12 Hidden Obstacles to Online Lead Generation

If you’re like most of the business owners who initially turn to us for help, you’re dealing with two obstacles. The first is that your website isn’t actually creating any sales opportunities for you. And the second is that you don’t have any idea why that might be.

This issue is far more common than you might think. Everyone wants a website that will help them win new customers and create revenue, but most business owners don’t actually know how to build a workable sales funnel. That’s our specialty, of course. 

What we often discover in working with new clients is that the first step to generating leads is actually removing the obstacles that get in the way. In other words, before you can do the right things, you have to stop doing the wrong ones.

In today’s post, we want to take you through a dozen of the most obvious and common errors we see when evaluating client sites. Here are some quick reasons your website might not be selling the way you want it to.

1. Your Website Has No Traffic

If no one is coming to your website and seeing your content, then you can’t be surprised that leads aren’t pouring in. While the relationship between web traffic and sales opportunities isn’t always as straightforward as business owners think, you do need one to get the other. 

If you don’t have sufficient interest in your website to generate traffic, it might be time to look at search engine optimization, internet advertising, email marketing, and other tactics that draw visitors in.

2. Your Pages Load Too Slowly

Sometimes it can seem as if you have plenty of visits to your website when in reality no one is viewing your content. How can this happen? If your webpages take a long time (i.e. more than a few seconds) to load, then you might be losing visitors before you ever get the chance to sell.

Slow websites are usually a symptom of underpowered web hosting, coding errors, or issues with improperly formatted content. These kinds of problems are easily detectable with a website audit and should be easy to fix.

3. Your Website Layout Isn’t Mobile-Friendly

Did you know that more than half of all the visitors to most websites are using mobile-ready phones and tablets? If your layout isn’t configured to be compatible with these devices, then users might leave… Or they might not even get the chance to see your content in the first place.

There are plenty of ways to add mobile functionality to an existing business website. The technology is easy and inexpensive and can have a huge impact on your ability to generate sales opportunities online. Why wouldn’t you want half or more of your prospects to be able to see what your company has to offer?

4. Your Pages Have Technical Errors or Broken Links

There are a lot of things that can go wrong on a business website that aren’t apparent to the naked eye. You could have missing pieces of content, outdated plugins, or links that don’t actually go from one page or tool to another. This is especially prevalent on older websites, or those that have been created using DIY tools and templates.

An experienced web design team (using auditing software) can detect these kinds of issues and clean them up very quickly. If you never look for these kinds of problems, though, you might not realize they are preventing website visitors from turning into qualified leads.

5. Your Web Design Hurts Your Credibility

When someone arrives at your website for the first time, they have to make near-instant assumptions about the quality of your products and services. The initial impression they get from your designs and layouts can be all-important.

If you have a color scheme that doesn’t work, outdated low-res images to sell your products and services, or a generally disorganized feel to your content, then that’s going to tell a story that works against you. Remember, a lot of people who come to your website won’t know anything about you except for what they see right in front of them. Make sure it doesn’t convince them to take their time and money elsewhere.

6. There Are Obvious Typos on Your Pages

This can seem like a minor issue on your business website, especially if you spent a lot of money on design and development. What we want you to understand, though, is that no one will share their contact information with you if they don’t trust the credibility of your company. And few things destroy confidence in your professionalism faster than a whole bunch of obvious typos and grammatical errors.

It’s easy and inexpensive to have someone proofread the content on your website. That one investment of time and money can boost your lead generation results in a big way.

7. Your Content Doesn’t Set Your Business Apart

If your business seems like it blends in with all of your competitors, then why should anyone work with you? In other words, if you aren’t offering anything unique then there isn’t any reason to choose the products and services your company offers.

This shouldn’t be an issue in most marketing situations, but we frequently come across websites that have obviously been “inspired” by another more successful business. Being generic, blending in, or copying other business owners is no way to make a name for yourself, and it’s generally not going to help you attract new customers.

8. Potential Customers Don’t Trust You

Sometimes intentional customers won’t trust you even though your design and content are strong. It might be that they’ve been burned in the past or have seen your competitors overhyping their own products and services.

