What has your website done for you lately?
Probably not much.
Businesses are way beyond the days where they just needed to have a website. We’ve even passed the time when it was essential that websites be mobile-optimized. Now, we are in an era where every website should be a powerful lead-generation machine.
Most websites are like a brochure – they have nice pictures and some information about a company’s products or services. Problem is, these websites don’t do anything. What if your website wasn’t just a brochure, but instead worked like an informed sales rep, able to provide insight to your visitors, qualify and nurture leads and help close deals? What if your website was not just an expense, but an investment: something that helped you earn new revenue?
My guess is that you're reading this because your website is not the lead-generating machine that you want it to be. You have probably faced (or are currently facing) one of these four challenges of online lead generation:
Challenge 1: Buying Habits Have Changed
You see this in your own behavior and in the behavior of your customers. A recent survey found that 81% of shoppers conduct online research before buying. This research is done via search engines and includes comparing product prices, reading user reviews and product information and visiting multiple online stores.
Consumers have massive amounts of information at their fingertips. They can carefully research and consider all of their options before they make a purchase decision. Your leads are calling your sales team armed with information.
There was a time when your business could rely on a face-to-face meeting or a phone call. You built up your sales based on trust and relationships. Now you face a problem: how do you build trusting relationships in an increasingly digital landscape?
Challenge 2: Return On Investment
Perhaps you are spending some of your marketing budget on a website, digital advertising or social media, but you’re not convinced of the value. You invest time and money into digital marketing, but you have no data on the return on those investments. How do you connect your website updates to specific sales? Are your Twitter and Facebook posts actually making a difference in revenue?
Maybe you are hesitant to invest any resources in digital marketing or a new website because you're not convinced of the return. How can you connect your sales with your online actions so that you know where to focus your resources?
Challenge 3: Growth Plateau
Maybe you have recently launched a beautiful new website. When it launched, you received a lot of interest and people paid attention to your brand. This happens all the time – you see an initial jump in traffic, but without a consistent way to drive traffic, you reach a plateau in growth.
What you need is a way to drive consistent traffic to your website to continue your online growth. How do you bring people to your website on a regular basis?
Challenge 4: Who Do You Call?
You might have some way of generating leads, either online or offline. You’ve collected names and email addresses for a newsletter subscription, or you have contact information from people that have attended events or webinars, or maybe you gathered leads at a recent tradeshow. These people have shown some interest in your company, and you are ready to start a sales conversation.
Your list might include hundreds or thousands of names, but you have no idea how to prioritize who is ready to make a purchase decision. How do you qualify your leads so that you can focus on the ones closest to making a purchase? How can you nurture your other leads to get them closer to a decision?
Inbound Marketing: The cure-all for your marketing woes.
This is the point of the infomercial where we change from black-and-white to color and the voiceover says that for the low price of $19.99 per month, all your problems can be solved!
I'm kidding, of course, but a combination of strategy and software can help you build relationships, track the ROI of your digital marketing investment, attribute sales to online actions, drive website traffic and qualify and nurture leads. Sounds good, doesn’t it?
What I’m talking about is something called inbound marketing. At its heart, inbound marketing is about using your website to provide the right content at the right time to the right people, all with the purpose of qualifying and nurturing leads. Inbound Marketing is all about understanding who your ideal customer is and providing educational content on your website which attracts visitors and builds that trust. Visitors to your website will provide contact information in exchange for particularly valuable pieces of content, and just like that, you have a lead!
Inbound marketing can help you overcome the four challenges of online lead generation. Here’s how:
- How do you build trust and relationships in a digital world? By providing useful and valuable content. Visitors to your website will see your organization as a trusted and reliable resource. This is done by creating buyer-focused content. In order to create this content, you must understand who your customers are and what challenges or opportunities they are facing. By addressing your customers' unique situations, you begin to build a relationship with them.
- How do you track the return of your digital marketing investments? By using advanced marketing software like HubSpot to track how your website pages, social media and digital advertising all contribute to a specific customer. This kind of marketing software allows you to connect individual emails, social media posts, web pages, or campaigns with specific leads and sales.
- How do you continue to drive website traffic? By regularly and consistently publishing useful content on your website. Content not only addresses your customer's unique challenges and opportunities, but is framed around the keywords and phrases that your customer uses to search for solutions. Current customers and website visitors will come back to your website to see what is new. Your bank of content will drive up your search engine ranking so that people will find you on Google.
- How do you prioritize which lead you should call first? By tracking how individuals interact with your website, you can learn who is currently deciding, who is planning and who is just visiting. Your marketing efforts will help your sales team be more educated and better informed.
With inbound marketing, you can make your website work for you.