How to Make Your Website Your Best Selling Tool

How to Make Your Website Your Best Selling Tool

Your website is often one of the first ways a potential customer interacts with your company. For that reason, a website should always be viewed as much more than just a portal to place your business information. Rather, it’s an integral part of your brand, and when created and presented correctly, it can actually function as one of your most important, most effective selling tools.


Important Tactics to Ensure Your Website Is an Effective Sales Tool for Your Business


1. Make the Site Findable through Search Engine Queries


You can have the most professional, most brand-positive website imaginable, but if nobody can find you through search engine queries, that site simply isn’t going to be seen by that many people. The fewer eyes on your site, the less effective it is as a selling tool.

To ensure search engine visibility, pay attention to both your on-page SEO and off-page SEO. On-page SEO involves things such as using static URLs and naturally incorporating industry-relevant keywords in headers, content, URLs, and so on.

Off-page SEO is largely about link building. However, search engines are becoming progressively smarter about catching improper link building tactics, so the best approach is to create high-quality content that people voluntarily want to link to.


2. Fill the Site with Educational, Valuable Content


Every web page is an opportunity to provide value and information to your customers (and potential customers). If you shift your mind-set to view your website in this way, your site won’t just look nice. It will genuinely answer your consumers’ questions, solve their problems, and provide tangible value, thus heightening the overall impression of your brand.

To accomplish this, fill your site with:

  • Insightful blogs.
  • Premium downloadable content.
  • E-books.
  • Case studies.

Also make sure all educational content is easily accessible. Don’t bury the links on difficult-to-find pages or make downloading that content in any way counterintuitive. Don’t forget to double-check that all links are fully functional. You don’t ever want to put an unnecessary barrier between your potential customers and your content.

Content Creation for Your Buyer Personas

Content should be created specifically with your buyer personas in mind (through every stage of the buyer’s journey). This will ensure the content provides maximum value, is relevant to your site visitors, and educates them about issues they genuinely want answers to.

If you can properly identify the information your consumers want and then provide accurate, engaging answers to their questions on your site, you are positioning that site as one of your most powerful selling tools.


3. Your Website Content Must be Engaging 


Educational and valuable content does not automatically mean engaging content. What’s the difference? Educational content answers a consumer’s question. Engaging educational content answers a consumer’s question in a fun, memorable, or interactive way.

When moving forward with your content creation, keep in mind that one of the most effective forms of engaging content is video. Whether it’s posted within a blog or embedded on your home page, video entices and engages people far more than an uninterrupted block of text.

Why is engaging content so vitally important? Quite simply, it keeps people on your site longer, and the longer a person is interacting with your website and your content, the more opportunities there are for that person to go from a passive user to a lead. 

To facilitate multiple page views of your engaging content, don’t forget to incorporate a relevant and logical link system (from the home page to other website pages or blog posts).

4. Include Video in Your Website to Build Trust and Credibility


Video is certainly a subset of engaging content, but it’s so important it deserves a separate listing!

Videos keep visitors on your site longer, but even more importantly, videos keeps visitors engaged with your site longer. A person is simply less likely to take the time to read through a lengthy chunk of text, but that person very well might click on a video and watch for a few minutes. 

In this way, video is a great way to disseminate a lot of information in a condensed space. This allows you to address a lot of user questions and concerns quickly, thus providing that value in an accessible way.

Don’t just add video to add video, though. Just like text content, video content needs to be educational and provide concrete value to your customers to be a truly effective selling tool on your site.


5. Create Lead Generation and Customer Conversion through the Site


For your website to be the most effective selling tool possible, it needs to help you convert the people simply browsing your site into leads (and eventually customers).

To promote this lead conversion, ensure that every page—including every blog post—has a clear, relevant, and enticing call to action. That call to action should lead to a landing page where a user can fill out a form, pass on his or her contact information, and then subsequently receive a response from your company.

