I deliver a lot of website audits from my office in Silver Spring. And most businesses tell me that their number one goal is to increase the number of qualified leads coming through their website. Yet I still talk to many professional service firms that believe that the only way to get new clients is through traditional channels such as referrals, speaking, direct mail, and networking. They think that a website is solely for brand-building and credibility. This is old-school thinking and websites today absolutely can bring in ideal prospects, IF you get the strategy right.
Any smart business owner’s goal is to invest in a website that pays for itself — at least a few times over. For example, we designed a $12k website for a design firm that claimed to work on “referrals-only.” They wanted the site solely for credibility and as a place to display their portfolio. But they were surprised and delighted when the website brought in $275k of new business from places they wouldn’t have imagined — and all the leads turned out to be really good clients. This illustrates the value of a great website — a website that includes the latest web strategies. Yes, the design firm still needed to close new business on the phone. But the website attracted these new clients via Google search, and told a compelling story about why this design firm might be the perfect fit for their needs.
Does your website have a solid conversion strategy? Online competition is forever increasing and most likely your serious competitors have a great website. How do you compare with them online? There are 300-400 small business websites going live every minute. This means that there are 16 million new business websites launching every month! The pace of online marketing is insane.
And along with the pace of new websites coming online, the speed at which web strategy is changing can feel overwhelming. The tactics on websites built as recently as a few years ago no longer work today. Remember when visitors used to sign up for newsletters? Any website owner with a signup on their site knows that this isn’t working any longer.
So it’s time for new strategies. But don’t worry: adding new strategies to your website doesn’t mean that you need to go through an entire website redesign. As long as your site is responsive, easy-to-update and has the right look and visual “pop,” you won’t need to go through the process of a full redesign. Instead, consider refreshing your strategy and home page. Here are five proven ways to use your website more strategically to bring in qualified leads.
1. Identify your ideal prospect. As you think about your conversion strategy, it’s critically important to identify precisely WHO you are marketing to. Who is your ideal client? What are the issues that are causing them pain? What questions do they always ask? How big is their team? When they hire you, what value will they receive? Why do they want to buy from you and not your competitor? Hint: it’s not that you “provide the best service.” Everyone says that! Craft a web strategy that speaks clearly and persuasively to your ideal client.
For example, If you are a sales trainer, your services might help to bring in a million dollars of additional revenue to a small sales team. This is the value you deliver — improved close rates. Lackluster sales or new hire training might be the pain point. Your differentiator could be one-on-one customized sales training and ongoing coaching.
2. Add a conversion strategy. The #1 mistake small businesses make is not having an effective conversion strategy. Keep in mind that we can send all the traffic in the world to your website but without a conversion strategy, these visitors will never turn into leads. You will lose any traffic that isn’t ready to buy the moment they visit.
Think about it this way: When someone visits your website they are trying to solve a problem. So if that same business owner is looking for ways to train up his sales team due to a lackluster previous quarter — offer a few sales tips as a freebie. Your conversion strategy can be to share these training tips in a free video series.
And this video series may be what drew the visitor to your site originally, via google search. Google LOVES when you educate and rewards you with better rankings. When you deliver value and educate, your visitor is much more likely to exchange his or her email for your valuable sales training content. And boom! you have a conversion. Now you are building a marketing list of ideal clients. Even if your visitors don’t buy that minute, they are on your list.
3. Drive traffic to your website AFTER your conversion strategy is in place. Traffic is part of the equation, but many people start with traffic strategies. And there are many ways to drive traffic: SEO, Google ad words, Facebook paid advertising, and list building through speaking and inbound marketing. Without website visitors, you will not be selling your services online. Still, you will need to have your conversion strategy in place before you send any new traffic to your website.
4. The visual design doesn’t matter as much as the strategy. Often business owners want to spend their marketing budget on a custom design and the latest “cool” website features. Spend your money on strategy, traffic, writing and photos first. If you get these right, your website will perform. If you have money left in your budget, only then should you invest in a highly-customized visual design.
5. A $500 website will not help you build your business. Yet there are literally thousands of web designers who will gladly take your money. Building an effective web strategy takes time and expertise. Strategy starts with understanding the ideal prospect and what to offer of value that your ideal prospect will exchange their email to get. A direct response copywriter can craft messages that resonate with your ideal prospects. Professional photography reassures and builds credibility, demonstrating that your business is thriving and successful. And then finally, it’s about the follow-up. Write and program an automated and customized nurture email series that continues to deliver value to your ideal prospect — until they are ready to buy. There is no way a $500 website can deliver this kind of a strategy. It will simply take up a bit of space on the internet.
Wondering how your website measures up? Schedule a 75-minute web strategy session with Heather here »