If you suspect that might be the case, then your best bet is to do whatever you can to make your business more trustworthy. That might include showing off verified reviews, pointing out that you are a member of the Better Business Bureau, or even highlighting a money-back guarantee. Any of these can help remove distrust and encourage conversion.

9. What You’re Asking Isn’t Realistic

Imagine for a moment you were trying to sell a mansion on your website. Would you put up some photos and a “buy now” button, or maybe include a downloadable brochure that invited visitors to an open house?

This is a ridiculous example, but it points to a bigger issue. What you ask for as a next-step working version of your website needs to be reasonable and realistic. If you ask visitors to give up too much, too soon, then you’re bound to be disappointed by the results.

10. There Isn’t an Obvious Conversion Option for Customers to Follow

In order for your website to generate leads, you’re going to have to ask visitors to take a step that goes beyond simply reading your content. You might want them to sign up for a webinar, download a buyer’s guide, schedule a phone call, or do something else. The specifics aren’t as important as the need to be clear in your invitation.

If website visitors can’t tell what they should do to let you know they are interested, then you can’t be surprised when they don’t ever follow up. And if they don’t follow-up, you aren’t creating any new sales.

11. Your Lead or Purchase Link Doesn’t Work

It’s amazing how often we see this kind of issue pop up. It only makes sense, if you want to generate leads for your website, that you would have working apps or features in place that allow people to share email addresses, download white papers, sign up for appointments, etc. However, lots of marketers never test these tools to ensure that they are working properly.

You need to check and double-check every part of your conversion process. Be sure they all work, and that they’re functional with a variety of browsers and devices. If you don’t, you could be letting sales opportunities slip away without ever realizing it.

12. There Aren’t Any Follow Up Mechanisms in Place

Even when you do have a strong sales funnel in place and don’t have any obvious errors on your website, many prospects simply aren’t going to become leads the first time you ask them. They might want to talk with a spouse or supervisor, for example, before submitting an inquiry or scheduling an appointment.

If you don’t have any follow up mechanisms in place – such as a retargeting an ad campaign or automated email autoresponder series – those opportunities might be lost forever. Make it easy for potential customers to stay in touch, or give them second and third chances to say “yes” to the next step in your sales funnel.

Could Your Website Be Doing More For Your Business?

It used to be enough to have a professional business website that told prospects all about your business and your products. In today’s digital marketing world, though, you need a tool that helps you establish your brand, drawing qualified leads, and generate finished sales. You might even want your website to process orders, automate mundane tasks, and help with recruiting.

How Closely Should You Copy a Competitor’s Website?

Judging by the phone calls and in-person meetings we sit through, there is a certain level of ice cold dread that comes with finding out a close competitor has launched a new website. It’s not hard to understand why. Who would enjoy the thought of another company having a powerful tool to steal their customers?

Because things like income and prestige are squarely on the line, many business owners and executives will want to take immediate action when a competitor steps up to the plate. Specifically, they’ll inquire about copying certain parts of another website they have seen and liked. But is this a good idea?

Before we answer this question, let us point out that you’re always going to have competitors and it’s easy to over-react. When you see something new or interesting in your industry, try to look at it the way a customer would. Is the other company doing something valuable, or just vaguely interesting?

Once you have that mindset in place, you’re ready to come back to the original question: how closely should you copy a competitor’s website? To help you find the right answer, let’s go through a quick series of ideas…

Figure Out What You Like

Often, when a business owner tells us they “really liked” a competitor’s website, it turns out they actually appreciate a single feature or design point. This is important because you shouldn’t go and duplicate big parts of a strategy when you are actually enamored with a small part of it. It can be difficult to separate the various elements when you’re first looking at them, so break the website down into pieces and try to identify specific traits that you find engaging.

Separate Features from Gimmicks

Remember, the goal is to think like a customer. Often, the things we see on competitors’ websites seem fascinating to us as marketers but deliver very little in terms of payoff for customers. It’s important to be able to separate what is shiny from what is useful. Otherwise you could end up adding things to your website that get in the way of your success rather than adding to it.

Find Out What’s Feasible and Profitable

Suppose you determine there are elements of your competitor’s website that you really are fond of, and feel like your best customers would be impressed with. The next step is to find out whether you can add them to your own site legally, feasibly, and profitably. You certainly can’t copy word for word, but you might be able to add your own version of an app or a downloadable report. Talk to your web design team and figure out what makes sense in the context of your existing site or a redesigned page.

