Are you familiar with the term “brochure website?” Perhaps you’ve seen a few (more than your fair share) or you currently own one.
“The brochure site is often a kickback to the early Internet. It stems from the mindset that simply having an online footprint is enough—so it provides basic information such as benefits and features, store location, and a map to help you find them quickly (Crazy Egg).” However, in today’s online marketplace, a brochure website won’t cut it.
Origins of Brochure Websites
There’s a pervasive myth out there that far too many businesses assume is true. It goes something like this: Having an online presence is enough to achieve your marketing goals. You can create a brochure site, then set it and forget it.
A brochure site tends to focus primarily on aesthetic appeal, often misplacing an emphasis on animation, a rotating carousel of images or other flashy and useless design elements.
Often these types of sites offer low functionality and typically don’t include content management systems for regular updates and content creation. Usually, the focus of a brochure website is the company and what they offer rather than the customer and what they need.
Your website should offer online visitors more than just beautiful design. Instead of a static digital flyer with nothing but pretty pictures and basic business information, make your company website a living, breathing representation of your brand.
The way online users prefer to connect with your business has changed dramatically in the last two decades since the Internet made its debut in 1989.
Brochure sites are antiquated because they:
Make it nearly impossible to measure return on your marketing investment.
Are terrible at improving SEO.
Don’t give online users a reason to keep coming back to your site.
The main problem is that they don’t provide a way for you to turn online visitors into actual customers; they simply don’t engage or convert well.
Engagement Matters, Here’s Why
Rather than a static menu of products and services, your website should be an interactive platform with answers to questions and solutions to problems. Although a great visual first impression helps, the true goal of your website is to generate leads and convert.
There are three key reasons why you should focus on lead generation to maximize engagement:
You can measure ROI.
If you don’t DIY, building a website can be expensive! Don’t let your investment go to waste. When your website and landing pages are designed to include lead generation, you have a more reliable, concrete way to measure conversions and revenue.
You can build relationships.
Instead of ignoring customers who aren’t ready to buy, you can encourage them to continue interacting with your brand. An engaging website enables you to collect customer data and encourage return visits.
You can seed future offers.
Have you heard of the six principles of influence? One principle is consistency. People have a strong desire to be consistent with their own behaviors. This works to your advantage when you focus on lead gen. If a customer enjoys reading your blog so much that they opt in to your mailing list to receive an incentive, they will likely be more receptive to further communications and offers.
Create an Interactive Web Experience
So, how do you turn your web presence from a static brochure site into a dynamic, engaging content-packed lead generation machine? The following website strategies will help you create an interactive experience that will capture your customers’ attention (and their contact information).
Offer free content.
Think about how you can meet customers where they are along their buying journey. What can you offer that will make it easier? By nurturing and educating potential customers, you build trust and empower decisions.
Use content to establish yourself as an authority. Create targeted landing pages to position free solution-based content. Collect customer data and use an autoresponder emails series to send content at sign-up and effortlessly continue the conversation.
“You need to nurture your leads so they stay connected, build their confidence and increase trust. . . If you wait till the next time you update your blog post or send out a promotion, your subscriber would most likely have forgotten all about you. What you need is a strategic, pre-planned sequence of emails to keep your new leads warm and happily waiting to consume more (GetResponse).” And voila! You’ve got a new sales lead to nurture.
Encourage product demo signups.
For customers who are further along in the buying cycle, make it easy for them to request a demo, a strategy call, or a free trial. Create a landing page to outline the benefits and exactly what will happen when they take the next step.
At this stage it’s a good idea to collect information about who they are and what they need. This will allow you to provide relevant information and personalize their experience. You can easily use a landing page builder to customize a demo signup form. Remember, less is more when it comes to forms, so don’t make it too lengthy and turn off potential leads.
Prompt social interaction.
Like it or not, most people (and your customers) are spending time on social media platforms. So, an active social media presence can help you bring in new business and enhance your web presence.
Make social sharing buttons available throughout your site. Invite blog readers to share your post on their social networks. Include a way to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn across your site and landing pages.
One of the best ways to prevent your site from becoming stale is to regularly add fresh content. The easiest way to accomplish this is with a company blog. Not to mention, Google loves this and fresh content will give your SEO efforts a solid boost. Make it easy for readers to subscribe to your company blog with a prominently-placed opt-in form.
Re-examine your ‘Contact us’ flow.
What happens when a customers fills out the “Contact us” form on your website? Do they get a prompt response? Let’s be honest: It’s easy for them to fall through the cracks. The deadliest sin of a brochure website is an underwhelming and ineffective “Contact us” process. It’s a black hole for leads.
If messages are simply delivered to an inbox without an automatic reply, it’s time to take a step back and re-work a reliable follow-up process. When customers receive an immediate response after filling out a form on your site it reassures them that you value their decision to interact you. Don’t drop the ball here.
Any of these five strategies will help turn your web presence into a living, breathing brand experience — and dramatically improve user experience (UX). Although eye-popping design is great, never forget that the key to an amazing online presence is to focus on your customer. Embrace this focus and you will build relationships with prospects that pay off in spades.
This article has been edited and condensed.
ONTRAPORT is an all-in-one business and marketing automation platform that helps small businesses and entrepreneurs build a better business. ONTRApages, is a free web page builder that helps small business owners launch stunning web pages to convert leads. Connect with @ONTRAPORT on Twitter.
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