As with all aspects of your site, check that everything is working smoothly and correctly. Make sure the form on the landing page is easy to fill out and free of any errors, broken links, or other issues that would prohibit or discourage a person from completing the form. For example, every field in the form should be straightforward and clear. A person should never have to guess what a form is asking for. That’s a recipe for a lost lead.


6. Build a Clean Site with Easy-to-Navigate User Interface


Sometimes just having all the right elements on your site isn’t quite enough to promote user engagement and lead conversion. Those elements also need to be presented in the correct manner.

Call to actions are one such element. For maximum visibility and effectiveness, a call to action should be placed toward the top portion of your home page on the right-hand side. This visibility ensures it’s clear how people can get in touch with you.

In terms of navigability, make sure the information flows logically and easily from one section to the next. The home page should be particularly clear and to the point. Users should be able to scan that page and, within five seconds, determine how you can solve their problems.

In today’s increasingly competitive market, more and more companies are flooding the online space. That means every aspect of your brand—and that absolutely includes your website—needs to be consciously crafted as a selling tool. For many people engaging with your business, the website makes that important first impression. Ensure it’s a good one!








Was an Inbound Marketing Strategy Unsuccessful for Your business?

Was an Inbound Marketing Strategy Unsuccessful for Your business?

If your company has recently implemented any inbound marketing techniques, you’re not alone. Studies show nearly 85 percent of companies use at least some aspect of inbound marketing. With such a ubiquitous system, you’d assume it must be wildly successful for anyone who attempts it. But that’s not exactly the case.

Inbound marketing isn’t easy, and it’s not a quick fix. Without the proper expectations, you can become disillusioned with the time required to successfully grow and nurture this system. Inbound marketing requires patience and forethought—not only in implementing the individual elements but then letting those elements have enough time to work.

If you’re not using the right processes, systems, and strategies or properly aligning your marketing and sales teams, it’s very easy for this powerful tool to do little (or even nothing) for your business.

If any of this sounds familiar or if you’re at all frustrated with the results of your current inbound marketing efforts, this article is for you!


What Causes Inbound Marketing Strategy to Be Unsuccessful for an Organization?


1. Unclear or Undefined Inbound Marketing Strategy


A lot of businesses that don’t have the desired success with their inbound efforts have fallen into the same trap. They heard how powerful inbound marketing can be for a business, and they jumped into implementation without the proper forethought. That’s akin to leaving for a very specific destination without a map. If that’s your approach, you shouldn’t be surprised when you can’t find that destination—or it’s much more difficult than it needs to be.

The first step any serious inbound plan requires is a clearly defined set of goals and objectives. What exactly are you looking to get out of your inbound efforts? Be specific here. Don’t think revenue. Think how much revenue in exact dollars over an exact time frame. Don’t think lead generation. Think how many leads.

Like anything, inbound marketing is a tool, and it can be used effectively or not. If you understand how and where you want to grow revenue for your organization, inbound can do much more for you than a company without those defined parameters. 

Also clearly define and understand your target market and how you’re going to go about marketing to them. 

This first portion of this process is particularly strategic and should have the input of all major company stakeholders—from C-level executives to salespeople to marketers. The alignment and agreement of your sales and marketing teams is particularly important, and going about this properly can have a large positive effect on the success of your marketing efforts.


2. Unclear or Undefined Buyer Personas


A buyer persona is essentially a fictional representation of your ideal customer. 

  • Is there just one buyer persona?

Depending on your business, you could have many personas that you’re marketing to. Certainly start with one, and remember that one well-researched, accurate persona will do more for you than many thrown-together, vague personas.

  • Why are buyer personas important?

Clearly defining your personas is a process that allows you to think through the type of people who are looking to purchase your product or service. By identifying those groups, you know much more clearly and effectively what kind of content to create and how to go about promoting that content in a way that will attract people who are likely to become your customers.

Without putting in this detailed work to determine likely demographics of your customers, you won’t be able to identify their concerns, needs, and problems. That, in turn, means you can’t create the targeted and valuable content that addresses and answers those concerns, needs, and problems.

Ignoring buyer personas means you could be spending a lot of time, effort, and money on creating content that doesn’t speak to anybody who’s interested in your business. 


