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A Guide to Franchise SEO

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A Guide to Franchise SEO

The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding the unlikely event of hypnosis) and may not always reflect the views of Moz.

As franchises can have a large number of locations by nature, search marketers are faced with the ever present hurdle of scale. More locations means more content and landing pages to manage, and a much bigger chance of running into technical SEO issues. These challenges can be even more daunting when combined with an older CMS, franchisee-generated content, and tracking issues.

At Go Fish Digital, we’ve been able to work with quite a few franchise businesses and advise on their SEO strategies. Over time, we’ve been able to identify common problems with these campaigns, and ways to solve these issues, the framework for which I’ll cover in this piece.

What is franchise SEO?

Franchise SEO is a set of initiatives to improve the search engine visibility of franchise websites, which are websites that promote an overall brand while at the same time offering localized pages for multiple locations of that brand. Strategies include scaling keyword research, creating localized landing pages, and removing duplicate content.

Broadly, franchise SEOs need to always be thinking about scalable approaches, local page quality, and technical issues that are common on these types of sites. Below I’ll cover some of our favorite approaches when handling a franchise site.

Franchise SEO best practices

Scaling keyword research

To start your franchise SEO campaign, you’ll want to identify and track the keywords that are most valuable to your business. Tracking your core keywords will allow you to monitor a couple of things:

  1. Visibility changes for individual keywords

  2. Aggregate rankings to see the overall SEO health of your website

The issue that most franchises face is that they offer a wide variety of service offerings across a large number of geographic areas. For instance, a national plumber may provide 20 different types of services (water leaks, sump pumps, etc.) across 50 high priority markets. This can make keyword research extremely difficult, as you’ll want to be sure you’re tracking your site’s visibility across all of these different service/geographic combinations.

For this type of analysis, we love using the tool MergeWords. Once you identify the combinations of services and locations, you can easily plug this information into the tool to ensure that you’re creating queries for every combination.

This process allows you to more easily scale the keyword research process to ensure that there are no gaps in your rank tracking data.

Localize and segment your keyword tracking

With franchises, there is no such thing as a “national” ranking. Even queries with geographic modifiers such as “commercial cleaning” will have inherent local intent. A search for a query like this will bring up results that are specific to your area without you having to specify that information to Google. Tracking your keywords at a “national” level won’t provide you much insight as to how visible you are when real users perform a search.

Most rank tracking solutions will come with some type of location feature that will allow you to monitor a particular keyword in a specific geographic area. Many tools will allow you to get as granular as defining the exact ZIP code of the area that you want to track. We enjoy using tools such as STAT (pictured here) for this type of rank tracking.

Screenshot of STAT rank tracking

This can still be useful even if you’re a business that has customers in a wide geographic area, but don’t have a physical location in each one. For example, a cleaning business might only have a few locations, but serve an entire state. In these situations, it can be beneficial to identify your highest priority/highest populated areas and set up localized keyword tracking for each one.

If you wanted to track all across the state of North Carolina, you could track keywords in geographic areas such as:

  1. Charlotte

  2. Raleigh

  3. Durham

  4. Chapel Hill

  5. Winston-Salem

Once tracking your geo-specific keywords, you can then utilize keyword segments to monitor how you perform in a specific location. Keyword segments will allow you to drill down to analyze aggregate local rankings. You can do this by creating a segment for all of the queries you’re monitoring for a particular location.

For example, here you can see how a particular site ranks on the first page in Chapel Hill, NC:

Screenshot of bar graph showing ranking distribution for location in Chapel Hill.

Review high priority geographic areas

Now with segmented rank tracking set up, you’ll be in a great position to benchmark where you stand across your different locations. Doing this can help you better analyze the highest priority geographical areas. This can help you better focus your strategy, even if you’re managing a large number of locations.

For example, in our location in Chapel Hill, NC, we can see that 67% of our tracked keywords are ranking on the first page:

Same screenshot as above.

However, when we look at visibility in Fairfax, VA, we can see that only 36% of our tracked queries rank in the same positions.

