If You Want A Website That Generates Leads, Stop Thinking About Your Site Like It’s A Brochure
Would you ever open a store and not have employees in it to help customers? Would you open a store and not put any signs up on the outside?
Would you ever open a store and not tell anyone about your new store? Would you ever open a store and not plan to do at least some marketing to promote the store’s existence?
Of course not, right?
But would you ever open a store and not allow visitors to sample your products? Would you ever open a store and not keep track of the number of guests and the conversion rate of guests to actual purchases? Would you ever open a store and not keep track of what parts of the store people are spending most of their time in or how they move through the store?
Again, probably not. But every day, people launch websites that make all of the above mistakes. They have no one to help visitors, no signage, no supporting marketing, no idea about how many people are coming, no idea of what people are looking at and no idea of what they want people to buy.
When it comes to websites, you can get one for $5,000 or $50,000 (and higher), just like you can rent a store for $200 a month or $20,000 a month, depending on location and quality of the store space. You can bet the $20,000-a-month store is going to provide much better visibility and many more retail features. You can also bet it’s going to produce many more dollars in revenue.
When it comes to websites, not all websites are created equally.
When you’re getting yours built or redesigned, make sure you have all of the right features to produce the business results (revenue and new customers) you need to grow your business. And make sure your site is built for Google and the humans who will be visiting the site day in and day out.
Features Every Website Should Have In 2019 To Produce Leads And New Customers
A ton of features are available for websites. It’s more like buying a car these days. You can go super high end or you can go super economy. It all depends on your business goals and your budget.
My advice to you is make sure your business goals are aligned with your budget. If you have a $500 budget for your website, you’re not going to have many features, and if you have a $5,000 budget for your website, you won’t be getting a site like Apple. Even if you have a $50,000 budget, you’re not getting an Apple-level website.
Here are some of the more popular features today that help you with both Google and your human prospects:
Video – With 60% of the population identifying as visual learners, video is critical. You should have video on your homepage, video on your landing pages and video on any other page where it seems appropriate. While you should have some written content available, more people would rather watch than read. Make sure your videos have subtitles, because many people watch video with the sound off.
Content in context – This is a feature I see ignored or misused fairly regularly. It’s really a simple way to think about applying content on your website. If you have a page about account-based marketing (ABM), you need an ABM content offer on that page.
If you have a page about services that help ensure compliance at hospitals, you need a content offer on that page about assessing a hospital’s compliance or information about getting compliant. It does require you to have more content than you probably have, but all of that content works to drive leads and new customer opportunities.
Pillar pages – These are heavily-resourced website pages with graphics, links and educational material. Here’s a pillar page about pillar pages. Notice how much information is on this page? So much that it needed a table of contents. It has video, infographics, charts and a ton of other educational material.
Pillar pages are important for both Google and humans. Google loves them, and it ranks them highly and quickly. People love them because they are filled with helpful tips and educational content.
Your homepage should tell a story – When it comes to your website homepage, make sure it tells a story. Stories have a beginning, middle and end. Your homepage story needs that, too. What’s the big, disruptive, emotional and compelling headline? This is how the story starts.
Then move into the middle of the story, where you explain how you handle the challenge and how you do it like no one else does. Then end the story with the social proof, testimonials, logos and pictures of happy clients.
In 10 to 20 seconds, you told your story, and you told it well. Make sure everyone knows what they should do next (such as click or download something) to continue the story if they’re so compelled.
Offers and pages for each stage of the buyer journey – People are coming to your site at various stages in their buyer journey. Some people know very little and are just starting out, while others know a lot and are wrapping up their journey. Make sure your site has pages for people at every stage of the buyer journey.
Pages optimized for search and humans – Google is more aligned with how people want to interact with website pages than ever before. Its signaling algorithm is almost entirely tuned on finding out if searchers found value in the pages served up.
This is almost entirely signaled by clicks, either a click to another page or a click to download something. Your page’s ability to send this signal to Google is related to how well you told your story and how well you connected the content to that page’s information.
This is why every website needs to start with a blueprint and strategy. Before you start building, designing or writing anything, make sure you know what you want your visitors to feel, read, watch and learn on each page of your website.
Optimization That Should Be Done On Every Website Monthly
The days of the big website launch should be gone forever. If your company is thinking about a big waterfall website project, think again.
Today, you want to get a new site up quickly, watch how visitors are interacting with it and optimize it over time. Each month you should be adding new pages and adjusting the existing pages based on visitor and performance data.
