As a web designer there is nothing more frustrating than a website that doesn’t meet expectations. Often the go to response for a poorly performing website is ‘get more traffic !!!’ and a hastily hired SEO snake oil merchant.
While optimising where the website sits in search is one strategy to boost traffic, there are others and you can read about some of them here. Focusing on traffic alone is like trying to fix a leaky bucket by constantly refilling it. It sucks and is very wasteful
This short post focuses on some of the simple things you can do to start turning more of the traffic you already have into a better outcome. More leads.
Ask anyone in digital marketing and the first conversion lever they go looking for is a lead magnet. Often called a content upgrade, a lead magnet is a piece of content on your webiste which has unique value. The website visitor will feel it’s of enough value to trade you an email address for it.
Calls to action
On most B2B websites the sole standard call to action is ‘contact us’. Well, good luck with that. Try a little imagination and lateral thinking. Sprinkle calls to actions ( CTA’s ) throughout your content and relate them to specific needs. Some suggestions might be ‘find out how much you could save’, ‘Arrange a free trial’, ‘Let our BD guy Mike buy you lunch’.
Calls to action can be an opportunity to address peoples actual needs, wants or anxieties. Leaving this to the web designer is frankly asking for a website flop.
Most business websites focus on the visitor arriving on the home page and travelling through your website like a well behaved theme park visitor. Honestly, they don’t do that. Website visitors arrive through a google search or from a social media post and more often than not arrive on a random page which wasn’t designed to receive cold visitors.
Landing pages are pages designed to address the specific needs of the visitor arriving through a promotion or search term. They don’t depend on the visitor browsing around your site and can even remove all the navigation options in order that they try to achieve a conversion right there on the page. Sometimes called a squeeze page, funnel page or opt in page their goal can vary depending on what action you want the visitor to take.
Is the magic conversion effect you are looking for through door number one or door number two? Who knows! Let’s find out!. An A/B test tries out different things and tracks which performs the best. This allows you to take the guess work out of fine tuning your website or landing pages. You make a change and if it has a positive effect on conversion then you keep it. This allows you to build up marginal gains over time and can be nothing short of transformational.
‘The money is in the list’ is a phrase well known to digital marketers. If we can turn a single hard earned visit into an email address then we can generate repeat visits and exposure on our own terms. We can turn a single visit into many and can start building a relationship. Selling is all about relationships and the site which depends on a single visit sale will always underperform relative to a site with a strong list building and email nurture program. When I say underperform I mean ‘way’ underperform.
Sales teams love this and if you spend any money on marketing you’ll love it too. Knowing who’s visiting your website and what they are looking at can be very handy. Your sales team would probably want to know if a prospect is on the website.
If your website is really busy ( ..and I’m talking thousands of visitors a month. ) then you might benefit from marketing automation software such as Hubspot. Hubspot and it’s peers has tools to take care of most of what’s discussed so far in this post and adds to this mix visitor lead scoring. There are other tools on the market which can also help lead scoring but if you think this is for you then we probably need to talk. It’s expensive and there are other options. I’m even reluctant to name it for fear you’ll go out and buy it. Don’t.
Building a community around your website can be a great way to boost conversations. Many people suggest that forums or message boards are old fashioned but the truth is they are a relevant as they have always been. Many marketers are starting to implement them as a way to add value and as people have become more content using the web we find that there’s way less resistance to using them than there used to be. Also with things like Facebook groups becoming so frivolous people seem to enjoy the intentionality of business forums.
People like to use the best person for the job. How do they decide this? They go looking unconsciously for signals that a person or business ( collection of people ) have authority in what they do professionally. Are you demonstrating that authority and sending those signals. Think in terms of blog posts, awards, testimonials, good design, social media connections.
People don’t like opening doors they’ve never been through. I call this the threshold phenomena. Many people act on an instinctive level when choosing a supplier and will go for the known over the unknown most of the time without even knowing why. The unconscious brain is weighing things up and making the decision for you.
Using this to your advantage you can help the visitors unconscious over the threshold by offering opportunities to feel like they’ve met you. Using pictures of your team, offering videos and using natural language will all contribute to letting the visitor feel like they’ve met you.
This can be extended into a full blown personal branding campaign to incredible effect.
This one might seem somewhat vague but it can also be quite powerful. Human beings are not as selfish as many people might tell you. The unconscious mind has a bias towards reciprocation. If someone goes out of their way to help you ( in a broad sense ) then given the natural opportunity you will try to return this gesture.
Demonstrating sponsorships, charity work, helping the little guy and championing causes in your community will all contribute to reciprocity.
Finding ways to add value to your audience that don’t require them to spend money. Host events, educate and entertain.
This shouldn’t be seen as cynical. Most of you will be doing this already but be too modest to share. Get over it.
CRO ( Conversion rate optimisation )
Putting all this together and sprinkling in a few other nerdy tricks summed up as conversion rate optimisation. I hope that reading through this you spot some leaks in your own bucket. Before you go increasing budgets on SEO or online ads take a minute and think about what you’ll do with the traffic once you have it.