How to build a website that generates leads in 2020
How well a website generates leads determines its success. These tips will help you generate more leads and prioritize the best ones.
February 27 · 15 min read
Success often rests on how well your website generates leads. Even though you may have a great product, an excellent service, and know your industry inside and out, if no one knows about it, then it won’t go far. Your website is your advertisement to the world, and if it’s not effective, you won’t compete.
In the pre-digital days, businesses primarily drummed up business by running ads on TV, radio, producing print ads, making cold calls, and even going door to door. It worked to some degree, but let’s face it, how many people enjoyed being interrupted by a sales ad yelling at them? Or how many people chatted with the cold-calling salesperson? We tolerated it, but we didn’t prefer that method of advertising.
People usually follow a particular pattern when they need or want a product, and the digital world has capitalized on that with inbound marketing. The process went something like this before digital marketing became so huge:
- People recognized they had a need, a problem, or a desire.
- People would talk to their family, friends, or neighbors about this problem or need.
- People would get advice about the problem. Maybe a friend had a similar problem and would share her story.
- The person facing the issue may start checking around for prices or companies that sell the item they need.
- They may still ask friends for advice.
- Finally, they buy the item.
Once the internet came along, businesses simply adapted the customer’s natural process for buying something to the digital world, resulting in inbound marketing. The internet, in combination with inbound marketing, allows the customer to go at their own pace, research solutions to a problem, find businesses offering that solution, purchase their product, tell friends, and repeat.
This non-invasive method of inbound marketing is better for consumers and businesses. Businesses are not in the customer’s face, but at the same time, it puts a whole new responsibility on companies. They must be savvy enough to dangle their product out there for the consumer to see, desire, and eventually buy, or else they won’t have the sales.
How well a website generates leads will determine its success. Because, even if a business is still dabbling in some traditional advertising (which is a good thing), the bulk of leads will come through the web. Here are some tips to make sure your business website generates leads and prioritizes the best ones.
Assess where you’re at
Before you overhaul everything, it’s best to assess. What kind of traffic are you getting right now? Where’s the traffic coming from? Make sure to use analytic tools to see how potential consumers are clicking on your website. Potential customers may find their way to your website through:
- Social media posts
- Email marketing
- Chat help
Determine where the bulk of your traffic comes from and focus on them
During the assessment process, it’s vital that you also find out which pages of your website customers are most likely to click. Are you getting a lot of clicks on a timely, long-form post, or are customers clicking a link from an Instagram post? Once you know where most of the leads are coming from and where they’re going, you have a great place to start updating the content on those pages. Or, in the case of social media posts, you can make sure the material is fresh and current.
You want to beef up where you’re good and cut out where you’re not getting any action. If you do not see any action, consider rethinking your strategy. Why aren’t people interacting with you on Facebook? Are you posting the right type of material at the right time? Do you have enough visibility?
Increase leads using forms
It won’t hurt your website if you have forms on every landing page. If not on every page, at least make sure you put forms on those pages that are getting the most traffic. Forms help you convert visitors into leads and leads into customers. To make sure the conversion form is effective, follow these tips:
- Place the form above the fold: This is helpful in case the person doesn’t read the entire page. The first paragraph and the content of the form may be enough to motivate them.
- Make the form brief and simple: You don’t want the form to be too long or invasive. Don’t ask for phone numbers or addresses. Just get the basics, like the person’s name and email address.
- Make sure to attach an attractive offer with each form: This may seem obvious, but it can take a bit of creative thinking. The offer has to be something they want.
Embrace content marketing
Most people are familiar with content marketing, even if they aren’t completely sure what it is. That’s because it’s become the dominant form of marketing over the last decade or two, and for a good reason. According to Demand Metric, content marketing generates three times as many leads as outbound marketing at a third of the price. That’s nine times the value of traditional outbound marketing.
Ok, but what is content marketing?
Content marketing is a lead generation strategy that involves creating original content that engages with your target audience. For example, say you sell comic books. To get your audience excited for these books, you adapt a handful of your comic books into feature-length films, and the next thing you know, more people are buying your comics than ever before because they’re being exposed to your characters, stories, and brand in multiple, engaging mediums.