Bar graph showing ranking distribution for Fairfax location.

This data allows us to see that we don’t rank as well in Fairfax when compared to Chapel Hill. If Fairfax is a high priority area for us, we might want to focus our efforts specifically on reviews for this market. Maybe our content isn’t as strong here or maybe that landscape is much more competitive. Whatever the case is, keyword segmentation has given us the knowledge of where we need to focus our efforts moving forward.

Create location-based pages

Another critical element of a franchise SEO campaign is to ensure that you have built out location pages for every area that you serve. This will give your site the opportunity to appear for geo-specific queries for your core keywords. As previously mentioned, Google naturally localizes the results in many industries, which means these pages could also appear for general keywords that don’t utilize geographic modifiers (“lawn care services”).

Unfortunately, most franchises heavily underinvest in this area. The vast majority of local landing pages contain fairly generic content that doesn’t add much value for users. Oftentimes, this involves general descriptions of a particular area. Even worse, these pages are notorious for having the same templates with just the location name replaced.

Ideally, your location pages would contain the following elements:

  1. Optimized title tags and content for that specific location

  2. Customized on-page content for that area

  3. The address, phone number, and contact information (if a physical address exists)

  4. Structured data markup from the most specific category in the schema.org library

  5. Reviews specific to that individual area

  6. External links to relevant local resources

For example, the Lawn Love franchise does a really good job of creating local landing pages for each area that they’re active in.

Screenshot of the Lawn Love homepage for the Philadelphia location.

As a result, they rank well for “lawn care service” queries in a large spread of markets such as Philadelphia, Raleigh, and Pittsburgh.

What if you don’t have physical locations in the area you serve?

Even if your brand doesn’t have physical locations in the geographic area you’re targeting, it’s still definitely encouraged to create localized landing pages, as long as you provide services to that specific area. This can be a really useful strategy, especially if you only have a small number of locations but serve a much larger geographic area such as an entire state.

Below you can see the “Locations” page of a social security lawyer based in Pittsburgh, PA. While they only have a single physical location in the city of Pittsburgh, their business is regional and extends beyond the city into other parts of western Pennsylvania and even Ohio.

To improve the reach of their business, they’ve created location-based pages for all of the most popular cities and towns that they serve in these areas.

Screenshot of location page showing lists of service locations in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

This gives their SEO the ability to cover a much wider geographic area than they normally would be able to with just a single location.

When performing any multi-location SEO campaign, we recommend one of the first things you do is assess all the major geographic markets that you serve. Next, you should audit your existing landing pages assets to ensure that you have a location page mapped to any high priority area. You can use tools such as CRM data or conversions in Google Analytics to determine what your most important locations are.

However, if you don’t have this information, another way to do it would be by evaluating populations. If we were working with a business in Texas, we could utilize municipality population data in order to determine which landing pages need to be created first based on where the majority of people are located. This provides a data-based way of informing where to focus your content generation strategies.

Create and optimize Google Business Profiles

For any locations where you have a physical address, you’ll want to be sure that you’ve created and claimed a Google Business Profile (GBP). These profiles integrate directly with Google Maps and Google’s local 3-pack results. This means that in order to be eligible to rank in Google’s map packs, you’ll need to have an active GBP that’s been properly verified:

Screenshot of the map pack for "commercial cleaning services".

Across all of your physical locations, you’ll want to audit your GBPs to ensure that the following information is accurate:

  1. Primary category (most important)

  2. Secondary categories (filled out as completely as possible)

  3. Name

  4. Address

  5. Phone number

  6. Hours of operation

The most crucial part of this step is ensuring that your primary and secondary categories for each location are filled out as completely as possible. If your business isn’t categorized properly, you could potentially be missing out on local pack visibility for relevant search queries for your franchise. To get a better understanding of how to categorize your GBPs, you can read Miriam Ellis’s excellent guide.

Ensure NAP consistency

Another great step to optimize your local pack rankings is to ensure there’s NAP (name, address, phone number) consistency across all of your physical locations. The more consistent this information is across the web, the more likely you are to appear in the map pack results. Since franchises face the challenge of scale, doing this manually is out of the question. Tools like Moz Local can help automate this process by improving each location’s NAP consistency in the most prominent data aggregators.