Now you are tuning your site based on human interactions. Google is going to notice you’re adding fresh content and see your engagement signals improving if the pages you’re adding are rich in educational, interactive and engaging content. By serving your human prospects, you’re also aligned with how Google wants to rank website pages.
Expected Results Every CEO Should Look For From Their Website
As marketers, we must manage up the organizational hierarchy. It’s time everyone at your company understood the power of your website, and the best way to do this is to create an executive-level website dashboard that is built solely for CEO.
Here are the key metrics every CEO should be aware of on a monthly basis:
Website visitors – Yes, this is primarily a vanity metric when it comes to CEOs, but with some context this can quickly become a key metric. Once you connect this number to sales-qualified leads, sales opportunities and new customers, you’ll quickly get any CEO’s attention.
Leads generated – Two kinds of leads are generated from the website: marketing-qualified leads (which CEOs rarely care about) and sales-qualified leads (people who want to talk to sales). Typically, more MQLs equals more SQLs, which is why CEOs need to know both numbers.
Sales opportunities – This is a key metric that every CEO is going to focus on every month. How many sales opportunities did the website generate for the sales team? The more this number increases, the more the website is viewed as a lead generation and business results engine fueling the sales effort.
New customers and revenue – Once you start driving sales opportunities from the website, everyone is going to want to know what sales did with those opportunities. How many did they close? What was the close rate? How long did it take to close these? How much revenue was generated? Before you know it, this dashboard will be the highlight of the marketing meeting.
Key Metrics To Track For Optimization
There are a wide range of metrics to keep an eye on if optimization is your goal. Here are some of the most popular and the ones our team looks at first:
High-trafficked pages with high bounce rates – This represents a page that is not providing what visitors are looking for. Make an adjustment here and you should see a very high conversion rate for an already highly visited page.
Keywords with lower difficulty and high search volume that correspond to your services – If you’re looking for more visitors, then identifying highly searched keywords that have low difficulty scores (easier to rank for) can quickly drive visitor numbers up if you create pages and content for these keywords.
High-trafficked pages with low-performing CTAs – This represents a page where people are visiting it and finding the content they want, but they’re being offered additional content out of context to their search. This is easily fixed with a content swap-out, and it quickly produces a big lift in leads.
High-click-through CTAs with low-performing landing pages – This usually indicates a mismatch between what the CTA is promoting and what the landing page delivers. Either change the CTA to match the landing page, or change the landing page to match the CTA, and see your leads lift here too.
Page speed is a critical factor for conversions – With Google’s big push into mobile, page load speed is huge. If your page loads too slowly, Google won’t rank it. Again, an aligned signal for Google and humans. How do you feel when a page takes too long to load? What do you do? You likely bounce off and don’t even wait. Make sure your page load speeds are all under one second.
Focus on these optimization metrics and the action plan aligned to the metrics, and before you know it, your website will be a lead generation machine for your company.
If you’re looking for tools to help you do your own optimization, consider these: https://www.optimizely.com/sample-size-calculator/ and https://conversionxl.com/ab-test-calculator/
How To Prioritize What To Work On When
Prioritization almost always depends on how much and where site/page traffic is coming from. If you want your users to find your pages mainly through search engines, SEO (search engine optimization) is your best strategy.
If you have strong traffic already but low conversion, UX (user experience) and CRO (conversion rate optimization) are better strategies to optimize your traffic’s conversion. And of course, these strategies do not happen separately from one another.
If you’re targeting a keyword on your page, your content needs to match that keyword and the user’s intent for that page within the context of the entire site to be successful.
First, ask yourself: What is the goal of our website or website pages? There isn’t a one-answer solution. All of the pieces fit together and impact one another. You should be looking for quick wins, or solutions that will be the quickest/simplest to implement but still produce the biggest results. Knock those easy ones out first. Who doesn’t love crossing things off their to-do list?
And although it may sound obvious, first and foremost the site must be safe and usable. You should prioritize any optimization effort that corrects a basic usability problem. For example, if 40% of your users are on mobile and your mobile navigation doesn’t work properly, that is a broken site and needs to be fixed first before you optimize the SEO of your service pages.
Search Engine Optimization For Google Should Be Search Engine Optimization For Humans
As we mentioned, Google’s recent algorithm changes have brought alignment. What’s good for Google and search is also good for the people visiting your site.
Today, it’s easier to align your website optimization effort with your human visitors and with Google’s search signals. If you think about your visitors first and Google second, you can’t lose.
Keep that simple strategy in mind. Know what you want your visitors to feel, read, watch and do. If you do this on every page, you’ll have a highly optimized, high-performing and lead-generating website.
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