by Devren Freestone
I just watched someone try to walk around a corner and instead crash into the wall. While it was rather amusing, and I’m sure a little sad for the unfortunate corner underestimator (which Word tells me isn’t even a thing, but clearly is), I think it brings to light a concept that will help you better your website. I’m referring to using your website to capture leads. Too often websites set visitors up for failure, so we’re going to talk about how to make sure that isn’t happening with yours.
Part 1—Assess: Let’s answer some questions honestly
This is the part where brutal honesty is needed. Now, if your website is producing all the leads you can handle and you’re reading this post from your smartphone on a beach somewhere, stop now and enjoy being rich. Laugh to yourself a little as you think about the rest of us still working for a living. If you’re not on a beach and instead are like the rest of us, you’ll need that honesty. It’s what is going to help you recognize the need to change and drive you to take action to make the changes you need.
Let’s dive in and start with the look and feel of your website. Can you remember the last time it was updated with a new theme? Have you made sure it’s mobile responsive? What kind of steps have you been taking toward SEO? I know that’s a lot to take in, but again, if you’re honest with yourself, how does your website answer those questions? Are your visitors crashing into walls instead of making it around the corner? Are you sure? What kind of analytics do you have in place?
I’ll give you a bit of a breather from the questions for a minute and talk about the “why” behind all of this and the analytics, specifically. Making changes to your website without knowing, for instance, how many pages visitors visit on average, or how many pages visitors need to visit on average before giving you information or purchasing from you, isn’t a good idea. It’s a bit like throwing darts at a dartboard (aka your bank account) in a completely dark room. You have 30 seconds (aka limited capital to keep your business running) to hit a bullseye, and to complicate matters, your grandmother (aka your target market) is the one throwing the darts (aka money). There’s very little chance of grandma finding your target, and there’s also a chance of things going terribly wrong. (Unless your grandma is some sort of darts prodigy, but let’s not destroy the analogy.) The use of analytics is turning on the lights so you know where to point her. The look and feel are what’s going to make it easy for grandma to find where to line up to throw her darts. Here’s an example:
What is the most visited page of your website? What stage in the buying process are visitors at when they reach that page? Is it easy to find exactly what they’re looking for? Can they do it all from their smartphone?
Take this for example:
If your most-visited page is the home page, and most of the visitors to that page are in the awareness stage of the buying process, do you have relevant calls-to-action that make it clear how to move away from the pain points the visitors are experiencing?
If you run a catering company, maybe you have a white paper or some other sort of infographic on figuring out how much food will feed how many people. Optimize your entire website, yes, but start with the pages that get the most traffic. If your most visited page is a blog post and most people visiting that post are in the consideration stage, make sure the calls-to-action are relevant.
If we continue with the catering company, offer them an e-book with a catchy title that talks about avoiding common party planning mistakes or educates them about how to make the most of their catering budget.
The point is, make sure you’re offering them the value they need most on the page where people are most likely to interact with your company and make sure it’s easy for them to find the value you’re offering and painless to access to it.
Let’s see an example of well-placed calls-to-action:
Ask yourself: Can grandma find the lead magnet? Why the continued references to grandma? If she can find it easily, anyone can find it easily. Don’t hide your call-to-action at the very bottom of the page, and don’t only have one call-to-action on a page. Put it at the top and in a sidebar. And then yes, repeat it at the bottom. Where appropriate, use pop-ups based on the amount of time on a page, or even better use pop-ups based on how far down a visitor has scrolled. Make it easy.
In step one, make sure you’re honest with yourself. It’s OK if your website isn’t where it needs to be; Part 2 will help you get there.
Part 2—Take action: Plan, build, and check
So you’ve been honest with yourself, and you’ve got some answers to some pretty tough questions about the state of your website and hopefully a picture of where you want it to go. Now let’s dive in and talk about how to get it there.
We need to start with a plan, and for that, we need to make sure you have a clear picture of your Buyer’s Journey. Knowing what stage your potential customers, or grandmas if you will, are at when they come in contact with your business will help you to know what kind of ads to use to drive them to your website. It’ll help make sure you’re offering the right lead magnets, using the right tripwires, and that you’re placing all of these strategically. If you’re trying to sell clothes to teenagers, Facebook ads aren’t going to be very effective. If you’re selling to their moms, then Facebook would be a great place for your lead magnet. Make sense? The plan starts with knowing who you’re selling to and where they are spending their time.
Once we know where to find them, we need to make sure we’re directing to the right pages of your website. If the blog post you’re writing is for someone in the consideration stage, send them to a page on your site that explains how to find a solution to their problem. Maybe it’s a landing page that compares potential options. For instance, if you’re a clothing company, it could be a page talking about the pros and cons of different materials in shirts or choosing the right fit for the visitor’s body type. If they’re considering options, that education is going to be valuable and will build your brand reputation in their eyes. And then if you happen to have an offer…well, you get the point.
Have a plan for what content is going to be placed where, and make sure you’re sending people to the most relevant places. Be systematic about it. While you’re planning all this, include SEO to make sure you’re showing up when grandma searches.
This is also the point where you need to honest with yourself one last time. Well, hopefully, you’re always honest with yourself, but in this case in particular. Are you equipped to make the changes your website needs on your own? If you are, is that the best use of your time? It might not be, and honestly, it might be best to have a professional do the work for you. It could actually save you money by not using up your time and increasing conversion. If you can do it on your own, then more power to you. If not, find someone who can. Click on their lead magnets, download their e-books, do some research, and then get the work done.
Finally, make sure you’re keeping an eye on results. Split test your ads and your page re-directs to make sure you know which ones produce the results you’re looking for. Which calls to action are grandma clicking on? Which ones aren’t working at all? Living in an online space mean constantly changing and adjusting.
Part 3—Automate everything you can
While you’re revamping your lifeblood, setting up your lead magnets and tripwires, honing blog posts, and generally leveling up your online presence, make it easy on yourself. Automation makes sure your website visitors get the attention they need. They’ll move through the Buyer’s Journey seamlessly. Take advantage of the fact that we live in a digital world where tech runs the show. Let it run yours. That’ll get you one step closer to joining our friends on the beach, where you can be the one that comes across blog posts about bettering your online presence. Only this time, you’ll be the one that giggles and orders another colorful drink as you move right on past the post.
Devren Freestone is an Arizona native and Infusionsoft partner support specialist. He’s passionate about technology in general and helping small businesses succeed in particular. He enjoys staying on top of the latest trends in marketing by following industry leaders through books and websites.