by: Dana Chen Fischer
A passive website is a useless website, as least for business purposes. You want your company’s website to generate leads and deliver those leads to you in a measurable, manageable way. So how do you find those prospects and turn them into customers? Here are five basic techniques that any business can (and should) use to make it happen.
A typical business website or online marketing campaign is doing well to hit a 2 percent sales conversion rate. What’s our instinctive response to this scenario? Many businesses will try to pad that 2 percent out to 3, 4, 5 percent by employing little tweaks like extra landing pages or a prettier website design -- effectively giving up on the outstanding majority who visited but didn’t buy. Not everyone buys right away, of course, and you can't win 'em all. But shouldn't you implement a plan to capture these leads and boost their interest in your products or services until they are ready to buy?2. Lead Nurturing System
Once you have leads, you want to nurture them by addressing their needs and answering their questions, including the all-important questions, “Why buy?” and “Why buy from you (and not your competition)?” Everyone has objections to buying. Anticipate them. Once you know what your prospects fear about making that purchase, you can prepare the correct answers to allay those fears. Buyers love information, especially free information. Give them the value of your expertise by sharing tips, offering incentives, and generally being useful without asking anything in return. But most of all, keep them listening to what you have to say.
3. Track it (Web Analytics)
You wouldn’t do your books by “guesstimating.” Don’t do your marketing that way either. If you don’t have hard numbers on how your website is performing as a lead-generating tool, then you’ll have no idea how to optimize it to make it perform better. There are a ton of free web analytic tools out there, among which Google Analytics is probably the best known. Some of these systems provide tons of detailed information about your web traffic, including frequency and length of visits, where they went, how they got there, where they exited from, what web browser they were running...you get the idea.
And yes, sometimes it can seem like an overwhelming mass of data to sift through and interpret. (Our own eFusion system tries to make it simpler by pointing out the most important stuff to users.) But if you want to know how those prospects behave and what they care about, that data is gold.
Once you’ve turned those prospects into customers, hang onto them for dear life. It costs four times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an old one. And just about the worst way to keep your customers is by annoying them with the same old email pitches month after month. You don’t have to make these people buy -- they’re already your buyers! All you have to do is keep them informed. Send useful guides, tips or other genuinely appreciated data instead of strident ads and arm-twisting emails. Use blogs or other social media channels to solicit feedback and interact with your clientele as valued friends, not sales targets.5. SEO (Search Engine Optimization) and Social Media: Final Step, Not First Step.
Every company wants to drive more traffic to its website, and that's why so many of them invest so much money into search engine optimization. But if your lead nurturing and customer retention systems aren't already in place to accommodate those new visitors, they won't stick around to become buyers -- and you're right back to your 2 percent conversion rate. Don't put the cart before the horse. Make sure your website is operating as a well-oiled lead capture/generation machine before implementing your SEO and social media campaigns to usher the online community toward.