3. Lack of Sales and Marketing Alignment


Alignment between sales and marketing is vital to the success of your inbound efforts, but like anything, it has to be strategic and specific.

To aid with that specificity, create a service-level agreement between marketing and sales. This will spell out roles and clearly define goals. A document such as this ensures everyone moves forward on the same page. 


4. Ineffective (or Nonexistent) Content Strategy


Content creation should always be about working smarter—not necessarily harder. If your content isn’t producing the results you want, it’s probably not because of a lack of effort, expertise, or quality. Many companies put a lot of effort into making great content, but if it’s not geared toward people who are likely to buy your product, it could end up meaning a lot of wasted time and resources.

You must create content based on those well-defined buyer personas. Use your content to:

  • Answer questions those personas would likely have.
  • Create interest in products or services those personas are likely to purchase.
  • Grow revenue in targeted areas of your business. 

It’s also vital to understand that a persona’s needs and interests shift as that person goes through the buyer’s journey. You should, therefore, create content not only for each persona, but each persona at each stage of the purchasing process (top, middle, and bottom of the sales funnel). This ensures your content stays relevant and highly targeted to each persona over time.

Without this strategy, you’re just blindly creating content and hoping it appeals to enough people to hit your goals and financial benchmarks.


5. Dependence on Marketing Automation Tools


Many companies get very excited by marketing automation software and its capabilities when they start this inbound process. And understandably so. It’s a powerful tool.

But just like inbound is a tool, it is only as effective as the people using it.

If you expect automation tools to do the heavy lifting for your company, you are setting yourself up to be very disappointed in your inbound efforts.

Software is never a replacement for sound strategy and detailed methodologies. Perhaps the best way to ensure you don’t fall into this particular trap is by always starting with your strategy. Once the plan is in place, you can add the automation tools as a way to implement and enhance that plan.

For example, create your personas and the collection of persona-specific content first. Then you can use your software to automate when that content should be delivered, based on the potential customer’s behavior and progression through the buyer’s journey.


6. Poorly Integrated Marketing Automation Tools and CRM Systems


If the point of inbound marketing is to create compelling, educational content that follows potential customers through the buyer’s journey in order to convert them into paying customers, your automation tools and your CRM system must talk to each other effectively.

If the CRM system doesn’t alert salespeople to the valuable data that signifies where a person is within the sales cycle, it becomes unclear which of that targeted content is most appropriate at that moment. This breakdown in software communication leads to overall weakening of the inbound marketing system.

While inbound marketing was relatively unknown even five years ago, it has become extremely mainstream among businesses and corporations (of all sizes) today. If you’re not very strategic about implementing such a plan, though, you run the serious risk of seeing greatly reduced rewards from your inbound efforts—or even none at all.








Buyer Personas: Why They’re Important to Inbound Marketing and Sales Alignment

Buyer Personas: Why They’re Important to Inbound Marketing and Sales Alignment

Why do you think there is such a lack of commitment by many B2B businesses when it comes to creating detailed buyer personas?

Do you believe it’s because of internal struggles? Perhaps it’s a lack of understanding, commitment, or time. Then again, maybe the company simply doesn’t have 100 percent buy-in.

It amazes me how much time and how many resources companies spend on differentiating their brands, but minimal effort is expended to truly understand the DNA of their customers. The single greatest competitive advantage a business has is knowing their customers better than their customers know themselves.

Businesses that truly understand their customers have the ability to thrive in today’s economy. 


The Impact of Buyer Personas on Marketing and Sales Alignment


What Is a Buyer Persona?

A buyer persona is a fictional representation of your ideal customer. Personas are created and used by marketing and sales as road maps to understand, communicate with, and interact with an audience segment in greater detail. 

While personas are fictional, they are based on real customer interactions and data. They are formed through customers’ online behaviors, demographics, goals, roles, motivations, desires, and problems.

Why Buyer Personas Are Important

Uncovering buyer insight is a difficult task for today’s marketer, but it’s essential to creating effective buyer personas. 

