Most business managers in the professional services and technology industries have adapted inbound marketing tactics for lead generation, with varying degrees of success. You've been creating great lead generation content and promoting it with social media and blogging, yet you're just not generating the leads you need to justify your inbound marketing investment. What gives?
If you're producing good content that addresses pain points of your ideal customer and you're not generating leads, the first place I would look would be your website. Too many professional services websites don't represent the organization's value proposition very well. Even more aren't built with conversion-centered design.
What is conversion-centered design? Conversion-centered design uses the brain's hard-wired impulses to generate leads and sales.
Minimize distractions on your website
The reality of buyer behavior is that the more choices you give someone, the less likely they are to take any action. It's what the Germans call "die qual der wahl" (the torture of choice.) "Psychologists Mark Lepper and Sheena Iyengar found that customers presented with six jam varieties were more likely to buy one than customers offered a choice of 24."
It's very important to incorporate this principle into your website design. Here's how we did it on our website.
We gave website visitors 4 choices (besides using the navigation) when they land on our homepage.
- They can click on the orange consultation button to schedule a consultation with us.
- They can click on the phone icon to access a pop-out with our phone number.
- They can download our Ultimate Lead Generation Handbook.
- They can scroll down to see more content on our "infinite scrolling" homepage.
Since we've launched our new website, we've tripled our conversion rate on the Ultimate Lead Generation Handbook and we've closed 2 new customers who came to us via consultation requests.
Buyers equate your website presence with your professionalism
I spent several years as a management consultant in the employee benefits industry and know the players in that field pretty well. I look at some of their websites and think to myself, "It's hard to believe that someone that good has such an awful website."
Remember, I know the industry - what do you think buyers that know nothing about those firms think? Consider this scenario: you meet a potential buyer at a networking event and have a great conversation. The first thing the buyer does when she gets back to her office is to check your website. If she sees an outdated, unprofessional website, your chances of ever doing business with her are slim and none - and slim just left town.
Here's an ironclad rule of thumb - websites have a shelf life of 2-3 years. After 3 years, your website looks dated and unprofessional. Your website is the foundation of your inbound marketing. Don't be penny-wise and pound-foolish, invest in a professional website and update it every 3 years.
Optimize your website for humans, not search engines
Google's website algorithm updates over the past few years have all moved in the direction of rewarding good content with high page ranks. On-page SEO tactics like optimizing page titles and using keywords are important, but creating user-friendly websites that give buyers the content they want is far more important.
So just how do you optimize your website for humans? Start by understanding how buyers "read" website content. The reason I put "read" in quotation marks is that buyers scan, not read, your website content. Give them what they want - break your website content into bite-size chunks that let buyers take a deeper dive if they want to via links and calls-to-action.
Too many professional services websites have 1,000 word treatises that nobody reads on their homepages. Don't be that company. And build your content around your buyer, not yourself. Nobody cares about how innovative or cutting-edge you are - so many people use those terms that buyers just tune them out! Instead, talk about the problems or opportunities facing your buyers and how you can help them solve or take advantage of them.
The HubSpot Content Optimization System takes it one step further with its SMART content feature. SMART content adjusts what the website visitor sees based on criteria that you choose like industry or product line. For example, if you target the software industry and cybersecurity providers, you can show buyer-specific content to each audience.