E-A-T optimizations

If you’ve already set up location pages but are looking to take their on-page optimizations to the next level, you can look for ways to improve the expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness (E-A-T) of their content.

Google has a responsibility to try to improve the visibility of sites that they feel will provide accurate information to users. For this reason, it needs to factor in how trustworthy a particular source is. While optimizations for E-A-T will be most relevant to sites in the health and finance verticals, multi-location sites can also leverage these concepts to improve their on-page content.

Here are some of our favorite content elements to utilize E-A-T concepts on your franchise location pages:

  1. Information about laws and government regulations

  2. External links to helpful local resources

  3. Facts about a particular geographic area

  4. Data points relevant to the local area

  5. Profiles and information about specific employees at that location

Going back to the Lawn Love example, on their location pages, they provide users with specific data points about a particular area such as mowing costs, average yard sizes, and how frequently lawns are mowed.

Screen shot of extra FAQ information Lawn Love provides on their location pages.

Looking at another industry, the chiropractor franchise The Joint provides biographies of each doctor for each individual location, as well as information such as how many years of experience they have:

Screenshot of The Joint doctor bio.

On-page optimizations like this may help improve the trustworthiness of your content to both users and search engines. Utilizing original data, linking to trusted government sites, and providing information about your specific location are all potential ways of sending additional trust signals. This type of content helps demonstrate your business’s knowledge of the local market and differentiate your website from competitors that will likely have generic information.

Structured data

You’ll want to be sure that you’re marking up your location based landing pages with structured data. Structured data is simply code that you place on a website to give search engines a better understanding about the context or the intent of that page.

Generally, structured data will be placed on a particular page template, such as your location pages. This makes schema markup a great way to improve the optimization of a website at scale.

One of the best things about schema markup is that, depending on your business, there might already be a schema type that closely describes what your business does. The vast majority of franchises will use some subtype of LocalBusiness structured data to markup individual location pages. While there are too many to list, below you can see some of the most common types of schema for franchise businesses:

You can see that Two Men and a Truck have marked up all of their “Moving” location pages with the MovingCompany structured data type that highlights information such as the name, address, phone number, hours, and reviews.

Screenshot of the MovingCompany structured data type and what it includes.

Which schema you choose will vary greatly depending on the overall topic of your business. Your franchise should definitely be reviewing the schema.org library to see what the most specific type of structured data is for your location pages.

Review duplicate content issues

One of the biggest technical issues with large franchise sites is duplicate content. This is more likely to happen when steps have been taken in order to scale localized content initiatives. If not done properly, this can lead to pages that are too thin to be indexed or that Google has identified as duplicate.

As an example, here you can see a franchise that’s using templated content across a variety of pages:

Screenshot of a SERP for "plumbers near me" showing various locations.

As a result, Google may choose to ignore these pages and exclude them from the index entirely. If your pages are based on a template with little variation in content, this review is absolutely critical. To find pages this might be impacting, you can perform the following steps:

  1. Navigate to Google Search Console

  2. Go to the “Coverage” report

  3. Select the “Excluded” tab

  4. Review both the “Crawled – currently not indexed” and “Discovered – currently not indexed” reports

Screenshot showing pages that are currently not indexed.

If you see pages that are built from a template getting flagged in these reports, there is a good chance that it’s due to a duplicate or thin content issue. These can be great pages to prioritize new content creation on as these changes could result in high converting pages getting indexed by Google.

Another method is to use a tool like Siteliner to identify duplicate content at scale. Siteliner crawls through your site and flags any duplicate/similar content that it finds. Pages with high match percentages can be audited and potentially adjusted to be more unique.

Screenshot of Siteliner duplicate content list

Create content that solves user problems

A great long term approach to franchise SEO campaigns is to connect with your customers before they’re ready to make a purchase. An effective way to do this is to identify queries that users would be searching before engaging with your franchise, and then create a content strategy around targeting those topics.

