There are many things in the world I find distressing. One thing that I see that saddens me is when companies deliberately limit their potential for success.
All businesses rely on leads for ongoing revenue, from the local flower shop to multi-national conglomerates. Leads are people who are interested in whatever it is you are selling — your service, your product, your expertise, your information. Lead generation is a process of finding prospects who have a problem, convincing them you have the answer to their problem, and converting them into paying customers.
There are a lot of methods for getting leads into your sales funnel, and many places where these prospects can fall out of your sales funnel.
But there are businesses that leave money on the table because they fail to realize the role their website and digital properties play in turning prospects into customers.
One brutal truth about lead generation in a service-based business is that until you are turning qualified leads away, you’re not getting enough leads.
Let’s Talk About Referrals
There are many businesses that rely entirely on referrals for their lead generation and revenue. If your business can survive on referrals alone, that’s a good place to be in. It means that you have secured a favorable reputation within your network.
But one disadvantage to the referral-only approach is you’re relying entirely on the reach of your network for your future business. In other words, only people who know your past customers can become your future customers.
Perhaps you’re not using a multi-faceted approach to finding new leads. Rest assured that your competitors are. If your business is a zero-sum game, this means that your competitors will eventually outpace you, as they are getting business from sources that you are not.
There are a staggering number of businesses that insist that they do not rely on their website for gathering leads. But if you ask them if they are getting the amount of business they want, the honest answer is always “No”.
It’s Not A Cost, It’s An Investment
Part of the problem may be clients see their website as an expense, and not as an investment. But the truth is, your website is your #1 marketing tool. When a prospective customer first hears about your company, the first thing they do is Google your website. While the referrals-only business may argue this reality, stating that they don’t gain any business from their site, it’s almost a certainty that they lose prospective clients simply because their website looks less than professional, or doesn’t exist at all.
Think about it. If you are researching a company you need something from, and their website looks unprofessional, does your confidence in their service go up or go down?
Belief ≠ Reality
There’s a cognitive dissonance going on when businesses proclaim they are getting more than enough sales — yet they have cut corners with their website. If a business does not care enough about their main marketing tool to invest time, resources, and attention in it, this makes customers wonder what other areas of their business are lacking attention.
Businesses that continually reinvest in themselves will continue to grow, and those that do not — eventually get surpassed by those who do.
(Well-Planned) Websites Save Time and Resources
If you are feeling like these words are speaking to you and your business, but you’re still having doubts, here’s just one small example of how a proper website can help you save money, gain time, and be more efficient.
Consider the Contact Us page. Besides the Home page and About Page, this is the most important page in most websites, yet it is rarely designed to be a tool. Most of the time, it is implemented with the standard field for Name, Email, and Message. Any potential leads that come through this page must be filtered and screened to see if they are qualified leads. This requires staff to screen, interview, and follow-up with inquiries, costing time and money.
Now, imagine a Contact Page where the contact form has a few extra questions. These questions will vary depending on the business, but they are designed to filter prospects who are a good fit for your business from those who are a waste of time. Separating the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.
All of a sudden, your website has saved your business time and money by filtering out weak leads from strong leads. This is one small part of making your website a lead generation vehicle that produces revenue and increases profit.
The problem is, most people won’t even make it to the Contact Page if they perceive your website to be untrustworthy. Potential customers expect to see that you have a website form this decade and a presence on social media, or you appear to be struggling.
I have two questions for you.
If you do the same things you have always done in the past, do you expect different results?
How many potential clients have you lost because your website made your business look less professional?