Visitors to Customers


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5 ways to make your website more effective as a lead generation tool for your business.

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Visitors to Customers

  1. 1. Visitors to customers5 ways to make your website sell Compiled by Steve Binos Steve’s career as a corporate brand strategist has spanned three continents over more than 20 years. He has a particular passion for helping companies unlock the potential of the web for their businesses. His current role is Chief Imagineer of Dreamsmiths Marketing. Follow Steve on Twitter: @steveBinos Please feel free to reproduce and distribute this material with suitable acknowledgement to eLead. Distributed by eLead as part of eLead’s “Visitors to Customers” campaign.
  2. 2. ContentsIntroduction ................................................................................ 1Treat your website as integral to your business’ success ..... 2Make the most of your prime real estate................................ 7Aim to swop, not sell ............................................................... 10Nurture relationships without trying ..................................... 12Make all roads lead to Rome .................................................. 15 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  3. 3. IntroductionAre you throwing awayvaluable leads?Try this quick test …Imagine that I just gave you a thousand dollars in a stack of crisp $10 bills.Now let’s sit down by a cozy fire and review the last 100 visitors who came toyour website. For each visitor who gave you their contact information (througha web form), you are allowed to keep a $10 bill. For every visitor who left yourwebsite, never to return, you have to toss a $10 bill into the fire.At the end of this exercise, most small businesses would have less than $100in their hands and a small inferno in the grate. The remaining $900 that couldhave been in your pocket is now gone, for ever.This is what happens every single day on your website when you don’t have aneffective lead-capture strategy in place or any viable method of following upthese visitors to convert them into customers.It’s a crying shame.I’m using this test to grab your attention for my first major point, which iscoming up next. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 1
  4. 4. Number one: Treat your website as integral to your business’ success Everything rises or falls on leadership. What leaders pay attention to becomes important to everyone in the business. What leaders take seriously, enjoys the same attitude from everyone.2 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  5. 5. Are you providing web You can boostleadership for your company? your business in all these ways byAs recently as 10 years ago, a company website simply having a webwas still largely considered a ‘nice-to-have.’ presenceToday. a mere 10 years later, more than 70%of people with internet access research online • Improve the quality ofbefore making a significant purchase. (Nielson) leads. • Reduce sales costs.Are you capitalising on this?Are you seducing them on to • Increase close ratios.your website? • Reduce inbound calls for information by moving interactions to the Web.Probably not. • Eliminate expensiveIt’s time to begin treating your online presence marketing an integral part of your business. We • Reach prospects notrecommend you set business objectives for it, found via other media.appoint a leader to be accountable to manage • Add online services thatit, approve a plan and allocate resources to make your offering moreit and agree measures to regularly review valuable.progress in the same way you do with other • Increase cross-sells andareas of your business. up-sells.So, I’m appealing to you firstly, for the sake of • Increase average salesthe future of your business, to make a quality decision that your online presence • Steal market share andis core to your future business, and your mind share from yourmarketing effort. competitors. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 3
  6. 6. Define your online business objectivesThere are a truckload of potential and valid uses for your web presence, but Ibelieve in keeping things simple, and in keeping the main thing the main thing. So, Irecommend having one main objective and a handful of secondary objectives. Decidewhat they are, and write them down.Your main objectives could include:1. Building brand awareness2. Communicating product info, and other useful information3. Selling widgets (e-store)4. Displaying your products/services. (e.g. property listing websites)5. Generating quality sales leadsHere’s my experience: for 90% of small businesses, selling or displaying isn’trelevant. When you think about what’s left, it becomes pretty obvious that, althoughyou want your brand to look good, (and of course you want to include a map to youroffices!), the main objective you’re after is generating quality sales leads. To put itbluntly, you want to sell, not tell.So, I recommend you simply write a mission statementfor your online presence. Here’s an example:Our primary website objective is to:• Generate quality sales leads. These goals are clear and concise.Our secondary website objectives are to: Now we know what• Provide comprehensive product information. we’re shooting for.• Provide a customer complaints facility.4 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  7. 7. How are you going to know whetheryou’re succeeding?A word on measurementThe simplest measure to use here is ROI (Return on Investment). You simply addup all revenue on sales from leads generated via your site, then divide it by thetotal cost of running your web strategy (including staff cost, agency fees, onlineadvertising, technology cost, etc).A lot of people swear by the CPL (Cost Per Lead) measure. Although it has merit incomparing channels, it can be misleading in that it doesn’t factor in the quality ofthe lead - [IE] - the percentage of leads that ultimately convert to sales. It’s simple tocalculate: Total cost of operating strategy, divided by the number of leads generated(per month, or whatever).Another one I really like is PPDI (Pipeline Dollars per Dollar of Investment). It’s a bitof a mouthful, I know, but it’s simpler than it sounds! Basically, it measures revenueup to the step before an actual sale. In sales lingo we talk about a lead becoming anopportunity (when a person requires our product/service and is open to engaging),before it becomes an actual sale.The reason this measure is useful is that, although your web strategy may be highlyeffective in generating high quality leads, either your salespeople may suck (notconverting opportunities to sales) or your value proposition may suck (too expensive,not competitive, etc). So if all you measure is ROI, you might incorrectly assume yourlead generation is the problem. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 5
