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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistThu, Feb 11, 2016 10 min read

Inbound Marketing Research: How Website Design Impacts Lead Gen

Inbound Marketing Optimization Is The Difference Between Leads And No Leads

Inbound Marketing ResearchYesterday, I wrote about how inbound marketing publication rates impact conversion rates across your program. I also mentioned a variety of other factors that actually impact conversion rates even more than your publication schedule.

Today, I want to talk about the design, flow and stories associated with your website pages. With the way sites are designed today, this is a major factor in whether your pages turn visitors into leads or people who leave your website.

If you’ve been on the web lately, you’ve noticed that sites today don’t look anything like they did even two years ago. Longer pages, flowing stories, panels and responsive sites make website design and development much more complex.

Here’s the data on how site design, flow and user experience actually impact conversion rates.

Every Page Has To Tell A Story

We digest web-based information much differently today than even 24 months ago. Right now, about 50% of your website visitors are on their phones. Did you know that most people search your business on their devices and then come back to view your site on their laptops? This means that your site has to shine on every kind of phone and tablet. What do you do when you visit a site on your phone and it doesn’t work? You never go back again!

This new buyer behavior means your site has to tell a compelling, emotional story, and it has to deliver it in 10 seconds or less. We’ve seen legacy, company brochure, copy-heavy and above-the-fold designs that are converting at sub 1% improve by almost 400% (to between 4% and 5%) when we apply this type of thinking.

The Story Has To Be About Them, Not You

Even when your site tells a story, you have to tell the RIGHT one. More importantly, it has to be about your prospects and not about you. Your goal is to make the prospect the hero of your story. Solid messaging is missing for almost every single new client that starts working with us. Worse, I see agencies and clients beginning inbound marketing programs with websites that are all about them and not at all about their prospective customers.

This is the fast track to low conversions. How long do you want to talk to someone at a party if they only talk about themselves and never ask you anything about you? Not long! Plus, you’re probably telling everyone else at the party what a self-absorbed bore that guy is, right? Of course. Make your website about your prospects and you’ll see an immediate lift in conversions.  

Your Visitors Need Offers

If you remember nothing else from this article, remember this: If you want to increase conversion rates on your site, you need awesome educational offers for the top, middle and bottom of the funnel.

We see this almost every day. Software companies are the worst at it. They have "Get A Demo" everywhere on the site, and that’s their only offer. That might be fine for someone who is ready for a demo, likes demos and thinks a demo is going to help them make a decision. The reality is most people don’t feel like that. Coming from a software background, I’ve seen the demo be the demise of many solid sales opportunities.

Instead, go back to the mapping exercise we referenced above. Understand what type of page you are making. Is this at the top of the funnel? If so, it needs a top-of-the-funnel offer. If it’s at the middle of the funnel, it needs a middle-of-the-funnel offer. If it’s at the bottom of the funnel, well, you get the idea. Some pages might serve more than one objective, and in that case, a page might need more than one offer.

Applying this thinking is one of the most significant ways to see major lifts in conversions on your website. Solidly designed pages, with excellent messaging and the perfect set of offers, can convert at 10% or higher. Imagine if your website was converting 10% of the visitor traffic. That’s a lot of leads.

Messaging Is More Critical Than You Think

We talked a little about messaging. It’s one of the areas companies want to change the least, and it’s probably one of the biggest factors when it comes to conversions. Vanilla or generic messaging can kill a conversion strategy faster than bad design.

Go back to buyer behavior and think about how people search today. They’re looking at three or four sites in succession. If yours doesn’t stand out, why should they click through?

Moyer Site 2016Look at this website to the right. What makes them different? We take care of your home? Really? I would hope so. Oh wait, they have trucks. How else are they going to get to my house? I’m onto the next site.

Now, look at the site below. While it’s not quite designed properly, the message is much different. Upfront pricing. Hmm, that’s interesting. I am always worried about getting gouged once they get out here. This makes me feel better.

Horizon Site 2016Solid messaging typically doubles the conversion rate. The issue is that most of the poorly messaged sites don’t have historically high conversion rates, but regardless, this is something that you should not overlook.

Tools Help You Optimize Every Month

Don’t take my word for any of this. There are tools that make it easy to see where people are clicking, where they are looking and how they scroll through your site. Tools like Crazy Egg, Hotjar, Lucky Orange and Mouseflow give you some very important data on how your visitors are working through your site.

Make sure you set tools like this up early and let them run long enough to have data sets that are deep enough for you to draw some conclusions. Then, start running a series of optimization tests to push up the baseline performance of these pages. We’ve seen tools like this add at least a half a percent on top of whatever the site is already doing because it focuses our attention on obvious problem areas.

No website design is going to be without these areas. The issue is how to address them, fix them and see what the improvement does to the performance data. For instance, on our own page, we realized that a lot of people were not scrolling all the way down to the bottom. So, we shortened the page and limited the story just a bit. The result was many more visitors making it to the bottom and many more conversions (56% more) on our bottom-of-the-funnel offer.

Inbound marketing requires extensive optimization and an understanding of what work should impact what improvements in conversion rates. Every company’s site performs a little differently, but hopefully, you have a better idea of what to do and what to expect when you do it.

This Company Saw An 18 Times Increase In Their Website Traffic Start Today Tip – Don’t try to boil the ocean right out of the box. My suggestion would be to start with messaging first. It’s the hardest to come up with, but the easiest to fix on the site. By changing a few words, you can immediately see improvement in conversions and test it over a period of weeks, not months. Next would be the offers. Again, you should be able to easily add offers to make sure you’ve covered all phases of the funnel. This should give you a major pop in conversions. Once you get it down, look at design, stories and user flow. The end result should be an ongoing optimization effort that improves conversions and lead flow month over month.

Square 2 Marketing – Inbound Results Start With ME!


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.