Clearly identifying and understanding your customers’ DNA provides you with a great marketing and sales advantage. 

A recent study by Cintell, “A 2016 Benchmark Study on Understanding B2B Buyers,” indicated that organizations that create, implement, and consistently maintain personas are twice as likely to exceed lead and revenue goals than companies that don’t put in the work surrounding buyer personas.

Here are important reasons for creating personas and why they can be valuable to your organization. 


They serve as road maps for marketing and sales strategies.

Today’s buyers are rapidly evolving, making it increasing difficult for many B2B businesses to understand them. The ability to gain detailed insight about those buyers is imperative to effectively communicating with them based on their core needs. Understanding their behaviors, goals, and problems and how they are changing provides you a strategic road map for creating your personas. This, in turn, will tell you how to effectively communicate with them at different stages of the sales cycle.


They help you create valuable content for your buyer.

Clearly understanding your customers’ DNA is essential to creating quality content based on their core needs. In many cases, your personas will be different based on what stages they are in within the sales cycle. Creating content specific to where a persona is in the buyer’s journey is essential. This means you’ll need to create content not only for different buyers, but for the different stages of the journey for each of those buyers. This provides you the infrastructure to create content that is very specific to your personas. 


1. Align Marketing and Sales Functions

The creation (and impact) of buyer personas should not be limited to marketing departments. Personas are just as valuable, if not more so, to sales. 

Sales is the front-facing side of business, and salespeople have more interactions with clients than anyone else. Good salespeople can gain a great deal of insight on buyers in the sales process, and information can be highly valuable when developing personas.

Marketing and sales working collaboratively will create better-defined personas and more targeted content at different stages of the sales funnel. This provides sales with a more effective process to successfully communicate with and educate their different clients throughout the buyer’s journey.


2. Provide Sales Value to All Stakeholders

B2B companies today have an increased number of individuals involved in the buying process. This has made it increasingly difficult for salespeople to effectively articulate their core product or service values based on various needs of individual employees. 

Identifying and developing personas for individual stakeholders takes away the complexity and provides sales an effective system to communicate with individual buyers within an organization.


3. Use Personas for Brand Messaging

Companies that truly know their personas have the ability to provide a more targeted brand message that resonates with their customers.

This provides a great deal of value in the marketing and sales process.


Creating Buyer Personas

Research, surveys, and interviews of your target audience are all vital components to creating your personas. These personas encapsulate prospects, your existing customers, and potential target audiences you want to sell to in the future.

The following are some tactics to create effective buyer personas:


  • Gain Valuable Customer Insight from Your CRM and Marketing Automation Tools

It’s important to review your CRM and marketing automation tools to gather the necessary insight from your contact records. This provides you a lot of valuable information that can be incorporated in the persona creation process.


  • Interview Prospects and Customers

You should perform interviews in-person or over the phone to get detailed assessments of how they view your industry, brand, products, or services.  


  • Gather Sales Team and Customer Service Feedback

Your sales team and customer service representatives can provide you a great deal of valuable information when it comes to your potential and existing customers. Sales interaction with leads and existing clients can provide better information defining buyers, and how they perceive your brand, product and services. This feedback can be instrumental in creating personas.


Data Required for Creating Personas

When creating personas, there are multiple forms of data you should gather and utilize. The more detailed information you acquire, the better you’ll be able to create your personas.

In the research and interview phase, there are a number of factors you’re going to want to ask each prospect and client about. The following is a detailed list:

  • Drivers and motivations 
  • Demographic information 
  • Fears and challenges
  • Individual goals
  • Company goals
  • Buying habits
  • Role in the burying process
  • Role in the company
  • Hobbies and interests


Yes, creating personas is hard work, but the benefits are immense. If done correctly, the financial payoff can be more than worth the effort.

Remember, companies that exceed revenues goals are more than twice as likely to use personas for demand generation (the process of driving interest and awareness about a particular brand or company) than companies that don’t thoroughly undertake this process.