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Social Signals Are So Last Week – Use Infographics to Drive Real Leads
There is a lot of talk these days about social signals affecting Google Search Results, and many SEOs are feeling the effects for their clients, who are disconnected from the social world.
When it comes to infographics, you may find yourself scratching your head at the many conflicting claims out there from the marketers that be. “Infographics are dead,” they say, but you must have a content strategy to survive. “Infographics are dead,” they say, but Facebook and Google+ are putting more and more emphasis on visual content.
The complexity of marketing your business on Google is rising as search success becomes increasingly intertwined with your social media presence and how you interact with your customers. Your website content and external links are no longer enough to gain Google’s trust. Publishing fresh content on your site means nothing if no one is reading it — and it means even less if no one is sharing it to their social networks.
As a business, your primary marketing goal is always to generate leads. Leads are certainly generated from dominating search results — but what if I told you that a solid content marketing strategy could get you leads, even if it didn’t result in #1 rankings right away?
For thousands of years, people have been creating “infographics.” From cave paintings to Egyptian hieroglyphics, visual representations of information (events, ideas, stories, etc.) have existed since the dawn of humanity.
Innovators of the 18th and 19th centuries, such as William Playfair and Florence Nightingale, began using charts, graphs and histograms to make things happen and influence change. As a content medium for online marketers, the modern infographic rose to popularity in 2009 and has continued to grow ever since. Today’s infographics are analogous to the posters you used to hang on the walls of your dorm room and college apartment — the ones with “Beers of the World” and “Ultimate Party Schools.”
As SEOs and online marketers have sought to keep up with the latest trends, infographics quickly became a new weapon in the content marketer’s arsenal. Infographics have also become a staple of publishers, thanks to their visual, easy-to-consume nature and virality.
Use Of Infographics For Social Sharing / Signals In Search
The purpose or goal of an infographic shapes the direction of the piece itself. Often, they’re used to visualize a concrete set of data or a new concept, present the findings of a study, or demonstrate a product or service.
As SEO professionals, our team’s main goal is usually to generate traffic, backlinks and social shares. When a client presented us with the idea of creating and publishing monthly infographics with the main intent of getting new leads, we made sure to reinforce the fact that leads would likely be a secondary benefit after increased traffic and rankings.
Skeptics No More
The first infographic we created and published for our client, LocateADoc.com, was informational and illustrated how and why women should perform self-breast exams to prevent cancer. The audience ate it up — to date, it has accumulated over 3,000 unique pageviews and has been shared 2,506 times on various social networks. After launch, we excitedly reported on the 845 pageviews it received on launch day, but came up short when the client asked about leads.
We started the next month’s project with leads in mind. This doctor directory receives more organic traffic on cosmetic surgery related keywords than dentistry, optometry and just about any other practice type combined. Thinking about what our target audience is most interested in, as well as what our client does best, the team created a piece using the ASAPS 2011 research (pdf) highlighting pricing and trends in the cosmetic surgery industry.
This infographic was published Nov.13, 2012, and generated a 2,100% increase in leads compared to the breast self exam piece. (A “lead” in this case is defined as a new patient contact form, submitted by a user who entered the site through the infographic’s hosting URL.) Month after month, this infographic continues to generate leads for the site, with a current Cost Per Lead (CPL) 77% below the target CPL.
The “cost” was calculated based on the total billed to the client for the ideation, research, creative content and graphics of the piece and initial syndication to social sharing sites.
To date, infographics published on LocateADoc’s site have continued to generate new patient leads with an overall CPL 14% lower than the target.
Long Live The Infographic
Leveraging a content piece after its initial traffic spike has subsided also proves to be an effective means of continued lead generation and backlink creation. Continued creation and publication of infographics established LocateADoc as a source for great content, which has also improved the reach of each subsequent infographic.
Given the right content for an audience and a solid long-term marketing plan in place for the distribution of the piece, infographics can certainly generate leads for your business.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a plumber (history of toilets infographic!) or a lawyer (history of toilet related lawsuits infographic!), there is always a way to visually transmit information pertinent to your business. And, the current generation of Internet addicts gobble infographics up like candy.
So, long live the infographic! Take a stab at creating a piece worthy of social sharing and you may even generate some new business along with your backlinks.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land. Staff authors are listed here.