The great unfulfilled promise of the past 10 years in online marketing is “build it and they will come”. By now every business on the planet that isn’t owned by Rip Van Winkle has a website. Unfortunately for many small and medium sized businesses, the biggest reason WHY they have a website is because everybody else does.
Well, there is some benefit in that logic as in fact if I’m looking for a local provider of a product or service, since I only look online, if you do not have a website, I will not see you so you don’t even have a chance at getting my business. Even my parents who are in their 70’s start every search on their iPad. So just having a website is a step in the right direction. However, it’s a baby step at best and this is where the companies that get digital marketing are pulling away from the companies that think having a website is being in the game.
One of the most common questions we get from prospective clients at Mash Digital Marketing is “I have a website that I paid a lot of money for and it looks nice but we’re not getting enough leads or sales. Can you help us?”
In almost every case, the answer is yes and one of the biggest reasons they are not getting the leads or sales they expected is because the used a website design firm to design and build their company website instead of using a digital marketing agency that actually uses what they recommend to drive their own business.
That said, here are 5 of the most common reasons why your current website isn’t generating enough leads and/or Sales;
1. No one is monitoring and managing your website traffic
One of the first things we always ask clients for is access to their website analytics, usually Google Analytics, to which we frequently hear, “Um, we don’t usually look at that, our website people do.” This scenario is very common and very unfortunate because leads and sales are a product of website traffic and if you aren’t crystal clear about how much traffic your website is getting, from where and what your 12 month traffic trend is, as the saying goes, “Your flying blind”.
If the conversion rate (visitor to lead or sale) is 3%, than you are generating 3 leads/sales for every 100 visitors. If your site is only getting 100 visitors per month than you are generating 3 sales/leads per month. If you were hoping that your beautiful new website would generate 30 leads/sales per month, than one way to look at this problem is to say you need to increase your traffic to 1000 visitors per month.
The big question is who in your company knows your current conversion ratio and traffic number? If it’s not someone who is closely tied to the financial success of your business, and nobody is asking this question or generating a monthly report that shows period over period change, you’re in big trouble!
Don’t get me wrong, this is a very simplistic view of the common low-lead problem we see so frequently, but at the core, increasing leads or sales is as simple as generating more traffic, as long as your conversion rate holds constant. There are many ways to generate more traffic to your company website but the most effective way is to be consistently creating new content that is relevant and useful to your target market, which leads to our next reason, why your website isn’t generating enough leads or sale.
- Get access to your website analytics and study your traffic, where it’s coming from, how many visitors per month, month over month changes and 12 month trends.
- Add social sharing button to your site and blog
- Write a plan to increase traffic on a monthly basis
2. Your website content is stale and boring
Back in the days of “Build it and they will come” website design, content was basically the words you put on your static website pages that would stay the same for years to come. For many years this actually worked reasonably well if the content on your webpages was keyword optimized. But, as we all know, Google isn’t in the business of providing a really nice search experience, they’re in the business of selling advertising.
So over the past 10 years, Google has continually updated the algorithm they use to determine which sites show up on the first page of their search results and which websites/pages get kicked into the basement. All under the guise of Google trying to provide a better experience for people searching the web for answers to their questions and problems.
A couple of things are becoming obvious as the dust settles on the close of 2014; one, producing relevant and useful content on a consistent basis is critically important and two, how well your content is received by the internet can have a pretty big impact on your results at the end of the day.
So what do we mean by “relevant, useful and consistent”? By consistent we mean both regular and frequently such as one very good blog post (See “What makes a blog Post great article”) per week. (Frequently = weekly, regular=every week).
What! You say. My website designer never told me I need to feed the website like that!!! That’s because website designers are great at building pretty websites but not so great at understanding what it takes to drive leads and sales. Relevant, useful content posted on your website/blog on a regular basis is the only way to consistently drive traffic to your beautiful website that will ultimately convert into a lead or a sale. If you’re not willing to accept this and start by building out a 90 day content plan you may as well shut down your website and double down on your Yellow Page ad. (God help you if you’re still using Yellow pages!)
By relevant and useful we mean creating content that resonates with your prospects as they travel through the buying process for your product or service. According to Forrester, 70-90% of the buyers journey is made through online research, long before a prospect become a lead at your company.
If you’re still managing your sales force with metrics like dials/day, you’re a dinosaur at best and you must be calling senior citizens because they are the only people left on the planet who answer their phone even when they don’t recognize the person calling them on their caller ID.
Smart companies today know that prospects search for information online and do a majority of their research before ever reaching out to a company for a demo, price quote, info request or appointment. If your company doesn’t have a plan to create content that answers their questions and concerns and publish it online, you will be at the mercy of your competitors that do.
- Add a blog to your website
- Create a content marketing plan and content calendar
- Post one new article on your blog each week.
3. Your website is not built for smart phone and tablets
If you don’t own a kick ass smart phone by now, stop reading this article immediately! You are clearly not a digital citizen and everything I mention in this section will go right over your head. If, on the other hand, you own a sophisticated smart phone and you use it regularly to find local products and services and/or do research about bigger ticket purchases you’re considering while you are stuck waiting in traffic, doctor appointments, kids, etc., then read on.
Responsive means mobile friendly. This is when your website is easy to read on smart phones, tablets and any other mobile/portable device your prospects may be using to research companies that provide your product or service. You see, the data is in and the number of people accessing the internet on mobile devices is growing like crazy. According to recent comScore report, smart phones and tablets now account for 60% of all online traffic, up from 50% a year ago. If the people currently managing your website haven’t been reporting on the breakdown of Desktop, mobile and tablet visitors to your website, fire them after you read this article!
