The Internet opens up a larger playing field than ever before, and your website is your primary ambassador. But given that web visitors only take in about 25% of the words they see on a web page, it's important that yours is optimized to attract and retain visitors, as well as configured to return information about these visits back to you.
Don't Underestimate SEO
Did you know that in general, organic search drives nearly half of all web traffic? And according to Optify's 2011 study, clicks on the first three organic (non-paid) results of a Google search comprised almost 60% of total clicks, and the results on page 2 received at most only 2.6% of the click-throughs. These findings suggest that most web users never make it past the first page of a search engine's results. The gist of it is, you can’t afford to neglect search engine optimization (SEO). While best practices can be found all over the Internet, you should employ a service that specializes in SEO for the best results.
What these services can do: audit your website as a whole to see how well it's optimized, optimize individual webpages by ensuring that none of the areas pertinent to SEO are neglected, and analyze your keywords to track their rankings and seek out similar keywords that have been tested for robustness.
Begin a Blog
Blogs are great for so many reasons. They foster a casual dialog between you and your web visitors, allow information to be disseminated quickly and easily, and let you showcase your thought leadership. And since they were created specifically to be user-friendly, you can get your experts set up to blog very quickly.
Furthermore, blogs are a great way to improve your search engine rankings. By incorporating one into your SEO strategy and bulking it up with great content and strategic keywords, you're doing your entire website a favor. Make sure to add social media buttons to each post so that news and articles can be easily dispersed among networks.
The only caveat: your company must be committed to taking part in the conversation. Make sure your employees are aware of their responsibility to answer feedback and questions. Commenters, by the way, can be great sources for leads, especially since commenting usually requires a valid email address.
Install Global Navigation Bars
You might have seen them before, the persistent but unobtrusive "sticky" navigation bar that floats near the bottom or to the side of a webpage. Since the average focused attention span can be as short as 8 seconds, global navigation bars are a powerful way to stay present during a web visit. They're also much more tasteful than the annoying pop-up windows and other in-your-face distractions to which Internet users are becoming increasingly inured. These bars are so unobtrusive, that in a recent test, 100% of participants could not figure out why they preferred a website that implemented this technology to one that didn't.
Global navigation bars have been shown to increase conversions by 500%. But to be useful, the information they contain should be pertinent to the viewer. You might want yours to contain information about an upcoming webinar, a link to a free trial, or any other calls-to-action. They can also be configured to deliver content specific to the visitor's geography or industry.
Utilize Live Chat
Another way of facilitating the lead generation process is by adding live chat capabilities to your website. The tool is a great way to boost customer service, and you can also help potential customers come to a decision much quicker, provided the live chat agent is knowledgeable about your company's offerings.
Which leads to the fact that live chats are great feedback loops. While you'd be hard-pressed to convince someone to fill out a survey, the content of the chats should lead you to deeper insights. What concerns are consistently popping up? Take note.
Another perk is that while most people expect immediate gratification, they can be squeamish about talking to someone on the phone. Live chats maintain a feeling of anonymity. But they're actually far from anonymous. You can configure your live chat tool to require prospects to provide contact information about themselves before the chat even begins.
Tying It All Together with Analytics
Of course, all the effort put into optimizing your site would mean nothing if the data wasn't reported back.
In seeking out an analytics tracker, your first concern should be how the traffic is tracked and reported. You'll want something with lots of functionality, allowing you to segment the data as finely as you need, create detailed reports, access live traffic views, and set up custom events.
Next, find out all the ways the system can integrate the information that’s been gathered—from the live chats to the blog post comments, forms filled out, white papers downloaded, webinars attended, etc.
A robust analytics tool will have the capability of dissecting your traffic down to the individual level, by detecting IP addresses and corresponding them with corporate identities. It will be able to match the IP address of John, who commented on one of your blog posts a week ago, to the visitor who just spent the last five minutes on the same webpage. It will track the actions of the person who entered your site through a certain search phrase, discovered a white paper via a global navigation bar, filled out a form to download it, and turned out to be Sophie of a prospect company you've had your eye on. The possibilities really are endless.
Your website is one of your most powerful tools. Power it up and make it conversion-ready with these four ideas, but make sure you have a tool robust enough to interpret and track the information.