“I’ve never gotten one lead from my website.”
That’s what one technology business owner said to me as we worked on his content.
Almost all his business came from word of mouth. He wanted a website to be more than a digital placeholder. He wants leads – prospects and future customers.
He’s not alone.
If your website doesn’t grow your income, it’s expensive screen art.
Many websites frustrate their business owners because all they do is sit there. They don’t get the kind of response that the business needs to grow. They run up costs, with too little visible return.
A low-functioning website saps finances and motivation. Your hopes for income and growth start to sink. It drains energy time, money and enthusiasm. You don’t get the reaction a business must have to reach more people.
That’s a real downer. I’ve been there.
When a website isn’t doing its job, business owners have to spend even more time scrambling to pick up the slack, find customers other ways, and earn less money.
Why doesn’t your website get you more leads?
Is the problem the message, the traffic, or the use of attention?
Business expert and author Donald Miller blames low-achieving sites on a lack of clarity. If you have a simple, clear message, he argues, you’ll cut through the noise in your market and you’ll see sales increase. His business offers a system for creating clear marketing messages using a story framework he calls Storybrand.
But what good is a clear message without an effective plan for the attention?
I agree with Miller that marketing needs to be clear. Many websites look great but a vague message lets visitors down. People come looking for guidance to survive better. “If you confuse you’ll lose” says a Storybrand tagline. Clarity helps more visitors see value in your solution.
But once a business has a clear marketing message, then what? Turning a vague message into a clear one is half the battle. The other half is to open channels for connection to engage further.
Word of mouth is one channel. You don’t need a website to have people tell their friends to call you. You just need them to remember your name and hope they talk about the problem you solve often enough.
A website can open channels that add to word of mouth. A site that works can connect us with people in ways to help us continue the conversation.
But we have to create those openings and guide folks through them.
Is your website squandering attention?
Many websites use attention in ways that don’t help the business much. Their message may be clear. They show smiling happy people, explain problems well, offer good solutions and make sure you can’t miss the “buy” button. They use SEO, offer helpful information, even downloadable guides. Why doesn’t the business grow more?
Without a planned path for incoming attention, even the clearest message can’t do what the business needs.
For our website to work, we need to know how to manage attention. Because if we want website visitors to do something – like become a lead or a customer – we need them to do more than stop by.
Attention is the first engagement level to reach in order to be of service to others.
By guiding attention, our websites can help visitors and ourselves.
That’s why, on our websites, we need to master the art of directing attention toward action that helps us grow.
You need a clear message AND a clear channel for attention
Think of a website as space for a digital system (made of words, pictures and programs) made to achieve business goals.
That system runs on attention. Our website is our space to create experiences that guide attention. Those experiences help visitors, and open connections between visitors and ourselves – in ways that serve the needs on both ends of the line.
So how do you help your website manage the attention you need, in ways customers like as well?
Think of your business website as a CHANNEL for:
C Campaigns that
H Help your
Website lead generation example: CHANNEL attention with a plan
You might expect “content” to be the starting word, but it isn’t. It’s campaigns.
Content may be king in marketing. But first, content needs a campaign to work. Here’s how.
A website lead generation campaign is just a series of connected links
A helpful definition of a campaign is “a connected series of operations designed to bring about a particular result.”
We get “campaign” from the Latin campus, the French word for countryside (campagne) and the English word camp.
A campaign is a plan that moves people through open digital country toward a goal.
Our website is our claim to digital space. Our job is to deploy connected operations to move people across our online countryside – toward a goal.
You may be more familiar with campaigns than you think. We’re bombarded so many campaigns we treat most of them as noise. We’re subject to over 6,000 ads per day, says one estimate.
Some website lead generation examples work better than others. Let’s take one that works well and see how it works.
You as a solo marketer can use the same website lead generation example as a successful giant
Let’s look at an example from an attention-guiding master. HubSpot knows how to do website lead generation. They deploy a series of operations — mainly links — to get results.
HubSpot is a email list growth monster. But even a solo marketer can connect the same website features. (I did! You’ll see!)
