4 ways a professional services website can lose high value prospects
By Tim Davies
When I think of leading users to your conversional goals, I picture a funnel.
- All visitors start at the top of the funnel.
- The funnel always has holes – reasons visitors will leave without the lead conversion achieved.
- By its very nature the funnel leads its contents (in this case our visitors) to a very specific end (the conversion goal).
The longer you keep visitors in the funnel, the more visitors that are likely to reach the end – your conversion goal.
So what are some of the common ‘holes’ in the funnel and how do you stop visitors leaking out?
Poor user experience.
If you make your website difficult to use or next to impossible to find information you’re going to lose visitors pretty quick.
Common issues that lead to poor user experience:
- The site is slow to load
- The website requires a technology not handled on the client side (e.g. Flash on Apple, built on Silverlight)
- Difficult to navigate (too many layers, unconventional navigation, nav menu moves from one page to another).
- Lack of contrast (e.g. grey text on black background).
- Too busy
Failure to meet their expectations.
People only visit your site for one of two reasons – to have a question answered or a problem solved. Therefore you need to define who your audience is and speak directly to them with relevant information.
If a user hits your site the majority of the time they’ve arrived there from an external link, maybe they found you from a Google search or another site. If the user’s expectations aren’t met in the few seconds after they arrive, you’ll lose them.
Your site doesn’t add value.
As a result of reading a lot of articles online I tend to get this a lot – websites asking me to subscribe before I’ve read a single paragraph of copy. This is a big gripe of mine at the moment.
A ‘featured box’ (that form you can’t get rid of quick enough, stuck up your nose when landing on a site) may cultivate more subscribers – but if it’s an engaged community you want, let visitors make their own decision on timing to subscribe.
In my last article I cited Seth Godin’s ‘Permission Marketing’ – I’ll do it again, not verbatim but as I remember it as he uses a very tangible analogy: If you went out to a bar and fancied a girl, would your first move be to walk up to her and ask her to marry you? Unlikely – and certainly not if you wanted her to think of you as anything but a weirdo.
I’ve been regularly reading Smashing Magazine for the past 12 months without ever subscribing to their newsletter. They don’t stick it in your face – actually you almost have to seek it out. They solidly remain to have my attention without it, and they can be sure that almost everyone on that list genuinely wants to hear from them.
Add value first. Then ask for permission.
You give the visitor too many options.
You fail to have a definitive strategy to convert visitors to leads. Do you want them to buy, subscribe, like, share, follow…? If you try to do everything well, you end up doing nothing well.
When there are too many choices it’s harder for a user to make a choice, which means they’re more likely to make no choice at all.
Even then, if a user does engage with you, your success will be diluted by the inability to maintain a strong focus on strategy and develop deep relationships across many touch points.
If your visitor just dodged those 4 bullets, they’re still in the funnel.
Great! Umm… now what?
How engaged were they? What industry was the visitor from? Did you even know they were there? What important buying signals did they trigger? What stole their attention and how do you plan to respond in a customised, focused and timely manner to increase your opportunity to attract and engage them in the future?
That’s a lot of questions and not much in the way of answers. Particularly important to B2B companies with high value prospects. Consider what knowing that is worth to you. Without that knowledge, it’s your profit and growth walking out the door.
It’s not a pipe-dream anymore – you might have heard of the next wave in digital revolution – marketing automation. Contact us for an obligation free run down on what is possible.
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