What is Land and Expand Strategy? A Mini Guide [2020]

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Summary

The land and expand strategy means to start small before going into other work areas. Being direct and aggressive with potential clients may turn them off from you. Instead, obtaining a smaller transaction will enable you to work with your customer as a valued partner.

Build an opportunity chart for all your clients and look for ways to become a trusted partner. This strategy is also applicable to SEO, especially on keywords. If a site ranks well, it is worth keeping the page updated with new content and expanding on the page’s topic.

Let me tell you a hypothetical scenario.

You walk into a bar, and there is this gorgeous woman, unlike any you have seen before. You walk up to her, do chit-chat, order her a drink, and generally just have a grand time together laughing and flirting.  

This goes on for about an hour or two more, and slowly you realize that the conversation lights you up and makes you happy, and she is a great listener and comforter. You decide that you’ve had enough of the small talk and chatter. 

You kneel down on one knee, pull out a ring, and propose what you want is a “happily ever after.”

What do you suppose happens next? 

Yes, that’s right. The mood turned sour, the woman’s face turned cross, she walked out of the bar angrily, you got nothing in return, and you may never see her again. 

That is definitely NOT how it should work. 

In reality, you would end the night asking for her phone number and if she would like to go out with you again sometime. If she gives you her digits and says yes, then congratulations, you “landed the deal.” 

After that, you build your connection over time, fall in love, and meet with each other’s parents before you go down on one knee and pull out the ring from your pocket and hear “yes.” After “landing the deal,” you “expanded the deal.” 

Selling is not any different. There needs to be a progression. 

Your strategy is to “land and expand.” 

What is “Land and Expand?”

Land and expand, in pretty simple terms, mean starting small before expanding into other areas. 

Take the example above. If you propose to an utter stranger, they certainly will be turned off by it. 

Being too forward, too fast with your potential clients will turn them off from you and your business, and you will lose a chance at the deal. What’s worse, you may lose any other opportunity in the future

A much more practical and attractive approach is to close a smaller deal. 

Landing a single, smaller, and the more targeted deal will let you work alongside your client as a trusted partner and service provider. 

Also read: How you can land build a profitable business

Land and Expand As A Business Tactic

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The land and expand strategy works on the notion that your current customers are also your best sources of revenue, and that upselling and cross-selling engagements will exist when you know your customers well, and when they trust you. 

It starts when a representative or agent lands a simple deal with an organization. A healthy relationship is formed between the seller and the client, founded on trust through the provision of exemplary services. 

The seller then continues to provide services into the organization, earning more significant deals and projects across different departments. 

To implement this, these are some broad steps. 

  1. Land a relatively small deal with a client. 
  2. Provide services to it, to deepen relationships and trust.
  3. Expand by conquering opportunities within the same organization. 

The land and expand strategy is a business tactic and not a sales tactic. You do this to further your business as a whole and not only your sales. 

Here are some pointers on the application of the “land and expand strategy” in your business offerings. 

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Deliver Exceptional Service to Target Key Customers 

Providing quality services from the beginning is a sure way to generate rave reviews and references. If you did an excellent job with your first assignment, they would trust you as a service provider for future projects, and they will feel comfortable tapping you for references for new accounts in new areas. 

Executives in key customer demographics likely swim in the same waters, especially if within the same vertical. They know each other through previous conferences and events, and what’s more, is that they are trusted colleagues to each other. 

Use this webbing network effect to your advantage. 

Build an “Opportunity Chart”

An “Opportunity Chart” is a tool that outlines all potential buyers within the client and their areas of interest. Putting this map together lets you identify the areas you have deemed as advantageous to pursue, and will be much easier to finish after “landing the deal” with the client. 

Naturally, when you help your direct contact with their needs, then you will also be acquainted with the other divisions of the organization and will be able to learn various things, such as the markets they handle and how you can help with their purpose. 

Write them all down, mix and match a category with a point of contact, and plot out a plan of action to interact with each area. 

You Want Customers for Life

You should almost always be thinking ahead to your next project with a customer. Look for ways to provide value to your client so that you would become a trusted partner. 

When you continually provide adequate and quality service to your client, then they would not look for any other provider. Admittedly, however, this is not easy. 

Maintaining customers for life takes dedication, hard work, and patience. Set up measures to build a productive and lasting business relationship. 

However, companies encounter obstacles in the implementation of this strategy. Here are some common misconceptions of some companies regarding landing and expanding. 

  1. Some providers treat “land and expand” as a mere sales strategy, implementing an aggressive cross- and up-sell quotas. In reality, it is much more than that, and sales are only a puzzle piece some clients don’t value highly as much as other facets. 
  2. Some are more preoccupied with chasing new organizations instead of cultivating relationships with existing ones, driven by fears of losing out to competing vendors. 
  3. Some fail to turn the first project implementation into a “radiating” case, that is, they merely stop there. 
  4. In connection with the above, they also fail to foster relationships with another department, division, or region.  

