An interesting conversation I had with a prospective CEO client occurred when I gently tried to tell him that his website was doing his company more harm than good. His response: “Why do I even need a website – isn’t that what I pay my salespeople for?” This was surprising because prospects who visited the company’s website had a hard time figuring out what they did.
Granted, most company leaders are more open-minded when it comes to their online technology, but some are more open than others. My intention is to persuade you that your website can be a significant part of your revenue growth plan. And, my hope is that you have people on your team who understand the power of the internet and know how to harness it to generate more revenue.
Websites have gained in importance because of the changes in B2B buying behavior. As I talk about several times in this book, prospects are doing more of their research online before interacting with a company. Depending on industry, this pre-research phase can represent 20-80 percent of the total buying cycle.
The relevant point is that few prospects are going to buy anything without first checking out your website. And all other things being equal, the competitor with the best website wins. So how do you win? Let’s start with the major factors then delve into the details.
- You win by having a website that clearly articulates what you do and how you are different and better than the alternatives.
- You win by offering a website that is built for high performance, including rock solid security and fast page-load times.
- You win by making it easy for visitors to quickly and easily find the information they need.
- You win by educating prospects in such a way that they move forward in in their personal buyer’s journey.
- You win by giving visitors plenty of options for engaging with you, whether opting in for information, engaging with a sales rep, or making a purchase.
- You win by creating a website that beats your competitors in each of these areas.
Action Steps to Transform Your Website
Here are some action steps you can take to transform your website from wherever it is now, to a high-performance machine to generate revenue.
- Evaluate whether you need a new website or can tune your existing site to meet the objectives. A lot of this decision will depend on whether the infrastructure will support the speed, navigation, and other technical aspects. Do not be too quick to ditch the old site because new websites are big projects, which can be expensive, time-consuming, and problematic. If you do decide to go the new website route, resist the urge to have a proprietary, built-from-scratch development project. Unless you have a substantial budget, there are many great template options that are well-designed, highly functional, and easy to maintain.
- Make sure your website is equally available from all platforms. By this, I mean that it is “responsive” and useful for searching and interaction from mobile and pad technologies. There are industries where more than half the search traffic is invoked through such devices. Your job is to ensure that prospects and customers can reach you, opt-in, engage, or buy from their preferred device. This alone can give you a big competitive advantage. More on this in the next chapter.
- Apply whatever website upgrades are necessary to boost performance. Here are 10 Quick Fixes to Make Your Website Marketing More Effective.
- Monetize your website. I realize that this is not the business model for many readers, but if it is, consider these possibilities:
Sell your products or services online. If you have strong visitor traffic numbers and products or services that visitors find of value, consider incorporating an eCommerce platform into your website. Like I said with website development, use a solid and proven platform like WooCommerce or Shopify instead of building this yourself.
Sell an eBook (or several). If you have great content that others are willing to pay for, consider producing and selling your book online. You don’t necessarily have to create the eCommerce infrastructure to do this – you can create a landing page that takes buyers to your book’s page on Amazon or another eCommerce site.
Set up an affiliate program. In this type of program, you write about, and endorse products on your website, and include a link to an order page that is coded with your information. When a buyer makes a purchase, you receive an agreed upon amount or percentage of the sale. Amazon has an affiliate program called Amazon Associates that allows you to earn a fee on purchases referred from your website.
Join the Google AdSense program. With the AdSense program, you allow Google to place online ads on your website, based on your content and the characteristics of your visitors. This is also known as Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising, and you earn a fee every time someone clicks on one of the ads on your site.
Sell your leads or rent your mailing list. Hopefully, you are using your website to generate lots of opt-in leads. You probably don’t want to sell these leads outright since there are ethical issues involved with this strategy. A good alternative is for you to send a promotion on behalf of the other company. Two caveats. First, make sure the product or service you are to what promoting is related the individual originally inquired about. And second, only do this for companies you can heartily endorse. The small amount of money you can make is not worth damaging your reputation.
Accept sponsored blog posts. This type of post contains links to product sales landing pages. As with affiliate programs, you receive payment either based on a click through to the landing page or as a flat fee or percentage of the purchase price.
While these are all proven ways to generate revenue directly, most companies will benefit even more from practicing the principles of pull marketing, and applying the website fixes/upgrades that will boost their lead-to-revenue performance.