Websites are a powerful lead generation tool if built correctly

The sales process has shifted. It’s estimated that roughly 67 percent of the buying process happens before a prospect ever communicates with a company. Because of this, companies must stay relevant and important to prospects by building their website for lead generation.

“It is becoming more common, regardless of age, that instead of picking up the phone people are going to Google, LinkedIn, reading customer reviews, etc., to do their due diligence,” says Lauren Bolmeyer, a digital marketing account manager at SyncShow.

Smart Business spoke with Bolmeyer about attracting sales prospects through company websites designed for lead generation.

How do brochure websites differ from new-age websites built for lead generation?

A brochure site most often exists simply to act as validation. A prospective customer might already know about a company, but goes to the site to validate that it’s legitimate and get basic information. A new-age site built for lead generation actively attracts and captures new sales prospects.

Prospects in the research stage of the buying process are typically using a search engine to find more information. Companies that do content creation correctly increase the chances that a prospect lands on one of its website’s pages. Once on the company’s site, the aim is to both provide relevant information and convert the prospect into a lead.

What are the critical elements of a new-age website built for lead generation?

There are many elements that go into building a site for lead generation. Primary among them is offering prospects a clear path to valuable content once they get to the website. For example, if the prospect is viewing a services page, there should be a case study specific to that service that’s available to the prospect in exchange for providing basic contact information. Other critical elements to include throughout the site are: Calls to action (CTA), landing pages, forms and offers such as white papers, e-books, checklists, case studies, etc.

What role does additional content creation play in a site built for lead generation?

It’s very important that the company’s digital presence is an ongoing effort. Search engine optimization (SEO) plays a critical role in a solid web presence. Ongoing effort in content creation helps to play a key role in this. As new and relevant content is published, the company is both positioning itself as a thought leader in its industry and providing additional indexed pages on its site that allow people to find it during their research process. It also can help a company rank higher in a search engine results page.

How can companies gauge the performance of their website as an element of their inbound lead generation campaign?

That which gets measured, gets improved. Review past performance by reviewing sessions or visits to the site. Pay close attention to conversion rates. Aim to build a session-to-lead-conversion rate up to 2 to 5 percent as an average.

Implementing a marketing automation tool, such as HubSpot, can help with inbound lead generation to a website. Without a coding background, HubSpot allows users to create landing pages, forms, etc.

Once the company’s site is up and running, it shouldn’t just be left alone. A lot can be learned through data collection, such as which CTAs are performing well and which aren’t. If people are scrolling right past a CTA for a case study download on the site’s homepage, maybe that content isn’t relevant to prospects. Use these tools to continuously make smart, data driven adjustments.

As algorithms change, websites must adjust. Websites that haven’t been updated in five years aren’t likely to be as effective of a lead generation tool. In order to attract today’s buyers, companies must be open to changing their online presence.

Dedicate a team for inbound marketing efforts and make sure they align with the sales team. Have a full strategy mapped out for what happens once a lead comes through the website, including a proper hand-off to sales. If the lead isn’t quite ready for sales, they should be treated as a marketing qualified lead and be dropped into an email marketing drip campaign. It’s critical that sales and marketing teams work together throughout this process in order to be successful.

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