We’re a pretty collaborative bunch of web designers here at The Web Showroom and many of our projects include a project team containing a web designer, an account manager, a marketing consultant (for SEO and paid online advertising) and a conversion consultant.
The role of the conversion consultant is to work behind the scenes with the rest of the project team to ensure that the final website does indeed perform the mission the client had for it when they first contacted us. Generally this mission is to generate leads for their business, sell products online or offline or match groups of people (in a directory style website).
I’ve been involved in a large number of projects for ecommerce websites and directory websites and when I sit down for a kick-off meeting for one of these projects I pretty much know what to expect. From to time a new site will throw up a new and interesting challenge but generally I can be pretty confident that the hard work will be done by our website designers and account managers in making the site in question unique and effective.
When it comes to building a site where the primary mission is to generate leads, the reality is that you never know what you’re going to get until you really get into a project. Take our website for example, the number one act we want people to take is to leave their details on the website or pick up the phone and call us. We know from experience that there are many things we can do to increase the chance of this happening and just as many (or more) things we might inadvertently do that will work against us. Without a lot of thinking and a lot of testing it can be very hard to know the difference.
In the past we’ve released changes to our website that we have been confident would increase our conversion rate. Weeks later we have reviewed split testing results to discover the changes made no difference, or even worse, decreased the conversion rate.
The first thing you need to do is stop making assumptions about the way people are going to use your website. There are some people who really won’t get in touch with you unless you ask them in a clear and constant way. There are other people who are just not going to understand the way you have broken up your products and services. Unlike in the world of e-commerce websites there are fewer accepted standards when it comes to lead generation websites. There is so much that will depend on your business and how your customers (and prospective customers) understand it.
The second thing you need to do is realise that in many cases this means your website is not going to be a simple project that can be done for a small budget. Getting the most out of a lead generation website takes commitment and careful thought from yourself and your web design team. Sure, a basic job will probably look fine and you’ll be online, but unless serious thought and experience has gone into it there is every chance you will be leaving plenty of potential leads out there for your competitors.
It’s pretty obvious, but if you are spending time and money marketing your website, and there are potential customers leaving because of a deficiency in what they see, then you are spending money unnecessarily. What we’re really talking about here is the conversion rate of your website (the percentage of users that are performing the desired action on your website). If you settle for a low conversion rate then be prepared to spend more money to attract leads to your business. This will inevitably flow through into lower profits (or worse still higher losses). However, get your conversion rate high and enjoy the choice between spending less on marketing (for the same number of customers), or keep pushing your marketing spend and growing your business!
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