For example, a common reason to go to an auto repair franchise would be when you see the ominous check engine light appear on your car. In this situation, it’s likely that the user would seek to learn more about the issue and even try to fix it themselves before enlisting the help of a service.

The company AutoZone wisely understands this trend, and has created a page that provides information about reasons why the check engine light may appear. As a result, they rank on the first page for the query “check engine light”:

Screenshot of "check engine light" SERP with auto zone result.

When analyzing the data more closely, AutoZone has clearly been investing in this type of content in recent years. As a result, it’s estimated that they’re generating over 580,000 organic sessions a month to these types of pages:

Chart showing Auto Zone organic growth over time.

A particular type of content that I believe franchise owners should be paying attention to is video. This is especially true if your franchise provides some type of service that would be considered DIY. More and more we’re seeing SERPs around DIY queries where the bulk of the first page results are YouTube videos.

If you’re a franchise with existing video assets, it’s worth ensuring that any content you’ve uploaded to YouTube is optimized for relevant keywords. Doing this could provide more visibility through both YouTube and the Google search results, as they’re becoming more and more integrated.

A brand that positioned themselves very well for this trend is Ace Hardware. They’ve built up an extensive catalog of videos that directly integrate their products and teach users how to accomplish different projects. As a result, they often receive an embedded result directly on the SERPs for queries around their core products.

Screenshot of "how to use a caulk gun" SERP with a video tutorial at the top.

A brief franchise SEO case study

Applying these frameworks can be extremely powerful for franchise businesses, and we’ve seen some strong results when doing so.

For one environmental services client, we were able to identify that they didn’t have localized landing page content that targeted many of their core geographic areas. As a result, they were extremely limited in the number of markets their content was able to appear in.

By reviewing old versions of the site, we were able to create a plan to recreate many localized landing pages that had once existed, and utilize local content best practices. Doing this allowed them to experience a +270% improvement in the number of tracked queries that were ranking on the first page in the span of two years. 

Bar graph showing ranking averages and distribution increasing over time.

Conclusion

When working on franchise SEO, marketers need to be aware of the contextual and technical considerations that apply most to these sites. Franchises need to be aware of the technical issues that come along with multiple locations such as duplicate content, indexation consistency, structured data, and more.

Google is placing a greater emphasis on quality localized content and more brands are starting to invest in these initiatives. By following the steps above, hopefully you’re able to think about your franchise’s search initiatives in a different way, and strengthen the quality of your site.

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

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Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads (And How To Fix It)

Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

You ask the head of marketing how the team is doing and get a giant thumbs up. 👍

“Our MQLs are up!”

“Website conversion rates are at an all-time high!”

“Email click rates have never been this good!”

But when you ask the head of sales the same question, you get the response that echoes across sales desks worldwide — the leads from marketing suck. 

If you’re in this boat, you’re not alone. The issue of “leads from marketing suck” is a common situation in most organizations. In a HubSpot survey, only 9.1% of salespeople said leads they received from marketing were of very high quality.

Why do sales teams hate marketing-generated leads? And how can marketers help their sales peers fall in love with their leads? 

Let’s dive into the answers to these questions. Then, I’ll give you my secret lead gen kung-fu to ensure your sales team loves their marketing leads. 

Marketers Must Take Ownership

“I’ve hit the lead goal. If sales can’t close them, it’s their problem.”

How many times have you heard one of your marketers say something like this? When your teams are heavily siloed, it’s not hard to see how they get to this mindset — after all, if your marketing metrics look strong, they’ve done their part, right?

Not necessarily. 

The job of a marketer is not to drive traffic or even leads. The job of the marketer is to create messaging and offers that lead to revenue. Marketing is not a 100-meter sprint — it’s a relay race. The marketing team runs the first leg and hands the baton to sales to sprint to the finish.

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via GIPHY

To make leads valuable beyond the vanity metric of watching your MQLs tick up, you need to segment and nurture them. Screen the leads to see if they meet the parameters of your ideal customer profile. If yes, nurture them to find out how close their intent is to a sale. Only then should you pass the leads to sales. 

