In professional services, you’d be hard-pressed to find a business owner who doesn’t have a website, even if it’s just a single information page somewhere. It’s universal – you need a place to tell people who you are, what you do, and how to contact you.
But your website really has only ONE single job. And if you haven’t set it up and optimized it for that job, any time, money, or effort you spend on content and design is wasted. Not to mention any advertising spend to drive people to it.
The ONE job of your website is to CAPTURE LEADS.The ONE job of your website is to CAPTURE LEADS. Click To Tweet
Mind the Store
Think of your website as your digital storefront or office. Imagine a visitor comes in, walks around, looks at things, and expresses interest in what they see. Then imagine that they head for the exit.
Wouldn’t you stop them? Ask them questions about their situation? Maybe take down their contact information so you can keep in touch?
Well, every day people visit your website, look around, and then leave. Without some way of capturing interested visitors as leads, you have no way of following up to learn more about them. Maybe they didn’t understand something, or maybe they’re simply not ready to buy yet. How will you know if you can’t talk to them?
So your website MUST be set up to encourage interested visitors to identify themselves to you with some form of valid contact information.Without some way of capturing interested website visitors as leads, you have no way of following up. Click To Tweet
Design and Content are NOT enough
You may have invested thousands of dollars and/or many hours of time in the development of your website. You might have hired a designer and/or copywriter to get the look and content just right. You’re justifiably proud of all the work you’ve put into it.
And yet, your website can STILL languish as an unproductive marketing channel.
Unsuccessful business owners are convinced that detailed information and impressive design are enough to get their phone ringing with ready-to-go new clients. They aren’t.
People are busy and easily distracted. You cannot, MUST NOT simply trust them to visit your site and take the next step all on their own. Your website needs to prompt them, early and often, to do something that makes them identifiable to you.
Beautiful but Deadly?
This isn’t to say that design and content are UN-important. But a big problem with most web designers is that they have no marketing experience. They’re happy to program all the beautiful bells and whistles you want onto a site, but they don’t stop to consider the website’s single focus of capturing leads.Detailed content and impressive web design are NOT enough to get your phone ringing with ready-to-go new clients. Click To Tweet
Consider the flashy, “splash-screen” welcome graphics that used to be popular. No doubt these look great, but a giant photo on the front page of your site is useless in conveying information and guiding visitors to the next step. If they have to scroll down or hunt through a sparkly interface to find what they’re looking for, you’re putting needless barriers between you and them.
Low attention spans are your enemy. If it takes more than a few seconds for a visitor to find what they’re looking for, they’re gone.
And these things are doubly problematic on mobile, with its smaller screen sizes and slower loading times. A lead-focused website needs to be lean and mean.
So for this and the next few posts, we’re going to talk about optimizing your website for the crucial job of capturing leads. Get this right and your website will be an effective anchor for all your other marketing efforts.
Make an Offer!
Just like the design issues I mentioned above, business owners somehow convince themselves that content is enough. They describe their services in depth, often across several pages.
Well, so what? If I’m looking for an accountant who handles incorporation issues, then a page about your incorporation-related services is the minimum I should expect to find. How does that differentiate you from your competition?
The problem here is that most of the time this content is ALL ABOUT YOU. To capture a lead, you need to consider the visitor and what’s in it for them.
So, make them an offer! Preferably, this should be something that offers help for a common problem that sent them looking for you in the first place.ALWAYS make your website visitor an offer. Incentives generate leads. Click To Tweet
What should you offer?
In retail, the incentive offer can be as simple as a coupon. For service professionals it’s often a free consultation. This is okay, certainly better than nothing, but these are so commonly used that their value is often discounted by the visitor. (If you still choose to go this way, be sure to clearly state the value of the consultation in your offer.)
A more effective offer can be a short series of steps or background information to help them solve a simple problem. This provides a quick win for the lead and serves as an introduction to how you can help them deal with more complex situations.
A document like this is called a “Lead Magnet”, for reasons which I hope are now obvious. If you begin offering one or more Lead Magnets for the issues that commonly occur among your target clients, you will begin attracting exactly the type of leads you want to talk to.
Lead Magnets can be created for ANY business – you just have to think creatively about the common problems faced by your potential clients. Even if you solve simple problems (e.g. “we clean carpets”) you can offer one single tip that fits a smaller element of the service (e.g. “how to spot clean a red wine stain”).
The best part about an incentive offer is that your pre-existing content makes it stronger. On your services page, you’re saying to the prospect “Not only do I handle problems like yours, here’s some free information you can get right now to begin to solve them.” You’re demonstrating your expertise and providing value up front.
Send out a Call
Unless you have a single page website, you can’t control the page on which visitors arrive. Equally, you can’t control the page on which that person may finally have the thought to take the next step.
Remember also that people are busy and easily distracted. And often, they can be so caught up in reading your content that they lose track of what to do next. This seems crazy but it’s absolutely true.
So you need a CALL-TO-ACTION on every page, preferably in multiple places. It has to be simple and straight-forward, and preferably should restate the value that the action will provide for them.
How and Where to Make the Call
Calls-to-action can and should be placed in many different locations on your website. The two best are the header and footer, since they appear on every page. Another good place is a sidebar beside your page or blog content.
Calls-to-action can have many different visual styles, too, from simple links in text, to graphic banner ads.
You should also consider website pop-ups. Many people wince when I mention these because they find pop-ups annoying. It’s true that many websites abuse their visitors with obnoxious pop-ups, but the truth is they work in getting people’s attention. There are many different website plugins and models for pop-ups that are less obtrusive.
At the very least, you should consider using an exit pop-up, which appears as the visitor moves their mouse pointer out of the browser window to navigate away from your site. At this point, you’re about to lose them anyway, so why not hit them with one more call-to-action?Use a Call-to-Action on every page of your website. Mix up locations, visual styles, and locations, and consider using pop-ups. Click To Tweet
Help Your Website do its ONE Job
With a strong incentive offer and numerous calls-to-action placed on your site, you have a strong foundation to attract and capture leads.
In the next couple of posts, we’ll look at other ways to optimize your website to complement the rest of your business marketing.
Optimizing your website is just one of my “9 Ways to Get More Clients in 7 Days or Less!” Click here to request a copy of the free report.
(Notice the Call-to-Action there?) 🙂