In business, content marketing most often takes the shape of a blog (like the one you’re reading now!). Blogs are a tried and true method of content marketing, though they’re far from the only way. You can also create videos, podcasts, eBooks, tutorials, webinars, entertainment - anything that can create to excite your target audience. And if it brings in revenue on its own (through advertising or affiliates), even better.
Attract attention with photos
You’ve probably heard the saying, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” and a thousand words can certainly tell your story better than a few words can. The fact is, people are drawn to images.
Images captivate the eye and can keep someone on your website longer, which might lead to a new customer. However, there are some rules for images. You don’t want to just splatter pictures all over every page just for the sake of having images. You want to use photos sparingly and with purpose. Make sure the picture does one of two things — conveys the message you are trying to get across on that page or conveys something about your brand or business.
Another way to make the website have a more personal feel is to use pictures of your actual building, equipment, staff, and so on. B12’s team page is one example. Get photos of the people doing their job, volunteering, picking up supplies, or just smiling in the office. This helps the viewer feel more connected with your brand. You want to ensure that the photos are polished looking, though. Unprofessional, low-quality pictures will harm your website.
Use videos to show your product in action
With YouTube being the second most popular website in the world (second only to Google), it’s clear that video is one of the most effective ways to engage with consumers. And that makes sense, considering that TV commercials were the king of the advertising world before the internet.
Despite a gradual decline in TV’s (and subsequently commercials) viewership, video marketing has not become any less useful or essential. According to Forbes, 80% of customers use videos to help them make a purchasing decision, and 64% say that video content will push them to purchase a product.
And this makes sense. Text descriptions of a product leave a lot up to a person’s imagination, and photos only reflect your product in 2D. It’s easy to hide issues with a product, hide its size, or be vague about how a product works, even unintentionally, when you only use photos. This can not only dissuade customers from purchasing a product or service, but it can also leave them dissatisfied after their purchase.
Video content can help you avoid these issues altogether while also increasing the trust between new customers and your brand. You can use videos to give a three-dimensional breakdown of your product, show how it works in greater depth, add personality to your service, demonstrate use cases, and more.
Incorporate videos into your landing pages
It’s not just about creating videos for your products and services. It’s about how and where you incorporate them. Specifically, adding a video to each of your landing pages can boost your conversions by up to 86%.
Eyeview found that having video autoplay on a landing page encouraged much more engagement with those visiting the site. Again, this can be brought back to the points made above, and that’s that video is much easier to digest than text, grabs attention much faster than images, and is a great way to add credibility, voice, and perspective to your product.
But this study also shows that where you place these videos matters as well. You don’t want to have your videos buried in different areas on your site where they are never seen, or taking up so much space on your homepage/contact page that they begin to turn prospective leads away. Placing them in areas like landing pages, pages that people visit to be sold on a product or service, can play a significant role in pushing a potential lead in a complete conversion.
Tap into emotions
We’re overwhelmed by the array of online businesses competing for our attention. Not only that, but most people are on email lists and have quite a few different businesses vying for their attention. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle if you don’t find a way to truly connect with the consumer. How can you ensure you’ll connect with consumers? What methods can you use to ensure that people won’t just click away to someone else and forget you? The answer is found by looking at how what humans crave. We all crave connection.
The great news for businesses is that a Harvard Business Review study found that consumers can — and will — emotionally bond with a brand. Through the study, they discovered that people have hundreds of different emotional motivators. The top ten motivators that inspire people are:
- A desire to stand out from the crowd
- A desire for confidence in the future
- A desire for well-being
- A desire for freedom
- A desire for feeling like they belong to a greater whole
- A desire for individuality
- A desire for security
- A desire for adventure
- A desire to be successful
- A desire to help the environment
If a company can leverage their website to tap into at least some of those motivators, then they’re well on the way to creating an emotional bond with the consumer. For example, since people are motivated by a desire for confidence in the future, you can use images and messages that evoke a sense of trust. Help the consumer feel confident about your company’s ability to assist them again in the future. Tap into the consumer’s desire to help the environment by highlighting any social responsibility initiatives your business is involved with. When you ensure that your website stands out from the crowd, you tap into the consumer’s desire to stand out from the crowd.