Lead Quality Control is a Bitter Pill that Works

Tighter quality control might reduce your overall MQLs. Still, it will ensure only the relevant leads go to sales, which is a win for your team and your organization.

This shift will require a mindset shift for your marketing team: instead of living and dying by the sheer number of MQLs, you need to create a collaborative culture between sales and marketing. Reinforce that “strong” marketing metrics that result in poor leads going to sales aren’t really strong at all.  

When you foster this culture of collaboration and accountability, it will be easier for the marketing team to receive feedback from sales about lead quality without getting defensive. 

Remember, the sales team is only holding marketing accountable so the entire organization can achieve the right results. It’s not sales vs marketing — it’s sales and marketing working together to get a great result. Nothing more, nothing less. 

We’ve identified the problem and where we need to go. So, how you do you get there?

Fix #1: Focus On High ROI Marketing Activities First

What is more valuable to you:

  • One more blog post for a few more views? 
  • One great review that prospective buyers strongly relate to?

Hopefully, you’ll choose the latter. After all, talking to customers and getting a solid testimonial can help your sales team close leads today.  Current customers talking about their previous issues, the other solutions they tried, why they chose you, and the results you helped them achieve is marketing gold.

On the other hand, even the best blog content will take months to gain enough traction to impact your revenue.

Still, many marketers who say they want to prioritize customer reviews focus all their efforts on blog content and other “top of the funnel” (Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation) efforts. 

The bottom half of the growth marketing funnel (Retention, Reputation, and Revenue) often gets ignored, even though it’s where you’ll find some of the highest ROI activities.

1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 123 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

Most marketers know retaining a customer is easier than acquiring a new one. But knowing this and working with sales on retention and account expansion are two different things. 

When you start focusing on retention, upselling, and expansion, your entire organization will feel it, from sales to customer success. These happier customers will increase your average account value and drive awareness through strong word of mouth, giving you one heck of a win/win.

Winning the Retention, Reputation, and Referral game also helps feed your Awareness, Acquisition, and Activation activities:

  • Increasing customer retention means more dollars stay within your organization to help achieve revenue goals and fund lead gen initiatives.
  • A fully functioning referral system lowers your customer acquisition cost (CAC) because these leads are already warm coming in the door.
  • Case studies and reviews are powerful marketing assets for lead gen and nurture activities as they demonstrate how you’ve solved identical issues for other companies.

Remember that the bottom half of your marketing and sales funnel is just as important as the top half. After all, there’s no point pouring leads into a leaky funnel. Instead, you want to build a frictionless, powerful growth engine that brings in the right leads, nurtures them into customers, and then delights those customers to the point that they can’t help but rave about you.

So, build a strong foundation and start from the bottom up. You’ll find a better return on your investment. 

Fix #2: Join Sales Calls to Better Understand Your Target Audience

You can’t market well what you don’t know how to sell.

Your sales team speaks directly to customers, understands their pain points, and knows the language they use to talk about those pains. Your marketing team needs this information to craft the perfect marketing messaging your target audience will identify with.

When marketers join sales calls or speak to existing customers, they get firsthand introductions to these pain points. Often, marketers realize that customers’ pain points and reservations are very different from those they address in their messaging. 

Once you understand your ideal customers’ objections, anxieties, and pressing questions, you can create content and messaging to remove some of these reservations before the sales call. This effort removes a barrier for your sales team, resulting in more SQLs.

Fix #3: Create Collateral That Closes Deals

One-pagers, landing pages, PDFs, decks — sales collateral could be anything that helps increase the chance of closing a deal. Let me share an example from Lean Labs. 

Our webinar page has a CTA form that allows visitors to talk to our team. Instead of a simple “get in touch” form, we created a drop-down segmentation based on the user’s challenge and need. This step helps the reader feel seen, gives them hope that they’ll receive real value from the interaction, and provides unique content to users based on their selection.

1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 298 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, if they select I need help with crushing it on HubSpot, they’ll get a landing page with HubSpot-specific content (including a video) and a meeting scheduler. 

