Your website is your most powerful marketing tool. It’s where you meet, greet and impress your customers enough to buy your products or engage with your services. It should be a lead-generation machine: a hotbed of activity, delivering a steady stream of qualified leads to your sales team…or it can just sit there and stagnate.
If your website isn’t helping you close sales, here are 9 great ways to ramp it up.
- Spruce up your homepage. Unless they’re following a link to a targeted landing page, most of the time your site visitors will land on your homepage first. Is yours welcoming, informative, and easy to navigate? If your homepage is crowded, outdated or confusing, your visitors will bounce. Figure out why potential customers are coming to your website and make sure what they want to find is prominently displayed.
- Check your contact information. Sounds simple, but be sure your contact info is correct and easy to find on every page. Customers want to know you’ll respond. If a form on a contact page is your only option, you may lose business to more accessible companies.
- Communicate clearly and quickly. Is your language friendly and conversational? In the interest of professionalism, many business owners choose wordy, formal language delivered in dense paragraphs. Informal language, larger text, and shorter sentences and paragraphs appeal more to web users.
- Get your content on. Fill your pages with rich and varied content. Tell your brand story to engage visitors. If you don’t offer a wealth of information, instructions, training, and how-tos, your competition will. Win loyal customers with your expertise.
- Update frequently. Keeping your content fresh gives visitors a reason to return, plus, it boosts your search engine rankings. Add new press releases, start a blog, and ensure any current news on your site is, well, current.
- Create stand-out CTAs (calls-to-action). What do you want visitors to do? View your catalog? Sign up for your mailing list? Learn more about your services? Make your CTA bold, clear, and consistent on every page.A word to the wise: “Buy Now!” may seem like an effective CTA, but use it cautiously. You website visitors may be at any stage of the Growth Cycle Marketing process. In the early stages, they want to check out your products, compare prices, and find information. They may not be ready to buy. Others may be returning customers. Address visitors in different stages of the buy cycle with targeted landing pages and offer something valuable in return for their email address.
- Shorten your forms. In the early days of the web, IRS-length forms were common. Companies needed to collect everything. Today, you can cut it down considerably. Early in the process, many companies just ask for name and email. That’s all you need to build your email list. If you have a great CRM, your email list will link to your social media accounts. Once you earn their business, you’ll collect the rest.
- Evaluate your SEO. If you haven’t performed a comprehensive SEO audit in a while, your website may be buried deep in search page results. The rules have changed, so what worked just a few years ago may be hurting you now.
- Follow up. The Internet has raised expectations. Customers want a response in hours, not days…and certainly not weeks. When a lead is generated, a salesperson should get an alert, and follow up should happen as quickly as possible. Even in the digital automation age, customer service is your greatest asset.
Your website is not an online sales brochure. An optimized website can be an extension of your marketing department and a logical step in the buying process. By implementing the newest SEO and marketing techniques, providing information your visitors are looking for, and offering fast, personalized response, your website will become a lead-generation machine.
Stop banging on the front door of your customer’s mind …when the side door is wide open! A great content marketing strategy is a big way to make your website into lead-generation machine. Download this FREE guide, Side Door Thinking, to discover how content marketing can help you ramp up your website and complete your marketing strategy.
You’ll learn how to:
- Increase Your Referral Rate
- Increase Your Social Media Reach
- Leverage New Product Lines & Revenue Streams
- Earn Your Customer’s Loyalty & Business
- Position Yourself As An Industry Leader & Trusted Resource
The “call to action” (or CTA) is a fairly simple concept: just ask people to do something. In exchange, you’ll collect important lead information. Surprisingly, a lot of businesses fail to use CTAs effectively…and lose potential business as a result.
Let’s take a look at the what, the where and the how of compelling CTAs.
Defining Your Goal = The What
Your goal might be to gather information, sell a product, ask for donations, or get feedback. Regardless, each of these goals is part of a larger goal: to bolster your lead pipeline. So, ask yourself: What do you want viewers to do? Why?
The first step to crafting an effective CTA is to define your goal. For example…
- Want to build your mailing list? Okay, your CTA could lead visitors to a contest entry, a white paper download, or a newsletter signup in exchange for personal details like name and email address.
- Selling a product or service? Cool. Your CTA might be, “Buy now” or “Join for free.”
- Other goals might include enticing viewers to like, share, donate, retweet, or provide input.
Reaching Your Audience = The Where
Be aware that the language you use in your compelling CTA will differ on different channels. Even though your end goal may be the same (say, “build our mailing list”), how you accomplish it depends on where you’re posting.
