The following is a guest post created by DirectLync’s Head of Marketing, Christine Williams. DirectLync, an ECS strategic partner, offers small businesses an all-in-one digital marketing platform to achieve their sales & marketing goals. To learn more about their product and services, visit www.directlync.com.
Most small businesses have a website. Whether you built it yourself or used an agency, your website should be a consistent source of leads for your business. The goal isn’t just to have an online presence but to have a site that shows value and brings in revenue.
And not surprising, nearly every single one of your customers will visit your website at some point. 97% of consumers go online to research products and services locally. It is crucial that you are giving them the right experience and an experience that incentivizes them to visit your store, ask for more information, or make a purchase.
It sounds easy, but many small businesses aren’t optimizing their website to its full potential. So, let’s dive in and get you more leads.
1. Create a website
The first step to getting more website leads is your website. As Kevin Costner says, “If you build it, they will come.” Your site needs to be up-to-date, easy to navigate, and well-written. Your website is the story of your business, and most often, the first thing people see. 48% of people cited a website design as the number 1 factor in deciding the credibility of the business, and once your page loads and users form an opinion in .05 seconds. That is not a lot of time to make an impression, so it is important that you make a good one. Not only do you need a website, but it should be updated every 2-3 years to keep pace with the current website trends.
2. Set up a Google Analytics account
If you don’t already have Google Analytics set up on your site, sign up now! Not only does it give you the information you need about your website – page hits, referrals, unique users, bounce rate – but it’s free to use!
There is some set up involved in adding Google Analytics to your site. Don’t worry; you don’t need to be an expert to do this. Google has some very helpful step-by-step tutorials that walk you through the process.
3. Get to know your audience
Knowing who is going to your website is key to generating leads. The beauty of Google Analytics is that once you have it set up, you get fantastic audience and behavior insights.
Your goal is that the people visiting your website are the same as your target audience. Once you have this data, you can gain even more insight into where your viewers are located, which devices they are using, the most popular pages, and the referral sources.
Keep in mind that not every person that lands on your website is going to be in your target audience. However, the majority should be. Don’t get worried if 100% of your views aren’t in your target audience. That is normal! But if 75% of viewers are not in your target audience, it is time to make a change.
- Your content isn’t capturing the attention of the right people. Take some time to evaluate your website content. Is it tailored to what drives and motivates your target audience?
- The keywords on your website aren’t what your target audience is Googling. You may need to update your keywords to increase your SEO.
- You don’t know your customers. Most likely, this isn’t the case, but I would encourage you to do a quick audit of your current customer base. Are some of them similar to your website viewers? If so, you may have another audience that you are not considering in your marketing initiatives.
4. Capture more leads with forms
Adding forms to your website is a great way to capture more qualified leads. They can be as simple as a contact us or learn more form, or it could be gated content (content that a person needs to fill out a form to access). By adding forms to your website, you are giving website viewers something to do on the site, and it gives you another layer of qualification.
When adding forms to your website, it is vital that you ask for the right information and the right amount of data. I recommend staying under five fields.
- First name – this is how you will personalize your marketing
- Email address – how you will contact and follow up with the lead
- Company name – you will be able to do research and understand what they do and their industry to personalize communications
- Job title– are they a decision maker? You can customize your sales and marketing messages based on what they do and their job level – sales, service, marketing, business owner, etc.
- Country/State/Address – Depending on how you sell, you may want to ask for country or state to help better qualify the lead or assign to a specific person for follow up. If you are in real estate (or a similar business), you may need the person’s physical address.
Try making some of these fields optional to increase conversation. Really think about the information you need to have the next educated conversation with your lead. The fewer fields, the higher your conversion rate will be.
5. Add strong CTAs on your pages
A call-to-action (CTA) tells your website reader what you want them to do (i.e., try for free, read more, sign up now, download). Having a concise and clear CTA is essential. You want to make it easy for the reader to know what their next step is on your site – without having to think twice.
A successful CTA is all about placement, length, and a bit of oomph. It should be short and sweet and located in a location that catches the eye. Try adding a button to the top right of your website menu. You can also have one at the bottom of the page or after a statement. Here are a few great examples of how companies are using CTAs on their websites.
Evernote always has the ‘Login’ button at the top right of their page. They also added a ‘Start Your Free Trial’ button strategically on their page right after they talk about all the benefits of their solution. The button is in green and captures your eye.