Speaking directly to your audience’s needs and pain points through these steps dramatically increases the chances of them booking a call. Why? Because instead of trusting that a generic “expert” will be able to help them with their highly specific problem, they can see through our content and our form design that Lean Labs can solve their most pressing pain point. 

Fix #4: Focus On Reviews and Create an Impact Loop

A lot of people think good marketing is expensive. You know what’s even more expensive? Bad marketing

To get the best ROI on your marketing efforts, you need to create a marketing machine that pays for itself. When you create this machine, you need to think about two loops: the growth loop and the impact loop.

1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755163 789 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To
  • Growth loop — Awareness ➡ Acquisition ➡ Activation ➡ Revenue ➡ Awareness: This is where most marketers start. 
  • Impact loop — Results ➡ Reviews ➡ Retention ➡ Referrals ➡ Results: This is where great marketers start. 

Most marketers start with their growth loop and then hope that traction feeds into their impact loop. However, the reality is that starting with your impact loop is going to be far more likely to set your marketing engine up for success

Let me share a client story to show you what this looks like in real life.

Client Story: 4X Website Leads In A Single Quarter

We partnered with a health tech startup looking to grow their website leads. One way to grow website leads is to boost organic traffic, of course, but any organic play is going to take time. If you’re playing the SEO game alone, quadrupling conversions can take up to a year or longer.

But we did it in a single quarter. Here’s how.

We realized that the startup’s demos were converting lower than industry standards. A little more digging showed us why: our client was new enough to the market that the average person didn’t trust them enough yet to want to invest in checking out a demo. So, what did we do?

We prioritized the last part of the funnel: reputation.

We ran a 5-star reputation campaign to collect reviews. Once we had the reviews we needed, we showcased them at critical parts of the website and then made sure those same reviews were posted and shown on other third-party review platforms. 

Remember that reputation plays are vital, and they’re one of the plays startups often neglect at best and ignore at worst. What others say about your business is ten times more important than what you say about yourself

By providing customer validation at critical points in the buyer journey, we were able to 4X the website leads in a single quarter!

1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To1716755164 910 Why The Sales Team Hates Your Leads And How To

So, when you talk to customers, always look for opportunities to drive review/referral conversations and use them in marketing collateral throughout the buyer journey. 

Fix #5: Launch Phantom Offers for Higher Quality Leads 

You may be reading this post thinking, okay, my lead magnets and offers might be way off the mark, but how will I get the budget to create a new one that might not even work?

It’s an age-old issue: marketing teams invest way too much time and resources into creating lead magnets that fail to generate quality leads

One way to improve your chances of success, remain nimble, and stay aligned with your audience without breaking the bank is to create phantom offers, i.e., gauge the audience interest in your lead magnet before you create them.

For example, if you want to create a “World Security Report” for Chief Security Officers, don’t do all the research and complete the report as Step One. Instead, tease the offer to your audience before you spend time making it. Put an offer on your site asking visitors to join the waitlist for this report. Then wait and see how that phantom offer converts. 

This is precisely what we did for a report by Allied Universal that ended up generating 80 conversions before its release.

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The best thing about a phantom offer is that it’s a win/win scenario: 

  • Best case: You get conversions even before you create your lead magnet.
  • Worst case: You save resources by not creating a lead magnet no one wants.  

Remember, You’re On The Same Team 

We’ve talked a lot about the reasons your marketing leads might suck. However, remember that it’s not all on marketers, either. At the end of the day, marketing and sales professionals are on the same team. They are not in competition with each other. They are allies working together toward a common goal. 

Smaller companies — or anyone under $10M in net new revenue — shouldn’t even separate sales and marketing into different departments. These teams need to be so in sync with one another that your best bet is to align them into a single growth team, one cohesive front with a single goal: profitable customer acquisition.

Interested in learning more about the growth marketing mindset? Check out the Lean Labs Growth Playbook that’s helped 25+ B2B SaaS marketing teams plan, budget, and accelerate growth.


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