According to Google Analytics, your website is getting plenty of traffic, but you still have a big problem: not enough business. You ask, “Why aren’t prospects emailing, calling or coming in? What’s the deal?”
When I talk with business owners, I often hear these and similar questions. If you’re asking these questions, you’re not alone. Many people are confused about why some websites succeed while others fail. They figured if they built a website, prospects would come. And prospects would have come if they had created a strategic marketing strategy and built a properly structured website.
To drive leads, your website needs to do much more than just look good. Kind of like the really good-looking salesperson. Looking good is fine, but to stay on your payroll, a salesperson has to close sales. Same with a website. A website that performs well and adds to the bottom line is certainly more than a good-looking homepage with a few supporting pages and a contact form. It’s built with a clear web strategy, designed to rank at the top of the page for your chosen keywords, and ultimately, to drive leads to your sales funnel.
Developing a strategy is critical for creating a successful website. The first step is to clearly outline business goals for the website such as increasing qualified leads or streamlining internal processes.
Stakeholders also need to delineate their target market, discover how their market makes buying decisions, and find out where their target market gets their news. Messaging, design, and graphics are created to resonate with the target market. While websites are becoming more complicated, social media have made connecting with potential customers easier than ever before. A solid content strategy that addresses prospects’ need for more information and that can consistently be created and shared is an important part of your business’ web strategy.
Without taking the time to develop a strategy, building your website is like taking a trip without knowing where you’re going, who you should be talking to, how to reach your contact, and what to say when you arrive.
Businesses should have a well-defined sales funnel that encourages prospects to provide the right information at the right time for each phase of the sales process. The sales funnel uses a number of tactics to move a potential customer from initial discovery of your product or service through a series of informational engagements to the making a buying decision.
Understand that customers need to develop trust for your product, service and company before they buy, and only 2-5% of the potential customers who start down the sales funnel will ultimately become a buying customer.
Studies show that 60% of the buying process is complete before the customer contacts the company to make a purchase. Each company defines its own sales funnel based on their target market and may use email marketing, articles, case studies, e-books, white papers, social media and pricing to bring potential customers through the sales funnel. If you don’t have a sales funnel then your marketing efforts will be unfocused, sporadic or disorganized ~ and potential customers will know it.
If you have a strong web strategy and sales funnel, search engine optimization (SEO) is the final step. SEO makes it possible for your website to be found online. SEO is a complicated topic and includes identifying and using keywords strategically within a website, fine-tuning the navigation structure, getting links back to your website and many other elements. When done well, SEO will help your website to list in the top three spots for your selected keywords. Without strong SEO, your website will be lost under a pile of other websites and not get the expected traffic or conversions.
The good news is that, if you take the time to invest in a website with a properly designed web strategy, sales funnel, and SEO, just like a top salesperson or sales team, the website can drive your company to ever higher levels of profitability and success.