To avoid these, it is of utmost importance to acknowledge that customer success is above your sales success. Land and expand is a customer-oriented model, so put the needs of your customers first and foremost. 

Land, Then Expand, Keywords 

The land and expand strategy is not only a business-specific tactic but can also be applied to SEO, especially on keywords.. 

Another idea that is becoming prevalent in the SEO space is the concept of topics. 

Nowadays, Google is becoming smarter in understanding an article’s topic and how the many different keywords in it cross over. Many search users are trying to search for the topic rather than using a keyword, which is what happened in the past. 

However, it does not mean that SEO professionals should ignore the value of keywords within the articles. 

If your site contains an article that ranks very well in the SERPs for something that has a number of keywords, then there is an opportunity to get those rankings higher, maybe even bring them to the top for the topic of that article. That is “land.”  

You can then use a tool to dig underneath the data and take a look at the keywords the article is ranking for and look for opportunities to add them to existing ones or build new articles around them altogether. That is, “expand.” 

Expand a Page

If a site already ranks well and high on the Google SERP, it will be worth it to keep the page updated with more information and to expand upon the subject of the page with related topics. Adding more value and developing that content will improve the page ranking, and subsequently, your site, too. 

Here are the steps to achieve that. 

  1. Go to Google Search Console and check out the pages of your site through the “Site Profile.” 
  2. The metrics will show what pages and topics are doing well. Pick one which you think could turn even better based on the click-through-rates and site impressions. 
  3. See where the traffic for that topic is coming from by clicking on it. Add the position tab to find queries ranking from around 5 to 15, as they are good places to build and expand upon. 
  4. Go to the page on your site and start your content management software.  
  5. Search for the keywords on your content page. Ctrl+F works wonders. 
  6. Open a new tab and Google some keyword terms you found on your page to know who ranks at the top of your niche. Use their site and content as a guide or inspiration to improve your own. 

Do not expect to rank top for all of these terms and words. What is important is that you are making efforts to improve your presence continually. 

Once that is done, you can take your efforts up a notch. Using an SEO tool like Ahrefs or UberSuggest, find keywords and long-tail variations you can consider using. 

Using Ahrefs, you can look at how an article fares and see if there are opportunities you can use to expand. A master list of keywords will show what keywords the site is relevant for without any optimization. 

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The 25-50 positions mean that the keywords are still relevant, though they would not rank well for the article anytime soon. Building a piece crafted and targeted around those keywords can turn out pretty decently. 

Expand The Other Pages

There will be times that you have exhausted your subject, and the article has accumulated so much depth and complexity that it does not make any sense to expand it further anymore. There are still sub-topics you can generate content around. 

  1. Entering Google Search Console will let you see a list of keywords terms that are related to the initial topic. 
  2. See the terms that get the most searches but are quite low on the ranking, as those subjects can offer you chances to improve the ranking of your site. 
  3. Find similar terms in which your next group of content will be built around. 

If you are on the fence whether or not the words are relevant enough or not, then head on over to Google Correlate. The tool gives insights and impressions into what topics are searched for after a particular phrase.  

Why Use Land and Expand?

The land and expand strategy fosters trust between client and provider, and trust is an essential ingredient in any business venture. 

Second, it is easier to upsell an existing client than it is to foster relations with a new one. And frequently, the hassle encountered with gathering the attention and servicing a new client is not worth the benefit to be received. 

When you land and expand, you do not need to worry that much about competition or lengthy sales cycles. If your client buys something from you and derives value, then they are most probably not leaving. 

Land and expand is an effective and scalable business strategy that puts the needs of the customers in the center. It can be quite lengthy to implement, seeing as trust is not built in a day, but a successfully implemented land and expand tactic will surely pay its dividends in the long run. 

A clear pathway with the end goal of a healthy, long-term relationship with your customer client paves the road for a successful business journey with your business partner. 

However, landing and expanding is not only applicable to business. As highlighted above, SEO also benefits from this approach. 

The key is in finding keywords that have the potential to be built upon and creating content that delivers value to the users. There are a whole host of SEO related tools for your convenience in achieving this, Google Search Console being the most prominent.  

Expanding a page may not be enough; sometimes you have to branch out to other pages and subtopics to make the most of your strategy. Related keywords can serve as a great starting point for another set of articles aiming to deliver value. 

And there you have it! That is how you land and expand and how it applies to SEO keyword searches. After reading this article, I hope that you are more or less acquainted with the land and expand strategy, and how you can apply it to your website. 

Check out these topics to know more about SEO.

Drop a comment below to tell me what to cover next! 



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