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For many of us, our websites are our principal method for attracting leads and new business. If you are not happy with your results so far, maybe a website makeover will give you the boost you need. Here are seven steps you can take to charge up your website and increase potential sales.
1) Provide valuable content.
You website should be more than one large commercial. It should give value and expertise to potential leads who are looking for answers. Consider adding:
- Sample plans, software and/or worksheets that are appropriate to the solutions you offer and demonstrate the best practices found in your industry
- Educational videos and webinars that establish your expertise in your chosen area
- Marketing studies and survey results that are pertinent to your product or service
- A dictionary of the technical lingo used in your industry
2) Reorganize your website around the most valuable search terms.
How fresh is your keyword research? Did you do a thorough job the first time around? Consider using resources such as the Google Keyword Tool to determine the optimal keywords for your site and for your industry.
If there are vertical niches in your industry, adopt long-tail key terms to target these. Each page of your website should be optimized around two, or three at most, relevant key terms. Let your home page reflect the broadest key terms, and then focus in on more specialized terms on each of your subpages. Use key terms in:
- The names of file
- Meta descriptions and keyword tags
Unless you are a very good writer, use professional writers for your content. Free lance writers offer a valuable cost/benefit contribution to your campaign. Finally, don’t add a new page until you’ve analyzed and decided which key terms to highlight.
3) Add links.
Analyze your competition’s links to see their origins. By typing the word “link” before your competition’s web address, Google will report on its backlinks. Yahoo’s “linkdomain” facility is similar. Chances are, you can get backlinks from the same sources.
Consider a link broker to help place new links unobtrusively. You should target online directories, non-profit information sites, and news sites that distribute press releases.
4) Fill in with paid advertising until SEO becomes effective.
SEO requires patience. In the meantime, consider paid advertising to generate interest in your site. If, for instance, you offer free webinars, then advertise them to encourage registration – in itself a good source of leads.
5) Use email to follow up on your leads.
Let’s assume that through a registration process for, say, free samples or valuable information, you collect the following data:
- Full name
- Company name
- Job title
- Email address
- Phone number
- Nature of problem, concern or goal
- Business intelligence (size of firm, readiness to decide, how they found your site, etc).
Your email campaign should immediately respond with a thank-you letter that outlines how your product or service can solve problems/help attain goals. Include a link button that begins some sort of free trial period – like use of your software product or a free subscription to your newsletter.
Consider using an email service provider (ESP), such as mailchimp.com, to manage your lists and campaign mailings. You want to balance your desire to send out lots of tickler email with the need to protect against be labeled as spam. A good ESP can help in this regard by providing analytic reporting on mail deliveries and openings.
6) Integrate registration form leads into your customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Your registration forms should automatically add your lead to your CRM. You or your sales staff can then examine each lead to see if it is promising, especially if the lead took advantage of your free offer. Consider making phone call follow-ups at the beginning and end of each trial period. You may be able to convert some leads into customers if they enjoyed the trial.
7) Use analytics to closely monitor your keywords and outbound campaigns.
You or someone in your firm should become an analytics guru, and perform weekly evaluations of keyword effectiveness, inbound links and outbound campaigns. Modify your approach if you find weaknesses. Remember, this is an iterative process, so periodically go back to Step 1 and begin again.
How will you know if you’ve succeeded? Look at metrics such as website traffic, lead generation rate, and lead conversion rate. Paid searches should drop as a percentage of total traffic. If you have free offers and webinars, you should see an increase in clickthrough rates. Email should have an increased open rate.
You should see noticeable improvement over the course of a couple of months. If not, you may want to enlist the help of a marketing firm that specializes in your industry.
But chances are, you will see a pickup in your metrics as you work through this seven-step plan. If you have experience with the issues I’ve raised here, kindly drop me a line and let me know what worked and didn’t work for you.Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2011 Eric Bank, Freelance Writer