The Overall Thinking Behind Websites Changed, And Your Company’s Thinking Needs To Change, Too
Ten years ago, your website was an electronic brochure. Everything in your brochure was on your website. We all loved that because anyone could get information about your business 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
But since this was all sterile and company controlled information, a lot of companies turned their websites over to their corporate communications teams, the same people who did press releases, investor relations, annual reports and the company brochure. Their mission was to deliver the approved company story as consistently and clearly as possible.
Websites were redone every couple of years. They were usually big projects that required a lot of input from a number of different stakeholders. Again, it was the perfect project for the corporate communications team.
But today, your website needs to take on a much more strategic role. It is one of the first places people will go to learn about your business. This includes prospects, potential employees, customers, partners, investors and even current team members. Your website needs to do a lot more heavy lifting than ever before.
Your company is going to realize some very strategic advantages from turning your website strategy over to marketing and sales. Here are some of the advantages.
You’ll Get More Leads
With all of these people coming to your website, you’d be crazy to not try and convert at least some of them from visitors into leads. Your prospects are starting to expect the websites of their preferred providers to not only offer company information but also the opportunity to connect and talk. Chat, smart forms and educational information all give people (who are qualified prospects) the opportunity to raise their hand and identify themselves to you.
Right now, your sales team is working hard to interrupt people, to find prospects to talk with and to convince people not looking for you that they need you. Why not take advantage of the people already looking for you, finding you, landing on your website and wanting to talk with you? These inbound leads are going to be some of your best, and while not everyone will be ready to buy today and not everyone will be qualified, getting people to connect with you instead of you always have to find people to connect with is a nice upgrade to your current marketing effort. And for all of the CEOs reading this, it’s also a lot cheaper.
You’ll Close More New Business
Having a website that’s actively designed to be a resource for the sales team means you’ll close more new customers and you’ll do it faster than before. Once you start thinking differently about your website, you’ll start creating pages and content that the sales team can use during the sales process. Blog articles, whitepapers, special hidden pages and other assets should be designed to answer questions prospects have that come up during the sales process, and the sales team should be trained on how to use these new tools.
A big part of marketing today is creating an experience for your prospects. Part of that experience is going to be self-serve by your prospects on your website and the rest is going to be managed by the sales team with the assets on your site. By having your sales team constantly sending links and materials to your prospects and proactively having your prospects visit your site many times, you’ll be guaranteed they know what makes your business special and why they want to work with you.
You’ll Create Fans And A Following
Not everyone landing on your site is going to be a prospect. Not everyone is going to be actively searching for your products and services. Not everyone is going to be ready to buy today. You want a site that creates fans and followers. Not necessarily social media followers (although that would be good too), but specifically you want to create a site that is so good people come back repeatedly. This behavior is much more common today than it was a few years ago, when people visited a site only once.
By creating a remarkable site experience, you’ll build buzz in your industry and buzz with the types of people you want to attract to your site. It might be media, investors, partners and, of course, potential new customers. Instead of thinking about the site like a website, think about it as a community center. You want to create programs (content and pages) that attract people to it. You want people spending their time there, sharing their experiences and encouraging others to stop by. The better the site, the more active the community and the better the business results and outcomes.
It’s Going To Need More Scientific Oversight
Corporate communications did a wonderful job as the steward of your static brochure site. But as the site evolves and as you add new features that make it more about leads and engagement and less about investor relations, you should consider changing the team responsible for the site.
Marketing is going to be more strategic about the site and more active in turning the site into a lead-generating asset. Marketing is going to be more engaged with sales so that the site converts leads into new customers, marketing is going to be more equipped to keep the site improving based on data and metrics.
Marketing is a science. Sales is also a science. Your website is one of the key assets required for turning that scientific information into revenue for your business.
By changing your thinking around your corporate website, you’ll see a lot of positive business outcomes. Your website is no longer the delicate flower that needs to be rarely touched, placed on a high shelf and simply admired from afar. Your website should be a worker bee. It should be producing for your company. As a result, it needs to be constantly updated, tweaked, upgraded and adjusted based on what’s going on in your business, in your industry and, most importantly, in your prospects’ and customers’ minds.
The better your site is at producing leads, sales opportunities and new customers for your business, the faster your business will grow and the more successful you’ll be whether you’re the CEO, VP of marketing, VP of sales, marketing director or marketing manager. In just 30 minutes, we’ll review your site and give you at least five upgrades you can make that will change your site from an electronic brochure and into an interactive revenue machine.
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