As recent as 5 years ago, websites were just an electronic version of your business brochure and a digital business card. Everyone had to have one, their tri-fold, bi-fold or 5-10 page glossy brochure with company history, executive team and the mission statement.
When the web took over as a main business communication tool, companies simply converted their printed brochure on to the web. The same pages, same images, same headlines and same copy, only on the web instead of in a printed brochure. It made sense at the time, no one knew anything different.
Fast forward to present day, the digital world is a different place. Today’s buyer has virtually unlimited access to information, they have the power to find and discover products at their own pace, and direct their own paths to purchase. Most of this information gathering and research takes place online. This means that you’re website has become the single most important marketing asset to any business.
It's time to upgrade your digital brochure and business card to a website that will generate leads for you, feeding potential customers materials to move them through the buying journey and into a qualified lead for your business.
Here’s how you’ll know does your website generate leads or is it a high-tech business card. Below will show you what you need to know to use your website to attract potential buyers and generate more leads.
Is Your Website About Your Business or Your Potential Customers?
Most of the time potential customers don’t care about how long you’ve been in business, if you’re the 3rd generation owner passed down from grandpa, how many machines you have in the warehouse or what you’re biggest contract project has been.
Potential customers, buyers, and clients only care about:
- whether you understand their pain
- if you can help them
- how you can help them, why you're different than everyone else saying they can help too
- whether you’ve helped other people like them before
Those same possible customers want to be inspired, they want to feel connected to your company in an emotional way. They want to see stories. They DON’T want to read about more features, benefits or even intimate details of your company, services or products.
Oh yeah...you’ve got to deliver all of the above in 10 seconds or less :)
You have to focus on giving visitors to your site an experience like no one else in the industry. Tell them a story through your site, use videos, be disruptive, easy to understand and easy to navigate. If you do these things you’ll notice your site starting to become a successful sales tool generating new business opportunities.
What Type of Content Do You Publish?
Is your content high value? Is it educational? Think about how people use the web today, they want to collect information, they use it to get educated and get smarter.
This is why it is so important to understand your potential customers, check out Breaking Through The Noise With Buyer Personas to learn more. When you understand what your customers want. You can put content they may interest them on your website, so you’re matching the way your market your company and the way your connect with potential customers based on their current behavior.
Your main goal as a business is getting prospects to know, like and trust you. Content marketing is all about offering people something that they value, and connect with. What the “something” is depends on your audience, by offering ebooks, white papers, videos, infographics, tip sheets, research, presentations and other forms of “carry out content,” you're accomplishing some of those objectives by helping them. By offering this content you’re getting them to convert on you website and you’re putting them into the very top of your sales funnel as a lead.
Quality content makes your website more powerful. “...in a real lead generation websites, every page has a distinct purpose.” ~Jim Stengel, former Procter & Gamble Marketing Officer
The content on your website determines much of how prospects will perceive your company and your products or services. Try experimenting with different structures of content to see what sticks, longer or shorter copy, more of fewer images, more or less white space. Also try different types of content, if you only write blog posts, try a video, infographic or something completely out of the box.
Are You Focusing on Getting Found?
Otherwise known as Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It’s not good enough to build a great website for your business, telling great stories, amazing customer testimonials and great calls to action if no one can find it on Google, Yahoo and Bing.
Did you know that only 5% of searchers go on to check out the results on the second page? That means that you need to target the being on the first page of search results and it would be especially nice to be in the first listings on the first page.
To get those kinds of results:
- Have great content that fulfills the searcher’s intent and expectations
- Know what questions your prospects are asking during the sales process and use those questions to create pages on your site that answer those questions.
- Keep your site fresh with new pages or else search engines will lower your site rank because you don’t have new fresh content being added regularly.
- Optimize your most important web pages for search. Make sure you are clear on the keywords you want to be found for, know the performance of those keywords and used them in natural language patterns, supported by synonyms and in context throughout your site. Use clear headings that help guide the reader through the text, and images with alt-text tags. Your metadata (page title, description, and so on) needs to be the right length and say the right things as well.
There is a fine art to being found in search results. Read more about SEO with these 5 Search Engine Optimization Tips To Help Your Business.
Does Your Site Convert Visitors Into Leads?
If you’ve built a website with the intent to check it off your list and consider it done. You have a problem. If you’re not working on your site every month, and you can’t point to a customer or client who came to you from your website, then you likely have a high-tech business card or a digital brochure. How is that working for you?
Quick tip: If you want to know how many leads your website should be delivering, take the total number of visitors from last month and multiply it by 1%. For example, a site with 2,000 visitors should be bringing in 20 leads a month. Now that's not 20 customers, it’s 20 leads in the awareness stage of their journey, 2 of those should move through the funnel and become sales ready leads.
If your site isn’t performing as you’d like or think its suppose to...Does your site have the necessary offers, calls-to-action, forms and landing pages to help drive up the amount of leads coming from your site each and every month? You may need to have a healthy look at your site and focus on each page that turns visitors into leads. How are each of those elements performing? What can you do to improve that performance? What tests or experiments should you be running to know what works and what doesn’t?
Review, implement, upgrade, review again. This cycle of constant evaluation and review of your greatest digital asset should never stop.
The lead generation process in this day and age begins earlier, with a prospect’s initial interest, and the sales funnel has become the buyer’s journey. Your website is the key to facilitating that journey, from first step to a closed deal. If you think your site could be performing better or you feel stuck with a digital brochure or a high-tech business card. You need to start thinking about your website differently. Your website is a powerful tool and more often than not, the first glance prospects have at your business. It can help you win or lose business if you can’t use it to gather leads and close sales. Unlock the power of your website by turning it into a lead generation machine.