Your website can do so much more than serve as a coaster to your frosty sales and marketing beverages...
That's right... It can actually help you get more clients... from attracting to converting them and everything in between. You just have to start thinking of it as part of your sales team, not a back-stop to all of your other outreach efforts.
THIS is how to get more clients from your most valuable marketing asset: your website.
Here are 5 ways you can transform your stale, dated eye-sore of a site to a revenue-generating machine:
Yes, aesthetics are important. It's a great idea for you to have nice pictures and easy-to-navigate pages - and as you probably already know, it's a good idea to get something called "SEO" involved.
But that's just scratching the surface, and although they are incredibly important aspects, they alone cannot yield a measurable return on your investment. Sure, your salespeople may say that they are less embarrassed by the site or that it seems to be helping, but we can't pay bills with terms like that, and I'd rather focus on quantifiable objectives, like actual customers...
So, before we jump into this list, let's talk about some general standards we should be thinking about when it comes to the value our website drives.
- We should easily be able to see how much traffic we are getting, and where it is coming from
- We should be able to get leads from it, and be able to track where THOSE are coming from
- We should be able to convert at LEAST 2 - 3% of our visitors into leads
- We should be able to convert between 2 & 10% of our leads into customers
Even if the redesign is completely necessary because the site is so old and cumbersome that you're probably losing business without it, you may want to take pause before executing if these marketing objectives aren't part of the equation.
1: Drop the idea that it has to be static
How long has it been since your last website design iteration? Do you update it frequently, as in, at least once a month? Are you constantly adding new pages, or adjusting your content? Or, are you like most of the businesses out there, and making tweaks every 6 - 12 months with major overhauls ever 5 - 10 years?
In the "old days," we'd set up a site built to last, then walk away... that was how just about everybody did it. It would cost upwards of $20k for a half-decent site, and take several months to complete too. By the time it was all said and done, weren't you also settling for that final draft? I mean, if you could, wouldn't you keep going with it?
Does that sound familiar?... No WONDER so many of you walk away afterwards!
And why did it cost so much and take so long? Primarily because it involved so much coding!
The good news is that with advancements in website technology favoring the creatives rather than the technically inclined, we are able to do so much more with less. In addition, with "smart" features that allow us to customize the messages and images our visitors see based on things like behavioral patterns, geography, and device, our websites can actually change and evolve automatically.
So, please, lose this notion that this is a one-and-done project, because it's anything but. Your website should grow and evolve daily... just as you and your business do.
2: Pull it from the coders and go with Website Marketers to get more traffic
It used to be a very technical exercise to earn traffic to your website. USED to be... still is to a small degree, but like I mentioned before, the technologies that drive this industry are favoring more of the creatives than anybody else.
There are plenty of tools out there to help us make sure the meta-tags are all proper and that SEO integration is in place. For example, with Hubspot I have all sorts of tools telling me when my pages are out of alignment, and what exactly to do to get them up to scratch from a technical perspective.
But the content... well that's not something you want to put in the hands of an IT guy, but rather, somebody who makes a living writing copy.... somebody who understands branding guidelines and your sales process.
One of the more popular ways to attract visitors is to blog. Not only does it boost your SEO rankings, but it provides collateral that is easily shared and supported through social media. Then there's the on-page content... and, of course, link building has moved away from the coder days when it was all about setting up farms and traps. Today it goes back to the content, and finding others willing to share it.
3: Do something with those not yet ready to buy
This is where it can get really fuzzy for folks still holding onto older notions of what websites are actually capable of. Remember, this is about leveraging this marketing asset to get clients, not just serve as a back-stop to your other outreach efforts.
What happens when your visitors aren't ready to buy, but will eventually be a customer to somebody in your field? How do we capture them and turn them into actual leads?
Give them something they find particularly valuable - for free. - like a white paper or some other form of content download. Put it behind a form, and require that they give you their contact information in exchange for it.
RIGHT THERE is where you'll see this piece of marketing collateral turn into something a whole lot more valuable than it "feeling" like it's doing something. Chances are you pay for leads in one way or another... either your sales people are spending time prospecting on their own, or you're buying lists, or something else is taking money from you in order to have potential customers to buy.
From that point, you can nurture them with emails until they are ready to buy.
4: Keep it fresh
Don't walk away from your site after launch. Seriously, don't do it. Google and friends may place a lot of emphasis on things like longevity and stability with your domain, but those returns will plateau and diminish over time if you don't keep it fresh. One way you can do this is with blogging. Another way is to simply update your content.
Remember, we're not living in the dark ages anymore! We can update content in a snap with good copywriting involved.
It's also a good idea, because it's possible that some of the keywords you chose in the beginning may not drive the right kind of traffic or they may be a lot more competitive than you originally thought. Keep it fresh. Keep the content flowing, and the rest will follow.
5: Get custom
Earlier in this blog post I mentioned something about smart content, but even if you're hosting your site with less sophisticated tools, you can still keep it fresh and totally customized through landing pages.
Your main site pages are one thing. Your landing pages are another thing entirely. Here, you'll be able to speak about specific service offerings, content downloads, and different steps in the buyer's journey.
That said, if you can afford something like Hubspot to host your site, you'll have your message targeting down to a science.
Think bigger picture, and get more clients from your website today!
It's not a bad thing that your website needs an upgrade today, because there are so many incredible opportunities out there, and you actually start thinking of how to justify those website development costs. Nothing pleases businesses more than being able to draw a parallel between investment and returns... I mean, right?