by John Eberhard
Everyone who has a web site wants to generate leads with it. Sometimes the site isn’t doing anything. Sometimes it is generating some leads, but not enough. Sometimes it is generating a steady flow of leads, but the owner of the site wants to get more leads and at less cost.
How Much Traffic?
The first thing to put your attention on is the flow of traffic. How much traffic is the site getting? If you don’t know, the very first thing to do is to find out. Google offers a free service called Google Analytics, which will tell you how many people are visiting the site, where they are coming from, what pages they visited and so on. So if you don’t have a quality web statistics program on your site, the very first thing you should do is to install Google Analytics.
Here are all the various ways you can generate traffic to a web site:
- Pay per click advertising
- Getting organic traffic through search engine optimization (SEO) and link building
- Having a Google Maps / Google Places listing that is near the top
- Having listings on other business listing sites
- Social media marketing
- Video marketing on YouTube
- Having your web address on printed items such as brochures, business cards, fliers, direct mail, or ads
Pay Per Click: This is one of the best and fastest ways to generate traffic and leads from a web site, with Google AdWords, MSN Ad Center and Facebook ads. This works best for high ticket items because the cost is relatively high. I don’t usually recommend it unless you are able to spend $1,000 or more per month on your Google AdWords budget. Plus to compete well I recommend having an experienced person manage it for you. But for developing a steady stream of leads, pay per click is one of the best methods.
SEO and Link Building: This is where you get your web site to rank highly in search engines and so develop a steady stream of traffic. This is a great way to develop traffic, but it takes time (6-12 months) and doing it right is not cheap.
Google Maps: This is for local businesses where Google displays a map and 3-8 listings on the first page that correspond to the orange balloons on the map. This is much faster and less expensive than developing organic traffic. But with really competitive industries, it can still take several months.
Business Listing Sites: We put up listings on these types of sites as part of our Google Maps program. It’s a good way to get your business in front of people searching.
Social Media: This is probably the best way for a small business to generate traffic, especially if you don’t have any money to spend. But it is very effective for businesses at all levels. Larger businesses often pay others to generate friends, followers and connections for them, and sometimes to manage communications with the networks.
Blogging: Most people don’t understand that simply writing and posting content on your blog regularly will generate traffic. See my article on this.
Videos: Having one or more videos about your business, that explain what your business does and what benefits you offer, is a tremendous advantage in marketing. Prices have come down and are generally pretty affordable.
Printed Items: You should make sure that your web site address is printed on all of your printed items. People will often get some promo piece and then go to the web site for more information.
OK, now you’re increasing the traffic to your site and you’re tracking how many people are coming. Now, how do you get them to contact you, by either calling or filling out some kind of form on the site? In web marketing we call that a “conversion.” We also call that a lead.
Well I have seen figures saying that the national average for web conversions is about 3%, meaning 3% of web visitors contact the web site owner and become a conversion. I have seen it be a lot more, and sometimes a lot less (like none). But the first thing that tells you is that if your site is only getting 50 visitors a month, you will be lucky to get one or two conversions.
One development in the last year or two in the direction of increasing conversions is that many marketers are putting a form in the sidebar on every page. Also put your phone number in a prominent position, either in the sidebar or the header at the top.
Another important consideration is what you are offering. You could offering a free consultation or free estimate, or some kind of discount. See my article on offers.
Another important consideration in increasing conversions is to make sure your web site is organized in a simple way and your navigational structure is easy.
If you get traffic to your site and make sure your site is well organized in such a way as to maximize conversions, you will increase your lead flow.