How hard does your website work for you? Does it attract the right kind of visitors? Does your site have content that keeps visitors “hooked”? Does your site make it easy for visitors to show interest (so you can capture it)?
Most agencies treat their websites like part-timers hired to only answer the phone. Why? Because everyone is too busy, or important, to be bothered with such pesky details.
Yet, that’s not what you’ve convinced your clients to do -- or you’d be out of business.
Which begs the question: how does not having a conversion-based website help your agency?
Conversion Made Simple
There are hundreds of books written about creating effective websites that convert. [“Conversion” means getting a visitor to respond to a call to action.] There are thousands of articles that can take you deep into the intricacies of refining and optimizing your site. We’re not here to do that today.
We want you to get on the path to creating a more effective agency website than what you’ve got now. One that does more than just show off your portfolio, awards, and team. Don't take this wrong. Those are all good things to show. They’re just not as critical for having a website that gets you new business.
Here are the five key strategies for turning your website into an effective conversion machine:
1. Clear Positioning Reinforced by Intelligent Design
The moment a visitor wanders onto your page, they need to know instantly what it is that they can do/learn on your site, why that’s important to them, and why you are the best resource for this.
This is not the place to wax poetic with corporate speak and marketing jargon. As Flint McLaughlin, CEO of MEC Labs has proven time and again, “Clarity trumps persuasion.” If you remember nothing else from this post, if you get nothing else done on your site -- get these three elements.
And Flint practices what he preaches. Take a look at MarketingSherpa.
Headline:Practical Case Studies, Research and Training for Marketers
It says exactly what you get on this site. The big gray search box invites you to do something immediately.
Subhead:MarketingSherpa is a research institute specializing in tracking what works in all aspects of marketing.
It states precisely why what MarketingSherpa does is important and useful to you.
Bullets: Tell you why MarketingSherpa is your best resource for this.
MarketingSherpa’s site isn’t filled with gorgeous graphics or poetic language.
It sells research and its appearance and messages reinforce that. Yet its Alexa rank is 8,665 in the U.S. putting it in the top 10,000 websites in the U.S. That is no mean feat!
We’re not saying you should imitate how MarketingSherpa looks. Agencies provide creative services after all, and your websites should reflect that. Don’t forget these website design foundation elements in your haste to show off your creative prowess:
Reinforce your messages with images and graphics that don’t distract or confuse
Create simple navigation to speed finding content
Make your site mobile-friendly
This means optimized to take advantage of mobile devices. Pinch and zoom doesn’t cut it anymore. Mobify’s report on How the Mobile Web Changes the Way We Buy and Sell shows that 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience, 57% will abandon a site if a page takes more than 3 seconds to load, and 50% expect transactions to be easier on mobile devices than on a desktop computer.
2. Create and Share Content to Start a Relationship
Create a site that’s full of useful, irresistible content.
Make it a mix of free and gated content. Free content, such as blog posts and videos, give basic information to whet your persona’s appetite for more. Gated content (e.g., ebooks and how-to guides) is desirable knowledge worthy of exchanging data.
Write content for humans first. Sure, SEO is important, but don’t obsess over it. Instead, focus on topics your persona cares about. Create value by sharing your knowledge, expertise, and point of view. When you share content on social media, you’ll naturally attract your personas. Making it more likely they’ll come to your site and convert, and share your content, too. This increases the quality of your site traffic even more. This is the all-important cycle you want to spark.
Create a mix of free and gated high value-added content based on those topics
Share your content on social media networks (that’s everyone who works in your agency, whenever sensible).
Include social media sharing buttons on all your web, blog, and landing pages
3. Capture a Visitor's Interests and Always Remember Her Name
On your site, draw a visitor's attention to gated content with graphic calls-to-action (CTAs). Also use CTA text links embedded in pages. Share your content offers on social media networks. CTAs, when clicked, go to landing pages describing the content and its benefits. Each landing page’s “smart” form captures her information in exchange for the content.
Smart CTAs that grab your visitors’ attention
Landing pages to cement your offers’ value
Smart forms to simplify your visitors’ experience
4. Keep the Romance Going
Once you’ve got her data in your lead nurturing database, send emails offering her more content that can help. Each time she consumes more content is another step in cementing your relationship with her. Soon, she’ll be ready for that phone call from you -- if she doesn’t call you first.
Learn how to segment your email/lead nurturing database so you can create targeted campaigns
Create lead nurturing email campaigns that feed visitors new content offers
Make that phone call (it will be a warm welcome if you follow these strategies)
5. Set Goals, Track Metrics, Analyze, and Tweak
Most ad agencies shy away from this because it’s been difficult to track or measure results in the past. For now, on average, how much traffic and many leads are you generating from your website each month? How many of those leads have become clients? Simple arithmetic will give percentages for site visitor-to-lead conversions and lead-to-customer conversions.
There are lots of marketing metrics you can track. These are the basic ones to get you going. The more metrics you track, the easier it will be for you to pinpoint what is working. Now you can do more of what does work, tweak what isn’t working until it does, or scrap it and do something different that’s more effective.
Decide where you’re going (so you know when you’ve arrived)
Install and set up conversion tracking software
Track conversion metrics that make sense for your agency
Analyze and interpret the results
Tweak what you’ve done to keep improving the results you’re getting
Few agencies generate viable leads from their websites because they’re not following a cohesive plan with integrated strategies designed to do just that. Creating a conversion-friendly site isn’t all that hard. But it does take commitment: time to plan, attention to detail, and persistent execution. But once you’ve nailed it, it takes far less time to manage and keep great leads coming in. The rewards of having a conversion machine working hard for you, day and night, are worth it.
Originally published Jan 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017