One of the most important goals of inbound lead generation is to use your website to build credibility with prospects. All your prospective customers are going to read your website and check out your overall online presence before they decide to pick up the phone.
The content and design of your website can make the difference between converting website visits to sales leads, and missing out on big opportunities from prospects who quietly scan through your site, but then leave without making their presence known.
Here are a few ways to make sure your website is sending the right messages to build trust and turn more of your website visitors into promising sales leads:
Make Sure Your Website Design is Up to Date and Easy to Navigate
The fastest way to lose the trust of your website visitors is for your website design to be out-of-date, clunky or hard to navigate.
Ideally, your website should offer a clean, simple design that is easy for the reader to quickly scan through. Avoid flashy designs and “bells and whistles.” Make it easy for your website visitors to see the key messages and click through to the places you want them to go to invite further contact – whether it’s requesting a free quote, or offering a free download in exchange for their e-mail addresses.
Start a Blog and Update it Regularly
If you don’t already have a company blog, you should definitely start one and keep it updated with fresh content.
The reason: Having a blog is one of the most important ways to drive regular, recurring traffic to your website.
When people come to your site, they need to have something to read that lets them know you’re still in business and still actively commenting on your industry’s latest issues and trends. Another advantage of using a blog for inbound lead generation is that every single blog article helps to create a “long tail” of keywords and content that prospective customers can find, often months or years after you first published the article.
It’s great to publish blog content about the latest news and issues in your industry, but it also helps to publish some “evergreen” content about more general topics – advice, “top 10 lists,” informative infographics or commentary about what your company learned from a recent project or a recent customer challenge.
Include Real-Life Success Stories From Your Customers
One of the first questions your prospective customers are asking themselves when they visit your site is:
“Will this company keep its promises? Are their solutions real? Will I get a good result from hiring them?”
You can put your prospects’ minds at ease by offering real-life case studies from some of your recent customers. Show your website visitors the real stories of what your company does and how you help your customers achieve success, and you’ll be more likely to get casual website visitors to ask to hear more from you.
Add Client testimonials with Real Names
Client testimonials are one of the most powerful ways to build credibility on your website – but you need to use real names of your clients and your clients’ companies. If you only include anonymous or generic names of companies, like “XYZ Corporation,” that does not build credibility. If anything, it undermines your credibility because your website visitors will be asking themselves:
“Why can’t they use real company names? What are they trying to hide?”
Ideally, you want to make it easy for your prospective customers to be able to contact your clients who have given testimonials on your website. If a prospect is serious about doing business with you, they will take time to reach out to one of your former clients to ask about the experience.
That is actually a good thing. Only prospects that are thinking of hiring you will contact testimonials.
If your website can win the trust of your visitors, you’ll be more likely to motivate them to ask for more information or for a follow-up call. You don’t have to close a deal with your website. Most B2B sales organizations have a longer sales cycle than that.
But your website can help you harvest a much higher yield of inbound sales leads if it does a thorough job of answering the most important question on your prospect’s mind:
“Can I trust this company?”
Web Credibility Photo via Shutterstock
Thanks for the tips, Al.
I always use testimonials with real names, unless my client tells me I can’t.
Websites that have Carol T. and/or Bob D. don’t work for me.
And, yes; blogging creates cred if it’s consistent and one provides valuable and timely content.
The Franchise King®
Good tips Al. Our remodeling company ran a blog on WordPress for over a year, and we only had spam visitors as a result. We eventually let it run dry since we had no visitors or interest.
Now we focus on small bits of content on Twitter and Facebook.
Al, these are very good ideas.
I would add: don’t forget a good “About Us” page. For small businesses that are not household names, that’s one of the first pages new visitors want to check out. After all, they nothing about the company to cause them to have faith — until you tell them.
We’ve several articles on that here at Small Business Trends, including: 5 Must Haves for That About Us Page.
that is a very good if not the best I’ve read so far. Thanks Anita!
In regards to the customer stories and real names for testimonials, I also like to see real pictures of those customers. Not a fancy professional shot, just a simple one that a customer would have sent in or that you snapped in store.
I couldn’t agree with you more! As a former real estate broker turned consultant I use examples of how effective third party endorsements were in building my previous real estate business. My clients are always hestitant to request testimonials until we create a systematic process for collecting them…this always seems to relieve their anxiety and create a steady flow of good comments! Great article…
Great tips, Al.
It’s also good to add video to your website to increase creditably and trust with potential clients. Video is huge in 2013 for building traffic and getting more exposure, so I would strongly suggest that small businesses utilize it.