On your website, your CTA is straightforward:
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This compelling CTA is detailed, specific and actionable. Visitors know what they’re clicking and why. Simple and straightforward—with zero deception.
On Twitter, while the end game is still the same, your real value might be in spread, so you need to go for the retweet. Social scientist Dan Zarrella analyzed Jet Blue’s tweet lengths and found the most retweets happen when tweets are short—just 50 characters. What can you fit in 50 characters? How about…
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It includes a dynamic enticement (Want more sales?) and a CTA (Click here to learn). Everything you want to say in a tiny tweet.
On Facebook, your goal is interaction. Engage your customers by asking for opinions.
Are you using Growth Cycle Marketing? Your opinion matters! Tell us what you think in the comments.
When your customers interact with you, their friends see the discussion. Direct engagement increases your visibility. Your CTA is the invite to comment…but you’ve also included a link to your site, of course.
In email marketing, there are a whole host of other concerns. Before your recipients even see your CTA, you have to entice them to open your email and the prevalence of mobile users adds a whole new dimension of complexity to email marketing design. Stick with an irresistible subject line to really pull them in, then keep your CTA short and sweet within the email body.
Be Succinct = The How
Crafting an effective CTA means using the fewest words necessary for the greatest impact. The best CTAs have a hook for WOW factor paired with a clear CTA. Here are some of the best:
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Each of these brilliant CTAs outline the benefits of signing up and then provide clear instructions for what to do next. That’s really all it takes.
Who doesn’t love a pristine buffet? All you can eat, hot and ready, just waiting for you to fill your plate and dig in.
Wouldn’t it be great if your leads were laid out in the same way: hot and ready to be served?
To ensure your buffet is always stocked with fresh leads, offer your visitors a tempting spread of content marketing.
Fill Your Seats
Filling seats in a restaurant is much like driving traffic to your website using inbound marketing tactics. While you may not be able to showcase mouth-watering meals, you can offer up teasers for useful and helpful content to make your potential customers salivate. Target your marketing and social media offerings to match customer wants and needs, tempting them to walk in the door.
Hot, Fresh Content
Now that your potential customers are in the door, deliver what you promised. They’re looking for hot, fresh content. If your content is stale, cold and skimpy, visitors will bounce without even ordering an appetizer.
This means paying special attention to your landing pages. Marketing links are a promise with a specific focus. Don’t make them search for the content they came for, take your visitors right to a landing page designed to support your advertising. Make juicy, succulent linkbait the centerpiece of your buffet.
Set Out Lots of Tools
Any decent buffet will have plenty of tools for diners within reach: tongs, spoons, knives, and stations at each buffet table with dishes, eating implements, and napkins. On a webpage, your tools should be designed for convenience. Give your visitors a way to sign up and/or contact you on every page.
Always Offer Great Service
When you go out to eat, poor service can really suck the fun out of an evening. Poorly managed buffets let used plates fill up the table, offer few servers on the floor for beverages and other needs, and pay little attention to keeping the buffet trays full, attractive, and at the right temperature…which means they’re not responding to customer needs.
Too many leads just sit there, waiting for service. Customers, like diners, are impatient. If they have to wait, they’ll give their business to your competitor. Offer great service from the minute they arrive and throughout every stage of the Growth Cycle Marketing process.
The Dessert Table
What’s a great dinner without a sweet ending? Your “desserts” offer up a little something extra. When your prospects come to your website looking for a simple meal, give them what you promised PLUS a delicious dessert…offer a discount, a special offer, or a free download. And all they have to do in return is provide an email address. What a deal!
Leaving a comment card on the table allows diners to give their opinion. Show visitors and social media contacts you value their opinions by asking questions and discussing ideas. Customers love being part of the process. Give your customers the opportunity to weigh in without asking loaded questions that may get you in trouble on social media.
Mail Out Coupons
You want diners to come back again and again, so give them a reason. Keep in touch with email, newsletters, social media offers, direct mail, and other tailored marketing efforts. Beef lovers who rave about your roast beef won’t be able to resist your grilled peppercorn-crusted rib eye special. Keep those special offers comin’ to keep customers engaged…and hungry for new products.
While your business probably isn’t a buffet restaurant, your approach to your business marketing should be similar. Success requires tempting offers, satisfied customers, responsive web design, and stellar customer service. Turn your website into a delicious buffet and reap your just desserts—a steady funnel of hot, fresh leads.