Maintaining a website has become a necessity for every business in today’s world of online consumers armed with a wealth of information and resources to find what they want, how they can overcome their challenges, and the people they want to get products, services or solutions from.
But simply having a website does not mean your business will stay ahead of the competition. You may have put a lot of resources into building a website that, visually, is great, and it might even attract a lot of visitors, but if those visitors are not brought down the conversion path to become customers, all your efforts will be to no avail.
Businesses of every size need to realise that their number one salesperson should be their website, and if it is not bringing in those sales, it’s time to rethink its purpose. It’s time to look at how to create a digital marketing strategy and the right content to bring consumers along the buyer journey from initial visitor doing their research to become aware of a problem they have, to the interested person looking to find out more, to the conversion stage, where they become a qualified lead your sales team can work on turning into a customer.
How do you do this? Well, it all must start with a plan of action. As hardened football managers across the globe will tell you, fail to prepare, prepare to fail.
Your plan must start by asking some simple questions:
- Who are you trying to appeal to with your content?
- Why them?
- What problem, challenge or pain point are you trying to address with your content?
- What can you say that will draw people into that content?
In order to successfully appeal to the online consumer you want to become your target market, you have to know what, and who, that market is. Not that you need to know everybody out there, but you do need to have an idea of the type of person they are, and that is why you need to develop a buyer persona.
Your buyer personas are fictionalised versions of your ideal customer, the type of person who would want your products or services. Creating them involves research into the type of person they are – their age, job position, likes and dislikes, challenges in life, goals, etc.
Once you have created and verified your buyer personas, it’s time to have a look at your current content and see if any of it could apply and appeal to the persona you have established as the audience or type of person you want to reach and engage with. Do you have the right content to fit the relevant stage of the buyer journey, for example the awareness stage, where the persona is looking to find out more about their problem, and put a name to it?
Do you have the right offers to give them as valuable and relevant content at each of these stages?:
If you build a solid conversion path based around these stages, the chances of conversions go up dramatically.
What is a conversion path?
Your conversion path involves the creation of three distinct but collaborative pieces of content, beyond your website and blog content (which should be optimised to attract people to your site), designed to bring people along the stages in their buyer journey of visitor, to converted lead, to potential customer, and these are:
- Call To Action (CTA)
- Landing Page
- Thank You Page
To start with the first, there are many best practices when creating a compelling CTA. These include making it action-orientated, clear and very visible, with no distractions, so the website visitor is left in no doubt that this is where they want to go, this is what they need to click on, and will have a clear idea of where this click will take them. It should also be the only CTA on the page – distractions are to be avoided. Check out the CTA at the bottom of this blog as an example.
Clicking on the CTA should bring them to a relevant Landing Page that details further what it is you are offering, why it is of value, and what the visitor will gain or benefit from it. In the words of Blue Peter, here’s one we made earlier.
It should have a clear and compelling header stating what it actually is, such as ‘The Ultimate Guide To Re-designing Your Website’ so that the visitor understands immediately the purpose of the page.
The sub-header should clearly outline the value of the offer, such as ‘How To Turn Your Website Into a Lead Generation Machine’.
These should be expanded upon with a short paragraph on each. The first paragraph should set the scene, relating to the problem at hand to build the reader’s interest – in this instance, explaining how businesses are not availing of the true potential of their online presence, while the second should explain that you are here offering the know-how to do just that, by showing the steps towards increasing lead generation.
The page should include an image, preferably of the eBook or download you are offering, so the consumer is in no doubt about what they can expect to get, with bullet points stating concisely the value points, followed by a single line encouraging the action of downloading and playing on the reader’s fears. For example, ‘Stay ahead of the competition by downloading now’.
In a column to the right or left should be the actual fair exchange of value section, a data form the visitor needs to fill in in order to get the download.
Again, this should be headed by an actionable phrase such as ‘Get Your eBook Now’ or ‘Download Your Guide’, with all of the relevant data fields you feel should be included. Remember, it is all about a fair exchange of value, so if you are offering a basic guide or checklist, you shouldn’t be asking for much more than a name and email address.
If you are offering much more value, or the offer is for those further down the buyer journey (demos, price comparisons, breakdown of services and costs, etc), other fields should be required, such as phone number, company name, position within company, etc, so that you can qualify them better. (Smart forms that can identify if the visitor has already downloaded another offer and asks only for those data fields not already included make this so much easier)
You can associate an automated follow-up email with the Landing Page, so that when the form is filled out, the visitor automatically receives a personalised email with a link to the download, so they can access it at their leisure, and should provide the ability to share it.
If you prefer, you can also have a Thank You Page as the next step. The visitor has filled in the relevant data fields and hit the button to download, and now they are brought to a dedicated, personalised thank you page that simply provides the means towards downloading the offer. Again, this should be made shareable via email or social media.
The download link needs to stand out and be immediately visible, but you should also give further instruction, such as suggesting the visitor loop in their sales team, and provide two clear paths to take from here – one to the next stage in the sales funnel, and the other to go straight to the bottom of the funnel and make a purchasing decision.
After that, it’s all about tracking the actions taken, seeing what works and what doesn’t, and making changes to your conversion path accordingly. If you are using the HubSpot COS, you can use the Campaigns tool to see what Landing Pages performed well, what content brought visitors to those pages, and how many conversions were made from each.
You should analyse what offers were most popular, what blog topics generated the most leads, and what channels were most effective in your campaign – did email work better than social media, for example?
If you are not getting the results you had hoped for, you need to ask if your buyer personas are accurate and if you are doing a good enough job at targeting them with the right content? You also need to look at whether your landing pages are compelling enough, if they do bring visitors further into the buyer journey or if they actually turn people away, and whether the offers you have are actually of enough value to warrant interest from visitors.
But you should also look at what has worked and focus your efforts on these areas.
Bringing visitors to your website is just the first step, and creating a solid and effective conversion path that includes a CTA, Landing Page and Thank You page that brings consumers along the buyer’s journey until they are ready to make a purchasing decision, or at least talk to a salesperson, is essential to generating the leads you need to stay ahead of the competition and achieve real ROI. Build the right conversion path, and you will build a path to success.
Learn how you can create great content across your digital marketing strategy to generate leads and increase sales by downloading our Lead Generation Survival Kit: