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Ducks? Getting married? What’s that have to do with generating leads through your website? A lot actually. And we’ll get to that, but for now let’s not get ahead of ourselves…
Don’t fret, though. There’s an easily understandable structure for generating quality leads from your website.
Like you would for any other business goal, drafting up some clear definitions and a solid plan will help you determine how to successfully generate leads from your website.
Validate your online marketing efforts by making a plan if you need to get more people to your site.
Cause guess what: it’s hard to make people do things on your website when…ya know…they’re not on it…. Making your website the slickest place to be on the web is all fine and dandy, but why go the extra mile if no one’s seeing it? So this much is clear: you’ve got to have visitors coming to your website to be able to turn them into leads.
Your plan of action for generating leads ultimately depends on what a lead is to you.
How you answer the above questions will help you understand the leads you’ve got, the leads you want, and how you’ll generate more of them through your website. I’ll go more in depth on that when we talk about your marketing message, which is a big part of the strategy you’ll use to make your website a lead generating machine.
Alright, so to get leads from your website, you need to get people going to it. Got it.
Now, how are you going to get them there? Wishing won’t do it. We all know the phrase: you can wish in one hand and…well, do something else for which there are a number of phrases in the other…and see which fills up faster… Ew.
Or you can implement some strategic activities to encourage people to visit your website.
There are a number of ways to do this:
Publishing content to a blog on your website about your products, services and industry is an extremely effective way to increase traffic over time. Each blog post, when packed with the keywords and phrases your prospects search for online, acts as a stand alone page on your website that can be presented in Google’s search results. Therefore each stand alone page is a door prospects can use to enter your site. The more posts you publish, the more doors prospects can find. And over time, each post will draw people to your site organically and your website will gain relevancy in Google’s eyes.
Yes, that’s over time. Think of blogging as a marathon-style approach to boosting website traffic. It’s a method that takes time and discipline. The more you do it, the more effective this strategy is, though, so depending on your traffic goals and time/manpower limitations, you can create a plan to balance each and get the most traffic possible with the assets you’ve got.
While radio, TV and print ads certainly can’t hurt (unless they’re dumb…), it would make the most sense to get an online advertising campaign going given your website is, well, online. This approach, in comparison to blogging, is more of a sprint-style approach to increasing website traffic.
Advertising online makes things much easier for your prospects because they can click straight to your site, whereas doing that from the radio or a TV is, from what I’ve seen, not possible yet….
Money talks. One of life’s crueler lessons, but true nonetheless. While there are free ways to market your business online, throwing money at your online marketing efforts can really get you places when done correctly, and fast (although how fast depends on the amount you’re throwing and where you’re throwing it).
Get the word out about your website by taking advantage of the endless sea of free and/or inexpensive resources out there designed to help you, like…
Are the people you want to talk to on social media? Then be there to tell them about your website. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest. There’s an ideal platform for every business, so if you haven’t already, set up the appropriate social media accounts and start posting.
Add your website link on each account and create posts advertising your blogging efforts, directing your audience to your site to check out the other cool stuff they can find there. And hey, you can even run online ads there, too.
Not only is it a great way to improve your close-ratio and grow your business, it’s also an ideal way to provide long-term nurture for your cooler (not in the James Dean way) leads by sharing your website updates, company news and events, recent blog posts and other online marketing activities with them. Plus, you can automate them. Need I say more?
Put simply, if you want your website to be seen online, search engines should know you have one. Start with creating or claiming your Google My Business listing (because everything seems to start and end with Google, doesn’t it?). Ensuring your GMB listing information is accurate and managed regularly sets you up nicely to show up on Google as often as possible when people are out there searching for your product or service.
Some listing sites aggregate their data so you may be listed in quite a few and not even know it. Take an active approach and check for these to verify and/or correct your business info to be consistent with your GMB listing. You may also consider manually submitting your website and business info to additional search engines and online listing sites relative to your industry to improve the likelihood of people finding your website online.
