We can talk about website conversion rates until we're blue in the face, but what's really going on? What are your visitor-to-lead rates? Seven percent? Two percent? Less than 1 percent? Seven percent would be considered a good result. No, really. Even if you're doing an outstanding job at inbound marketing, more than 93 percent of your visitors are either bouncing or not bothering to connect with you. Why? I'm going to focus on the fundamentals and suggest a few ways to improve your results.
Take a look at your traffic reports. How are most of your visitors finding you? Organic search? Social media? Blogs? Email? Banner ads? Word of mouth? Or is it hard to tell, because most of them come from "direct traffic," which could be almost anything. Regardless of the source, your visitors are attracted by something in the search results or snippets of content you publish, enough to click through and check you out. If you could ask them why they bounce (and many market research companies do), you would learn that what they see in the first few seconds wasn't what they were looking for. There's no reason to stick around and explore.
Go back to the drawing board and rethink your marketing strategy. Start by interviewing your customers and find out what their problems are. Ask them how and where they seek solutions. Build your messaging and content strategy around solving your customers' problems, and redesign your website and social media profiles to be focused 100 percent on customers, not your brand. Optimize your search and demand generation strategy on phrases and places your customers use to find you. Make sure every search result or ad tells people exactly what to expect when they click and refine every landing page to deliver 100 percent on those expectations.
Every experienced marketer knows about "value proposition," but what does this really mean? What's in it for the customer? Too many of us focus on how our brand is better than our competitors' or how we've served the market for many years. Even if we are truly better, that doesn't necessarily solve our customers' problems. Competitive edge may be a step in the right direction, but it may also fall short as a complete solution.
Put yourself in your customers' shoes. In your customer interviews, listen carefully when they describe their buyer journeys. What were they looking for and how frustrating was it to find the best match for their needs? Your solution should address those needs and frustrations precisely, and you need to make sure your website and content messaging makes that clear to the visitor. You need top-funnel content that addresses buyer pain points and is easy to access through calls-to-action and short forms on your landing pages. Think about content or utility tools that allow your visitors to gain new insights. Then you need personalized lead nurturing content that helps your leads find more value and build trust.
The most relevant, valuable solution in the world may not be enough to capture and hold the attention of your visitors. They expect a seamless, professional Web experience, or they will bounce in the blink of an eye. The biggest culprits are:
I know, you just finished that website redesign a couple of months ago, but ask yourself a few tough questions. What was the goal of the redesign? To look better? To improve brand awareness? What about attracting new customers and generating revenue? That starts with relevance, value and visitor experience. Have you addressed those properly?
How up-to-date is your Web presence? Are your website and social profiles dynamic and fresh, updated regularly with blog posts and other valuable content? What about interesting photos and videos? Boredom is the great killer of visitor and lead loyalty. As a potential customer, I need to have a reason to return to your website. That's your job, not mine. You have to constantly remind me why I visited in the first place by waking me up with something new and interesting. You have to stay on top of what's new in the marketplace and anticipate my needs. If you keep feeding me the same old stuff and never change, I will yawn and move on to something else.
Sorry, but this is going to take more investment. You need a team of brand journalists and social media engagers (both brand and personal) to keep the juices flowing. We're not talking about cranking out a large volume of content, but a steady flow of great content that stands out from the crowd. Focus on quality, not quantity, and make sure your content is relevant, valuable and easy to consume. I know, I sound like a broken record, but this strategy does work.
Timing is everything, as they say. We need to think beyond static, in-place messaging. Location-based marketing (think Groupon, Foursquare and a host of smartphone apps) has been flourishing in B2C for a while now, but B2B companies are just now waking up to its potential, as well. By tapping into these services and apps, companies can provide valuable content that's specific to an event (like conference schedules, local tips and restaurant offers) or useful for office visitors and partners. The point here is to investigate all of the possible channels to add value to your visitor and customer experience. This approach can enhance brand loyalty and augments more traditional sales and marketing strategies.
Turn your creative minds loose looking at new ways to engage with visitors and customers. Don't be afraid to try something new. As always, measure everything via your inbound marketing tools. You may find some surprising results that set you apart and keep your visitors from bouncing.
Photo credit: Robobobobo
With over 30 years of business and marketing experience, John loves to blog about ideas and trends that challenge inbound marketers and sales and marketing executives. John has a unique way of blending truth with sarcasm and passion with wit. Connect with John via Twitter, LinkedIn or Google Plus.