Practice your headlines
Often, headlines can feel like an afterthought when writing an article - the cherry on top. However, this is about as far from the truth as can be. According to research by Wired, a business that knows a thing or two about headlines, strong headlines can boost engagement with a piece by up to 500%. That’s an insane number for something that has very little to do with the actual content of an article, but it shows just how compelling a great headline can be.
For some, great headlines come naturally. You’re able to predict the sorts of titles that will draw audiences in and craft them accordingly. For most people, however, titling can be the least enjoyable part of an article, especially for those who aren’t familiar with marketing. Fortunately, you can work through this challenge by studying a bit of marketing! There are lots of resources on the internet and books that you can read to sharpen your headlining skills. Considering how big of an impact it can have on your content and lead generation, it’s worth a shot.
People start the buyer’s journey by realizing they have a problem or need and researching what solutions exist. After concluding that they need the type of product or service you offer, they begin looking at all the companies that sell them. That’s when choices seem endless. And for many people, dealing with a company online is different than being face to face with someone. Customers may wonder if the business is trustworthy, whether they’re legitimate, and so on.
This is where testimonials and reviews come in hand. Research indicates that people are willing to believe another person about the trustworthiness of a business. When someone can vouch for a business with a stellar testimonial, it boosts credibility. Add testimonials to your website. Have a whole page of them, and if possible, keep them fresh and up to date. Here at B12, we have a page dedicated to all the reviews we received from our customers over the years.
Customer testimonials won’t just fall from the sky, so make it easy for customers to provide them. Share the link where they can give their review — or, better yet, send them an email with a link to a review form. That way, the customer doesn’t have to do any extra steps and won’t forget about it either.
Be prepared for the long haul
In an ideal world, you would be able to turn leads into conversions in a matter of hours, every interested customer quickly becoming a purchasing customer. Unfortunately, this is not how things work in the real world. 48% of businesses reported that lead conversions require a long cycle of nurturing interest across several different influences, according to a survey by Ascend2.
This means that you should expect to be enticing your leads for long periods rather than relying on impulsive purchases. Customers will want to be attracted by your product, educated on your service, and familiar with your brand before making a final decision on whether or not to purchase with you. This process can take anywhere from several weeks to a few months, but it’s often required to win customers over.
Fortunately, you can engage in long-term conversion with your customers by using the strategies we’ve mentioned throughout this article. Adding to a blog, working on your email chain, creating video content, starting a podcast - all of these things can lengthen the customer journey long enough to bring your leads to the point of conversion. Just be patient and remember that it takes consumers a long time to make up their minds.
Blog with purpose
Blogging is a critical part of staying visible. Not only do your customers get a wide variety of resources, but Google likes to see a website with a continual stream of great content. However, that doesn’t mean just writing anything and posting it in hopes that Google will rank your website at the top of the page. You need blogs that reflect high-quality copywriting as well as search engine optimization (SEO). This is no easy task. There is a lot of regular work you need to juggle, too. Outsourcing your copywriting and SEO may be a better strategy in the long run.
Give out your number
Your phone number may seem like such a small thing, but it can make a big difference between someone staying on your page and becoming a lead and someone leaving. There are a few reasons why it’s essential to include. It adds a degree of reality to your business — if you have a phone number, then you exist, right? People may be suspicious if they don’t see a phone number. They want to be able to reach anyone right away if they have an issue or question. Some people prefer to talk to a real person when dealing with a business. Even though we live in a digital world, not everyone prefers to communicate this way every time. Customers like options.
Analyze the results
The only way to know if your website is generating the traffic and leads you want is to analyze the results. You can test a couple of different strategies to see what works best if you’re not getting the results you want. You can check how your plan is working by running A/B tests.
An A/B test works by taking one piece of content and changing one variable, resulting in two different options to test against each other. The variable can be the place you post it, some part of the content itself, your form, the call to action, the color scheme, images, font size, white space, and more. Testing is a great way to make those tweaks and perfect your website to bring in more leads. Once you have the two versions, you’ll be able to determine which one generates more traffic.
Boosting your website to the top of the search page just became more comfortable with these tips. Get in touch with B12 to find out how we can help your business.