Think of any business. For the first one that immediately comes to mind, try to see if they already have a website in place.
Then think of another one.
And then another one once more. Keep on going until you get to the local small business level. Chances are, you’ll find that most – if not all – of the businesses you ran through your head have their website up.
Even I have my own personal website where I write things I couldn’t possibly publish here or at LinkedIn. That’s me “just wanting to have a website,” so I don’t really care about operating expenses, ROI, promotion, or analytics; I just wanted my own digital space online.
For businesses, however, the internet and the way modern commerce works has changed so much that “just having an online presence” isn’t going to cut it anymore. Marketers (a collective term I will use for actively involved in the promotion of their brand from this point on) need to adopt a lead generation mindset when it comes to their online real estate. This isn’t just to increase sales, but to remain competitive in their respective industries.
What is lead generation?
You may have come across this page with the “lead generation” keyword as a search term. Since the topic can be too broad, I am going to explain it anyway to narrow down what this post is going to be.
Lead generation is any marketing activity with the expressed interest of capturing prospect data for future contact, nurture, and sale. It can be done through many different ways, such as:
- setting up an event, seminar, or webinar, and capturing registration data from there.
- smart prospecting and telemarketing to ascertain needs and challenges of potential customers.
- offering helpful content such as how-to’s, blog posts, free software, and more and encouraging future contact from visitors.
This post is going to focus on the third method – content marketing – and how it can turn one’s online real estate into lean, mean, content marketing machines.
A case for lead generation and conversion optimization
Credit where it’s due: the businesses I asked you to think about earlier probably have their websites in perfect working order already. Pages have the proper meta tags, headings, and links for SEO. Navigation and menu items, along with their sub pages, are organized in a neat and intuitive fashion. The designs are aesthetically pleasing, and are able to grab their viewers’ attention to the details that matter the most.
In short, for all intents and purposes, they have nice websites.
It should not stop there, however. In fact, having a nice website should only be every business’ starting point. Marketing teams and web development agencies should embrace designs that encourage conversions and systems that easily adapt for growth.
The following questions should help guide with evaluating an existing website according to conversions and growth considerations:
- Do each of the pages have a clear and defined goal?
- Are each of the pages able to deliver the results they are intended to bring?
- How are the pages performing? Is there room to improve these numbers? How does it compare to industry standards?
- Are the visitors able to find the information they desire with little to no friction? Are the pages able to anticipate those needs?
- How are the pages set up to convert those visits into contacts?
With these being said, it is first important to have metrics set up, as well as your goals you want those numbers compared against.
Metrics encourage you to create pages with their own, clearly defined purpose towards achieving a singular goal. Without specific goals for specific pages, websites are bound to be reduced to mere online brochures of a company’s products, services, and contact details.
A simple goal example
Say we want 1 website inquiry – a sales ready lead – for every 5000 visits. Simple enough to handle without a plan, right? Though deceptively simple, website inquiry goals are actually the perfect, most straightforward example to guide website design and layout decisions.
The first step in taking on this goal would be to map the website’s copy to stages in the buyer’s journey. According to the inbound methodology, today’s modern buyers go through the following stages before making a purchase decision:
Website copies, designs, and layouts must be crafted in a way that will appeal to audiences in their specific stage in the buyer’s journey. Read through the following as a guide on copy creation:
Answer these questions:
- Who are you?
- What are your most outstanding services and capabilities?
Visitors coming from search engines tend to land on home pages. Or, if you have blogs set up, on the specific blog post talking about the problem they intend to solve. Home pages should immediately tell visitors who you are and what you do without being sales-ey.
Answer these questions:
- What do you do for companies that help them add value to their processes?
- What do you know well (or better than the competition) in terms of specific category, audience, or industry?
Answers to these questions have their place in the services page, and deserve a mention right next to – or with – your unique selling proposition.
Answer these questions:
- Do you do better than most companies?
- Are your unique philosophies, methods, or approach?
- What results have you been able to deliver for your previous clients?
Decision makers who are already looking for specific vendors to address their needs are usually found sifting through the services and case study pages. Make sure that your answers to these questions are clear and concise within those two. Last, and most importantly, make it easy for them to find a way to get in touch with you.
Gluing everything together with CTA
If you’re relying solely on your navigation menu to guide users across your website, then you’re missing out on opportunities to showcase your brand’s unique messaging and potential conversions.
The solution is to tie up every page and every section with calls-to-action. CTAs are simply big, easily noticeable buttons that encourage action with verbs and offer something of clear value to the viewer.
For example, if you have just mentioned somewhere in your homepage that you have helped many businesses drive revenue through your solution, you could have a CTA that will immediately take them to your case studies page.
The trick is to consider your messaging and page layout. Run through your website as your potential clients would. Identify areas or sections where you expect your visitors would want to know more about a specific topic and then jump to that page. Anticipate their needs in order to minimize conversion friction.
The following is an example website showing the steps visitors can take towards an inquiry. This is as simple as a modern lead generating website can be. If you want to maximize your SEO visibility and provide more value to your readers, consider taking a step further and engaging your audience with content marketing.
For demonstration purposes, this is a good starting point:
Remember your buyer’s journey and use your CTAs effectively in guiding them as they solve their challenges and address their needs.
Optimization stage starts when you finish setting up and deploying your new website. Keep track of your metrics, and let your goals guide you in making the changes necessary. A/B test wherever possible. Start a blog and help people solve their problems. Promote your content on appropriate places and make sure to share them on social media.
Inbound lead generation is a continuous process. It’s results and effects won’t immediately manifest themselves within a month or two. Perhaps the most important tip is not to overthink it. Aim to help your prospects. Once you do that, we guarantee that things will only come naturally.