There’s a pervasive (and pretty damaging) myth out there about how to get your business online that far too many entrepreneurs assume is true. It goes something like this: Having any web presence will help achieve my small business marketing goals. Creating a website with info about my product and company is all I need to do.
Don’t believe this myth! You cannot “set and forget” your website. Small business marketing online has changed dramatically in the two decades following the advent of the Internet.
This type of “brochure” site is no longer enough to meet your customers’ needs and expectations. In today’s competitive digital marketing environment, Landing Page lead generation is a much more reliable strategy for generating ROI.
What Is A Brochure Site?
Before the Internet made it easy for businesses to showcase their products and services online, many companies relied on printed brochures. These glossy publications helped customers make buying decisions by giving them heaps of information about the product or service and the company’s contact info. The only human interaction involved took place if the customer decided to pick up the phone or visit the business.
Characteristics Of A Brochure Site
Brochure sites emphasize aesthetic appeal, often featuring a rotating carousel of images or some other flashy design element. These websites are light on features and user experience but do provide potential customers with tons of information, e.g., a restaurant website that includes business hours, location and menu – but not much else – or a photography website that features a gorgeous portfolio for visitors to flip through but no call to action – only a “contact me” form.
The Problem With Brochure Sites
The brochure format may have worked fine in 2005, but there are many reasons why brochure sites no longer cut it. First, these sites make it nearly impossible to measure the return on your marketing investment. They’re also terrible for SEO, since they don’t usually include a plan to add and optimize new content. Finally, they don’t give your prospects or customers reasons to keep coming back to your site. They tend to focus on the company and what they offer, rather than on the customer and what they need.
The biggest problem with brochure sites, however, is they provide no way for you to turn web visitors into actual customers!
Curious, potential customers visit your site. They read about your product and are interested but not ready to buy today. Then what happens?
Unless they pick up the phone and call you, you lose their business! Even though they expressed interest, there’s no way you can begin nurturing that lead. Why? Because you have no way of contacting them.
Once these customers leave your website, they’ll likely continue researching your competitors, comparing prices and reading about similar products, and there’s not really anything YOU can do to bring them back. If you’re lucky, they’ll file the information they got from your site somewhere in the back of their minds for when they’re ready to make a buying decision. All you can do is cross your fingers and hope they remember you.
The Alternative: Lead Collection
While brochure websites focus on you, interactive and engaging Landing Pages focus on your customer and greet them wherever they are on their buying journey. In today’s competitive market, if you want to convert web visitors into customers, your website must actually solve the problems they encounter on their buying journey. Creating an interactive experience with a Landing Page builder like ONTRApages is the perfect way to do this.
Remember, when customers land on your page, you have the amazing opportunity to invite them to take action!
Entice them to share their contact info with you in exchange for a free guide or white paper that provides them with useful content. Instead of using your web presence to focus on your company and your product, focus on your customers’ problems and the solutions you have to offer.
Rather than a static menu of products and services, your website should be an interactive hub where customers come for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. Although making a great visual impression on your customers really helps, the true goal of your presence online should be to generate leads.
There are three great reasons to focus on Landing Page lead generation:
1. You Can Measure ROI.
Building a site and creating pages is expensive! Don’t you want to get a return on your huge investment? When your page’s functionality includes lead generation, you have a reliable, concrete way to measure the revenue it brings in.
2. You Can Stay In Touch With Visitors Who Are Interested.
Instead of losing customers who aren’t ready to buy, you can encourage them to continue interacting with your brand by enticing them to return to your website or even to share their contact info so you can follow up!
3. Your Potential Customers Are More Receptive To Future Offers.
Have you ever heard of the six principles of influence? One of them is consistency. People have a strong desire to be consistent with their own behaviors. Think about how that might work to your advantage when your page focuses on lead collection. If someone subscribes to your blog or opts in to receive a free piece of content in return, they will likely be more receptive to further communications and offers from you.
GETTING STARTED (USING ONTRAPAGES!)
So, how do you use Landing Pages to turn your web presence from a static brochure site into a dynamic, engaging content-packed lead generation machine? Any of the five strategies below are a great way to get started, and you can use ONTRApages to accomplish all of them. Try one, or try them all!
Offer Free Content
Think about how you can meet potential customers along their buying journey. What can you offer to make the process easier? How can you provide the most value to these people? By nurturing and educating your audience, you build trust and empower them to make a decision they can feel great about.
If you’re extremely knowledgeable in a certain area or have a particular expertise, try writing an ebook that teaches a specific skill that your average buyer is interested in. You could even write an ebook that helps them better understand a concept closely related to your product. Why not set yourself up as an authority and help your prospects move closer toward a buying decision with free content?
You can use ONTRApages to position your free content as a solution to the problem they are experiencing right now. Try building a web page that explains what you’re offering, why they need it, and encourages them to opt in…and voila! You’ve got yourself a brand new lead to nurture.
Invite Viewers To Sign Up For A Demo
For customers who are a bit further along in your buying cycle, make it easy for them to request a demo, strategy call, or a free trial of your product/service. Explain what they will receive if they take advantage of your offer (even if they don’t buy your product).
Create an ONTRApage that walks them through the benefits of your offer and what is going to happen when they take the next step. On these pages, it’s often a good idea to collect even more info about who they are and what they need. Create an ONTRAform! By doing this, you’ll be able to provide potential customers with more relevant information and tailor an experience specifically to their needs.
Carefully consider what fields you want to add on your ONTRAforms – keep in mind that too many fields may turn off potential leads, while too few fields may not be enough info for you to have a productive call or demo with them.
Encourage Social Media Interaction
Like it or not, social media is where your customers are spending their time online. Not only can an active social media presence help you bring in new business, it can also enhance your web presence! Invite blog visitors to share your posts on their social networks with social sharing buttons. From your ONTRApage, add social sharing buttons that encourage customers to connect with you on the three most prominent social networks: Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Invite Viewers To Subscribe To Your Blog
One of the best ways to prevent your site from becoming stale is to regularly add fresh content on a blog. Google loves this – adding content will give your SEO a solid boost! No matter what platform your blog is built on, you can easily add a prominently placed opt-in box to each page using ONTRAforms! This will make it insanely easy (and convenient) for readers to subscribe to your blog or opt-in for another offer.
Re-Examine Your “Contact Us” Process
What happens to customers who fill out the Contact Us form on your website? Do they get a prompt response from you? How easy is it for them to fall through the cracks?
The biggest sin of many brochure websites is that their Contact Us process isn’t well set-up, so it’s essentially a black hole for leads. If those messages are simply getting delivered to someone’s inbox without an automatic reply set up, it’s time to take a step back and set up a process to follow up with them reliably.
In ONTRAPORT, you can use a Rule to trigger a message whenever the form is filled out. If you’re using another email service, make sure you’ve set up a thoughtful autoresponder. Receiving an immediate response after filling out a form reassures customers that you value their decision to interact with your site. Making sure that you don’t drop the ball on any incoming leads can tremendously boost your bottom line.
Any of these five strategies will help turn your pages into a living, breathing representation of your brand and dramatically improve user experience. Although “eye-popping” design is great, never forget that the key to an amazing page (one that moves your business forward by generating leads) is to focus on your customer. When customers find you online, you have the opportunity to solve their most pressing problems, no matter where they are on the buying journey. Embrace this focus, and you will create relationships with your prospects that pay off in spades.