Every web page should have a distinct purpose, speak to your buyer (in their voice), and be optimized for search in a high performing lead gen website. Is that true of your website?
With the majority of buyers in full control of their own buying process, much of their research is done – and their minds made up – long before they invite you to take a seat.
In fact, if you’re lucky enough to be contacted or have your sales call accepted, you’ve already made the buyer’s short list of contenders. (Forrester reports that typical buyers are 70 to 90 percent of the way through the buying process before they ever agree to engage with a sales person.)
The net:net of the new normal is that marketers must change the way they approach lead generation; they must figure out how to be highly visible and valuable during that 70-plus percent of the buying process. The more marketers can get into the mindset of the buyer upfront, the better chance they have of introducing themselves closer to the beginning of the buying process.
A primary target for honing this new approach is your website – arguably THE most important marketing tool for introducing your brand personality, demonstrating your expertise, showcasing your products and services, and proving your value.
With that in mind, here are four foundational strategies that will help your website get the mindshare it deserves and generate the leads you want.
1. Understand your buyer personas
It bears repeating because personas are still not being developed by an astonishing number of branded websites, even those you’d think would know better.
Case in point, a well-known technology company (it shall remain nameless here) has 37 call-to-action hyperlinks on the home page. Thirty-seven. I have no idea what they want me to do. It’s akin to what happens when I walk into Costco without a shopping list. I get so overwhelmed with the over-abundance of disparate options that I no longer know why I went there in the first place.
Takeaway: If you don’t know who your buyers are, you can’t possibly streamline their journey and deliver what they need.
So create personas. They’re the key that helps you hone in on and understand who your buyers are, and they’re the basis of everything else: your site design and navigation, your messaging, your content mix, your talk tracks, your nurturing strategies, everything.
Do it. Check out this on-demand webinar on how it’s done.
2. Understand the language of your audience
This is about paying attention to collective behaviors to understand what your current and potential buyers want, which will ultimately help you attract the right kinds of visitors.
- Discover relevant keywords and phrases. Find out what business- and/or industry-specific words, terms, and phrases are being searched on. Free tools such as Google AdWords Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and Bing Ads Intelligence are good places to start.
- Monitor your on-site search. Keeping regular tabs on what visitors are searching for while on your site opens a birthday box of ah-ha’s into your prospects’ wants, needs, pain points, and interests. This informs all kinds of things including your content marketing strategies, talk tracks, and persona refinement.
- Talk to your teams. Your customer support team, inside sales team, and account execs are a wellspring of information about what prospects and customers are looking for across all stages of the funnel. Ask them and reap the benefits of their frontline knowledge (this is like step 2 or 3 in sales and marketing alignment).
- Track visitor behavior. Tracking where your visitors come from, what pages they visit, and which types of content they interact with is fundamental to delivering the right information at the right time. At a minimum, you should be reviewing your website analytics (e.g., Google Analytics, WebTrends, etc.). For even more visitor intelligence – including who each visitor is and their unique history on your website – you can integrate your site analytics into Website Visitor Tracking technology. Listen to this Rethink Marketing podcast episode on the importance tracking known and unknown visitors.
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3. Deliver the Content They Want
Content is king … as long as it’s the right content at the right time.
Content is the bedrock from which all other marketing strategies and tactics emerge. The premise is as old as the healthy snacks in the office breakroom, but its heightened importance (particularly on such a global scale) is a rapid evolution of technology over the last 10 years, particularly mobile, AI/machine learning, social/Web 2.0, and digital tracking.
Quality content makes your website more powerful in every dimension because content is what everyone is seeking all the time. From case studies and eBooks, to videos and webinars, to forms and landing pages, by creating content that answers the specific questions your target customers are seeking during the 70-90 percent of their self-guided buyer’s journey, you exponentially increase your chances of closing the deal when they reach out.
You can get your feet wet with content marketing here and here.
4. Help Them Find You
If you want your website and all the great content you’ve created to get found, search engine optimization (SEO) is essential. In fact, it’s quintessential.
Consider this: 4 out of 5 buyers start their product research in a search engine, according to Pew Research. This means today’s buyers not only do their own information-gathering well in advance of contacting you, most use search engines (primarily Google) to kickstart the process.
And here’s one more: Organic search outperforms paid search in most cases (there is always an exception to this rule).
To be sure, SEO is a deep well that requires dedication and diligence. But the upside is incredibly impressive and, in many cases, a game-changer for business.
There are plenty of tools, vendors, and consultants that can help you understand and implement SEO. If you’re new to it, you can get started here and here.
There is no silver bullet. The evolving brand-consumer dynamic continues to turn marketing on its head, forcing marketers to rethink how to get in front of today’s new breed of buyers who actively search for – and rely on – specific and relevant information to narrow their purchase decision.
A winning approach to being both visible and valuable is to leverage the power of your website, effectively becoming part of the buyer’s research process. If you can do this, you’ll increase your site’s lead-gen magnetism. And when they’re ready to buy, they just might motion you over to take a seat at that coveted table.