Unfortunately, there’s no button on any given website that you can hit to turn on the leads. (If only it were that easy.) However, there are multiple solutions any digital marketer can implement to fix the most common lead generation website problems.
Start at the very beginning and make sure that your website is technically working the way it’s supposed to. While technical SEO isn’t something you can master overnight, there are some SEO basics you should be monitoring consistently.
If your site isn’t secure with an SSL certificate, Google will mark your site as “unsecured.” Not only does this mean you’ll be dinged with a lower search ranking, but it breaks your prospects’ trust in you if they don’t feel safe conducting business on your site.
For every second of additional load time, a site loses 7% of its conversions. If you’re annoyed at how slow your site is, then your prospects are too. Don’t let them down by forcing them to wait for what you have to offer.
At this point, those prospects may not even make it to your page at all.
But if that’s not enough incentive to bring your speed up to par, Google is taking the importance of speed one step further, announcing its plan to introduce badging as an incentive for publishers to pick up the pace.
Sites that are slow to load will be given a graphic mark on the load screen, notifying users that the site is usually slow to load. So, even if your site appears in a prospect’s search results, they may be more likely to abandon the page if Google verifies the slow speed during the page load cycle.
Google’s proposed badging tag notifying readers of slow page loads.
If you want Google to crawl the content on your site, you need to tell it where to go. The Google spider naturally follows the links on each page, but you can direct it to where you want it to go by submitting a sitemap. This gives you the power to highlight pages you want indexed or exclude others you don’t.
Broken links and 404s
Broken links obstruct the user experience on your site and, if not resolved, can prevent users from hitting your site at all.
You guessed it — Google penalizes sites with too many 404 error pages. The easy solution to this is to fix those broken links. Google Search Console provides a list of broken links and errors you can resolve to keep your site clean and working properly.
Solution: Optimize your content
Now that your site is secure and speedy, how do you optimize your content so it appears on the coveted search results page?
SEO’s importance, of course, extends far beyond the technical. Aside from getting your pages indexed and ranking higher in search, SEO:
gets more traffic to your website
makes pages easier for readers to consume
brings higher-quality traffic to your site
pulls in more and better-qualified leads
Marketers who are new to SEO often believe that it’s driven by keywords alone, but everything on your site needs to work in tandem to get the SEO juice flowing, including:
blog content (we’ll get to that later)
To drive organic traffic to your site, you’ll need to spend time perfecting each of these SEO elements.
Lead generation problem #2: Confusing UX
Imagine being dropped in a city you’ve never visited. Wandering into unknown territory can be either exciting or intimidating, depending on whether or not you know where to go.
Don’t assume your website visitors are thrill-seekers — give them a map and send them on their way. Otherwise, they may enter the site, stumble around for a while, get frustrated, and leave.
This can be done, according to UX designer Joel Waggoner, with three tactics:
Having an efficient and pleasant search experience can reduce clicks a lot (but is harder to do)
Presenting well-thought-out next steps on each page (relevant calls-to-action, or intelligently related articles/pages)
Personalizing for a more curated, relevant overall site experience. This can be achieved with purely additive technology, like thoughtful pop-ups or dedicated sections.
Solution: Create a learning center
Providing a central place on your website where visitors can find all your best content is another powerful tactic to use so prospects don’t get lost.
Creating a learning center that is easily filtered and searchable lets visitors jump straight to whatever they are looking for. This not only helps newcomers to the website, but it acts as a crucial resource for your own employees. Your learning center will become a mainstay for your sales team to quickly access the content you create.
Learning Centers come in all forms, as these two IMPACT client sites show:
Lead generation problem #3: Disruptive conversion paths
Traffic may be up but leads are down — what’s a marketer to do?
If you find yourself in this scenario, you might have website conversion paths that are missing the mark in relation to where your prospects are on the buyer’s journey.
A sign of this might be having a very bottom of the funnel offer like “Request a Consultation,” “Contact Us,” or “Buy Now” as the call-to-action (CTA) after every blog post.
Chances are, many of your readers simply aren’t ready to jump into a deeper conversation with you just yet. They’ll need more info from you before they give you their trust…and their business.
Solution: Mind the CTA
To make sure that your CTAs are attached to the right content pieces, run through the following exercise for each content item and offer.
