Your Website Homepage Looks Great But Never Generates Leads — We’ll Tell You Why And How To Fix It
This should sound like a common situation. Amazing websites that don’t produce any leads are all over the web. They’ve been built by talented designers and highly skilled website development teams that have no idea how to use those sites to generate leads. While the designs look amazing, they might limit the amount of leads you get. Yes, that’s possible. Great designs don’t always translate into huge lead flow.
But that’s only 50% of the challenge we see when we look at prospect websites. The other half is what the site says. Who wrote the copy for your new beautiful site? You wrote it? You probably wrote the copy so the words on the pages are all about you, not about your prospects.
Why would anyone do that? Because it's easy to write about your business and it's hard to write about your prospects, their challenges, their pains and the solutions, their business outcomes and the results they need.
So, this is the experience you get from most websites. It’s all about them, their software, their services, their products, their factories, their people, their experience and their history. You won't find much about what the prospects need, the results they should expect, stories of similar companies achieving results and educational information to help answer prospects' questions so they can make a safe purchase decision.
This is why your website doesn’t generate more leads (or any leads, for that matter). Here’s how you apply some website upgrades and turn it from a business-centric site to a prospect-centric site that drives leads, sales opportunities and new customers.
Tip 1: You Have 10 Seconds
We love tests that everyone can do on their own site. Right now, hop on over to your homepage and start counting. If within 10 seconds you can’t tell what you do and why someone should consider looking around the rest of the site, you have issues to address immediately. If you have too much jargon, if your message is too complex or if the story is not compelling, your site is not ready for primetime.
Fixing this is not a major undertaking. You don’t need to redesign or rebuild the entire site. You just need to change the headline and copy to better tell your story.
Tip 2: Make It All About Them
While you’re at it, here’s another test to consider; we call it the "you/us test". Start at the top of your homepage and begin counting every time you see the words “we,” “us,” “our” or your company name.
How many of those references did you find? Now go back through the page again and count every time you see the words “you,” “your" or a reference to clients/customers. If your site is about your prospects, you should see that 80% to 90% of the copy references your prospects and only 10% to 20% of the copy references you and your company.
Look around and you’ll see most companies have this backward, focusing their site on them and missing the opportunity to make their site prospect focused. Let’s unpack this concept a little more. Why? It doesn’t seem wrong to have a site that’s all about your company, so why change it to make it about your prospects? You have to keep in mind that marketing is a human-to-human exercise. Humans process the information you’re putting out there.
I want you to remember the last party you went to and the last stranger you met at a party. Did they talk about themselves for 15 minutes? If they did, how did that make you feel? Did you like them afterward? Did you want to get to know them better? Probably not. If you met someone at a party and they talked about themselves as described, you’d probably tell anyone who would listen about how self-absorbed and egotistical the person was, right? This is you if your website is all about your company.
Now, back to the party. What about the person you met who asked you a ton of questions and genuinely tried to get to know you? You would have warmed up, you would have maybe even liked the person and you would have told everyone else how nice that person was when you talked. The feelings you get from these two scenarios are the same feelings your prospects are getting on your website. Let’s work on making sure you’re the person everyone wants to meet.
Tip 3: Tell A Story
Since human-to-human marketing works better, let's keep in mind how people process, remember and share information. Stories always work better than features, benefits and details. People remember stories, they internalize stories and they share stories. Your website homepage and every single other page has to tell a story. If it's just a collection of facts, figures, features and benefits, it's going to be less effective, unless you’re marketing to robots.
Stories have a beginning, a middle and an end. They also have a hero and a villain. You have to start thinking in similar ways when it comes to all of your marketing but primarily when it comes to your website. We’ll talk about the sequence of your story in the next section, but for now, who is the hero of your current website? If it's like most sites, you are the hero (or if you have a software company, the software is the hero). This is misguided, too. You want your prospects to be the hero and you want them to see themselves as the hero on your site.
Here’s an example: If you have a software company, your story is not about your software, screenshots or the features the software offers. Your story is about your target prospect using the software; it’s about what your prospect did with the software, the results the software helped her produce and her success in the company. It's subtle but important. That’s not to say screenshots and features are not important at some point, but they shouldn't be the lead story on your homepage.
Tip 4: Follow This Message Sequence
If you want to break the story down into even more granular sections (and you do), you’ll want to know how people typically process information and why this story sequence makes sense. Also, think about your own purchasing experiences and how you process information when you’re looking for options.
