Website owners can have different objectives in mind when they decide to create a website. But for most small business owners, the main objective of a website is to generate more leads for their business.
And yet most of these websites aren’t optimized to do exactly that, and end up with lost opportunities.
The good news is that all isn’t lost. Setting up your website to generate leads doesn’t require special knowledge, but it does require an intimate understanding of your customers in order to do it well.
Setting up a lead generating website involves many tasks, but in general these can be boiled down to two basic stages:
1) Driving the right traffic to the website
2) Converting these visitors into leads by collecting their contact information and/or providing yours, so you can get in touch with them later on and sell your products or services.
Of course these aren’t one-off activities. The most successful lead generating websites are constantly testing every element of these two steps in order to optimize their conversion rates. No website can do this effectively from the very beginning, but the ones that eventually convert well, were set up in order to learn which strategies worked and which ones didn’t. As a last step, we’ll also look into how to assess how well your website is generating leads, and some quick pointers on how to optimize it.
Driving the Right Traffic
Before you can start turning your website into a lead generating channel, you first have to drive the right traffic to it. And by the right traffic, I mean the kinds of visitors that are already likely to be interested in your business. Your visitors can come from different channels, and it’s important you develop each one so that it attracts the right kind of visitors.
Because 64% of all website traffic comes from organic search, start by doing keyword research to gain insight into the kinds of search queries that drive relevant traffic to your website.
Think of the queries potential customers might run when looking for products and services like yours. Be sure not to neglect longer tail keywords, as these more specific queries are likely to be used by people who are more interested in your business.
Once you have a preliminary keyword list (this is also not a one-off activity), find out which websites and content are ranking for these terms. Focus on the ones that you can reasonably compete for to narrow down your list, and create blog posts or pages that revolve around these keywords. Constantly monitor your rankings to see which ones you’re showing up on SERPs for and which ones need more work.
Ranking for certain keywords may require more effort in content development than you’re willing to invest. For some of these, you can opt for a paid search marketing campaign instead. Pay-Per-Click services like Google AdWords let you bid on certain keywords, so your ads can appear above search results for those queries.
And don’t hesitate to combine the “pull” marketing strategies of search marketing with “push” marketing strategies as well. Publish on social media pages to drive even more traffic to your website and make the most of your content. And create referral traffic by reaching out to websites that are related to your industry and sharing your content with them.
Once your website starts to gain traction, it’s time to create different lead capture points to collect their contact information.
This is where your insight into your potential customers will be critical, because not all of your website’s visitors will be ready to become paying customers. They may need to learn more about your business and what you have to offer before they’re ready to purchase from you.
Start by plotting the various stages of your customer journey, and identify what information they need in order to move to the next. Create landing pages for each stage of the customer journey that contains that information, and add relevant call-to-action buttons to move them to the next relevant stage.
For customers at the earlier stages, you will need to entice them to leave their contact information so that you can continue to engage them until they’re ready to buy. Set a micro-conversion goal like collecting e-mails at different points in your website, so that you can send them newsletters later on and stay top-of-mind.
One way to do this, and further maximize the content you’ve already produced is by getting visitors to subscribe to your blog. Depending on your business, you can also entice them with offers like case studies, infographics, and white papers that they can download after leaving their emails. This, will not only help you gather relatively warmer leads, the content you provided will also help nurture those leads.
On the other hand, customers at the later stages will be ready to get in touch with you. The key here is to make this process as seamless and frictionless as possible. Be sure to have a contact form on each page where they can leave their information, so you or your sales team can get in touch with them. Alternatively, they may want to initiate contact themselves, so be sure to add your own contact information on those pages, like your phone number and office address.
Once your website is configured to generate leads, the real work begins. At the end of the day, your website’s performance will be gauged not by the number of leads, but by how much business it can actually bring. Here are a few pointers to help you assess your website’s performance, and some quick tips on getting started with testing:
Compile a list of those contacts and score them according to their readiness-to-buy. How many of those leads are warm? If you have a good amount of qualified leads that you eventually turned into sales, then your website is doing its job. But if most of the contacts you’ve collected have little to no chance of becoming actual customers, then you will likely need to rethink your approach.
Look into what kind of nurturing is required for the leads that you gathered. They may have questions that could easily be answered with a blog post or a web page. This will give you a good idea of how effectively your website is communicating with customers, and give you ideas for possible improvements.
Find out what your current baseline is for the following metrics:
- Traffic (total and per traffic source)
- Bounce rate (per landing page)
- Click-through rate (per landing page)
- Leads generated (total per landing page)
Test and Optimize
Once you’ve established your benchmarks, identify any weak spots. Are there certain landing pages that don’t generate as much leads as others? Test different versions of your landing pages by tweaking different elements (Web copy, CTA button, etc.) and monitor any improvements.
Bonus Tip: Retargeting Ads
Don’t be disheartened if most of your visitors aren’t converting into leads. Potential customers often take several visits before they take any action on your website. With retargeting ads, you can bring past website visitors back to your site, and dramatically increase conversions.
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