website purposeKnowing with absolute clarity your website purpose or set of purposes, and setting it up specifically to achieve it, is what less that 15% of businesses actually do (source: Forrester’12). The remaining 85% think of their websites as a digital brochure to which they can refer interested parties. Many of this 85% have been innocently persuaded as such by confident, often design-centric website developers who influenced their clients towards look & feel, usability and thought-flow metrics as the measurements of success. [box type=”info”] A contact box on a website does not a lead generator make![/box]

Whatever your website’s objective, its use as a brochure is always, at best, a secondary outcome. Indeed, anywhere that your content is published on the internet, whether on your website, on a blog, on a social network or on a third party website should be done with a specific and measurable objective in mind.

Some worthwhile objectives for websites, depending on the nature of business they serve can include:

  1. Lead generation (most often, the primary one)
  2. Information dissemination (eg. Government)
  3. Sales (an e-shop for example)
  4. Education
  5. Service provision

… and many more.

LOOKING BEYOND DESIGN

So, let’s take a particular look at lead generation. If a website is to set-up for this, a few pre-requisites are immediately inferred:

Contact methods: How will a physical lead manifest itself? How will you track it? It may be a ‘phone call, a form, an email or any other form of engagement that enable a lead to be identified and subsequently followed-up.

Visitor Traffic: How will it be generated? With search engine optimisation (SEO), a website can generate its own, targeted visitor traffic that is incremental to any other traffic source. Since Google is the single biggest traffic generator of them all, SEO must be a key component of any website that is set-up for lead generation.

Compelling Value Proposition: Why would a customer identify themselves to you as a sales lead? Your website should not just “facilitate” the prospect to identify themselves, it should give them a compelling reason to do so. So a website that is set-up for lead generation must also present, often multiple, compelling value propositions that are aligned to its targeted visitor needs. This means that those needs need to be researched and satisfied in a way that adds value to the process in which your prospect is engaged.

So if you’re going to go to all of the trouble to implement the above, you might as well carry on to defining and streamlining an online sales process so that your follow-up to these leads, both digital and non-digital, is effective and, insofar as possible – automated.

All of the above has a high payback to your business. Yes, it requires time, investment and resources which you might not have expected, but it is work that adds value to your business across the board – not just your website.