Why your website is a lead generation liability

Why Your Website is a Lead Generation Liability

This post was originally published in September 2017 and has been updated for relevancy. 

One of the most important lead generation tactics you have at your disposal is your website. Optimizing your landing pages — whether it’s your main homepage or specific product pages — is how you can draw people in through unbranded searches and eventually get them to contact you.

However, a poorly optimized website can be one of the biggest liabilities in your marketing practice.

If you’re looking to boost your lead generation efforts, your website is one of the first places to start. This bit of owned media acts as a hub for your story, your products and your unique value — and so many other parts of the marketing model, from paid media to social, stems from what you have published on your homepage.

Here are some common lead generation mistakes organizations make with their website and how you should fix them.

Mistake #1: No lead generation marketing strategy

Executing a marketing plan, whether it’s a small campaign or a full business model, is all but useless without a strategy in place. Everything you do should be customer-first. Here are a few things to keep in mind.

  • Your audience: While planning your marketing strategy, dedicate time to researching and defining your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). When you write any content — from blog posts to CTA buttons — keep these profiles in mind. Does your copy speak to the pain points these potential leads have? Are you using the right language for the most common job title you work with or the industry that you’re in?
  • The buyer’s journey: Most likely, a customer coming to your site doesn’t know who you are yet. The content you present them first should be high-level, but as they keep clicking through to different pages, the content should be aimed at people further and further down the funnel. Map out the ideal journey and what content you need to create to keep customers moving down this path.
  • The ideal end goal: Lastly, be sure to determine what exactly you’d like a lead to do. Download an eBook? Sign up for a mailing list? Fill out a contact form? Start with the end in mind when you work through your on-page strategy.

[Read More: Interactive Buyer Persona Template]

Mistake #2: Poor web design affecting conversion

Web development and design can be overwhelming for those who have no experience in the nuts and bolts of creating websites. However, while many agencies help with this facet of your digital presence, it’s still important to understand why it’s so important.

Think about the backend of your website as the plumbing behind the scenes. If your customers can’t even find where to give you their email address, your conversion rates will definitely be low. With a content-first approach (meaning, let your content and strategy drive how you design your website), you’ll be able to create a seamless and easy-to-understand experience for your customers.

Mistake #3: No clear CTA

To maximize your lead generation efforts, consider how your prospect found your website and the specific action you want them to take when they arrive.

Many companies get hung up on this by putting too much content or clicks in between arriving to the site and completing the goal action. The more steps you put between the customer and the action you want them to take (either fill out a form or make a purchase), the more opportunities you give them to abandon their customer journey and leave your website before taking any meaningful action.

One way to tackle this is by including CTAs wherever you can. (To a point, of course!) Your reader is much more likely to take a desired action if a clear and present CTA encourages that action.

[Read More: How to Write a CTA that Converts]

Think about designing landing pages to serve the page’s unique goals. If you want a reader to sign up for a mailing list or download a piece of gated content, lead them to a page that lets them just put in their details.

Mistake #4: Not optimized for mobile

A few years ago, we would have told you that it’s time to start thinking about optimizing your site for mobile, since it’s an up-and-coming user habit. However, it’s 2020, everyone has smartphones and we’re all at home during a pandemic.

Your site needs to be optimized for mobile or you’ll start losing consumers.

Make sure you’re testing your website on any device your audience may be using, especially your big lead generation assets like lead capture forms and gated, downloadable content.

Mistake #5: No retargeting

People abandon the buyer journey all the time for various reasons. Maybe the content didn’t suit their needs at that time. Maybe the baby started crying and they had to put down the phone or step away from the computer. Retargeting is a way to help them pick up right where they left off.

By utilizing tracking pixels or cookies (small pieces of code used to map visitor behavior) on your website, you can monitor where your leads came from and where you might have lost them.

You can then retarget them with an ad or content designed to remind them where they left off and how they can continue. Maybe it’s an additional discount if they book now or maybe it’s a simple reminder that they left something in their digital shopping cart. Either way, it allows you to stay connected with your leads and keep them engaging with your brand.

Mistake #6: No maintenance strategy

If you’ve dabbled in Facebook marketing, you understand the importance of A/B testing images, copy and headlines to see what works and what doesn’t. The same principle is highly effective in website maintenance and, ultimately, lead generation.

When you run ads with new custom landing pages, create two mostly identical ads with some minor design changes like where the CTA is placed or what copy goes in the form. You can then split test two ads going to similar audiences, with the only difference being which landing page the customer is sent to. By comparing results, you’ll see which is most effective at capturing or nurturing leads and you can make better content decisions going forward.

It may not seem worth the effort, but there’s evidence to suggest it is: The removal of a banner increased SimCity sales by 43%; changing a “Shop Now” to a “Buy Now” CTA button increased Black & Decker CTRs by 17%; and the FSA store increased revenue per visitor by 53.8% by removing subcategories from the homepage. By continually testing and updating design elements on your website and responding to data, you can dramatically increase your sales, leads and revenue.

Mistake #7: No follow-up plan

And lastly, you have to make sure you take full advantage of a lead once it’s generated. Just because someone fills out a form doesn’t mean your job is done.

We recommend creating a new email nurture campaign to send additional content to this lead, such as blog posts, case studies or downloadable resources. You can tailor this email campaign to align with this lead — did they download an eBook of a specific topic? Send them more emails about that topic! Did they fill out a contact us form? Educate them on different things your company can do.

Keep finding ways to drive this lead back to your site and eventually you’ll be able to qualify them from an MQL to an SQL.

[Read more: How Content Accelerates Lead Generation]

What can you do?

Lead generation is hard. The good news is that the content you’re already creating is probably only a few tweaks away from generating a lot of them.

Make sure your website looks good on mobile and uses clear, prominent CTAs. Make sure your content is consistent across all channels and that you’re retargeting effectively. And make sure you have a plan in place to test and optimize your content to make sure the right message always reaches the right people.

And if you’d like more help on opportunities to make your website a lead gen machine, feel free to reach out!

About the writer: Zachary Jarvis is uninspired by the never-ending talk of “vanity metrics” in the world of digital marketing. He’s a digital marketer at Magnate, the “Social-First” marketing agency.

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