Define your audience: Different offers (and the CTAs that go along with them) are most likely aimed at different audience segments. Make a list of all your content pieces and map which audience segment each piece is written for. Then, make a separate list doing the same for every offer you’ve created.
Define your buyer’s journey stage: Keep those lists handy and, in each of them, add another column to map the buyer’s journey stage.
For each content piece and offer, determine if the reader is in the awareness stage (someone who is looking to define a problem), the consideration stage (someone who is looking at their options to solve the problem), or the decision stage (someone who knows how to solve their problem and is choosing who will help them).
Be a matchmaker. Once you’ve determined the audience and buyer’s journey stage for each item, it’s time to match them up.
For example, if you have an article that is written for Buyer A in the awareness stage, then look to use a CTA that prompts the reader to an offer written for the same buyer in the same stage.
Not only does this allow you to provide conversion paths that are appropriate to your readers — meeting them where they are — it allows you to pinpoint content gaps in your editorial calendar.
Lead generation problem #4: Content doesn’t connect
Trying to be everything to everyone (when you don’t really want everyone) might pull in a large amount of traffic, but it won’t do much to create the quality leads you’re looking for.
To get over this hurdle, make sure your content is connecting with the people coming to your site.
Like anything in marketing, this is easier said than done. Crafting a value statement is a strategic exercise in combining who you serve, what you do, and how you’re different.
The work you put into this, however, will pay off in spades. A good value proposition can not only help guide your content strategy, but it will clearly indicate to site visitors the tone and overall direction of what they’ll get on subsequent pages.
Don’t be afraid to be exclusive. It’s okay to write a value proposition (and other website content) that excludes bad-fit prospects. Allowing people to opt out of what you’re offering will save you both valuable time and effort.
Solution: Write what people want
Covering blog topics your audience actually wants you to write will attract the right people by answering their questions. Your prospects are conducting online research to solve a problem or make a decision. Wouldn’t you rather be the one to educate them and give them honest advice about the next steps they should take?
Content that connects to your audience will keep them on your site, establish trust, and convert them into customers.
Lead generation problem #5: Lack of trust
Alternatively, people won’t do business with you if they feel you’re hiding something from them.
Prospects and visitors who come to a site only to find it doesn’t provide what it promised, is too good to be true, or is void of actual information will cause your website bounce rate to increase exponentially.
Solution: Stay true to your metas
Title tags and meta descriptions are two factors that can drive SEO and are also the two elements that appear on the search page that give your visitors an indication of what they’ll get when they click into your site.
If your titles and metas are misleading, however, your visitors won’t be visitors for long — they’ll leave as soon as they realize you’ve written the meta to get their attention, not to educate them.
Do what you say and say what you’ll do.
Solution: Profile your advocates
No matter how honest you are with your content, you can take your authenticity to the next level by including testimonials from successful clients and happy customers on your site. Visitors are more at ease with what you have to say when they can see actual results from real-life clients.
Assess who would be ideal candidates for case studies and invest the time to conduct interviews with these customers.
For some quicker wins, ask your salespeople and client-facing coworkers to pinpoint their happiest accounts and customers. From there, reach out to satisfied clients and ask them about their experience with you, the results they received, or why they stay with you.
With their permission, you can use their quotes as testimonials throughout your website.
Lead generation problem #6: Setting and forgetting
Getting every element of a website exactly right takes a massive amount of effort and strategic thinking. It’s a rewarding feeling to have it set, but the work on a website is never finished.
Those marketers who take the time to breathe a sigh of relief, leave their site alone, and move on to the next project run the risk of abandoning leads. The attention you spend on maintaining the health of your site extends to the health of your digital pipeline.
Solution: Measure and respond
Think of your website as a living being that needs to be fed and nurtured constantly. Many of the marketing KPIs you should be tracking — traffic-to-lead ratio, landing page conversions, organic traffic — are directly tied to website performance.
Measurement is important to monitor your site’s health, but it’s meaningless if you aren’t acting on what the information is telling you.
Analyze your data on a monthly basis and budget for time to make the changes needed to keep your site on track.
Common problems with several solutions
Is there a single button to push to fix your lead gen problems? Nope — there are several.
The key is figuring out what type of problem you’re having and determining the right solution. Use your analytics to guide you to where you need to look and what you need to do to rewrite, redesign, or repair on your website.
With some strategic improvements, your data and your leads will be headed in the right direction.