We often use the term “online brochure” to describe websites which look like a brochure. For the most part, these websites have a home page, a few more pages describing the business, and contact information.
This type of business website was adequate 20 years ago when the internet was in its infancy, but not anymore. These days a website is a critical marketing tool for generating leads and sales.
Content management systems (CMSs) that power websites have all the necessary tools to transform a website into a lead generating machine. Even entry-level CMSs like WordPress (which most websites use) have all the tools you will ever need.
So how do you turn your website from an "online brochure" into a marketing machine?
Change Your Mindset
Before you start making any changes, you have to change your mindset about what a website is and how it can serve your business. A website is not just something you launch and forget about; it is much more than that. Think of your website as a marketing person that is helping you get more business. Would you leave that person unattended for months at a time? No, you wouldn’t. You would give them goals, milestones, direction, feedback, and so on. Your website is no different.
Your website is a tool to help you reach your goals, so you have to start by setting some goals. For example, a short-term goal could be “Increase Q1 leads from 150 to 180”, “Increase Q1 website conversion rate by 5%”, and so on. A long-term goal could be “Increase website generated revenue (2019) from 35% to 40%”, or “Reach 300,000 unique visitors by the end of 2020”. Irrespective of what your goals are, make sure they are SMART (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and timely).
Understand Different Marketing Channels
While we are focusing on the website in this post, it’s always a good idea to have some understanding of other marketing channels (search, mobile, ads, email, affiliate, etc.), because good marketing and lead generation is usually a result of a multi-channel effort.
At a minimum, you should have your google analytics configured so that you can measure your progress. Also, a simple Website to CRM integration is recommended to keep track of leads automatically. Peter Drucker’s quote “If You Can't Measure It, You Can't Improve It”, applies to websites, and business in general.
Walk Before You Run
Don’t try to install every available marketing plugin or module. Review your goals, think about the tools you will need to achieve them, and be realistic with the effort required. For example, if your goal is to “Increase Q3-Q4 revenue from existing customers by 20%” then focus on email marketing, A/B testing, personalization, or special promotions targeting existing customers. Don't install advanced SEO tools, because it is not related to your current goal. In summary, only install tools that you need.
Every time you miss your goal or a milestone (e.g. 2,000 subscribers), regroup and try a different approach. For example, if you missed your newsletter subscribers target; think about your messaging and CTAs, and how you can entice more subscribers.
Don’t get discouraged if you miss your lead or sales goals, or find it more time consuming then you originally thought. Even marginal improvements will add up over time to something substantial. Also, keep in mind that improvements are never linear. For a while, it may feel like you are not making any progress, but rapid improvements (or growth) usually happen shortly after most people give up.
In summary, even lower-end CMSs like WordPress have all the features that you will need to turn your website into a marketing (lead generating) machine. You just have to change your mindset and start thinking of your website as a marketing machine, and not just something to post your service and contact information on.