Put Your Own Spin and Improvement on the Idea

Rather than just copying something your competitors have done, why not take the next stepone most business owners and executives missand see if you can improve on the idea? Look for ways to put the unique spend on what your competitors have done or make it more engaging and valuable. Often this kind of brainstorming leads to groundbreaking innovations.

Get More Proactive about Web Design

Finally, regardless of whether you institute some version of your competitor’s idea or not, don’t settle for simply following their lead. Sit down with your web design team and internal staff and see if there are more ideas you can come up with that go beyond what is currently available in the market. Look for ways to give extra value to your customer base. The more often you do this the easier it will become to have the competition following you instead of needing to worry about catching up to them.

Ready to Start Leading the Pack in Your Market?

Far too many business owners feel as if they are simply following the herd online rather than leading the pack. If you want to have a website that gets your competitors worried about what they should be doinginstead of the other way aroundthen it’s time to get serious about thinking outside the box.

Effectively Marketing to Your Company’s Advantage

At The Marcom Group, we often meet business owners who have tried marketing their company on their own but never quite achieved the results they wanted. Maybe branding and marketing your business has taken a backseat to your daily operations. You want more business and more traffic to your website, but you’re not quite sure how to accomplish that. Working with a professional, full-service advertising agency like The Marcom Group can provide you with the guidance and resources you need to more effectively market to your target demographic. 

The Marcom Group: Your Marketing Partner 

Many businesses owners don’t realize just how important marketing is from the outset. They may use cookie-cutter services to create their website and other marketing materials—but these templated services are limited in how much they can personalize to your business. Do-it-yourself programs can only offer so many functions—but with The Marcom Group, your options are nearly limitless. From your website to your logo to your social media advertising, our team can help you create a cohesive brand that will be a lot more effective at bringing your business to the next level. 

When companies use professional marketing materials, it can make a big difference in how potential customers perceive them. Done properly, a custom-designed business card, logo, and website can show that you are an authority in your industry. People will be more likely to trust you than someone who has put little effort into building their brand. Our staff consists of talented graphic designers, web developers, copywriters, and digital marketing strategists. Each member of the team specializes in their area, providing our customers with a level of customer service and professional expertise that they just can’t get with ready-made programs. We pride ourselves on being able to offer a variety of creative solutions for each individual company’s requirements. 

When we meet with a new client, we ask them to think beyond their immediate needs to consider their long-term goals. This often includes utilizing social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram to improve their web presence and more effectively reach their target demographic. Social media is an important component of any marketing strategy, but many business owners don’t have the time to keep up with their accounts. Our team can work with you to create the SEO-enhanced content you want customers to see, post it across your accounts, and boost the posts to reach the right customers. 

We Take a Holistic Approach to Your Branding

New businesses may not have a huge marketing budget, which can make them wary of seeking out professional help. However, The Marcom Group partners with each client to maximize their marketing budget no matter how large or how small it may be. We offer a diverse range of services customized to your business. We use a holistic approach to consider all aspects of a client’s brand, from their brochures and trade show displays to their website and social media posts. This provides for more cohesive branding across all mediums, which helps to improve your corporate identity.  

Many of our clients are concerned with ranking high in online search results. This is important to earning more business from people who are searching for a particular keyword or phrase related to your industry. After all, people are more likely to select a business on the first page of their Google search than one that’s several pages in. However, you must have the right SEO plan in place to get that kind of result. For the best SEO rankings, your website must be secure, fast to load, and easy to navigate. It should also be regularly updated with high-quality content using a variety of mediums, such as photographs, videos, blog posts, and other interactive tools. We utilize the latest SEO strategies, including Google Ads, to improve rankings for our clients. From regularly updating plug-ins and checking security features to posting blogs and other content, we can manage all aspects of your website to optimize it for PCs and mobile devices. 

A business’s online reputation is paramount to their success, so we also encourage our clients to reach out to their customers to post Google reviews. This increases your online presence via a platform that more and more people are relying on every day. Replying to negative reviews can also demonstrate that you care about customer experiences. We make providing this level of customer service easy through automated responses that help you reach customers more quickly, saving you time while also showing prospective customers that you’re responsive to their concerns.