  8. 8. Pipeline Dollars per Dollar of Investment Lead Source A Lead Source B Investment $25,000 $45,000 Lead Count 1,000 1,000 Cost Per Lead $25 $45 Conversion Rate 7% 15% Pipeline Opportunities 70 150 Pipeline Opportunity Dollars $126,000 $375,000 Pipeline Dollars per Dollar of Investment $5.04 $8.33So, I pretty much recommend looking at ROI as a measure of sales and marketingeffectiveness and Pipeline Dollars per Dollar of Investment as a measure of youronline marketing effectiveness.Okay, so now we’ve made the right decisions, what now follows are what I believe tobe the most important pointers to help you succeed in implementation.6 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  9. 9. Number two:Make the most ofyour prime real estate Your company website homepage is your prime piece of digital real estate. Specifically, ‘above the fold’ (the portion of your homepage that visitors can see without scrolling down) is your most valuable space. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 7
  10. 10. Why is it prime?On average a new visitor will spend around 30 seconds on your site and this portionof your homepage determines what they do next.Many sites use up this precious space withnonsense like:• A self-serving historical narrative “Established in 1967, XYZ Plumbers has a proud history”.• A badly chosen, generic stock picture taking up a lot of space.• Too many elements or too much copy, making it tricky to know where to start.You need to have your big idea in the front and centredThis is your ‘Compelling Difference’, your unique Value Proposition - crafted anddesigned with flair and appropriate to your brand.As I arrive on your homepage, I need to take in this pitch and have a good sense of“what’s in it for me?” It must be customer-focused, not company-focused. Here’s anexample:Company-focusedOur computing products provide significant benefits for preserving the environment,by improving energy usage, eliminating harmful substances, and reducing materialconsumption.Customer-focusedYour need to reduce costs by “going green” has appeal…conceptually. But you can’tafford to lose speed to save energy. We can prove to you that going green will notcost you one ounce of productivity.8 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  11. 11. A couple of pointers on developing this homepage pitch:1. You must resonate. 3. You must substantiate. It’s got to speak to my felt needs, or You’re saying all the right things, points of pain. It’s all about putting but why should I trust you? How yourself in your customers’ shoes, can I be sure you’ll deliver on your talking about their needs, aspirations claims? Anticipate these questions, and challenges, rather than talking and provide ‘Social Proof.’ Social Proof about your company, its history and includes testimonials of satisfied achievements. It’s talking client customers, endorsements from benefits, not product features. influential publications, membership of associations, and so on. There’s2. You must differentiate. nothing quite like a couple of strong Okay, so you’re connecting with me; quotes from satisfied customers who you’re offering what I need, but how represent solid businesses. Pop off an are you different from the five other email asking your best customers for companies who offer similar service? a quote today - you can offer a link to Why should I choose you rather than their website if that’s appropriate. them? If you can’t answer this, you’re going to compete on price – nasty! 4. You must be imaginative. Create an ‘Offer You Can’t Refuse’ and Don’t be boring. Get help to translate find some angle on your service that your Value Proposition into an eye- has value to your customer. catching, compelling layout.Are you a persuasive communicator?Make sure you have included as many of these psychological persuasivetechniques in your web pages as possible:• Use testimonials • Take an authoritative position – set yourself up as an expert.• Speak from their perspective – use the “you” approach. • Create likeability e.g. through social or environmental efforts.• Do them a favour so that they will reciprocate - for instance, give them a • Get potential clients to do something, free eBook. like fill out a form or take a survey. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 9
  12. 12. Number three: Aim to swop, not sell Very few people decide to buy from you 30 seconds after they encounter your website. In our work on websites, we never aim at an instant sale. Our goal is to persuade the visitor deciding to give us their name and email address after 30 seconds.10 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  13. 13. Think about this!If a visitor willingly gives you theircontact details (and opts into furthercommunication), you move from having Ideas for ‘ethical30 seconds to make a sale, to three bribes’years to make a sale! Remember:people buy when they’re ready to buy, • Write an eBook.not when you’re ready to sell. • Create a ‘Downloadable Kit” (worksheets, videos,Ethical bribe articles/eBooks) • Give away a freeThe way we encourage people to consultationpart with their details is to offer an • Dish out free samples‘ethical bribe,’ or a swop. We’ll give youa useful, free resource in exchange for • Activate a free trialyour contact details and consent for • Produce a video/videofurther communication. (You probably seriesknow exactly what I mean, given you’re • Provide an informativeholding this eLead resource!) white paperYour ‘ethical bribe’ can be in the form • Invite to a live webinarof any digital media that’s useful for • Invite to an eventyour potential customers - ebooks,white papers, articles, video clips,audio interviews, and so on. I like theeBook angle, because you’re able tocreate a great visual of a ‘book’ on yourhomepage, and it just feels as if I’mgetting something valuable for free. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 11
