As I grow and develop in the world of inbound marketing, I realize that the whole process of turning a website visitor into an ideal customer is a long, complex road fraught with possible obstacles, little route tweaks along the way, and a whole lot of planning.
When people search the web to research potential vendors for a product or service they're looking for, they're expecting certain elements to be present and obvious on your website. It's not always conscious (we're trained to expect these things based on how other successful websites do it), but it ALWAYS has an effect on your conversion rates and, eventually, your digital marketing ROI.
Does your website contain these 7 essential elements for getting website leads to contact you?
Essential #1: A unique value proposition on the homepage
We've covered value propositions quite a bit recently, but it always bears repeating: your value proposition, clearly stated without jargon and with a focus on your main buyer persona, is your best asset to attract the right kind of client.
I always refer to my favourite business tool, Freshbooks, when I talk about excellent unique value propositions:
When you look at this, it's instantly clear what Freshbooks does and for whom.
If your website doesn't clearly state what kind of business you do and to whom it's useful in the first eyeful (50 milliseconds), then you've already lost a lot of potential leads.
It's worth putting a lot of work in the development, writing and design of your homepage because this is where the initial magic happens. If you don't grab them at first glance, they're likely to never come back.
Essential #2: A call-to-action on the homepage
So you have a great value proposition with relevant images… but now your visitor has no idea what to do to learn more.
If you have a hook but let your visitors get off it before you can reel them in, you're not going to have a great catch at the end of your day.
Refer to the above screenshot for a great example of a call-to-action that converts: "Try it Free for 30 Days". If I'm a business owner looking to improve my accounting process, this might be something I'd want to look into.
You can use all sorts of calls-to-action to suit different types of products and services:
- Order a free sample
- Get a free consultation
- Learn how it works
- Join the club
- Buy now
If you hook your visitors right away (and if you have the first essential right, you probably will), they'll want a way to get started, get to know you better or order something. Give it to them.
Essential #3: Some social proof
Sometimes, visitors need to be reassured about your product or service before they commit. This is where social proof comes to the rescue.
Testimonials are the best kind of social proof, especially if you use a picture of the person. Hubspot does this effectively:
Visually appealing, clear and strategically chosen to attract specific buyer personas, these testimonials have an added extra: more call-to-actions to take you to case studies, should you need even more proof that the product works.
Here are some rules around testimonials to impress your website leads:
- Use real ones. Never ever fake testimonials.
- Add pictures. Ask to use the person's LinkedIn photo for the simplest way to get one.
- Make an impact. Only choose the best, most impactful quotes you have.
Essential #4: A little about yourself
Okay, so you have a great product, a catchy call-to-action and some awesome testimonials. What else is missing?
Especially with consulting and services, people like to know who they will do business with. Putting a human face to your company essentially says: "We're people! A real live human being is there to take care of you!" Isn't that nice to know?
You can add a little blurb about your team or company on your homepage, but always have a more extensive "About Us" page to go more in depth about your mission, your values and your personality.
Speaking of Hubspot, it has a great post about excellent "About us" pages to inspire you.
Essential #5: Contact information
No website is complete without providing a way to contact you. The footer of your website is a great place to add your basic contact information, but make sure you have a dedicated "Contact Us" page in the main navigation for those who don't scroll.
Your Contact us page also provides your visitors with an alternate way to get information on your product or service should the website not be sufficient. Not all leads will be captured that way, but your Contact Us page is there to grab those who want to get in touch that way.
This Web Designer Depot post has tons of great "Contact Us" page examples to get you thinking about this specific essential.
Essential #6: A blog
If you still don't think business blogging is worth it, well, I don't know what else to say. Blogging has proven time and time again to increase traffic, leads and sales, to improve digital marketing ROI, and to generally be an awesome awareness and informational tool.
I tell every person I know who wants to get started in digital marketing or freelance writing to learn how to blog, because it's the single most useful (and lucrative) skill for the internet age.
Many website leads are looking to develop trust in you and your business before getting in touch–surely they want to trust you before they give you any money. A blog is an amazing way to build that trust.
There's plenty of information out there about business blogging, the why and the how. It's a matter for another blog post, at least!
Better website, better leads
A website is like a well-oiled conveying belt leading visitors from first visit to lifelong client. Provide the right triggers at the right time and give your website leads what they want, and you'll see the effectiveness of your digital marketing improve many times over.
If you're curious about other ways to improve your website to increase its effectiveness driving traffic, leads and sales, check out our free ebook, 25 Effective Ways To Improve Your Website.
Did I miss an essential? What makes YOU want to buy a product or service from the website?