Your business lives and dies by the number of qualified leads (or potential customers) you can find.
Is your business already generating enough leads? If you’re anything like most of the business owners and executives I speak with, the answer is no.
What would it do for your business growth if your website was providing you with a consistently increasing flow of qualified leads? Or with lead intelligence that can help you decide where to best spend your sales efforts?
First, let me be clear what I mean by “leads.” I’m talking about people you actually have enough information about that you can market to them. Some anonymous person who has read some copy on your website is not a lead — she’s a visitor. Visitors are great, no doubt. But an effective website, at the least, converts visitors into actual leads.
In the world of sales there are “hunters” (those who seek out qualified leads), “farmers” (those who nurture leads, moving them closer to being ready to buy), and “closers.” Closing business is a tough thing to scale, especially for businesses that absolutely require the touch of a human being (i.e. professional services) to close the deal. But your website, if designed properly, can become one of your best hunters and farmers, and can make it dramatically easier for you to close business.
A business website should be, first and foremost, a lead generation tool. Obviously there are exceptions, but generally speaking, anything else is a waste of its potential.
If your website is more of a glorified brochure than a real sales tool, consider doing these nine things:
1. Move your website onto a content management system (CMS)
A CMS is important for you to be able to update your website’s content on a regular basis. Without one, you’re beholden to your web developer for every content update, creating an expensive bottleneck in a world where speed is important.
2. Perform keyword research
Find a large volume of relevant, low-competition, high-value keywords that you can rank for on search engines. Think about “the long tail.”
Did you know that, according to NetMarketShare and MarketingSherpa, 57% of Internet users search the web every single day and 70% of search engine clicks are on the organic listings (not the paid ones?) But, 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
->See also: 9 Steps to Balanced Search Engine Optimization
3. Optimize your existing content for search engines AND for people
Sure, you want to increase your website traffic from search engines. But don’t do this at the expense of traffic-to-lead conversion. Remember, it’s not Googlebot you have to convert, it’s real people.
->See also: Writing Content For Your Audience AND Google
4. Blog regularly
Two to three times per week is great, if you can. The more you blog, the more targeted traffic you’ll generate.
According to HubSpot, B-to-B companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month on average than those that don’t. B-to-C companies that blog do even better, with 88% more leads.
->See also: Blogging is For Closers
5. Create offers
Offers are the primary carrot by which you’ll convert visitors into leads. In this context, an offer is pretty much anything your audience finds valuable enough that they’d provide their contact information.
Content offers on a website should educate your prospects and help them get smarter about what they need. By providing them with this advice, they will come to understand how your products or services could potentially fill that need. They should also map to different stages of your sales process, so that leads generated can be nurtured accordingly.
At the top of the funnel, your offers can be something educational and related, but not directly about your products or services. Examples include contests, e-books, give-aways, or white papers. For instance, if you want to attract CPAs as customers, you could create an e-book titled, “5 Ways CPAs Can Become More Profitable.”
But remember that the vast majority of website visitors are “just passing through.” They’re not ready to buy — at least not yet. You want to stay top of mind for when they are ready, and you want to help move them down your sales funnel.
Once you’ve captured a new lead, continue to provide them with offers. Once they are more aware of you and the value you provide, you can entice them with something that both educates and introduces your products or service smore directly. Examples include webinars, case studies, or fact sheets.
Finally, for who have read your e-book and participated in your webinar are prime candidates to become customers. For them, consider creating a “closing” offer — something that gets the lead on the phone. For example, a free consultation could work well for those who are almost ready to buy. Remember, a free consultation is time intensive for you and should be saved for your strongest leads.
->See also: How Online Media Can Boost Your Offline Sales
6. Optimize landing pages and calls-to-action
Develop highly targeted landing pages that are specifically designed for lead conversion. Remove all distractions and make sure your landing pages focus entirely on getting the site visitor to take the action you want (fill out a form, download your offer, etc.) Link to your landing pages with strong calls-to-action that drive visitor-to-lead conversions. Your calls-to-actions should use compelling headlines to attract interest. Need examples of great “call-to-action” headlines? Go check out the latest version of Cosmo.
7. Improve visibility through social media
93% of US adult Internet users are on Facebook. Marketers who spent 6 hours a week or more using social media and engaging/sharing content on it saw 52% more leads than those who did not. Companies that use Twitter average double the amount of leads per month that those that do not.
Having active social media accounts on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is no longer a “nice to have” — it’s a “must have.” Social media is an effective way to not only create exposure for your business online, but it is a proven way to significantly engage with prospects and generate leads.
->See also: Why Should Anyone Follow Your Brand on Facebook?
8. Nurture your leads
According to Forrester Research, companies that excel at lead nurturing are able to generate 50% more sales-ready leads at 33% lower cost per lead.
Automated lead nurturing can be set up through a drip email campaign. When a website visitor registers for a free offer, she’s automatically registered to receive a series of emails with additional content and offers. Lead nurturing keeps you “front of mind” over time, encourages your leads to come back to your site and re-engage, helps you to better understand what appeals to your leads, and provides great lead intelligence that can be directly used in your sales efforts.
9. Track and analyze everything
Everything discussed here is trackable and should be measured against your goals. A website is interactive; a billboard is not. A website’s impact on your business can be measured; the impact of a billboard — or a print ad, or a TV ad — still has to be guessed at. If you can’t track it, don’t do it. Tracking and analyzing your marketing efforts is what allows you to get better and make the right investments.
->See also: Don’t Get Distracted By the Wrong Metrics
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