This is a topic that divides marketers, and for many business owners it can be downright confusing.
In 2019 more than 70% of businesses had a website. The web development industry is saturated with web designers, and the introduction of DIY web builders, such as Squarespace, Wix and Weebly, has made the task of creating a digital presence easily accessible to all budgets.
Building a website that drives traffic and converts is a completely different story. Web builders and web design companies have varying success rates when it comes to search optimisation. The structure of a websites’ code is incredibly important to its ability to be crawled by search engines, and hence appear in search results for key search terms.
Presumably, your marketing goals are the same as all business: to drive traffic to your website and convert that traffic to sales.
When you search the market for a web developer, or make the decision to build one yourself, the process might seem straightforward. Generate copy and images that feel on brand, develop pages that talk about your product, include your contact details, and sprinkle your site with keywords that will help you be identified by search engines.
After you have launched your site, you soon realise that you need to start actively appearing in search engine results. You employ an SEO company, or you embark on trying to increase your organic search results yourself. You have read that ‘content is king’, so you produce weekly blogs, increase your social engagement, and find directories or high authority sites to link to you. Yet still the sales are not rolling in. Your traffic is minimal, producing content is difficult, and outreach for high yielding blog links is time consuming. Honestly, with all of this work, you have no idea why your site traffic is not converting to sales.
Sales Funnel & Direct Response
Over the last 5 years there has been a wave of direct response marketing techniques that are turning the old school website and traffic building strategies to dust.
Funnels are the word of the moment, however they are an idea built around basic customer decision journeys and are not new in any way. What has happened, is that clever marketers have developed software that integrate with existing marketing solutions, and align the customer decision journey with sales tools more closely than ever. Tools like click funnels that handle the sales funnel from start to end are turning traditional marketing on it’s head.
Social media has birthed the ability to profile and track consumer behaviour better than ever before. The activity that billions of users have been generating on social media every day, produces data that allows marketers to deliver product and service messages to the right people, at precisely the right time. It effectively changes the nature of social advertising from push (where you bombard everyone with ads) to pull (where you target ads to those who are searching for something specific).
Push me pull me
So what happens when you are targeting your advertising more specifically to consumer interests and behaviour? Well, the buying process becomes more targeted and specific.
For example, if I have a photography business that services both family portraits, and business portraits, I wont be targeting the same audience with my advertising. If your marketing efforts are aimed towards organic search, then you will be expecting customers to search for only one of these key phrases, eg. “Business portraits.” They hope to land on a page that is dedicated to that service, or to be able to locate the correct product quickly and easily on your website.
If you have a funnel that attracts customers to your product with targeted advertising, the chances of convincing them to buy from you are infinitely greater if you are focused on the same product on your landing page. A customer who has been targeted (and retargeted) to purchase a business photography package wants their solution to be solved. If you include family photography messages on the page they are lead to, it will simply dilute your message.
A sales funnel is most effective when it is made up of very specific interest targeting, well tested ad creative, and direct response copy that convinces the consumer that they MUST buy this product IMMEDIATELY because it solves all of their problems.
A website that offers a number of products or services (and ultimately messages) will not be an effective part of the funnel.
Can we have both?
Every business vertical is unique, so the answer to whether you should have a website, a lead page or both is not straightforward, despite messages from many direct response funnel advocates.
E-commerce sites will need a website regardless, and most service businesses that offer multiple solutions will need either multiple lead pages or a website.
If you sell a single course, do you really need a website? No you don’t; but why not? A click funnels account that generates a lead page should be sufficient to drive sales, so why not do away with your website entirely?
Because your consumers in the decision and awareness stages of buying will potentially seek you out for further validation. They may have multiple needs that fit within your business structure, and a website is the opportunity to build brand trust and loyalty.
That’s not to mention the organic reach you can (and should) build with a website.
How do you maximize sales?
There are various tools, hundreds of marketers, and plenty of web developers that can implement your digital strategy. Selecting the right ones can make or break your budget. Here are the basic elements that will lead to greater success for you in 2018.
1. A website built for search engines and conversion (sales). Your website is a marketing tool, not a brochure. Your web developer needs to understand marketing principles, and build your site as a brand platform and sales tool. Expect your developer to monitor its conversion success after go-live, and to commit to helping you implement a long term website conversion strategy.
2. You must have a sale (lead/landing) page for every product or service (excluding e-commerce websites that have product pages in built). If you are a service-based business, or if you offer one or two products, a stand-alone page designed specifically to convert a browser into a buyer is imperative.
3. You need a well-mapped funnel strategy. Built either with simple email sequences, or a combination of targeted and retargeted advertising, followed by emails.
4. Your marketing budget will be more powerful if it is directed towards channels with the ability to target audience interests and demographics, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. This will help you guide the consumer into your sales funnel seamlessly.
If you are frustrated with your success (or lack thereof) to date, and want to implement a more effective strategy in 2020, get in touch with our team for an obligation-free chat, and audit of your site.
An idea without a plan is just a dream.