A common theme we see with small businesses is that they come to us wanting to work on the website, not their web marketing. Anymore, it's just as important to focus on the off-site elements of your website as it is the on-site elements.
What I mean by this is that the whole concept of inbound marketing relies heavily on using external tools like Facebook, Twitter, a blog and email marketing to drive traffic to your main website. SEO will get you well on your way, but these other channels are the glue that fills the holes in your lead generation efforts.
Lead generation will only happen if your website is a workhorse!
You can drive traffic from all walks of the web, but unless your website is the true workhorse that it should be, you won't reap the rewards you have the potential to. To understand what I mean by calling your website a workhorse, ask yourself the following about your site:
- Do you effectively use Calls to Action throughout your site?
- Do you have a strategy for capturing data about leads and following up with them?
- Do you have metrics in place on your site that allow you to gauge how effective your efforts are and correct them if need be?
- Are you offering more than just a sales pitch about how "customer-focused" you are?
- Is it clear on your site, how your products/services makes your customer's life better/easier/etc...?
- Are all of your external web activities focused on driving leads and a community to your workhorse of a website?
Chances are, you answered no to some, if not all of these questions. That's OK. The first step to solving a problem is admitting that you have one :).
Brochure Sites Are Less Effective
Not every industry is knocking down doors for new leads, so we understand that some sites are going to end up being an online billboard for our clients. The fact of the matter is, when a website is looked at much more like a business tool (workhorse) than a brochure, it opens many opportunities to grow the business, help existing customers, and generate new ones.
Be Different, Think Bigger, Think Workhorse
Small Businesses that we start working with tend to start their web marketing process by looking at the peers or local competition. That's fine, but do you want to be on the same level as them or do you want to excel past them and be ahead of them? My guess is the latter. Then look at the industry leaders, the huge potential customers, the 3000 pound gorillas in complementary industries and see what they are doing.
Make your website a workhorse, not a billboard, and you will finally start seeing the return you've been waiting for on your web investment.