You’ve designed your own business website, and it’s absolutely gorgeous. Now, it’s time to kick back and wait for people to find it.
If “wait and hope” is your strategy for using your website to grow your business, you’ll still be waiting long after you’ve run out of hope.
Even the most beautiful websites don’t magically show themselves to potential customers. Just because customers see a website doesn’t mean they automatically open their wallets. To turn your website into a lead-generation machine, you’ll have to complete two important tasks: drive traffic to your site, and convert visitors into leads once they get there.
Traditional outbound marketing uses advertising, cold calls, or other company-initiated techniques in the hope those customers will become interested and try your products or services. Outbound marketing interrupts the customer and asks the customer to pay attention. On the other hand, inbound marketing finds them when they’ve already decided to make a purchase.
With inbound marketing, you target the customer who has already taken the initiative to look for a website just like yours. Imagine the buying experience from the customer’s perspective. Are you more likely to:
See an ad on TV, type a URL into your browser, and visit a company’s website?
Type a search into Google, see a search result that looks promising, and click the link?
Inbound marketing is less interruptive, more effective, less expensive, and friendlier to the customer. Use these proven inbound marketing techniques to make your website easy to find.
In the U.S. alone, nearly 223 million people use search engines to find information. They navigate to Google, Bing, Yahoo, or another search engine to type in queries that lead them to websites like yours.
The art of getting your website found on Google is a big and complex topic, but the idea is to move closer to the top of Google’s search results when customers look for companies like yours. These tips will help you increase your chances of getting better search rankings:
Have a well-constructed site. Build a site that’s not too heavy on images and native videos, that’s easy to navigate, and that loads quickly when customers find your site on Google and other search engines.
Include important keywords. Think about the words, phrases, and questions people looking for a website like yours will type when they’re using Google. Include these phrases, in a natural way, within your website copy.
Get local. Local SEO utilizes geo-targeted keywords and takes advantage of local listings to help nearby customers find you. For example, if a customers searches for “dry cleaners in Milwaukee” and you’ve used similar geo-targeted keywords in your website copy and have a Google My Business listing in Milwaukee, Google will be more likely to give your website a higher ranking for that search term.
Build inbound links. List your company with respected directories, like the Yellow Pages, with review sites like Yelp, and with other organizations like small-business associations and professional groups. In addition, sponsor events, get stories in your local paper, and write articles and guest blog posts linking back to your site.
Choose a mobile-friendly design. Almost half of Google searches start on a smartphone or tablet. Mobile-friendly websites also tend to perform better in Google search results, making it easier for customers to find your site.
Most small-business owners are incredibly busy, and taking care of SEO requires a lot of time and skill. Look for companies like Web.com with local SEO services that can boost your local SEO at a price you can afford.
You can also attract visitors to your website by paying for ads through Google, Bing, or Yahoo. Through search engine marketing (SEM) programs like Google AdWords, customers see different kinds of ads based on the keywords for which they search.
With SEM, potential customers might see your site promoted at the top of their search results. They might also see a sidebar ad for your site on another website they visit later. Clicking on the ad might direct visitors to web pages you already have, or it might direct the visitor to a specially designed landing page you’ve added to your domain.
SEM is most beneficial in getting traffic to your website when you’re having a sale, launching a new product, or gearing up for your busiest season. You can target people based on demographic or interest data, ensuring that your ads are seen by the kinds of people who tend to be your core customer.
Sharing links to your website through your social media accounts is a great way to get traffic to your site. If you write business blog posts or maintain a YouTube channel, you can share links to your content through Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and more.
Many social networks offer advertising through promoted posts or through ads displayed beside the news feed. Social media ads are affordable, especially for businesses just getting started with online marketing, and they can be targeted to either a broad or very narrow audience.
Outside channels can be great ways to funnel traffic back to your website, and they’re easy to promote using social media. Depending on what kind of business you have, you might make videos and post them on YouTube or Vimeo. Or, if you’re a B2B business owner, and you do a lot of presentations, you might upload those presentations to a SlideShare account that links back to your website.
Write an article or guest blog post that showcases your expertise. If the publisher allows it, place a link within the post referring readers back to your website.
Once visitors get to your website, you want to persuade them to become paying customers. To keep visitors coming back, it’s crucial to form a relationship with them, and that requires asking for their information.
Businesses usually have more success in getting customers’ names, phone numbers, email addresses, or other information when they give something valuable in exchange for information. Try one or more of these strategies to convince visitors to share their information with you:
Landing pages. Create special landing pages around promotional offers, like a free download, a free consultation, or a free e-book. To obtain their free item, customers provide you with a small bit of information, like their email address.
Content upgrades. Write a terrific blog post and then record an in-depth webinar on the topic or write a white paper. Then, offer an upgrade to the people who read your blog post. They get the webinar or white paper, and you get their information.
Subscriptions. If you blog, create videos, or otherwise create content on a regular schedule, offer people the chance to get an email when you publish new content.
Contact forms. If you offer services, give visitors the chance to fill out a contact form and learn more about what you offer. Include a strong call to action that will persuade your visitor to fill out the form, and respond promptly via email or over the phone.
As you build a list of leads, stay in touch with them by sending information about promotions, new content you’ve published, or other special offers. You can even create multiple landing pages for different campaigns and see which campaigns and landing pages deliver the most leads.
After acquiring leads, start evaluating them in terms of quality. The best leads are people who are ready or almost ready to make a purchase. Lower quality leads have interest in your website but aren’t quite ready to open their checkbooks.
Oracle recommends evaluating leads according to two primary categories: fit and engagement.
Fit is how well the lead fits the profile of your ideal customer. The ideal lead is a decision-maker who has authorization to buy from you or someone with strong influence on a decision-maker.
Engagement is a measurement of how leads behave, which tells you a lot about how ready they are to buy.Look for leads who keep coming back to your site regularly, who download a lot of your content, or who ask for information about products and services.
When you make contact with a highly engaged decision-maker, either within a household or within a business, you’re much more likely to make a sale. If you build a large database with hundreds or thousands of leads, you can start using marketing automation programs to personalize correspondence with your leads based on the ways they interact with your website or based on the roles they play within their companies.
Having a beautiful website is great. Making money through your website is better. Web.com has years of experience helping businesses just like yours build beautiful websites, host them, and use them to generate leads.
Try our proven local SEO and lead generation tools to get more value from your website. Find out how our LeadsbyWeb tools can drive traffic to your site and get your phone reading. Check out our lead generation services today!