First, does this company get me? Do they understand my pain? Do I see myself in their story? Am I in the right place to get help with my issue? This has to be the first message they see when they land on your site. On our site, it's "Conquer Your Revenue Goals." This is a story about people who have challenges hitting their goals and how we’re going to help them. If you don’t have trouble hitting your goals, you don’t need us. If you do, you’re in the right place and we can help. Check the first box.
The next step is helping them see what we do is what they need done. It's important that they understand it quickly (in under 10 seconds). We can help them with strategy, planning, tactics and measurement. Any of the sales and marketing tactics they might be considering are part of how we help. It's all there in part two of the story. Check the second box.
This is where it can get tricky. Thousands of agencies do what we do. Everyone coming to our site knows that, so now what? How is that interesting? How is that useful for someone looking for help? We have to now explain why we’re different, better and special (we like to use the word “remarkable”). You need this part of the story, too. This gets people to stick around, look around and start to feel safe. Check the third box.
Finally, no one believes you. They need proof–social proof, proof from other companies and proof in the form of success stories. Who have you worked with that looks like and sounds like me? That’s what your prospects are asking for, and you have to provide it. This is the last part of the story and helps them get to trust you. Check the fourth box.
Now you have a story with a beginning, middle and end, and your prospect is the hero of the story. Now you have a website that will draw prospects in, emotionally connect with them, disrupt their status quo so they act and position your company as remarkable in your space. This is what you should be striving for.
Tip 5: Create Blueprints For Every Page
Let’s get a little nerdy with regard to your website. Yes, you want your website to tell your company’s story. But you also want your website to produce results – more visitors, more leads, more sales opportunities and more new customers. Plus, you want those numbers to improve month over month. To deliver on that, you need more than a great homepage. You need every page to be great.
But what does great mean? How do you measure great? What you really want is each page to rank on Google, to give visitors an amazing experience and to convert visitors into high-quality leads at a breakneck rate. To do that, you need a blueprint for every single website page.
Great websites (as described above) don’t happen by accident. It takes planning, and these page blueprints are the underpinning of great planning.
Here’s what the blueprint delivers.
What keywords do you want the page to rank for? What do you want visitors to see when they arrive? What do you want them to do? What action do you want them to take? What do you want them to feel? What do you want them to learn? What are they looking for when they arrive on this page? Where do you want them to go next? What questions do they have if they’re visiting this page?
You should answer all of these questions before you build, design or code anything. If you do this for all of your major site pages, you’ll be including search engine optimization, conversion rate optimization, content delivery in context, user experience mapping and site navigation in your website strategy. The end result will be more leads and more high-quality sales opportunities that turn into new customers and new revenue.
Tip 6: Use Content In Context To Drive Leads
I mentioned this in the previous section, but it warrants a bigger conversation. You have to strategically develop and place the right content on the right pages if ranking on Google and lead conversion are two of your big goals.
First, Google is looking to serve up pages to searchers that satisfy their search. Google looks for signals on the pages it ranks and serves up. If someone searches, finds a listing, clicks on it and then clicks on your page, Google sees that as a win and wants to rank that page more highly because searchers are signaling success. Alternatively, if visitors land on your page and don’t click, that signals to Google that perhaps this isn’t the best page to show searchers.
The way you send Google the positive signal is to have the right conversion points and the right links, so that everyone who lands on that page does something else.
If you’re writing about sales enablement, include sales educational content and offers for people at all stages of their buyer journey. If you’re working on a website design and development page, provide educational offers and content to answer questions people have when considering a new website for their companies. If you create the right blueprint, the rest is easy.
You might have just finished a new website relaunch project and the thought of going through that again is causing you to lose your lunch. Not to worry. You won’t have to start over. Today, we rarely start from scratch with websites that are well designed and well architected.
Instead, consider doing a series of upgrades every month. After about four or five months, a lot of the key pages will have new messaging, new content and new flow. They'll provide a more conversion-oriented, educational experience that helps you get more leads and gets your prospects feeling better about wanting to work with you.
Here’s something else to consider: Stop looking for the cheapest website company. Websites are not a commodity for you to get for as little as possible. Your website should be the cornerstone of your marketing program. Everyone is going to come to your site before they reach out to you. It is the front door to your company and the first impression you’ll make on everyone, including potential partners, investors, prospects, customers, suppliers and even employees. Invest in it accordingly.
You can have a great-looking website that also drives a ton of leads for your company. We deliver both value propositions every day. You just have to start with strategy and then work thoughtfully and within a methodology with clear goals as part of the process. The result should be a prospect-centric website that you work on every single month and one that gets you real business results.
Square 2 Marketing – Revenue Is Earned Through Experience, Methodology And Insights!
Posted By Author Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist
Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.