “Google+ for business” and in 0.13 seconds you retrieved 23,900,000 results. You must need to be on Google+ too ….. right??!! Despite what you may have read about the benefits of Google+ for business, there are valid reasons why this social networking site is not essential for your business. Yet.
Your Target Audience (Your Customers) Are NOT On Google+
Rule #1 when developing a social media marketing strategy: go where your target audience can be found and where they are active. Your customers need to be present where you are posting and sharing your content. Econsultancy reported that 65% of the online population uses Facebook, followed by YouTube (50%), Twitter (23%), LinkedIn (13%) and Google+ was at the bottom of the pile with only 10% of the online population using this social media platform. According to Website Monitoring the leading occupation amongst Google+ users is student. The majority of users overall (67%) are male, and the same amount are under the age of 35. Does this describe your customer? As Garrett Ira stated in his post, Why Google+ Is A Drag, “After checking back regularly for a few weeks, reality set in for me: the vast majority of my network just wasn’t there or wasn’t using it much.” Get this: only a mere 17% of the Google+ population is an active and frequent user of the interface. Seventeen percent!!! So why all the fuss?
Google+ Does Not Give Content Of Its Own Social Network Priority Over Others
Google+ impacts search results, but so does all of your other online content and activity. Google wants your information to be found so it uses content from all of the social media networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest to impact search results. It is a fallacy that content within Google+ will show up more often in regular Google search results compared to other social networks. Although Google is a monopolizing search engine, it does not give its own social network priority over others.
Google Is Important To Your Business, NOT Google+
Let’s not confuse Google+ with Google. As a business owner you still have at your disposal the ability to have all types of your online activity on various social networking platforms located and ranked effectively. Additionally, you are already utilizing many of Google’s other products(Google Places, Google Maps, Google Analytics, Google Adwords Campaigns) which means – Google loves you already!
This is what I tell my clients no matter what size their business: before you venture off into unknown territory, stick with the initial unknown territory! You have to become comfortable using and getting results with a few social media networking sites FIRST. Which ones? That depends on your online marketing strategy. We conduct a great deal of research before that decision is made for our clients. The online social sites where your business needs to reside, as well as the amount of time you need to spend there should be based on sound research. One thing is certain: you can stop panicking about not being on Google+ because you don’t have the time. Unless your customer is male, under the age of 35, and a student – you’re in good shape!
In a recent study by B2B Magazine, results indicated that 93% of B2B marketers utilize social media marketing. One thing I will tell you about us marketing folks: we don’t continue to use what doesn’t work. Social media marketing works. If you are a B2B business, these are the most important reasons why you need to develop your online presence and establish a strategy for a solid social media marketing campaign:
Lead generation. A shift has taken place that you cannot ignore: the people you need to connect with that are in a position of authority to approve spending (on your product or service) have social media profiles. More than any other social place or event, professionals (your buyers) are gathering online in social media circles on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ and they are active online. In order to generate and nurture leads, you need congregate with these potential buyers. This is not to say that you abandon the offline lead generation programs that currently work for you but rather, use social media marketing to augment and elevate these efforts.
B2B Social Media Enhances SEO. Participation in the social media networks creates link-building to your website as well as fuels and enhances SEO. It was revealed to us earlier this year that social media activity influences Google rankings and that there is a deep integration of social search into Google’s algorithm. Consistent participation over time on the social media platforms using your keywords and business name (e.g. in your blogs, the ‘about’ section on your Facebook business page, your LinkedIn profile and tweets) will combine to compound over time to produce a higher ranking for your website.
Your Buyers Will Locate YOU. Marketing has changed from “push” disruptive outbound marketing to the use of more “pull” inbound marketing tactics. Firstly what this means for your B2B business is that purchasers for your product or service have sought you out on social media sites and willingly accepted information about what you have to offer them. This equates with not only a more pleasant way of conducting business (we’re so tired of being advertised to), but it is also more effective. The industries demographic you are seeking to connect and engage with are spending their time online with the majority of it on LinkedIn and Facebook. By the way, are you Linked In yet?
Business information resource. Studies indicate that for both consumers and businesses, we are going online to equip ourselves with the information we require on which to base a purchasing decision. All ages take advantage of social media as a key information source and even more so for the older demographic of decision- makers (read: the individuals you need to reach). Even as far back as 2 years ago Hubspot reported on a study indicating that a significant percentage of older buyers DO in fact rely on social media for information to fuel business purchasing decisions. This being the case, don’t you think that information about your product or service needs to be found on social media networking sites where it is shared amongst trusted colleagues in your industry and other related industries?
LinkedIn: Begin to participate in B2B discussion groups on LinkedIn. The best are B2B Social Media Group (with over 7,000 members) and B2B Social Media Lead Generation (with over 2,000 members). I also recommend reading this article about LinkedIn as the most effective for lead generation.
Books: Neal Schaffer has published two books and this is the most relevant and recent, his Practical Guide to Selling & Developing B2B Business on LinkedIn I also highly recommend this brand new release and one of my favourites, The B2B Social Media Book by Bodnar and Cohen.
Finally, to bring home the message that technology is changing our buying behaviour and the way business is now conducted has changed and you need to change with it or die (no joke), please please read Brian Solis’ book The End of Business as Usual.
Search our growing archive of the best social media articles on the web.