Marketing Pilgrim's "Inbound Marketing" Channel

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Companies Cannot Live on Websites Alone

You have probably heard it said that man cannot live by bread alone. In case you are wondering, that wasn’t said by a nutritionist who was promoting a more well balanced diet but instead from an offer of something bigger than what we think we need. It’s a good subject to consider but for now let’s keep the discussion to the web.

It appears as if companies may be making a similar mistake in that they are somewhat disenchanted with the performance of their website as a lead generation tool. The chart below comes from a study conducted by Demandbase and shows that the biggest point of concern is the website and lead gen.

This begs the question: Is a website alone enough to generate sufficient leads? Is building the perfect sticky, lead-catching website the true key to success to getting more leads from the web?

Well, let’s hope that we have evolved past a reliance on the website alone for lead generation and the “if you build it they will come” mentality is starting to fade away completely. Why? Because if you as a website owner are frustrated that you are not getting more leads from your website it’s probably not the website that is causing as much of the trouble as you think.

What is a greater threat to website lead generation success is not having a mindset that is built more around inbound marketing concepts rather than simply applying traditional outbound marketing thinking to the online space.

So what to do, you ask? Here are a couple of quick suggestions.

Work on your website – Inbound marketing isn’t an activity that means you ignore your website. Actually, it’s quite the contrary. Once your website has been built it then needs to built upon. How? Content generation. Give the search engines a reason to keep coming back and determining that your site is the best option for their visitors. Your website is never finished if you are using it correctly to generate leads.

Depend less on your site and more on your marketing – Let’s face it there is too much information on the Internet. To expect your prospects or customers to simply “find” you as the answer to their business needs is a bit optimistic. You have to work to catch their attention and guide them to your site. This can be done through social media, e-mail etc

Have a systematic approach – With there being so many options to help generate interest in your company’s products and services it is important to work systematically to gather up the opportunities. This doesn’t mean you have to be rigid in your approach because flexibility is important in any effective marketing effort. What it does mean is that you have to find a few things that work well and work them consistently so that you don’t find yourself on a million different marketing rabbit chases that yield inconsistent results.

Work the middle – Just like in any effective exercise program the idea is to build up your core (your mid section) it is critical to have the right way to manage the all important “middle of the funnel” activities of marketing. Getting traffic to your site is great and having a visitor fill out a form is a victory of sort but if you don’t have a way to move them through your sales process once they have discovered you this will create even more frustration.

These are just a few ideas to consider if you are finding that your website is not the lead generating machine you want it to be. Remember, that the Internet is not a “build it and they will come” proposition. Instead think of it as a “I built it, now I need to promote it and once they become a lead I need to nurture them until they become a customer” process. Not the most pithy saying but you get the point.

Any other thoughts on the idea of your website being important but not the beginning and end all for marketers these days?

  • http://www.searchengineoptimizationjournal.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    “To expect your prospects or customers to simply “find” you as the answer to their business needs is a bit optimistic.”

    It’s a bit delusional! Companies need to be proactive when it comes to finding new customers. There is so much competition online that passive companies are going to lost in the shuffle very quickly.

  • http://contentequalsmoney.com Emma

    These days, given how over-saturated the social and digital marketplace is becoming, I think it’s almost more critical than ever to connect with your customers offline as well as on. It’s the personal touch – the extra mile, the phone call, the mail delivery, the in-person greeting – that really sets a business apart from the herd. It shows you care, and your customers will be impressed.

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Belinda Summers

    As I’d read the title of your post I stopped at a moment and think.. Hmmm…As far as I know your website is useless unless you optimize it. A website is just a support to your marketing campaign however with trend nowadays, it is very important to have one and having a compelling website will put you an edge above your competitors. In addition, it is another way to communicate with your costumers.

  • http://twitter.com/dovimyers David Myers

    This is an interesting post, but modern day tools what Demandbase (and others like Insightera, Leadlander offer) is the right approach by companies to focus and invest in top-funnel prospects when they are visiting your website. What you refer to in this post is a personal touch to the prospect beyond a website, but some of these tools like Demandbase and Insightera offer exactly this personalized touch by identifying the visitor on the website and providing them the relevant, personalized content. Result higher interest and engagement with the content and company. Too much budget is being spent on driving the traffic to the site and not enough on the actual traffic on the site and personalizing it.