The HubSpot method works for a small or one-person business too:
- To draw traffic with free content
- Get contact information
- Build an audience
- Nurture interest
- Follow up with emails and one-on-one sales calls
We’ll break down how they use one piece of content as a channel to capture contact information:
Every campaign needs a clear goal. In this example, the goal is email list building. (It worked on me, by the way).
HubSpot knows its target audience searches the web to learn how to use content to attract and convert customers better.
So they make tremendous efforts to educate (aka help) people about marketing campaigns – for free:
- They created a massive, 4807-word post, just on campaigns: The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Campaigns
They know the types of words their audience uses when looking for help. So they use phrases like “marketing campaign” words to show up high in search engine results
- HubSpot applied Search Engine Optimization (SEO) to this post, resulting in high rank in search results for over 215 keywords. Here’s a small sample of keywords that display this piece in the top 10 results:
- I got the help I came for – a definition I can use to make better campaigns. Then I moved my cursor off the page to return to my task.
HubSpot knows what all people do on a web page: they eventually leave. To navigate us goal-ward instead, they equipped the page to use a popup operation:
- Pop-up interception!
HubSpot deploys an operation triggered by the visitor’s motion to leave. This trigger is called exit intent. Moving to navigate off their page triggers a popup with a message to join other marketers:
By the way, note these exemplary conversion tactics: social proof, the invitation to join a tribe, and clean low friction design – not even a blank to fill in!
Necessary Engagement Levels
HubSpot believes an email address is necessary to follow up with someone who pays attention its webpage.
That’s the first level of engagement. This page includes an operation to ensure a request for the visitor’s email.
A tap of the “subscribe” button opens one blank for an email address.
- The next operation presents a tempting offer in question form – do I want to blog like the successful HubSpot?
Another pop-up offers to give the person in a specific audience – someone who’s likely “started with one post” more free help toward their goal:
The call-to-action, “Download free ebook” isn’t even a button. It’s a simple link.
It guides us to a landing page for the free guide: “How to start a successful blog.”
We’re moving to a new level of engagement. There’s a lot of design and messaging invested in this page.
The “Download Now” button asks for more. To get this guide (advance to this level), you have to provide additional personal information.
Necessary information is the goal
Necessary engagement levels focus on getting you what you need to grow your business, while addressing your visitors’ needs too.
Your customer has needs too — to know what help they need and how to get it.
HubSpot needs to qualify good leads. Eventually they want to talk with good prospects by phone. Getting your name, company and your phone number into their system is a necessary step for them.
They know visitors have needs too. Business marketers and owners need good information to get their blogs going – from people who clearly know what they’re doing.
Sharing Your Knowledge Can Help You Grow
HubSpot built this channel for attention on its website to serve the needs both of the visitor and the business with a few simple forms and downloads.
HubSpot’s marketers are masters of working their website as a growth channel.
This example embodies all the parts that CHANNEL stands for:
Campaign: Connected operations to collect visitor data
to Help: by providing high quality information
Audience: a known target of content marketers
Navigate: using a sequence of simple pop-up forms
Necessary: designed to get at least one thing the business needs. Here it’s an email address – an essential channel for follow-up after a visitor leaves
Engagement Levels: a chain of offers to more help in exchange for more information
Getting leads from your website is about channelling attention
Too many websites waste visitor attention. It’s not because business owners like you and me are careless or clueless. We are busy. Nobody’s explained the CHANNEL process in ways we can use with what we have.
Get the free mini-course
Get a personalized free mini course on the steps to build a simple channel to help guide people’s attention to connect with you.
Making a web page that works as a CHANNEL for leads and income is do-able.
If you have a website, you already have a place to start.
Even if your website has been little more than a digital business card, it doesn’t have to stay that way.
Here’s one website lead generation example on my website
I want you to be able to say: “I see how to get leads from my website.” You’ll see this page is a living example of how one person can set up a HubSpot-like lead-building campaign in WordPress. Even if you’re a low-tech solo marketer, you can do this!
Creating any business website is a big investment. And it need not be wasted or fruitless. Now that you have an idea of how a CHANNEL for attention works, you have a better way to build one for your business.
A website that helps your business grow helps guide visitor attention in ways that serve you both.