So…you’ve reached the magic number…the visitor goal you set for your website. In fact, you’ve reached it for a few months in a row. That’s great news, right? 10,000 visitors per month can’t be a bad thing.
Then you meet with your leadership team. When you share the news about hitting the goal number of visits, everyone seems really happy until they review the rest of the numbers. Revenue is trending down. The CEO asks, why aren’t these visitors translating to revenue growth and you’re not sure how to answer.
It doesn’t matter if your goal number of monthly visitors is 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000. At the end of the day, if sales and revenue are trending in the wrong direction, it really doesn’t matter how many visitors you have.
If you find yourself in this position, it is time to evaluate your approach. Something may be broken or missing in your demand generation strategy.
Here are five reasons your visitors may not be translating to new customers.
1. SEO tactics are working well but your website really isn’t
It’s one thing to have a website that ranks well with the search engines. It’s another to have a website that ranks well and converts visitors to leads and eventually to customers. It is possible to have one without the other.
The first item to check is the conversion rate (visits to leads) from your visitors that originate from search. As a general rule, you should be looking for a 1 – 3% conversion rate. If you’re getting less than that, you’re most likely either attracting the wrong visitors, or there’s something wrong with your conversion efforts.
Here are some items to consider:
- When someone visits your website, what is their user experience like?
- Are things organized in a clear, easy-to-understand way?
- Evaluate your calls-to-action. How many do you have? Where are they placed? Use a tool like Hotjar to help you see where visitors are clicking and more importantly, where they are not. You can also see how far they scroll down your pages. Move your CTAs where they will be seen.
Another thing to consider with your CTAs is do visitors know what they will get when they click on it? Make sure you define what it is. If it is a whitepaper, say so. If it is a checklist, make it obvious.
Last year, I wrote a post about conversion rate optimization. If your visitors aren’t even making it to lead status, it’s time to optimize.
2. Leads are not being properly identified/classified
If you are generating leads, the next area to consider is how those leads are being managed.
When a lead is received, it should go through a lead triage or lead scoring process. In our guide, How to Effectively Manage Inbound Leads, we describe the system we use. It starts with a lead classification system. Each lead is given a classification based on certain criteria. From there, certain actions are taken to further qualify the lead and move them through their buyer’s journey.
Without a structure in place, it is impossible to manage leads. A critical piece of that structure is alignment which bring me to my next point.
3. Sales and marketing efforts are misaligned
If your sales team feels like they are not getting qualified leads (or enough of them) and your marketing team feels like sales is not following up properly with the leads they are passing on to them, chances are your sales and marketing efforts are misaligned.
A key component to successful lead management is sales and marketing alignment. We talk about it a lot in this blog and have even created a workbook to help you put your own sales and marketing service level agreement in place.
Without alignment, it is hard, if not impossible, to move leads from lead status to customer. A service level agreement facilitates alignment. It is designed to clearly define each lead status – qualified lead, marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead – and where and how hand-offs occur. For example, when a lead is generated by your website, the SLA will define what happens next and who is responsible for that action.
If roles, responsibilities and actions are not clearly defined, documented and agreed upon by the demand generation team, it will be difficult to ever impact revenue with inbound leads. It's hard work but worth the effort to put together a sales and marketing service level agreement.
4. Lead nurturing efforts are not effective
If you’re expecting your leads to take action on their own volition, you are likely going to be disappointed. One of the biggest mistakes we see made by marketers is that leads get little to no action once they enter your database. Those marketers that do act are most likely to send some standard blast or newsletter and consider that effective – it is not.
At least 75% of leads you generate are not ready to buy. Turning visitors into customers requires you to effectively nurture them through their buying journey.
There are several types of lead nurturing approaches including engagement campaigns, education campaigns and active funnel campaigns. It’s important to design campaigns that are segmented properly, are personalized and that support the entire funnel. For more information on developing lead nurture campaigns, you can download our ebook here.
5. Leads are falling into the chasm
If you’re a regular reader of this blog, then you have heard/read about the chasm that exists between sales and marketing. Even when marketing and sales are aligned, their functions don’t actually connect. This leaves a chasm, where far too many leads fall. Turning visitors into revenue requires a third discipline that creates sales opportunities.
As I mentioned earlier, when a prospect visits your site and/or downloads premium content, it doesn’t mean they are ready to buy. Chances are they are just trying to figure out whether or not they have a problem and what that problem might be. Being the company that helps them figure it out can go a long way when they get to the decision stage.
With a well-designed sales development approach, leads are contacted personally through phone calls and emails designed to be very prospect-focused. Based on response or lack there of, prospects receive emails, voicemails and content that is relevant to them. This is not a selling approach. It is a helping approach. Executing this type of approach with leads results in more SQLs and eventually to more customers.
Reaching your monthly visitor goal is important and it is definitely something that needs to be tracked. After all, a demand generation strategy that isn’t generating enough interest at the top of the funnel is doomed. However, it is important to keep the big picture in mind. Ten thousand (or whatever your number is) visits mean very little when sales are declining.