Are you worried about your website? Do you think it's not performing? Before you say that it isn't working, you need to know what it was built to do in the first place. Do your current expectations match its original objectives? If it wasn't designed to bring in enquiries then you can't expect it to be a lead generation machine without some changes.
As an agency with a focus on generating leads, one of the first questions we ask our website customers is, "Do you want it to bring in enquiries?" It surprises us how many people say, "actually, not really." If this was your company's position when the website was first built then it is likely that it doesn't have the right structure and elements to encourage potential customers to engage with you.
So what is the purpose of a website if it's not to bring in leads? There are a few different reasons for creating a business website so the first thing you need to do is to determine what the purpose of your website should be what it currently is and if there is a need for change.
If you work in a very specific niche, an industry sector where everyone knows everyone else, or you operate in a geographically compact area, it could well be that all your sales come from people who already know you and your business. In these situations, business is predominantly done face-to-face or by referral. Your website is there to provide additional information, technical data and background reassurance to people who know you and are seriously considering working with you.
So, while it's not bringing in new leads, it's an important part of the marketing and sales process, but sits nearer the end of than many websites. That is to say, your conversations and recommendations are what attract people to your website in the first place, they have already learnt about you and engaged with someone from the company. They are looking for information to help them make a decision about working with you.
In this scenario, a website's job is to convince, inspire trust, provide detail, and for that it needs testimonials, case studies, product comparisons and information about you and your colleagues. Demonstrate your expertise and qualifications, show them that companies like theirs have had positive experiences from working with you. Let them see what it will be like to be a customer to fill in the gaps and make it easier to close the deal.
These websites are for people who have never heard of you, in order to let them know your product or service exists. YOU might sell via distributors or in retail outlets and therefore you don't need leads from the website, you just want people to know more about your products so that they will go out and buy them, or choose them over a competitor when they see them in a a shop.
In this case, the most important aspect is getting found in the first place. That comes down to great SEO so that your site pops up on the first page of GoogleTM when potential customers are searching online without a particular supplier or product in mind.
Once they click on a search result, the website has to focus on answering questions and solving problems, with lots of useful, explanatory content for people who are in the early stages of making a buying decision.
Think about blog posts that help people define their problem, figure out the next steps and understand why they need to do something about it. Also consider creating videos showing how to fix an issue, as it is often easier to demonstrate than explain in words.
Overall, what you want this content to achieve is to get you found, provide helpful answers and demonstrate your knowledge of the topic while offering signposts to the next step in the process, whether that is a link to a distributor's website or list of stockists.
Technically an e-commerce website is not the same as a lead generation website as you don't want enquiries, you just want sales! These tend to be for simple products that don't have a complex sales process. So you don't want or need to speak to the customer before they buy, you just want to provide a comprehensive explanation of your products, plenty of great reviews, a clear returns policy and a simple checkout process. The key is to avoid any friction that would make potential customers pause and think again before buying or any barriers that would prevent them completing the checkout.
Many companies sell in person, from a shop or face-to-face and so, in some cases, their website is not an active part of the sales process at all. However, it can be important to have the means to provide instruction manuals, spare parts, optional extras, or follow-up subscriptions or add-ons.
In this sort of scenario, an incentive to get people to visit the website is useful so that you then have the opportunity to engage with them and communicate about special offers or additional products. That way, while providing useful information you can also promote additional sales and repeat purchases from a customer base who already knows and trusts you.
Providing excellent service is also a great way to gain recommendations and reviews, so harness those delighted customers and encourage them to become advocates. An glowing, independent recommendation is your best advert!
Lead Generation Websites
And finally, our favourite, the website that brings in high quality enquiries for you to convert into sales. This website has to do everything well as it's like all of the websites above rolled into one. It has to guide visitors right through their journey to becoming customers.
Start with the fact that it needs to attract people who haven't heard of you yet or don't know what they need. That requires helpful content that answers their initial questions like the awareness website above.
It also has to engage with those who already have an idea of what they need. That's similar to the information website, providing convincing content about your products and services, reassuring them with testimonials and case studies.
While it doesn't have to go all the way of an e-commerce site and make a sale, it still needs to provide a frictionless way of contacting you, asking questions or making an appointment.
Finally, don't abandon your visitors after they become clients. Your website still has a role, whether that is a support ticket system, hints and tips for using your product or special offers for repeat purchases. Remember the importance of recommendations and do whatever you can to make your customers so happy they want to tell the world.
Is Your Website Still Working?
Take a look at your website, and think back to the reasons you created it in the first place. Ask yourself these questions:
- What kind of website did you want?
- Does your website do what was intended?
- Is that still the right objective?
- If it needs to change, what type of website do you need now?
There's no right or wrong, because every business is different. What's important is that it's the right website for your company, and that it actually does what you need it to do.
Once you know what the purpose of your website is, you can measure it and make sure that it's doing what you want.
If it's not, then speak to us.