There are a lot of digital marketing and SEO firms promising that they can bring higher rankings in Google, and more site traffic, which will lead to more conversions and more money. And that is basically true. Just like the truth that eating right and working out leads to a better body.
But just like a lot of weight loss promises, many digital marketing promises end up falling short of expectations.
Perhaps you are one those that has been on the short end of that stick. Maybe you have given up on your web site as a sales machine. You have been disappointed by the hype. Maybe you have redesigned your website three times in the last ten years and each time you do that, nothing really happens.
Not that the results have been bad. Just sort of “meh.”
But here’s the thing: “better SEO” and a top Google position might not be the answer. More traffic to your website might not even be the answer.
So what is the answer?
Your website is one of the most important touch points you make with a new customer. Often it’s the first contact you make of any kind.
Lots of new website visitors are people who have never heard of your company and are only looking at your site because they typed a keyword hoping you can solve their problem or answer a question. Many times they scan your web content and then leave, never to return. Certainly they never convert to a lead or a sale.
Obviously you won’t catch every single fish that wanders past. But why does it seem like so many fish get away?
There’s no one-sentence answer that will really satisfy this complex subject. But here are some ways that K6 Digital and our partners work to really, truly drive new revenue out of the web for our clients.
Stop Looking for Quick Fixes, and Accept that Long Term is the Key
Please understand something very important: turning your website into a sales machine is going to take some thought, and time, and most of all…WORK.
Nobody gets the perfect body by working out a few times a year. And nobody gets a website that works really well simply by redesigning it.
So you have to stay with it. If you do, this solution just might have the highest ROI you have ever experienced from a business development activity.
The key factors are really trying to give your customers what they want, testing your delivery of messages and content, constantly making changes to improve, and consistently building more value into your entire digital footprint.
Start Realizing That It Doesn’t Matter What You Like
The business world spends billions of hours and dollars designing websites and landing pages, writing copy and writing ads. But much of that effort is focused on pleasing the wrong people. We try to make the Executive team happy. We try to make Marketing happy, and make Sales happy. We might ask a few of our customers what they like or want, but they don’t usually tell us the truth and anything they say normally gets drowned out by a cacophony of internal voices.
When we finally get done redesigning the website after a year or more of effort, on average we are all left feeling basically “OK” with the design we came up with.
We launch. Then we step back and wait for the new orders and leads and sales to pour in.
And most of the time, nothing earth—shattering happens.
That’s because we spend far more time trying to please internal stakeholders and ourselves, but not nearly enough time focusing on who we are trying to reach: the customer.
To really focus on the customer, we have to let go a little bit. We have to start caring less about what we want. In other words, we have to give up something to win.
The good news is that digital marketing has allowed us to deliver what our customers are looking for, without spending a ton of money. I will get to more of that in a bit. First….
Understand That You Sell a Dream
It’s an old sales concept but a true one: you don’t sell a product or service. You actually sell a solution to a need.
Or at the risk of sounding a little cheesy, you sell a dream. And if you have been in business long enough, you should have a concrete idea about what dream you sell.
For example, let’s say you provide cloud-based software that helps IT organizations process data faster. What you actually sell, though, is a dream: that the company will get more profits because they will get answers to problems more quickly, more effectively. Business analysts will look like heroes and get promoted. The IT staff can spend more time building value into the organization and thus become more valuable, and move up in the organization. And so on.
It’s just like a weight-loss plan. The plan isn’t what people buy. They buy the dream of looking better in public and feeling better inwardly. And we all want to feel good!
So, what is the dream YOU give your customers?
Perhaps you sell more profit for your downstream manufacturing client, because your streamlined process for delivering rolled steel saves 10% in cost and several days’ of delivery time.
Maybe you sell a stress-free work day to an HR manager, because of your easier method of finding and hiring top talent via big data software solutions.
Or maybe you sell higher profit margins to a managed IT services company by providing a simple method of server monitoring that requires fewer staff to manage.
Whatever that dream is, your company’s web content should be focused on showing your potential customer that you understand their dream, and you are at least one possible path to that dream.
In other words, content should focus on the VALUE of what you sell, the solution to a problem, rather than just the product itself.
How do you do this?
Translate Your Customer’s Dream into Web Content
Your company can try to convert online visitors to sales by simply posting your products and services.
But that’s really nothing more than tossing a catalog online. Something that a thousand other companies do.
Even if you sell a highly specialized product or service to a niche audience, you still have to clearly demonstrate the value – the dream – you sell. So, stop posting your catalog of services and products like everybody else. Instead, start putting together content that identifies specific pain points and your unique solution to those pain points.
I will give you an example.
A K6 client sells a product that helps aerospace manufacturers meet strict testing requirements for the parts they produce.
The dream they sell is more opportunity to make money, because the product automates that requirement.
So rather than just posting a list of features and benefits of the software (we did that too), our digital marketing team developed a method of giving the customer an immediate answer to their problem. A short-term realization of their dream, if you will. This results in a lead for the sales team to follow up, and close.
This approach is working. Big time. Here is a chart showing lead and sales growth the past 2 years:
Here is the point: we did not accomplish this by driving huge traffic. We have only brought incremental new traffic to our client’s website over the same time period.
In other words, we are greatly improving what our client really wants: leads and sales, but without a huge effort in merely driving new traffic.
But how did we ultimately get there? Through the final and most important step.
Don’t Just Blog for the Sake of Words. Do Something Different.
Blogging is tough. And just like a diet plan, it trails off and fails after a few months and you are right back to that same bloated “last year” person you swore you were going to change. I have just one piece of advice for business owners and marketing professionals that I think is most valuable: quit blogging about you and your product. Stop telling people how smart you are. Instead, blog about your audience and their stress. Give them something that helps them.
This means you have to think about your customer. A lot. Have you ever spent quality time with your customer? What about their customers? Have you ever really talked about them and their needs? Do you really know them?
The more you really know your customer, and the more you think about them, the more useful content ideas you will generate.
Test Test Test and Test Your Content
It is frankly amazing how few web designers, agencies and marketing folks actually test their content offerings.
Our digital marketing team is constantly being asked: “What should we do to make our site convert better? Or make our ads get more clicks?” My answer is usually: “I don’t have the slightest idea. Let’s try some things and find out!”
I have seen “Best Practices” fail miserably. I have seen web page layouts that look like they were developed in 1999 convert like crazy. I have seen content that has no business at all even being published, and yet it continues to draw in new customers. I have seen companies spend $250,000 on new websites, with UX specialists and focus groups, that only fail spectacularly.
And I have seen websites that succeed wildly, quite by accident.
The point is, nobody really knows what will happen until you get out there.
Just think about your customer. Get. The. Content. Up. Then monitor it and make adjustments based on what you learn.
There are a number of very effective tools on the market, some of which cost nothing, that help a web designer run multivariate tests on content. Even Google Analytics provides built-in “Experiments” for free.
Or, you can simply create pages in your favorite content management system by hand, and then watch what changes affect conversions. No need to purchase sophisticated software right away.
So let’s recap. If you faithfully follow this little routine, I guarantee you will have success – even if that success if simply learning more about your customers and their needs:
- Gear up for the long term.
- Change your thinking from “internal” to “external” and focus on the CUSTOMER.
- Build content around what they dream about, and how you will help them realize that dream.
- Test over and over until you see good results.
I guarantee you one thing: if nothing else, you will learn something new.