  14. 14. Number four: Nurture relationships without trying Here’s the ‘secret sauce’ in our recipe. Ready? Email marketing. Yes, email marketing.12 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  15. 15. Email marketingTypically, the second I mention the word email, I get an audible sigh followed bya comment about spam, their overflowing inbox, and how I’m contributing to theproblem.This couldn’t be further from the truth.Usually I’ll explain how permission-based email marketing works, and then they willrealize that they have signed up to receive (and have enjoyed!) at least one type ofregular email communication from a company without even knowing it was “emailmarketing.””Email is the fastest, most flexible, cost-efficient,personalized, and targeted communication medium inthe world today.” – Peppers & Rogers GroupIn its simplest form, email marketing is about creating and sending out a series ofpre-authored emails, sent at pre-determined intervals, and personalized to eachrecipient, based on their expressed interests. Done properly, they are non-spammyand add value to the recipient’s life by providing further ‘thought leadership’ on thegiven subject.Email marketing, frankly, delivers the highest return on investment (ROI) of anymarketing approach available. Don’t be deterred by spammy examples you’ve beenexposed to! It’s measurable, it’s very targeted, it’s immediate, and the calls to actioncan be powerfully linked to your other online assets. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 13
  16. 16. What you’re doing is building relationships.Gradually, but consistently over time, you begin to become a Subject Matter Expert inthe recipients’ minds. Done skillfully, you’ll just be ‘on the radar’ enough so that, whenthe day comes that they (or a friend of theirs) need your product or service, you’llcome to mind.Most importantly, email marketing forces you to put yourself in your customer’sshoes, to think through their challenges, aspirations and concerns, and then to draftyour best, most thorough communiqués. These represent you at the top of yourgame! Once your programme is in place, you can get on with other demands whileyour prospects lap up your pearls of wisdom.Where to start?Our team has years of experience in the subtle nuances of writing email journeys inorder to get results. I therefore would encourage you to get in touch, and let us getyour business’ online marketing supercharged!Allow me a moment to shamelessly punt eLead. I honestly am relaxed about givingaway our technological secrets because I’ve learnt that it’s about technique nottechnology. Content is the coal that fuels the furnace of your technology platform.14 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  17. 17. Number five:Make all roads lead to Rome Great! Now, all that’s needed is feet through the door! Contrary to popular belief, there are a significant number of ways of attracting traffic without spending a fortune. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 15
  18. 18. Here are a couple of ways to drivetraffic to your siteYou now have a strong web framework for grabbing visitors’ attention and inducingthem to give their details. You’ve also got your automated email journey in place thatnurtures your relationship with these prospects.Get your website noticed in Google resultsThis is pretty technical, but there are simple things you can do to help your websitefeature better in Google search results. For example:• Identify the common phrases customers use when searching for your product or service and then use these phrases in up to 9% of your homepage text. There is nothing Google loves more than fresh, original prose! Remember, Google reads everything on the net, and so cut and paste counts for nothing. Write original text, with key phrases featuring in normal sentences.• Put keywords in your domain name. Google puts a lot of emphasis on domain names. If your business is Rob’s Plumbing, and you’re based in Austin, don’t go for if is available.Beyond this, eLead or another specialist online company can perform higher levelSEO to improve your search engine rankings.Put your website address in email signaturesI’m always amazed at how many businesses miss this simple trick. If you’ve got 100people in your business, each sending 10 emails per day, that’s 1000 exposuresdaily! Get help to make your email signatures look good.16 eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell
  19. 19. Start a blogGoogle has upgraded blogs in its search results. Choose a blog name that is close toa key-phrase for your business. Mandate a small group of people (say five) and haveeach one write one original article every quarter and to source two good articlesevery quarter. That will give you five posts a month. Make sure you include your keyphrases somewhere in each of these blog posts, with a hyperlink to your homepage.You can start a blog on for free.Tweet and post on Linked-inEstablish personal profiles on Twitter and Linked-in, and then post links to your blogarticles. Actively build your social network profiles - you won’t regret it! Use a toollike to schedule your future posts, which will save a lot of time.Comment on industry blogsMany blogs provide the opportunity for comment, which usually includes theopportunity to include your URL. However, do make sure that your contribution to theblog is meaningful.Launch a Google Adwords campaignThis is the most immediate way to get feet through the door, although you payfor these feet! A basic Adwords campaign can be set up by a novice. It is highlyrecommended that you get an expert (like eLead) to craft your Adwords campaign assoon as you begin to invest a significant Adwords budget. eLead Visitors To Customers 5 ways to make your website sell 17
  20. 20. That’s all folks!Wow, you’ve read this right to the end! I’m honoured. More importantly,you’re obviously pretty serious about all this, which (as I mentioned in myfirst point) is a major step towards success.Let us know if you need help! The good people at eLead are passionateabout helping automate marketing for businesses with big ambitions andlittle spare time.To your success!StevePS: Follow me on Twitter for marketing DIY tips: [twitter: @stevebinos] Tel: +27 21 529 4750 E-mail: Fax: +27 21 529 4625 Website: