Done right, a website can be a 24-hour sales person, fielding requests for information, qualifying leads, and converting leads to customers. How? By creating the right kind of content, and building in tools to automate some of the more routine tasks involved in inside sales. Consider this: people are searching for your product or service, looking for solutions to a personal or business problem. They find your website. How easy is it for them to determine if you are right for them, or if they are right for you? The better you get a this—creating content that attracts the leads you want and filters out the leads you don’t want—the more productive your website will be.
Here are six tips for building a new website that will become a new member of your sales force.
- Do some research. If you understand your target audience, you’ll be much more likely to create content and images that will attract the audience you want. Interview customers and sales people. Ask questions like, what are people searching for? What words do they use? How do they define the problem they are trying to solve? Why do they choose our company? The answers will help identify the terms people will enter into search engines when they look for help. Make sure you have content built around these keywords.
- Blog. Believe it or not, blogs work. They are the easiest way to publish content around your business that will help you get found by searchers. I was charged to write a blog about industrial lasers. I thought it was the dumbest idea in the world. Really? The world needs a blog about industrial lasers? Well, I started blogging and our traffic tripled in three months, and our lead database grew 6x. While people aren’t necessarily looking for a blog about industrial lasers, the people looking for information about industrial lasers found blog posts that answered their questions. Blogging works best when topics are built around keywords (see tip #1).
- Educate, don’t sell. It is important that the content you publish for web searchers is educational and informative. Think about it. When you’re looking for a solution to a problem, you don’t want to be sold. You want help. Don’t blog about how great your company is, or post press releases as blog posts. Say, for example, you run a wedding photography business in San Francisco. Instead of writing about how you are the best wedding photographer in San Francisco, write about how to have the most amazing San Francisco wedding ever. You can still have your pricing on your site, and list all of your amazing experience and credentials. People will look for that when they’re ready to make a purchase.
- Have calls to action. Once you start growing traffic to your website, you want to make it easy for visitors to express interest. Take some of your educational content and turn it into white papers, guidebooks, webinars or other content that people can download in exchange for providing an email address. If they download, for example, your guidebook on how to have the most amazing San Francisco wedding ever, odds are they are planning a wedding in San Francisco. Boom! A qualified lead.
- Automate follow up. There are lots of tools you can use to automate follow up on leads that will nurture the lead further down the sales funnel. These tools can be as simple as an email marketing platform like Mailchimp or Constant Contact, to a full blown inbound marketing suite like Hubspot or Marketo. The point is to let the website and tools do the work until you know a lead is qualified enough to warrant a personal call or email.
- Don’t rely on volunteers. The death knell to creating good website content, I’m sorry to say, is relying on internal subject matters for content. Your engineers and product managers may be the experts, but they’re too busy and typically want to go into technical mode when writing. There are lots of resources out there for assistance, from content providers like Brafton to freelancers. Some inbound marketing platforms also have content creating services. Hint: If you’re outsourcing your web development to a marketing or web design agency, pick one with experience in your industry. They are likely to have contacts that know the field and will be able to accelerate content development.
OK, now you know what it takes to turn your website into a salesperson. All you need is the right keywords, a blog, the right content, calls to action and automated follow up. You’re there. If you want to learn more, download “Website Design for Marketing Managers.”