When was the last time you took a hard look at your website and asked yourself, “does this site close business?” If you’re ramping up a marketing automation or lead nurturing campaign, perhaps now is the time to ask yourself “does my website drive traffic, educate visitors and move prospects into our sales funnel?”
Comparable to a brick and mortar store, your website should be user-friendly and visually appealing, but also adjusted periodically to test new strategies. In addition, you need to make a great impression, quickly. A quick look at your web analytics, your bounce rate specifically, shows just how long visitors stay on a given page. In fact, this is one of the stats that Google uses to determine how a site should be ranked. “Sticky” sites perform better because the bounce rates indicate the visitor found what they were looking for.
Search Marketing Best Practices:
This is a good time to bring up overall search marketing best-practices. In addition to the bounce rate, Google pays attention to things like site architecture, traditional meta elements, credible inbound links and even how your content is shared through social channels. There are a litany of tweaks you can make to conform with best-practices, the scope of which is too broad for this article. But search marketing is essential for reaching new prospects. Ideally, search engines should be a primary source of inbound traffic to your site.
Home Page Layout:
Your next consideration is the layout of your home page, where most visitors land initially. First, understand that you can’t be all things to all people. Each visitor may have a unique need. So your home page needs to speak broadly but concisely, using every bit of real estate wisely. Web visitors are fickle, so you need to grab their attention quick, wet their appetite and draw them deeper into the site for more detailed information.
Navigating the site should be an intuitive process. If your navigation is out of the ordinary, changes from page to page, and gets in the way of finding what they need, visitors are likely to move on.
Some prospects are price shopping, others want to know you have industry-specific experience. Make conscious decisions about what your audience may be looking for and create the content and navigational structure to ensure they find what they need. That leads me to my next question. How well do you know your audience?
Names, titles and demographic details are good to know. But if you want to deliver content that influences buying behavior, you need to understand their role and responsibilities, their pain points, and telegraph the solutions that match their needs. I’ve recently posted a webinar that goes into more detail about writing great content. Defining your audience is the first step to understanding their needs. The more you can telegraph and address their needs with insightful content, the better chance you have of converting them to a pre-qualified prospect.
If you’re producing great content and serving it up through email, search and social media, the traffic will come. But once they arrive, what should they do next? Don’t make readers guess. You want to provide supporting content and a clear call to action that convinces a visitor to complete the form on your landing page. Once you have captured their data, an automated campaign can be triggered, delivering a stream of additional content to support the sales process.
We know little about a new visitor to your website until they provide more information. That’s why landing pages and input forms are critically important for feeding your email campaigns. All pages on your site can be considered a landing page with focused content and a call to action. A landing page can also stand on its’ own as specialized content promoting an ebook, whitepaper or online course available for download when the visitor provides their email address.
It’s important the visitor has a clear idea of how they will benefit from giving you their personal details. Equally important is providing reassurance you won’t abuse the privilege of their contact data. Including an anti-spam disclaimer is a first step to building a trusting relationship.
Landing Page Content:
Offering premium content is a great way to gauge their level of interest. If your landing page is concise and personalized with a clear call to action, and the premium content has a high perceived value, they will take that next step into your sales funnel. Most automation platforms have a wizard for creating forms, adding fields and formatting to match the look of your site. Once you integrate these forms into your site and a visitor completes the form, that action can trigger an automated campaign to deliver more high-value content and pull them through the funnel. Here are several examples of well-designed landing pages:
Testing to Improve Conversions:
With all pages of your site, especially your home and landing pages, it’s important to test variations to increase conversion rates. There is a technical aspect to testing that allows a web developer to create multiple versions of a single landing page, and change variables like the layout, calls to action and virtually any other element on the page that can influence conversions. The test versions can be served up to a portion of visitors and the results compared side-by-side.
As you begin to drive more traffic through marketing automation and lead nurturing, be sure your site engages visitors, and pulls them into your sales funnel.
Here is my shortlist of website elements needed to facilitate your email campaign:
- Look at all competitors in the field with a focus on the best-in-class
- Define all segments of your audience including demographic data, roles & responsibilities, and pain points
- Create content that fulfills the needs of your audience for each stage of the sales funnel
- Create premium, or high-value content to solicit an email address that triggers an automated email campaign
- Create forms with your automation platform and integrate them into your website to gather data
- Integrate web tracking (unmentioned above) to better understand browsing habits and trigger other actions in your automation platform
- Test critical pages of your site to improve conversion rates