In this post I’m going to share how I worked with my team and a customer of ours to take the customer’s website from generating zero leads in the last 6 months, to a regular flow of quality new leads every week. I’ll be sharing the steps that we took to take their website from a brochure sitting on a shelf, to acting as a sales team for their business, so that you can take your website on a similar journey.
If you’re tight for time, bookmark this page and come back to it when you’ve got a spare 10 minutes to truly digest the information in this post - if you want to generate more business through your website it could be the game changer you need.
Here’s what we’ll be covering in the post:
- How do you know whether your website is a brochure or a sales team?
- Everything great starts with a vision
- Understanding the problem is the first step in creating a solution
How do you know whether your website is a brochure or a sales team?
Ask yourself this: ‘does my website consistently generate high quality leads that become high quality customers?’
If you answered yes, your website is more like a sales team. If the answer is no, you currently have a brochure and this blog post will help you learn how to transform it into a sales team.
When my team asks our prospects the same question the prospects are often surprised by the answer - and even more confused as to how they can make the transition from “brochure” to “sales team”.
Although many websites have ‘sales’ capabilities, most are a long way from being a consistent and automated sales team.
Perhaps you can relate.
And that’s fine, I’ve been there too - and so have many of my customers.
That’s why I want to share a real life success story with you, that took a B2B service-based company from zero leads over a 6 month period, to creating a steady stream of ideal customer enquiries each week - generating regular new customers in the first 3 months.
The amazing part, it all happened with 3 simple steps. And it’s these 3 steps that I’ll be sharing with you.
It’s a simple, logical and scalable approach that works for any business.
A bit of background to bring you up to speed
In marketing, the customer journey describes the path in which a customer will typically travel, beginning with the first moment of awareness, all the way through to making a purchase decision. The AIDA model (Attention, interest, desire, action) has been around for over 130 years and still provides the foundational structure to almost all customer journeys used today. I’ve provided some examples below to help you understand what a general marketing customer journey looks like.
A typical customer journey looks a little bit like this:
- The customer becomes aware of your product/service.
- They become interested in your offering and begin looking for additional information.
- They grow to desire your product/service.
- Then they finally take action and make a purchase.
To give a more “real-life” example using paid traffic:
- The customer comes into contact with your business through a paid advertisement promoting a webinar.
- They sign-up to the webinar, expressing their interest to know more about how to solve the problem you solve.
- After watching the webinar, they understand how you can help them solve the problem they have and they desire to know more about your solution.
- They then make a decision to purchase, or to not purchase.
Or to use an organic traffic example:
- A customer searches for “how do I get more sales from my website”. Your landing page appears in the search results, so the customer clicks on it.
- Once on your landing page, they read your content and decide they want to know more - so they fill out a form in order to gain access to a downloadable pdf titled “How to build a sales sequence for your website”.
- You follow up the PDF download with a series of emails, where you generate desire for your service through the content you send them.
- Finally, you make them an offer that they can’t resist, in order to compel them to take action and purchase your product/service.
Now you’ve got an idea of what a general customer journey can look like, let’s see how the hero’s journey integrates with this.
Everything great starts with a vision
This may sound a little dreamy, but it’s exactly how this customer’s website began its transition from brochure to sales team:
- A vision became a goal
- The goal generated a plan
- The plan was executed and they’re now closer to their vision than ever before
This customer had built a new software as a service product, that they’d rolled out to their existing customers. Their customers loved it - as it pays for itself almost immediately.
The trouble was they’d been marketing it on their website for 6 months, without even a sniff of any new business.
This customer has a vision to help companies ship software faster, but they can’t help anyone if people don’t buy what they’re selling.
On top of this, the infrastructure to run the software was burning cash, customers were needed to make the product viable.
We worked with them to set a meaningful mid-term goal, and then broke this down into a clear short term goal: 1 free trial sign-up a week, generating 1 new customer per month within 3 months.
The short term goal depends on your starting point. As this customer’s website was starting at zero, the goal I’ve described above was the one to go for.
And like any good goal it is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timebound - “SMART”.
With that clear goal in mind, it was time to get to work.
So as the first step, I want to challenge you to write down the following:
- The vision for your company
- The mid-term goal you are aiming for
- One short term SMART goal that will show your website is working for you
Keep this final point simple, clear and aligned. As the old Chinese proverb goes, he who chases two rabbits at once catches none.
When you’ve written these down, share them with someone who will hold you accountable to achieving them. If you’re stuck, feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn and share them with me.
Understanding the problem is the first step in creating a solution
So what is it that causes websites to sit on the shelf, looking pretty but not generating any sales?
In most cases they are missing one of three fundamental parts of what they need to perform.
- Miscommunication on the landing page
- Poor (or no) lead capture and lead nurturing
- Not enough relevant traffic
Here’s how we approached these 3 areas with our customer - and how you can too.
1) Miscommunication on the landing page
Optimising a landing page for conversions can be a little more tricky, the best way to approach it is to put yourself in your customer's shoes.
