Over the last few weeks, our team has been working on several User Experience audits and an interesting trend has emerged. We’ve noticed that sites have plenty of information—the importance of quality relevant content has clearly gotten out. But there’s a distinct lack of action steps. We’ve noticed that there seems to be limited thought to a strategy around what pathway website visitors should take. In other words, once they’ve met the goal of getting to the website, what is the next step?
This strategy is really obvious for an e-commerce store. The goal—indeed, the measure of success—is a purchase. The pathway goes to the product detail pages, the cart (perhaps with upsells), the checkout, and the checkout success page. Mission accomplished.
But it’s not so easy if you’re not selling something online.
Still, you should have a goal for your website visitors. Do you want them to visit your page, read for a few minutes, then click back to Google and go on to the next site? Probably not. Do you want them to learn from your content but never actually purchase from you or click an ad on your site or otherwise earn revenue for you? That’s not a good goal either.
Every visit to your site is a new lead. You need to nurture those leads to conversion.
Of course, as I just alluded to, if you’re not running an e-commerce store, you need to define what a “conversion” is for your company. Here’s a few examples:
Once you’ve determined what a conversion is for your company, then your overarching goal on your website should be to get people to convert. When we talk about having content on the site and regularly adding content that’s relevant and valuable, unless the primary point of your site is a blog, you aren’t posting content for the sake of helping or entertaining people with it. You’re posting content for the search engine optimization benefits—you’re posting content to get more people to your site. That’s not the end goal though and once they’re on your site, keep coaxing them towards the next step.
Think about this process as a funnel. The top, wide part of the funnel represents all of your website visitors. They visit your site because they have a need that they are hoping you can help them fulfill. It’s a numbers game, and inevitably you will lose some visitors to immediate bounces because, for whatever reason, your site didn’t have the resources they were looking for. But for those that remain, make it easy to progress to the next stage of that goal. That would be the middle part of the funnel, where you’ve lost some people, but you still have many others on your site as hot leads. Depending on your conversion metric, this mid-level goal could be:
From here, you have a hot lead; a visitor who’s interested in converting now. Don’t make them wait for you to email or call them back. Don’t make them wait to pay. People want instant gratification and if your site doesn’t allow that, then they might continue researching and convert with a competitor while they’re waiting for you to respond.
To that end, everything possible for conversion should be automated and online, and as simple as possible. If you want visitors to set an appointment or a consultation with you, let them schedule right from your website. (You could even pre-qualify leads from your site so those who aren’t a good match don’t get to a scheduling page and thus can’t waste your valuable time.) If you traditionally take payment in person when services are rendered, consider taking online credit card payments immediately instead. If customers typically ask questions before converting, post the most popular questions in an FAQ, then make it easy for them to contact you via (trackable) phone or online chat. You may even consider setting up a chatbot. Complete the sign-up while you’re talking to the lead. Remember, the goal in all these cases is to remove friction and make it as simple as possible for your leads to convert.
All of that brings us back to the original headline of the article.
We applaud you for having a content-filled website, and that could be helpful for improving your search results. But once a visitor is on your site, all that content can actually be distracting from completing the conversion goal.
What if your visitors read 3 or 4 of your blog articles rather than setting up an appointment? Then they close the tab and forget all about you. (Make sure you have retargeting ads set up so you can still reach visitors like this.)
If your conversion goal is a series of steps, then it is to your benefit to create a funnel that is as simple as possible for those visitors to go through. That is why a landing page might actually be better than a full website.
You can create different landing pages for different target audiences or different goals. That means that most visitors to your site will immediately have personalized content and a single path you guide them down towards conversion.
Here’s a practical example: Let’s say you run a professional services company that caters to two different sectors; for example maybe you have a division for landlords and a division for tenants. Your conversion goal is a call to discuss your services in more detail and close the deal.
In this case, you could set up two landing pages, one with content for landlords and another for tenants. That way, you’re able to get more relevant content to the right audience. You can promote each landing page with different audiences or different keywords. Visitors are less likely to click away because they’re immediately seeing information that’s applicable to them.
Once on your landing page, you share the most relevant content for that audience. You also allow visitors to schedule their call right from your landing page, which means they also share their contact details with you. No more phone tag and you can easily follow up to nurture the contact and keep your company top-of-mind. If your services are productized, you might even collect a deposit as your leads schedule their appointment.
With this strategy, there’s nowhere for your leads to get lost. They can’t accidentally navigate to the wrong page because there are no other pages. They can’t decide they can’t be bothered to wait for a phone call back from you because they don’t have to wait. Each step in the process proceeds smoothly to the next. And, your revenue can increase because now your landing pages can be micro-targeted to specific audiences, promotions, products/services, etc. which means they’re more relevant to people who see them.
The answer to our question, should you replace your website with a simple landing page?, therefore is not yes. But it's not clearly no either. We recommend a hybrid approach that uses your existing, content-filled website to leverage its Domain Authority and Search Engine Optimization success. But we also recommend considering the use of landing pages and conversion funnels to systemize your lead generation and closing process, and integrating that process with your content website. This strategy can help you wield the power of your website.