The Changing World of Business
New business acquisition has changed fundamentally. Today, in B2B markets, your website meets your prospects long before you do.
- 50% to 70% of the sales cycle has already been completed before you get to meet with or talk to your potential customer.
- Prospects have made up their minds about what your company does long before you have any direct contact.
Your website is therefore phenomenally important in developing and nurturing prospects. So is yours up to scratch?
Here are 10 things to do to your website to help make it generate sales enquiries for you.
STEP 1. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE PLENTY OF CALLS-TO-ACTION (CTAS)
The vast majority of websites have one principal call to action, which is: ‘contact us’ (we will talk about this again at step 10), but you need to appreciate that not everyone is ready to hit a ‘contact us’ button – and there are plenty of steps in-between first contact and being ready to engage with your sales team.
Fundamentally, it is important that you have a series of different ‘calls-to-action’, which will enable your web visitors to become ‘prospects’, by providing you with their contact information. To do this, you will need a series of different calls to action, each of which takes your visitor to a simple form, which they can complete and, in so doing, leave their contact details.
Your visitor is looking to understand what you do in more detail – and your calls-to-action will offer them the opportunity to engage with you by leaving their contact details in return for some:
- Educational material,
- Details of how you have solved problems for similar companies
- Pricing information
- Consultancy details
- Other services
Make sure your content covers a range of different types of material, as per the diagram!
THE INBOUND METHODOLOGY
STEP 2. MAKE IT GOOGLE-FRIENDLY
Before you do anything with your website, you need to make sure that it is Google-friendly. Well, technically search-engine friendly but Google accounts for over 87% of all UK search traffic. This is to say that your website can be easily found by Google for the keyword search terms appropriate for your business.
To do so you need to ensure that you follow the basic guidelines:
- Your website URLs follow the structure of ‘yourdomain.com/the-search-term’.
- The page description and H1 header then match the URL.
If you’re planning to develop a new website, start by considering all the terms with which you want people to find your company and website. These terms become your keywords.
- Create a list of these keywords.
- Group together similar terms from these lists into chapters.
- Ensure website navigation includes all keywords.
This process will ensure that you have a web page for every term (or keyword) that you want your website to be found for on search engines.
STEP 3. START A BLOG
Did you know that companies that blog generate 67% more leads per month than those that don’t? How is that?
A blog gives you the opportunity to create webpages that are search engine optimized for a particular term.
As new terms are added to your list of keywords, you can create blog posts that are search engine optimized on those new terms.
Include the new search term in your subject heading and URL and you’ll be making sure that your website doesn’t miss a trick.
STEP 4. TELL THEM EXACTLY WHAT YOU DO – IMMEDIATELY!
Nice website, but what on earth do they do?
If this is the immediate response of someone visiting your website, regardless of how beautiful, edgy or clean your website is, then people are going to bounce in and then straight back out of your website.
Your website has got to generate interest and engagement as soon as someone lands on your homepage, so make sure that it is clear what your company does as soon as they hit the page.
Make sure that you include a short description of no more than 50 words that explains what you do on your homepage.
Make sure that a visitor can access a piece of content direct from your homepage – give them something in return for visiting your website.
Running an event? Achieved an award? Make sure that it is clearly displayed on your homepage. After all, you work hard at what you do, don’t be shy to tell people about it.
STEP 5. IT’S OK TO SCROLL
The old idea that users don’t want to scroll down a page is no longer true – especially with mobile devices. No one minds scrolling down a page if the content is useful or if it looks cool!
Many website designs now:
- Allow deep pages with lots of content.
- Are laid out in such a way that you are drawn down the page.
- Maintain the ‘cool look and feel’ of the website.
There are distinct benefits to having a depth of content on a single webpage and the need to scroll becomes a method with which engagement and interest is increased.
STEP 6. AVOID GENERIC IMAGES
Are all of the pictures on your website also on Shutterstock or Getty Images? Are the employees that appear to be ‘working’ for your company also working at multiple other companies?
This is all about building trust. If you choose the most well-known faces from a public photo library, the people who appear to work at your company also appear to work for 15 other companies. Prospects visiting your site are unlikely to trust the rest of your imagery and that cannot be a good thing.
So use generic images sparingly and try wherever you can, particularly with regard to people, to use images of your own. Try actually photographing your people!
STEP 7. REMEMBER, IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT YOU!
Nowadays, with the marketplace being so competitive, every business has to demonstrate authority and market knowledge. But a glorified brochure-like website is no longer enough.
Why do people visit the website?
- To find out what it is you do.
- To understand what you can offer.
- To assess your depth of expertise and industry knowledge.
You need to show your prospective customers that you know the problems they’re facing, you understand their market and that you’ve solved business problems for other people in their industry.
STEP 8. SUPPORT COOL DESIGN WITH SOLID VARIED CONTENT
Although seemingly obvious there are too many websites which are, to use an old-fashioned phrase, all ‘”all frills, no substance!”. A flashy design and zappy imagery is no replacement for solid description and carefully considered content.
- Attract attention with your cool design and contemporary feel.
- Then engage your visitor with a good description of what you do and how you can help them.
- Maintain interest with a broad range of content, including blogs, articles, news, opinions and customer stories. You may have solid content on your website, but is it varied?
Different people will respond in different ways to different types of content, so make sure you produce content that they will all enjoy, and don’t forget those who would rather watch than read by including some video.
STEP 9. TRACK VISITORS AND THEIR MOVEMENTS ON YOUR WEBSITE
Just who is visiting your site – and are they enjoying it?
Technology exists to help you identify visitors to your website and capture information from them.
This technology offers two significant benefits:
- Provides data on the content that’s being read or downloaded by your visitors, the pages that are regularly visited and those that frankly, no one seems to care about.
- Use this insight to understand which parts of your website work best and which parts need further development.
Marketing software products employ ‘cookie snapping’ technology, which enables a full history to be developed of an unknown visitor. Then at the point the visitor identifies themselves, for example by completing an enquiry form, all the cookies ‘snap together’ and show a detailed history of all their movements on your website.
STEP 10. BEWARE OF THE ‘PLEASE SEND ME AN IRRITATING SALESMAN’ BUTTON
The ultimate goal is to make direct contact with the prospect – but what is the best way of doing that?
Most companies only offer a single Contact-Us form – but most prospects are wary of prompting a flurry of calls from irritating or scary salespeople? If this is the only option, and if the form contains every possible detail from phone number to address, don’t be surprised if that form doesn’t get filled out very often.
Look for a softer approach to gather data from your visitors.
Offer a download of an eBook or whitepaper in exchange for the visitor’s name and email. The more valuable the offer, like a guide that shows the pitfalls to avoid or a detailed ‘how to’ document, the more information you can ask for from your visitor.
THE NEXT STEP… NURTURE YOUR LEADS
Following the steps we have outlined will result in a website that is more valuable, more engaging and can get you closer to your prospects – and essentially will generate more leads and enquiries.
But that is just the start!
Nurture these leads with email campaigns and special offers until they’re ready to be passed on to your sales team.
Hand over each lead with a full background of what products and services they’re interested in based on their movements around your website and what content they’ve downloaded.
With this approach, you can be confident that when people are ready to make contact, with you as the potential supplier with that important phone call, it is your business they are calling – and you already understand exactly what it is they want from you.