Recently at a networking event, we met with a local business owner. He struggles to get people through the door. So he is sending out mailings, does print advertisement, sponsors a local 5k race.
We ask him if he uses his website is generating any leads for him.
He looked puzzled. He does not have any products for sale online and never anyone has mentioned they found him through his website.
But let me tell you the story of Marcus Sheridan. His pool company was hit really hard by the recession in 2008. He and his business partners needed to do something creative to save their business. Fast.
So they decided to start blogging. They sat down and answered the most common questions they got from customers and wrote a blog post on each. Within months, their website received more traffic than any other pool website.
Today their business is not only thriving, Marcus expanded his scope to coach other businesses on social media and blogging as well.
Here are my Top 15 to transform your website into a lead generation machine:
[✓] Who are you talking to?
No matter if you are posting on Facebook, writing a blog post or writing an email newsletter, always know who you are speaking to. Defining your buyer persona will enable you to target your communication better which provides more value to your prospects and clients and in turn increase your marketing ROI.
[✓] Do A 5 Second Blink Test
What is the first impression a visitor gets when they find your website? Does it convey what your business is about, your brand and your unique selling position?
Have a friend or family member look at your website for 5 seconds, close it and tell you what they remember. Do this with a few more people and you will find out what first impression your website really makes. And often it's not what we think it is.
Make sure you are clear on what your company offers and why you are different from the rest.
[✓] Take A Closer Look At Your Website's Content
We are all busy and have businesses to run, to-do lists to get through and clients to take care of.
And often a website gets forgotten about after it has been launched. Take a few minutes and read your about page, your services pages and product descriptions. Are they up to date? Are they well written, informative and valuable? Do they include relevant pictures or images?
And most importantly: How does this page contribute to your success? If it does not, delete it. If you feel you need it, make it work for you.
[✓] It is NOT about your company
Have you ever heard the saying "People do not want to buy a quarter-inch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole"?
As you are looking through your web content keep your visitor in mind. Are you speaking to them? Are you solving their problems and offering them solutions? Or are you talking about your company and your products?
[✓] Start a blog
One of the best ways to attract visitors to your website is to write an educational blog. According to Social Media B2B, Business to Business companies that blog regularly have generated 67% more traffic per month compared to the ones that do not blog.
Don't know where to start? Write down the top 100 questions that your sales people get every day and answer them one question at a time. Keep it informative and interesting and do not push your products through your blog.
Or you can read up on how to generate 365 blog topics in under 1 hour here - it is for interior designers, but the method can be used in any setting.
[✓] Include a Call To Action
You wrote an amazing blog post! Great! But now what? If he or she liked what they are reading, what is the next step? You could add a pop-up and ask them to subscribe to your newsletter, but I personally find pop-ups very annoying and disruptive. It makes me actually leave a site faster.
Why not include a topic-related and relevant call-to-action at the bottom of your blog post to move your visitor to the next step. It could be as simple as a button "Subscribe to our Blog" a clickable image.
The Call To Action must be relevant and offers something valuable for your visitor.
[✓] Capture Leads With A Landing Page
Once your visitor has clicked on the Call To Action, he will be directed to a landing page.
A landing page is a specific page that allows your visitor to fill out a short form. It has no navigation or other distractions, but just a relevant image and text explaining what they will get out of it from submitting their information. This could be a downloadable eBook, a registration for a webinar, get a coupon code or schedule a free consultation. The possibilities are endless.
[✓] Offer Something Valuable to Download or Connect With You
You are an expert in your field. Write a premium piece of content such as a guide, a checklist, a customer case study or a How-To video and offer it as a piece of gated content.
Let's say you are a local wine and liquor store in the Upper East Side of New York and you cater to different buyer personas. You could write a The Ultimate Guide to Kosher Wine 2014 or a Buyers Guide: Whiskey vs. Bourbon vs. Scotch.
This allows you to capture those leads and segment them by buyer persona (kosher, wine drinker, etc.).
[✓] Segment Your Email Lists
If you already have a larger email newsletter subscriber list, you might feel this pain already. It is great to have a huge list, you need to be able to send targeted messages (again buyer persona) in order to be useful.
Include a "What role describes you best?" or "Job Title" or something else pertaining to your business that helps you filter through the anonymous email addresses.
Offering premium content or sending out an email asking people to self-identify can help clean up your already existing email list.
[✓] Re-think the email blast
After you segmented your email lists, send newsletters that are tailored to the specific needs of that particular recipient group.
If you are using MailChimp, Hubspot or similar you can set up email drip campaigns.
Maybe some readers have been disengaged for a while - why not offer them a discount or a free trial to your product to bring them back.
[✓] Trash the Flash
Web Design has evolved significantly to better facilitate online lead generation and improve search engine visibility. Using flash and other out-dated technologies can result in poor user experience and huge visibility issues with search engines.
We recently had a client who asked us for help after her pretty flash website got featured on a very popular blog and she got no sales, because people could not figure out how to buy! Turns out, her website was not even indexed by Google!
[✓] Use a Content Management System
There are millions of websites running on WordPress for a reason! It is an awesome platform! And if you have a bit of a technical understanding you can build your own websites in matter of days. Read here how I used the StudioPress Foodie Theme for a popular high chair cover website.
Another client of ours has seen 30% more organic (non paid) traffic since updating his already existing WordPress website with us.
If you are considering switching your marketing efforts to a marketing automation platform soon, I highly recommend looking into Hubspot.
Both platforms will enable you to update the content of your website without involving a web designer etc.
[✓] Study up on Local SEO
Many local businesses think that they do not need SEO. But research has shown that 1 out of 2 purchases in a physical location has been researched online before. Read here why local brick and mortar stores should invest in SEO.
[✓] Correct Your Business Listing Information
According to Yext, $10.3 billion are lost in sales every year due to incorrect business information online. The reason for missing or incorrect information on business listing websites is that the sites scout the web for business information and add whatever they find. This results in wrong phone numbers, physical addresses and other outdated information.
You can manually update your information by creating and managing accounts with each business listing service or pay for a service that help you manage the information. Yext offers a free scan that helps you determine the errors that need correcting.
[✓] Get Active On Social Media
According to HubSpot, more than half of businesses reported that they have acquired a customer from Facebook, more than 40% have acquired a customer from LinkedIn, and more than 35% have acquired a customer from Twitter.
Focus on two social media networks that your buyer personas are very engaged in. If you are a consumer oriented business, Facebook or Pinterest are probably the way to go - if you are B2B, LinkedIn is worth giving a shot.