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The Most Important Thing You Can Do To Generate Leads With Your Website

by | Feb 15, 2012 | B2B Copywriting, Online Mktg. and Copywriting, Website Copywriting | 0 comments

Your company’s website is difficult for new visitors to use.

Lead GenerationI’ll say that again: your company’s website is difficult for new visitors to use.

But don’t get me wrong. That’s not a knock on your site… ALL company websites are difficult for new visitors to use.

Websites present a huge challenge for new visitors. And if you want your website to generate sales leads for your business, you have to help your visitors face that challenge.

The New Visitor Challenge

Confronting a website is not like confronting a rack of brochures or data sheets at a trade show. Standing in front of that rack, you can scan every title at a glance. In contrast, when you browse a website, you can only see one page at a time. And most corporate websites have many, many pages. So, the vast majority of those pages are hidden from view. In this way, a website is more like a catalogue.

But a website really isn’t like a catalogue, either. Printed catalogues are all organized in pretty much the same way. We’re all familiar with how they work. It’s easy to leaf though a catalogue and find what we want.

That’s not true for a website.

Every website is different. Page layouts are different. Navigation menus work differently… Internet users need to learn the geography of every new website they visit. First-time visitors need to make conscious decisions on which links to click, and see where those clicks take them.

Rather than catalogues or brochure racks, websites are more like giant department stores. Like websites, every department store is different. You need to learn where things are. You have to learn how to get from one department to another. You have to explore and learn your way around in order to find what you’re looking for.

And how do big department stores help visitors find what they’re looking for? They employ salespeople.

May I help you?

You need to make sure your website acts like a helpful, department store salesperson. This is the most important thing you can do if you want your website to generate leads. And not just because of the challenge your website presents to new visitors.

It’s also important because of the nature of your online prospect.

Your online prospect (website visitor) is very different from your offline prospect. Even when he or she is the same person.

Offline prospects are passive. You have to go to them. You have to interrupt them and grab their attention. The relationship is adversarial.

Not so with online prospects. Online prospects come to you. They arrive at your website voluntarily. What’s more, they’re active. They’re goal-oriented. They either want to learn something or to do something. And they want to do it as quickly as possible.

In other words, website visitors are not like TV viewers watching commercials. They’re more like in-store shoppers. There’s no reason to waste their time with “brand-building” copy. Job #1 is to let your visitors know you have what they’re looking for, and to help them find it with minimum hassle. Or as web copywriting expert Nick Usborne, author of Net Words – Creating High-Impact Online Copy, says:

“… our job is not simply to sell. Out task is more complex than that. First, we have to help people find the right page. In other words, our job is not to sell, sell, sell. Our job is to help, help, sell.” [i]

Your Website as Salesperson

So, how do you turn your website into a department store floorwalker? Here are five suggestions:

1. Understand your visitor.

You can learn a lot about your website visitors by studying your weblogs and analytics.

  • What are their most frequent entry pages?
  • Where do they go from there?
  • Which pages do they leave from?
  • Which pages get the most views?
  • How long do visitors stay on those pages?
  • What percentage of visitors found your site through organic search?
  • What keywords did they use?

Analyzing these records regularly will help you discover what your visitors are looking for when they come to your site. You won’t understand everything immediately, but with time you’ll get a feel for what your visitors are searching for. This understanding will then guide your content and navigation choices.

2. Build user-friendly navigation menus.

Make your navigation menus simple and intuitive. Group menu items into logical categories, and limit the number of choices that confront the user at any one time. Make use of drop-down menus to present additional detail when the visitor requests it.

Remember: a navigation menu is NOT a site map. Don’t overwhelm visitors with too many choices.

3. Use plenty of descriptive headings, subheads, text boxes and links.

Headings, subheads, text boxes, links and other highlighted text make your web pages easier to scan. Easily scannable pages help visitors determine if you have the information they’re looking for and where they might find it.

4. Build helpful top-level pages.

Make your home page and other “level 1” (main menu) pages into hub pages, or mini-directories, that guide visitors to the various types of information they’re likely seeking.

These hub pages are also good places to showcase your latest news, lead-generation offers, and other information that you want your prospects to know about. Just be sure you also help them find what they want to know about.

5. Give visitors several routes off every page.

This goes for most pages, not just hub pages. As you cover your topic, provide links to related information the visitor might be searching for. Then, at the bottom of the page, suggest other pages the user may want to visit for related information.

Don’t make users rely solely on menus. Helping visitors make decisions helps keep them on your website. If you don’t suggest where to go next, visitors are more likely to simply go away.

Naturally, if the content of a given page describes a product or service, you’ll also want to recommend a related sign-up offer, if you have one, and tell your visitor how to get in touch with your sales team if they have questions or would like a demonstration.

Ultimately, you want your website to achieve a balance between helping your visitors find the information they want, and coaxing visitors to take the actions you want.

Take-away Points

The most important thing you can do if you want to generate leads with your website is to help new visitors quickly find what they’re looking for.

Five specific steps you can take to do that are:

  1. Understand your visitor.
  2. Build user-friendly navigation menus.
  3. Use plenty of descriptive headings, subheads, text boxes and links.
  4. Build helpful top-level pages.
  5. Give visitors several routes off every page.

Next Steps

Need new website content that engages prospects and converts them into leads? Call CopyEngineer at (+39) 011 569 4951. Or email me at info@copyengineer.com.

Footnotes_______________

[i] Usborne, Nicholas, Copywriting 2.0: Your Complete Guide to Writing Web Copy that Converts, AWAI, 2010.

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