When it comes to online lead generation, most business websites fall flat on their face.
If your website is doing its job, it ought to be your company's number one new business source, driving traffic, impressing visitors and converting them to leads—then customers.
People often ask us what it takes to turn a website into a sales-generating machine. From my experience, there are 6 key elements to doing it exceptionally well:
I’ve learned by working in marketing for nearly a quarter century that truly great designers are a rare and precious commodity. This is especially true in the web design world, where you need a combination of smart branding, an intuitive interface and highly polished graphic design. Any good recruiter in my field is scouting for talent years ahead of the need, because just as in any city, there are significantly fewer world-class designers in Edmonton than there are Edmonton web design companies. Without standout web design, all the other key elements are wrapped in mediocrity. A great website builds trust, credibility, and desire.
Despite that it makes or breaks a website, content is frequently undervalued even by otherwise savvy marketers. Unless your company employs a brilliant, inspired copy writer with plenty of experience writing for web, this is probably not a task you should be attempting in-house. Website content writing is part of a greater content strategy, and is integral to the overall user experience which leads us to thing number three.
It’s all about the user experience. The restaurant business equivalent to this would be your interior design plus your service staff. It is absolutely critical to engineer an appropriate, memorable and delightful user experience in order to convert visitors to leads, and leads to customers.
Inbound marketing has generated a lot of buzz, and it’s very powerful stuff, yet it’s still rare to see an inbound marketing strategy being correctly executed. That’s partly because there is a lot to it. Much of what happens with inbound is behind the scenes, and at minimum there needs to be an enticing call to action on every page, a strong tie-in with social media and content, plus a CRM leveraging semi-magical tools to nurture leads. And without the other five things, it’s all but impossible for your website to fully and completely maximize sales leads!
Probably the most obvious (and least exciting) item on this list, SEO remains essential to driving the traffic you need, and it’s continuously more elusive. It’s important to plan the right balance of foundational on-page SEO, link building, citation building, social signals and other ranking factors to meet your goals. What you may not know is that SEO should be tightly integrated into the web design, content strategy and user experience, meaning it’s probably something on which you want some expert advice, because search engine optimization is baked in from the beginning.
Yes, this is you! Even if you can't write a lick of HTML or draw a stick figure, you’re among the most pivotal ingredients. There is an adage in my business that in the end, the client always gets exactly the advertising (or in this case, website) he or she deserves. I first heard a variation of this from a mentor in the early 1990s, and with every passing year, I am ever more amazed at how spot-on it is. Of the hundreds of clients with whom I have worked, the very most successful projects by far have all been for clients who provided thorough briefing information, clear goals, lucid feedback, and placed their trust in the branding, marketing, web design and development professionals. Likewise, we recognize that client education, support and customer service at our end are prerequisites. And it’s logical that designers and developers are more likely to go to the ends of the earth for a client who is trusting and counting on their undiluted capabilities.
Those are my Big 6. There are numerous other factors of course, but most are either subsets of these, or relate to the offering or your infrastructure rather than what it takes to create a website that converts visitors to leads.
This is not a simple checklist many website owners can run through on their own, ticking boxes; you will need a strong and experienced team to bring together all the pieces. And nor is the ultimate goal easy to accomplish, which is actually good news for you.
If it were easy, everyone with a Godaddy account would be doing it. So the ability to achieve maximum sales leads through web design will stay where it belongs, in the dominion of the few. The committed.
The wonderfully deserving clients like you.
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Laurier Mandin is president of Graphos, the Edmonton web design company, branding consultancy and digital marketing agency he founded in 1993.
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