Why It’s Time to Upgrade Your Web Hosting

Web hosting is an easy topic for business owners to ignore. After all, most don’t really understand how it works, never see the computers where their websites are stored. Also most are easily bored by details like server speeds.

So, rather than get into the technical minutia of different web hosting packages and configurations, today we simply want to remind our clients and readers that it’s time to review your hosting package. In fact, it’s likely that you could benefit from upgrading to a better plan.

Reluctant to spend money on something you don’t quite see the value in? Let’s look at a few things you get with dedicated web hosting…

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Is Your Business Website Ready for 2020?

We’ve flipped the calendar to a new year, and that has a lot of business owners thinking about what’s ahead in 2020. Many are thinking specifically about their websites, which have become crucial to sales and marketing and our digitally-driven world.

When you have a top-notch web presence for your business, you have an advantage over the competition. When your website isn’t keeping up, on the other hand, it’s hard to keep customers coming your way.

With that in mind, is your business website ready for 2020? Here are four questions you can ask yourself to find the answer…

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Is Your Business Website Mobile-Friendly, or Just Mobile-Compatible?

You have probably heard by now that more than half of all web traffic originates from mobile devices. Experts agree nearly two-thirds of us will access the internet primarily through phones and tablets in the next few years. We agree that Google factors mobile compatibility into it’s search algorithm.

Many of the business owners and executives we work with are aware of these facts but don’t really incorporate them into their online marketing strategies. They do the bare minimum to make their websites mobile-compatible but don’t really go any farther.

That can be a big mistake in an increasingly mobile-dependent world. It’s always a good idea to give your customers more of what they want. If they’re using mobile devices to find you, then it makes sense to provide a better mobile online experience.

We think so. To help you determine whether your business website is mobile-compatible or mobile-friendly let’s look at three different levels of implementation…

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What a Perfect Web Design Looks Like

When business owners and marketing executives turn to us it isn’t because they want an “average” or “great” web page design – they want the very best. But what exactly does that mean?

We hear versions of this question almost each and every day. So, we want to help our readers and clients by shedding a little light on what the perfect business web design looks like.

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Why You Shouldn’t Do SEO Without Social (or Vice Versa)

When social media marketing started taking off, some business owners sought it as a way to replace search engine optimization (SEO). With a few tweets and posts, they imagined they might be able to break away from the competitive and sometimes-grueling cycle of generating and promoting content.

Lately, we have seen the opposite happening: that some small and medium-sized companies are ignoring their social profiles to get back to the more proven strategy of turning search visitors into customers. 

We think that’s a mistake. While SEO might be a more direct route to growing your bottom line, social media marketing still has its place. In fact, we don’t think you should invest time and money in search without also paying attention to your social accounts. Let’s look at why.

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5 Bad Reasons Business Owners Put Off Web Design

Are you one of the millions of business owners who know they need a new website or at least improvements to an existing web presence, but put it off month after month? If so, the good news is you aren’t alone. Many of your peers are procrastinating as well. The bad news is that some of your competitors are taking action and might be well on the way to leaving you behind.

It’s human nature to put off projects that don’t seem urgent, but delaying improvements to your website is a losing strategy. For one thing, your online presence can be your most important sales and marketing tool. It’s nearly impossible to grow your bottom line these days with an underwhelming digital strategy. And for another thing, your excuses for putting things off probably aren’t as strong as you might think.

If you want a little bit of proof, let’s look at five exceptionally bad reasons business owners tend to put off web design projects…

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The 5 Stages of SEO Effectiveness

Business owners tend to think about search engine optimization (SEO) in terms of it either “working” or “not working.” That is, they believe you either dominate on Google or can’t be found anywhere in the first twenty pages of the search listings.

It’s understandable that someone looking at SEO from the outside might take this view, especially if you aren’t used to getting traffic from search engines. However, the reality is most marketers move through a progression of SEO effectiveness until they either stop trying or run into a competitor who was working harder than they are.

To give you a sense of what that progression looks like, let’s look at the five typical stages of a profitable SEO campaign…

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