I was talking to a client the other day and he told me he was frustrated with his website performance.
Keep in mind this is a small start up that needed some drastic help to look much more professional. He had some sort of godaddy built website or some equivalent template site. The site had 3 or 4 pages. All of them were very "me" focused talking about hiring this company, request info and included data collection forms. There was truly nothing of value on any page for the visitor. Beyond this it was built so poorly that it was not going to get found in search engines. So you can see they broke some of the biggest rules for online marketing…
- Make the site easy for the customer to find what they are looking for.
- Add value to the visitor - remember every page should answer what's in it for the visitor (prospect/customer)?
- Add new content on a regular basis to keep the site fresh and new in order to build a following of repeat visitors.
- Make your content easy to share so your visitors that like your remarkable content can share it with their following.
- …and lastly make sure the site is easy for search engines to find and is optimized so that your prospects can find you when they search for the type solutions you provide.
So the original site broke all of these rules. As a matter of fact it scored roughly a 20% website grade (out of 100%… that's failing pretty badly). Then to offer a quick fix to help this business owner overcome all the issues mentioned above and build a stronger brand, I offered a new website build that allowed the client to start using "inbound marketing" tactics (SEO, Blogging, Social Media, Engagement, and the like). The site instantly went from a 22% to a 74% with the new website launch.
The client was pretty excited and actually started blogging early on. He was doing pretty well. A few months went by, then the client hit a wall. Because this client did not hire me to help them grow their business they started having problems. They wanted to make major edits to the site. They wanted to change the site design. When I asked why, they told me it was because they weren't getting enough leads from the website. He was really happy to be getting 300 to 500 visitors to his site each month. He was also happy to have people staying on his site for 3 to 4 minutes.
Let me be frank, 500 visits a month is very low. He should be shooting for 3000 to 5000 visits per month (then 30,000 to 50,000). Think about this… most basic, but quality sites convert visitors to leads at roughly 1% or 2%. So best case he should be getting 10 leads a month (2% of 500 visits) but if his traffic was 5000 and he got a 2% conversion, he'd be getting 100 leads a month. This would be closer to where he wants to be.
Next let's look at the time people spend on the site. There is a good chance these numbers are inaccurate. I'm betting the site has not taken into account that the owner is one of the visitors and chances are likely that he's spent a long time on the site. As a matter of fact there was one 50 minute visitor to the site. I'm betting this was him or someone viewing the site and not clicking off the site, but maybe walking away or going to lunch, who knows. The point is I'm betting the data is off.
So here is the deal, the client wants to do a redesign. He wants to remove several pages. When we discussed this and he told me he was frustrated with the conversion of customers (lead generation) from the site, I asked a question… How many clients are you closing on your own through:
- cold calls
- linkedin engagement
- and the like
The numbers were very low. It's easy to blame a website for your lack of sales. It is very easy to do busy work reworking a website to make it better and better over time. I will tell you though however… the problem is not a website problem, it is a sales problem. I see it all the time. Often people think they are good at sales when in reality they really suck at sales.
I've worked with hundreds of companies that were looking for websites that could offer lead generation tools and as we build them, their leads go up month to month.
The problem is… sales do not. I am not hired to close the deal or be your sales team. I'm hired to build professional websites that help sales people. Often times these professional lead gen. websites help companies prove that their sales staff is worse than they thought. Sales often starts pointing fingers at the website, the design, the "crappy" leads or whatever else they can come up with.
So what is the solution to low sales conversions from your website?
Here are the items you'll need to put in place to reach big success with your website and sales team:
- Create a solid and professional website.
- One that hits all the issues mentioned above, then blog like crazy (2+ articles a week) in order to become known as a thought leader in your industry.
- Create remarkable content that people want to share with others.
- Then and only then start the lead generation allowing solid leads to start coming in.
- The next step is to get your sales team evaluated.
- Set up a sales process and follow it on every sales call.
- Then get your sales team trained by an expert sales training company (like Kurlan or Sandler).
- Remember what you don't measure you can't manage - this means sales as well as lead generation (online marketing).
Follow these steps and you will see big wins in a short period of time.
Don't waste money on continually doing website redesigns. Chances are it is not the site it is the sales team that are hindering your performance.