Alright, so you’ve got ways to tell people about your website. Let’s work on how you’ll win over your prospects with the marketing messages you’ll use within the online marketing efforts outlined above.
Here’s where you’ve got to meet your target market where they are, touch on their pains and present solutions to entice them to come to your website.
There are essentially four stages of the buying cycle.
The person in this phase of the buying cycle is looking to solve a problem, find answers or fulfill a need of some kind, and it’s your job to educate them. Their value as a lead is lower because there’s no guarantee they’ll buy anything from you, but if you provide them with valuable information, they’ll gain trust in you and potentially come back to you when they’re ready to move into Stage 2.
Think of prospecting customers in this stage as you would dating. You’re not going to ask someone to marry you on the first date, are you? No, you’re going to court them for a while, make them fall in love with you and believe you’ll take good care of them and all that jazz. Same goes for offering your products and services to prospects in the earlier stages of the buying cycle. For these prospects, it’s ideal to take a more nurturing and guiding approach with your messaging.
Prospects in this stage of the cycle have accepted they have a problem and are researching online to find the best possible solution. They’re wondering who out there can help, how quickly they’ll provide said help, how much the help will cost and how this all compares with others offering the same kind of help.
Those in this stage have evaluated their options and soon succumb to whatever related logic and/or emotion that sways them toward one brand over another. Your goal here is to nurture and grow their trust in you, to build a relationship with them and increase your credibility by playing to that logic and/or emotion.
Here’s where your prospects who are ready to buy (or re-buy) are hanging out.
For those who’ve never bought from you before, there’s still no guarantee you’re the one they’ll buy from, but you can get the conversion by combining an effective sales pitch with a strong call-to-action on your website.
For those who have bought from you before, you can practice some good client retention through long-term nurture to keep you at the forefronts of their minds should they need something you offer again in the future.
Regardless of the stage your prospects are in, it’s good practice to take a problem/solution approach with your marketing message. We’ve found that by focusing on your prospect’s intent and empathizing with their pains, you can form a message highlighting your products or services as great solution for the problem they’re trying to solve.
Here are some great tips to start with:
Alright, so hey! Your online marketing efforts to get people to your site are working and traffic is up! Now what?
Now it’s time to connect with your visitor’s motivation behind visiting your website. Ask yourself, “How do I plan on selling them on my product or service once they’re on my website?” It comes down to having appropriate and compelling sales pitches on your landing pages for each of the audiences you want to connect with.
A landing page is the website page your prospects land on when they click on the links you serve them through your online marketing efforts.
Content cohesion is key for bridging the gap between your strategic activities and the marketing messages you use when implementing them. It’s possible I just coined the term “content cohesion” but you’re soakin’ up what I’m spillin’, right?
Each landing page should reflect not only the visitor’s purpose for visiting your page but also the strategic activity that got them to it.
Let’s say you’re a frozen smoothie joint running a seasonal special for red and green Christmas smoothies. You’re running an ad on Google that says, “Check out our awesome smoothie specials in celebration of the Holiday season!” but the ad directs people to your Home page, not your Specials page. Is that in line with the prospect’s purpose and the ad copy you used within your ad? Nope.
Don’t confuse and frustrate your prospects by making them search for what they want. People don’t want to think about how to use your website, they want to use your website intuitively. Make it easy for them to find what you want them to find by sending them to the right place to start.
A caveat to that: if you’re sending them to the right page, your page content should adequately reflect what you’ve advertised and provide plenty of supportive, enticing information to encourage conversions.
If you’re going after multiple audiences, you’ll need multiple landing pages for your respective online marketing strategies, each with messaging and an offer that caters to the individual who landed on your landing page after clicking to it through your email, ad or social media campaign(s).
To determine what to put on each page, consider the buyer’s stage in the buying cycle:
Prospects in the earlier stages of the buying cycle are just realizing they have a problem to solve or need that needs to be met. They’re more concerned here with what you do, not so much with why you’re awesome at doing it. That said, you might direct them to blog posts on your site providing answers to commonly asked questions about your product or service.
If you offer downloadable content on your website like guides, worksheets, PDF brochures and pamphlets or e-books, you can include them as calls-to-action or motivators within your blog posts to show your prospects you know your stuff and to keep them moving through your site.
“You better shop around.” At least that’s what Smokey Robinson & The Miracles say. In this stage, prospects are considering how well your offering meets their need while weighing you against your competitors to see how they can get the best bang for their buck.
I mentioned downloadable content earlier, which can provide a great deal of value to these prospects and can encourage them to make a buying decision. Give them something they can’t refuse by speaking their language to communicate a clear offer. At the same time, see if you can obtain something valuable from them return, like an email address or phone number. Then you can use their contact info to nurture those leads into customers.
Once prospects evaluate their options, logic and emotion cause them to lean toward one solution over another, which ultimately leads them to a final buying decision.
Consider supporting your claims of greatness by using testimonials or data sheets within your marketing efforts or by telling your brand story in a way that draws them toward your offer.
This is a great stage to utilize online ads enticing people in this stage to buy, maybe by offering a first-time-customer or limited time discount.
Those farther along in the buying cycle are ready to make a bigger commitment, so it would behoove you to feature supporting content not just on your landing page, but throughout your website to show them you’re an ideal candidate for what they want.
You can get away with more of a forward approach with your marketing messages too. Offer discount pricing for your service or product, or direct prospects to a contact form, call scheduling or appointment request form they can submit to take the next step. For those who’ve already purchased from you, this is an ideal opportunity to get them onto your weekly or monthly newsletter list to keep your brand at the forefronts of their minds.
Now that you’ve got the 411 on formulating your sales pitch within your landing page(s), it’s time to think about how you’ll know if your efforts are paying off.
Cause if you’re not tracking what you’re doing, what’s the point? You’ve got to evaluate your results to know what’s working and what isn’t.
If you’ve gone through everything above and checked off all the boxes but still aren’t generating the kind of traffic or leads you want, it’s possible you either:
If you ARE generating traffic, clearly your strategic activities and marketing messages are on point, which leads to the conclusion that one of two scenarios are resulting in low conversions:
With paid online ads, the quality of website visitors you’ll get can vary. Your visitors may not be of the correct income level or age to make a decision about what you have to offer. OR maybe you’re getting accidental in-app clicks on your online advertisements and people aren’t engaging because they didn’t go to your website on purpose.
So, you must have a problem with the sales pitch on your landing page. It either:
One question you can pose to your marketing team (or yourself if you’re running the show solo) is, “Does the next step seem hard to the visitor?” For instance, if your competitors offer pricing and you don’t, that may deter your visitors from moving forward with you. It’s possible you’re taking visitors to a landing page asking them to buy while your competitors are offering consultations before buying, which renders your landing page virtually useless.
All you can do is be sure all of your efforts are in line with your visitors’ expectations based on your marketing message.
Hey, how ya doin’? Still with me? Whew! That was a lot of information to take in, but I think it’s enough to help you launch your website into a state of lead generation you can work with.
Try to keep in mind, it’s a game of trial and error. Don’t kick yourself if your efforts get you crappy results. A wise koala once said, “Once you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere else to go but up.” So remember to just keep working on your process for implementing strategic activities, optimizing your marketing messages and perfecting your sales pitch and watch your lead generation flourish.
Katie is a Designer & Content Developer at MayeCreate Design. Her responsibilities and experience include content development for websites and online marketing, blogging, general website maintenance, graphic design, ad campaign management, project management, office management, bookkeeping, and customer service. As a wife, mom, twin, seasoned karaoke singer and amateur rock climber, she’s seen the world from many perspectives and thrives to bring an open mind and clear vision to her position here at MayeCreate.