Unfortunately for most of the small and medium size companies that built a new website in the past three years, odds are they are not responsive which means if a prospect for your product or service stumbles onto to you website from their smart phone or tablet, the user experience will suck because your website does not automatically adjust to the size of their screen.
Test this for yourself, visit your company website from your smart phone or tablet. (BTW, Amazon has sold millions of 7 inch Fire tablets) If you have to pinch, zoom and/or scroll left to right to see the content on your website that is what we call “Epic Fail” in today’s world.
A responsive website on the other hand automatically formats the important information on your website so that it fits the screen of the visitor perfectly and all the visitor has to do is scroll down. More importantly, your call-to-actions are displayed in the right place at the right time which increase the odds that your mobile visitors will convert to leads and sales.
If your company website was built in the past 5 years, my guess is its not responsive and you’re seeing a decline in your traffic, leads and sales.
- Find out what your website looks like on mobile devices. Click here for a free tool
- Find out what percent of your traffic is coming from mobile devices and what is the 12 month trend. (You can get this info from Google Analytics)
- Rebuild your website in responsive design if it is not currently mobile friendly.
4. Your website doesn’t have enough calls-to-action
If this term is foreign to you, it’s no wonder your website isn’t generating enough leads or sales, you were at a serious disadvantage before your website even launched! The scary thing is this term is foreign to a high percentage of website designers so when you are thinking you are in good hands and everything is under control, you may want to think again.
A call-to-action (CTA) is a very noticeable image with compelling ad copy and a clear instruction like; “Download”, “Buy Now”, “Subscribe”, Register”, etc. The most effective CTAs are those created by a skilled graphic designer with copy written by an experienced ad copy writer. Equally if not more important is have a plan to test different versions of your CTA, also known as A/B split testing.
Here’s an example of one of the A/B split tests I’m currently running for a real estate website;
We wanted to know which call-to-action performs better, “Click Here” or “Search Now”?
This test was recently launched and we don’t have enough data to make a statistically sound decision on which version is the winner but early results show “Click Here” with a slight lead (Some tests end in a draw and you simply end the test and start the next one).
While there is a ton of data available regarding colors to use, size, position on the page, amount of copy, etc. the truth is, different things work better for different industries. This is why it is very important when you are plan a lead gen strategy, testing needs to be a core component and worked into your budget.
That said, here are some general guidelines to help you get started;
- Color – If you are heavily invested in the look and feel of your brands design and colors (Think Coke, Ford, Starbucks, etc.) it’s a good idea to use colors that go well with the colors on your site. A good designer can help you expand the color palette so you can use a little more contrast without looking like a hack job.
- Design – Some companies/brands have gone outside the box and tested CTAs that are so hard to miss they are borderline obnoxious. If these deliver superior results without degrading the brand, I would go with it.
- Size & position – Our experience is that most websites have an area on the home page appropriate for a CTA but generally the interior pages are using a different page style and may require a different size and/or shape to fit into the page design.
For example, on the home page of the Mash Digital Marketing website, we are testing a larger image CTA. (This CTA is designed to coincide with a radio campaign we will be running that refers to digital marketing super heroes). ;
While on the interior pages we are testing a tower CTA in the right sidebar that promotes a free guide related to the topic on the page.
- Call-to-action copy – A good general rule in copy writing and writing in general is “Less is more”. Always try to inspire the desired action with the fewest number of words possible.
- Use CTAs throughout your website to drive more leads and sales
- Have a testing plan in place
- The primary KPI (key performance indicator) to focus on is Click-through-rate (CTR) e.g. how many clicks per 100 visitors.
5. Your sending prospects and leads to your “Contact us” page
Having great CTAs on your website is critically important to your lead gen strategy but without great landing pages, you may end up with an amazing click-through-rate and no actual leads. For many small and medium size businesses, this is where things start to fall apart.
There is a ton of science that goes into effective landing pages and if you didn’t see this coming, testing is a big part of a successful landing page strategy. The problem for many companies is they simply don’t have the resources to manage this process, let alone build one best practice landing page.
We see a lot of companies redirect their call-to-action button to their “Contact us” page which is almost guaranteed to fail, especially when you product or service is big ticket and has a longer sales cycle. Most of the people who reach out to us for lead gen help only have a “Request” info CTA which points to their contact us page and this is why they aren’t getting any leads.
If I want info from your company, I’m picking up the phone and calling you and if I’m impressed with what I hear, then I’ll give you my contact info. Another huge problem we commonly see is the company’s phone number is cleverly hidden on their website. For most companies if all they did was make sure their phone number was highly visible on every page of their site, they would see an instant lift in leads and sales.
If you’re serious about generating leads on your website, you will need to create multiple assets such as whitepapers, guides, templates, comparison charts, etc. that are valuable to your prospects at various stages in the buying cycle. Each “Lead Magnet” will need its own CTA which redirects the visitor to a custom designed landing page.
An effective landing page consists of 1 -2 short paragraphs and 3-5 bullet points explaining what they are receiving. You also want a high resolution image and/or a video when it makes sense. Finally, you want a form to capture their information and add them to your prospect database. The key to the form is fewer required fields will generate more leads.
In our 3 Keys to a Successful Lead Generation Campaign guide, we explain how to create and use lead magnets, CTAs and landing pages to generate leads and grow your business. Click here to download the free guide.
- Create a landing page on your website that provides people with a good reason to fill out your form.
- Create different landing pages for different things of value your customers can download.
- Keep your form short.
If your website is suffering from all 5 of these common mistakes, you’ve got some work ahead of you. The sooner you get started, the sooner your website will start generating business like you originally hoped. As mentioned above, you can click here to download our free guide “3 Keys to a Successful Lead Generation” and be well on your way in no time!
You can also visit our home page to get a free website analysis which scores your site on SEO, Social Media, Online visibility, Lead Generation and how it looks on Mobile devices.