I was speaking with a prospective new client the other day and he told me this sad story. He and his marketing team had built a great looking new website. They spent months choosing the right platform, writing new copy, selecting images and building all of the webpages. They had a grand opening and sent out an email to their list. And the results were… Ho-hum.

Very few people showed up. They did receive some nice comments from current clients. Yet, their traffic didn’t suddenly increase, as they had hoped. Their new blog didn’t get a lot of views or registrations. Time on site was no better than before. The market place seemed to yawn at them. This was incredibly frustrating after months of hard work.

But here’s the worst part. This leader had sponsored the new website internally and led the charge on the rebuild. He had done his absolute best, but the results were not good. After 6 months of the new website being live, they could not account for a single new client who came to them through the website or was even influenced by the new website. This leader’s credibility took a huge hit. I really don’t want you to experience this. Let’s talk about how you can do much better.

Key Take-Away:

No one cares about who you are or what you do until they understand how this will benefit them.

It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to

The sad tale I’ve just described occurs more frequently than you might imagine. The downside to these types of projects is that the leaders who take responsibility for the website rebuild often put themselves in a difficult position.

If a company spends a significant amount of money and energy on a new website, it probably will not satisfy senior leaders to hear that your website looks awesome. That probably won’t cut it with the people who allocate the budget.

Instead, at least in my experience, senior leaders and business owners want something that they may not explicitly say as the go along for the ride, approving comps and reviewing pages. They want new clients and an improved market position. If your website rebuild project doesn’t deliver this, and deliver it in a way that is uncontestable, then your credibility could be at risk. 


If you build it they… may or may not come

There was a famous baseball movie in the US called Field of Dreams. In the movie, a cosmic character whispers in the evening sunset – if you build it, they will come. The main character plows under an entire field of corn crops and builds a baseball diamond on it. Everyone thinks he’s crazy, but at the end of the movie, cars are moving toward his house by the thousands.

It’s a nice image. It’s enticing. We all want to believe that our grand visions will bear that kind of fruit. But my experience tells me otherwise. If you build it, they may show up. But then again, you might just have plowed under your corn crop with nothing to show for it. It might cost you the farm.

No. I really don’t believe this saying works for the modern digital marketer, especially for marketers in the professional services space. I have a new saying that, I believe, rings far more true.

  • If you build it, for your ideal client with their goals, opportunities and challenges in mind,
  • If you build it, and fill it chock full of your best ideas and content,
  • If you build it, and then promote your ideas through the digital ecosystem and make those ideas point back to your website for even more great ideas,
  • If you build it, and are absolutely consistent, month after month, to provision great ideas into the digital ecosystem….

Then slowly, painfully slowly truth be told, they will begin to come.

At first, it will feel like the tinniest trickle. Then it will become a stream. Then it will become a river. Eventually, you’ll ask yourself how you can handle all of the leads and opportunities that are coming your way.

This is the sort of payoff that you want, and the senior managers and business owners want. But to arrive at this position, you have to take the right steps.


The three critical steps

To achieve the goal of new client acquisition, there are three critical steps you need to take. All of them touch your new website, but are not related to code, graphics or messaging directly. What I’m about to outline for you here is the strategy that really works for pulling great prospects from the outer regions of the digital ecosystem into a relationship with your company.

Here are the three steps:

  • Build a website that speaks to the goals, opportunities and challenges of ideal clients.
  • Develop the right content marketing strategy.
  • Deploy marketing automation to track everything.

That’s it. That’s the strategy. Sounds easy enough, right? Well there is a whole lot here, so let’s unpack this a bit.


Build a website that speaks to the goals, opportunities and challenges of ideal clients

One of the biggest mistakes I see companies making today is building websites that are about them. Here is a hard reality that you need to reckon with right now.

No one cares about who you are or what you do until they understand how this will benefit them.

That’s hard to hear isn’t it? After 25 years of being a marketing executive, it was incredibly painful for me to hear that my life’s work was meaningless to other people. This was my King Solomon moment. All is vanity.

But we made a transition nearly three years ago now that has made a major impact on our business and on our client’s businesses who follow our counsel. This is why our website traffic is strong, and most importantly, the people we want to connect with cannot resist coming to our website for more.

If you want to build a website that converts users to leads to prospects to clients, you have to follow one simple principle. I call it the new 80-20 rule. Eighty percent of your webpages have to tell clients how to achieve their goals, realize their opportunities and overcome their challenges.

No more than 20% of your webpages can tell clients who you are, what you do, who you serve, who is on your team or why you’re great. This is the new 80-20 rule. If you follow this rule, your website will get really sticky. People will not be able to resist your great ideas. 


Develop the right content marketing strategy

Content marketing is all the rage, but it’s also the source of some huge marketing failures. For content marketing to become a driver of new clients, you have to deploy the right strategy. Here it is in simple terms: shallow swim and deep dive.

Shallow swim content tells prospective ideal clients how to achieve goals, realize opportunities and overcome challenges in about 1,500 words. It’s a tall order. But it’s critical.

Blogging is the most obvious form of shallow swim content. I call it shallow swim because it’s like a prospective client wading in your stream about up to their ankles. It should take no more than just a few moments to consume your shallow swim content.

But deeper dive content should require a much greater time investment. It’s like prospects diving headlong right into the river of your content.

This includes content marketing tactics like webinars, e-books and action guides. These assets are deeply thoughtful, if you develop them the right way, and give prospects a lot of ideas to chew on. Most importantly, they position you as the trusted advisor.

But these two types of assets alone are not enough. You need to position them the right way in the digital ecosystem. Our strategy is to make every shallow swim content asset a bridge to a deeper dive asset. This is how you drive traffic from the digital ecosystem outside of your website, into your website.


Deploy marketing automation to track everything

It’s not enough to build a great website and develop an effective content marketing strategy. You need marketing automation to track everything. Why do you need this?

With marketing automation, you can see what’s working and what isn’t working. This allows you to make course corrections over time. This, in effect, gives you a greater yield for the same amount of effort from the same team. Marketing automation is especially important for small marketing teams.

But the main reason you need marketing automation is to prove, unequivocally, that your strategy is working. You need to be able to demonstrate to yourself, senior management, company owners and other stakeholders that your efforts are not in vain.

With marketing automation, you can prove, at the very contact level, when someone entered your funnel. You can see how they progressed through the funnel and what content assets they consumed. You can even track how much revenue they are generating for your company.

With the right marketing automation strategy in place, your credibility will never be in question. 


Where do you go from here?

The ideas I’ve given you in this article are just a small sample of what you’ll find in an E-Book I’ve written called Ten Things Service Websites Must Do To Drive Revenue. This free and powerful resource is a must for any service professional who is thinking about rebuilding their website.