Your website may be responsible for the first impression many customers and prospects will have regarding your business but are you using it to generate leads? It is the window into your company and it works for you 24/7 without a break or without asking for a pay rise or a bonus. It can help attract potential customers from places you’ve never heard of or don’t have the time or resources to visit.
For those people who don’t know you, it drives their perception of who you are, what you do, what you and your business stand for and contributes towards their decision on whether they want to do business with you (or not). It has the capability to become a low cost lead generation engine, working in harmony with your other marketing activities and supporting your sales team, but it takes an investment of time and effort to get it right.
If you walked into a shop and the décor was tatty, the service was shoddy and the room was badly lit you’d probably walk out. Why do you think it’s any different in the online world?
The look and feel and user experience of a website is important as is the quality and relevance of the page content. It’s not just about getting found, it’s even more important to ensure visitors return and choose you rather than your competition.
So what can you do to make this happen?
Well yes, it’s important to get found on Google so make sure you check your web pages to ensure you have implemented:
- Search friendly URLs
- Relevant page titles
- Quality, relevant content that’s built around a primary key phrase
- Inviting meta descriptions
- Page headers
- Image Alt Tags and relevant file names
- The Google Analytics code to each page of your site
- A responsive web design suitable for a mobile audience
- The appropriate schema for your market sector/business
It’s a busy world out there and any way you can promote a positive signal to the search engines has got to be taken. Other things to bear in mind include:
Moving your site from http:// to https://. This is already a positive ranking factor but upcoming changes to Chrome in January, will kick off the journey that will eventually see all non-https://sites marked as insecure or bad by Google.
Consider introducing Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) which are basically lightweight web pages stripped down to a minimum to enable fast downloads to mobile devices.
Implement Schema.org markup. This is a markup language for structured data which has been developed by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex, with the goal of creating a structured data vocabulary which adds context to a webpage that all search engines can understand. It’s not a ranking factor but provides additional, contextual information to the search engines so they can present relevant results.
Set up a Google My Business account, it’s a free listing linked to Google maps that allows you to add more information about your business and is important for local search.
Implementing all of these factors will help your website get found by the search engines.
So why do people keep preaching to me about the importance of content marketing?
Generally, when most businesses have their website built, it’s ticked off on the list of “To Do’s” and forgotten about. But even if your site is properly optimized around a key phrase unique to each page, there’s no guarantee that people will type that key phrase into the search engines.
People may be searching for solutions to their problems rather than a specific product or service. Mobile searches differ from desktop searches and we’re definitely seeing a rise in the number of people using voice search.
By creating regular content via a blog or focused articles, you can account for these changes and upload, distribute and promote that content via the internet and social media. Searchers will find it and be pulled through to your site helping to generate leads. This has the added benefit of positioning you as “someone who knows what they’re talking about”and helping you stand out from the crowd.
I’m getting traffic to my site, now what?
Most visitors to your site won’t be ready to buy or convert during their initial visit, they will be in one of the following stages of the buying cycle:
Your web content needs to answer the questions they will have at EACH stage of this (non linear) process (so you really need to understand the issues of your customers). This will help them move forward on their journey and influence their decision to choose you (or contact you for a meeting/discussion).
Until they contact you, you won’t know who they are. Therefore, it makes sense to try and persuade them to provide you with an email address in exchange for something they will perceive of value. This could include items such as a downloadable ebook, access to a video/webinar or to sign up to receive your blog and/or enewsletter. Once you have their email address you can add it to your email marketing list and attempt to nurture the contact to become a client or customer.
Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO)
The more people you can persuade to provide an email address (or call you), the higher the chance of converting those individuals to become customers. This is where aspects of Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) become important. By using a mix of web analytics, user feedback and testing you will be able to get a better handle on what web visitors are after and make sure you then deliver it.
This can come down to the position of your Call To Action (CTA) block, its colour, the message, the number of fields in the request form and understanding any barriers that prevent a conversion. You can find a good, in-depth explanation of CRO from Qualaroo, here
Email marketing isn’t dead (by a long shot)
Social media can be used successfully to promote your content and increase the reach and engagement of your audience. But all of the businesses I know who offer social media services have one key aim and that is to capture that elusive email address. Their Call To Action invariably evolves around linking distributed content back to a specific campaign landing page with a simple message, subscribe here!
Campaign landing pages differ from regular web pages. Each landing page should consist of a related image, a powerful headline, a few sentences explaining the benefits of subscribing, what to expect next and a subscription block. The design and messaging is aimed at persuading visitors to convert. All additional web navigation is normally stripped out to ensure the visitor isn’t distracted from the main objective. Be aware there is a direct correlation between the number of fields in the sign up form and the drop out rate. Only ask for the relevant information (email address and perhaps name/company).
Note: Create one unique campaign landing page for each separate campaign.
Email autoresponders (normally a paid option from your ESP) then follow up with specific messages aimed at moving the contact/prospect further along the buying journey.
Don’t forget the benefits of Remarketing
As mentioned earlier, not all visitors to your site will be ready to convert, but they may do so in the future. Remarketing to your web visitors through the Google (or Facebook) Ad platform will keep your business and messages front and centre of your audience’s thoughts as they move around the internet. When they’re ready to get in touch with a supplier, your business should spring to mind.
At the end of the day, it’s all about generating leads
To build a sustainable demand generation engine takes time and effort and it helps if you have a plan that includes Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and objectives. Jumping from one sales promotion campaign to the next may pull in some low hanging fruit but could be costly over time. Having an in-depth understanding of the pain points, drivers, issues and motivation of your target audience will really help you to focus on the messaging of your marketing content. But if you really want to succeed, make sure that you manage your activities through an editorial calendar, if it’s not in the diary, it’s likely that it won’t get done.
I recommend having an understanding, agreement and definition between the marketing and sales teams of the different stages of the lead generation process e.g. what constitutes a Marketing Qualified Lead (WQL) and at what stage does it become a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL). This will prevent unqualified leads being thrown over the wall for sales follow up.
Introducing an effective online process to generate leads will allow you to:
- Qualify the lead (through email nurturing) before handing over to sales
- Measure the cost of attaining a new customer
- Reduce the cost per lead through automation
- Cross sell and upsell your products/services
- Focus on what’s working and eliminate what’s not
- Keep your sales team happy
Download the eguide: 6 Stages To Inbound Marketing Success
If you’d like help to introduce or improve your own lead generation engine, then get in touch today and find out more about how I can help you grow your business. Call 01803 413481 or email firstname.lastname@example.org