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Marketing Strategy

Forget the Website – Give me leads

This comment from a frustrated website owner. He’s right of course.

Companies know the Yellow Pages is dead, with Google the modern day replacement. They then think about having a website, to ‘be found’ when someone searches for their products. But in the vast majority of cases, their website provides few leads or sales. Stories of small business websites getting under 100 visitors per month are common. Even some that have good traffic often get few sales leads.

Complexity is our real enemy

We’ve talked endlessly about SEO and why Google hates your site in earlier articles. The way to getting traffic is well known to us technicians, but seldom implemented in practice since most business still think a nice website will magically attract traffic if you add in a few keywords. Yeah, right…

It essentially is ‘rocket science’ and seen as being too hard, especially when you have several website and SEO ‘experts’ all disagreeing with each other. Today business owners have to learn to become technology experts too. Somehow they have to figure out the good web designers from the bad ones. The good coders, copywriters and SEO people too…

It’s little wonder that 65% of businesses today don’t even have a site. I’m told by businesspeople a 5 minute talk with most web designers, developers or SEO geeks quickly brings on a headache or strong desire to leave the room.

The old ways really were a lot easier

Now in our fifties, we know what the old world was like. In the old days a business just gave the Yellow Pages or local newspaper cash and they took care of everything. If your display ad and offer was good, the phone rang and leads flowed in. The problem for small business was they often couldn’t afford the bigger display ads than got the most leads.

Today you give the marketing money to a web designer, get a lovely website, yet leads seldom come. Unlike the Yellow Pages, it doesn’t seem to matter how much money you’ve spent either, be it $2,000 or $10,000. Talks with small business owners around NZ indicates under 2% of business websites here can be classified as being ‘successful’, producing a steady stream of leads or sales each week.

Brochure websites are dead and buried

That old ‘brochure’ website designed in Dreamweaver still promoted by many web designers is largely a waste of time and money too. They’re not suitable for business use. Here’s the modern, high-traffic website formula:

Small Business websites in 2012 need to be based upon a good quality CMS (preferably WordPress); be mobile-responsive; have webforms on each page; expert SEO work (typically a similar cost to the visual design aspect); keyword analysis; monthly content updates and traffic analysis; quality backlinks; social media; Adwords; Google+ local; email marketing campaigns; PR etc. And just like the print ad, have a good message or offer that elicits a response. Yikes!

The other nasty truth about online is how to resolve the poor conversion rate issue. Like email campaigns generally only 0-5% of visitors to a website will do anything. As marketer Winston Marsh once told me, when people get to your website, what do you want them to do? On most sites today, it’s not clear. Website conversions isn’t something younger designers discuss or know much about. Only old-school designers and copywriters know this stuff.

Buy Leads, NOT Websites – Use the Phone More

Our view is that businesses should be looking at buying leads, not setting up websites. Let the geeks sort out the technology and just supply the end results, being qualified sales leads. This is something that’s taking off in the US, yet just beginning here. (email us for details).

But for those intent upon doing it themselves, let’s go back to those conversion rate figures. The phone converts 30-40% of the time compared with 0-5% for online and digital campaigns. So, why aren’t people making greater use of the telephone in their promotions and followup? Have we become lazy? Are we being sucked in by what web designers and SEO experts tell us?

When we talk the telephone, we’re not talking about outbound telemarketing here. Simply how we can use online to get people to phone us, as opposed to filling in a webform or sending an email inquiry. And how to use the phone plus email as a more effective followup tool.

The phone converts 30-40% of the time compared to 0-3% for online

It comes back to Winston’s comment. When your ideal client gets to your website or Facebook page, what do you want them to do? What process to capture and nurture that lead do you have in place?


Here’s that old podcast from Winston that brings all this together. It’s a brilliant, little-known trick. Take a listen.

Winston Marsh Website Tips

Fill in your details below to learn about BUYING LEADS instead of websites, or the SALES SYSTEM described by Winston.

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