In our case working with this customer we knew the traffic would be coming from search engines via Google ads and we also had insight into the type of search queries they would be making by looking at Google Search Console and Google Adwords search terms.
My team and I asked ourselves some questions to guide us on what content to include, which were:
- What’s the main problem the user is trying to solve
- What challenges might they have faced with previous vendors that need addressing
- Which pricing model best suits the customers needs
- What other information does the customer want find out more about the product
We used our answers to these questions to build the first round of landing page content, ready to be tested with Google Ads traffic.
2) Poor lead capture mechanism
Often landing pages are missing an easy way to engage. This was the case on our customer’s landing page. They could have offered a download, or a tool, but it made most sense to offer a free 14 day trial of their software as a service.
Here's what to keep in mind when creating your own lead magnet:
- Answer a real problem
- Provide a quick win
- Be easily & instantly accessible
- Align with your customers goals and challenges
3) Not enough relevant traffic
A great way to solve this in the short term by using Google Ads. We used it to test the landing page messaging and lead capture mechanism with different audiences before committing to a long term SEO strategy. With Google Ads you can learn fast, which more than pays for itself when you factor in the time saved.
Results & actions
They're the 3 key areas that we focused on for our customer and it worked. Not a sniff of a lead in 6 months, to regular quality leads, week in and week out, in less than 3 months.
My challenge for you right now is to define exactly the problem you are trying to help your customers solve into a single question. And if you want to do one better, you can try to provide an answer to this question in as few words as possible. If you can’t do it right now, bookmark this page, plan a time in your calendar and return to complete this task when you have 5 minutes.
So, what is the problem that you are trying to help your customers solve?
When you’ve answered this work through the 3 areas that I've outlined above.
Lead with refinement
A big cause for many websites failing to perform is this:
They launch a new campaign that meets the 3 fundamental criteria I discussed above, only to let it collect dust. No analysing where it’s going wrong or right, no optimising to overcome issues you identified or to leverage its strengths - just blind faith, often followed by disappointment and frustration..
Most people think it’s okay to stop once you’ve launched a new marketing campaign, to give it time to mature and run it’s due course - yet it’s at this point where most websites begin to collapse. You think you’re finished, but in reality you’ve only just got started.
Here's what my team did to prevent this happening for our customer. They started to ask these questions after making the first round of improvements:
- How are people arriving at the landing page?
- How are people using the landing page?
- Are leads actually using the free trial they signed up for?
- How are prospects finding the conversion process?
Each one of these steps addresses a different part of the customer journey, from initial search query all the way through to purchasing - this is important because between each step there are gaps that it’s easy for customers to fall through. Think of each step as a pool of water, your goal is to help customers easily transition between each pool. The role of analytics is to spot the gaps, so we know where to build a bridge between each pool to reduce the number of customers you're losing between them and to make it as easy as possible for them to transition to the next pool (customer journey stage).
To do this for our customer, we team used a few different tools. Google Analytics, screen recording software (Zoho Pagesense), HubSpot Marketing (free is good enough to start with). Using these tools, plus some handy experience of doing this hundreds of times before, we were able to spot the gaps and build the bridges. Here’s a few of things we did:
- We used Google Ads data to see which keywords and phrases attracted the best quality traffic. We then used these insights to optimise the content on the landing page
- We used Zoho Pagesense to review how users actually interacted with the landing page
- We used HubSpot to manage the leads we collected, allowing us to see exactly where they came from and reply to them immediately
- We also used HubSpot to integrate sales with marketing, to see how customers transitioned from a page view into a recurring monthly customer
After following this process several times, over the course of a month, we created a consistently reliable landing page that was delivering leads.
We then carried on optimising the landing page for the best performing keywords and phrases identified from the Adwords tests, so that organic visits started to outperform the paid traffic.
And just like that, we transitioned the customer’s website from a brochure style site, to a sales machine that consistently delivered results organically.
You can follow those same steps to transform the performance of your website.
All of this can be overwhelming
As you’ve seen, turning your website into a sales team isn’t an overnight process.
Nor is it effortless.
And it certainly isn’t easy.
But now you’re armed with the knowledge - that it's definitely possible.
By following the simple processes I've laid out above, you now hold the power to make your vision a reality.
A vision where you perhaps don’t have to deal with customers who don’t appreciate what you do for them, just because you’ve “got to keep the cash flowing”.
Now you can take the information you have and apply it yourself, which is exactly what I want you to do.
But I also realise not everyone has the time, resources or knowledge to execute everything themselves.
So I want to make you an exclusive offer as a thank you for reading this blog post: a (free) brutally honest marketing & sales audit.
You clearly have an interest in making your website a sales machine and my team have the passion to help you.
We will help you to make the first step in transforming your website from a brochure to a sales team with a brutally honest marketing & sales audit, where we’ll highlight the key issues on your site and give you some tips on how to fix them.
We usually charge customers for this service, but as a token of gratitude for reading this blog and being willing to invest your time to better your business, this review is on the house.
Book a time below to get the ball rolling, and we’ll begin piecing together your brutally honest sales and marketing audit in time for our meeting.