MobileCause uses ‘learn more’ CTAs after they talk about each product feature on their home page. The buttons are in a different color to capture your attention.
6. Take a multi-channel approach
It is important that you are directing people back to your site for more information. Most likely, you are using many different marketing channels every day. To get the most out of your efforts, drive people back to your website. Here are a few different ways you can optimize your channels:
- Social media: Run campaigns and ads on social media that provide a call to action, linking back to your website.
- Blogs: When done right, blogging can establish you as a leader in your industry. As a result, this can boost your SEO and ultimately gain more traffic to your website.
- Email marketing: Always include your website link somewhere on your emails. Most people add it in their email footer or on their signature along with social media links.
- SEO: You should perform keyword research to see what keywords your audience is searching and are prevalent in your industry. Think about investing some marketing dollars in SEO. Learn more about creating an SEO strategy here.
7. Invest in a Contact Manager
By a raise of hands, how many of you still use Microsoft Excel or Outlook to store lead and customer data?
If you put your hand up, you need to invest in a tool. A contact manager is a place where you can manage and track the leads that come in through your website – and really from all of your digital efforts. If you aren’t able to track lead source and attribute them to your website, you will never know how effective your website is as a channel. Investing in a CRM or contact management platform not only helps validate and understand the success of your sales and marketing initiatives, but also has a lot of value-added benefits such as opportunity tracking, task management, and pipeline transparency.
8. Get sales involved in the process
If you have a sales team, it is extremely important that they are included in the lead qualification process. It is great to have someone fill out a form on your website, but what happens next is the key. Sales should follow up with a personalized message based on the action that was performed on the site.
It is essential that you work with sales to determine the right follow up methods and the best ways to personalize their message. If your site can bring in the leads, you need the help of your sales team to convert them to customers!
9. Nurture your leads – it’s not one and done
We have all heard the saying, “it’s not one and done.” And not to give you a lecture, but the same applies to your website leads. Not every person is ready to buy when they fill out a website form. Some are just interested in learning more, some just wanted to read your article, and most are shopping around. Creating a lead nurturing program is essential to converting leads from your website efforts. It can be simple and not consume much time or effort. That is where drip campaigns come into play.
A drip campaign is an email strategy that sends pre-written content to your contacts based on a set schedule.
Drip campaigns are based on actions and triggers. Essentially, you can set up a program to send a specific set of emails to people that filled out a form. It will retroactively start people at the beginning of the drip as they enter the funnel. So, if they fill out a form to read your e-book, you can continue to reach out to them with case studies, relevant statistics, and follow up emails. The best part – you don’t have to remember to send the email! Once you set up a drip campaign, it will run for you and alert you of any lead activity. This takes a bit of upfront effort, but you will thank yourself in the long run.
10. Test your website, continually
Last, but not least, is testing. You need to test your website continually. Now that you have Google Analytics, you are receiving valuable insights into the performance of your website. You can see how many people are visiting your page, where they are coming from, and how much time they are spending on your page. It’s time to test different content, design, and marketing activities to see what works best for your audience. Here are some of the various tests you can run on your site.
- Call-to-action: Change the button color, the text on the button, and the location on the page.
- Bounce rate: Review your website content if people are quickly bouncing off the site. Do you have big chunks of text? If so, try to reduce the amount of text, add bullets or snippets to make it more scannable. Are you using language that everyone can understand? If you are using advanced words or lots of industry lingo, it may be too confusing for the average visitor on your site.
- Form fields and placement: Test different form lengths. Also, try above the fold forms verses at the bottom of the page.
- Meta descriptions: Test different meta titles and descriptions for your site. Meta helps with SEO and could improve your search engine rankings.
Your website needs the same love you give to your email marketing campaigns or your social media platforms. Treat it as another marketing channel. It’s not a set it and forget it mentality. You should always be updating it and trying new things. If you put effort into your website, you will soon start to reap the rewards. And soon enough, your website will be the lead generation machine you’ve been waiting for!
At ECS we love all things marketing – and we especially love to share how strategic, well-executed marketing works to drive sales. Talk to ECS Managing Partner Bill Morrow more about this – one of his favorite topics. Find him either at email@example.com or 610-310-6707.