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Sure your Web site looks great, but are you turning enough Web visitors into leads that your sales force can target? Your answer can be the difference between a site that is a moneymaker and one that is nothing more than a glorified brochure.

Your Web site can offer your company many opportunities to generate leads and cultivate new business. But, to be successful, you should follow the "TCM" approach:

T = Target: Attract targeted prospects to your Web site that are seeking your products and services.

C = Convert: Convert anonymous visitors into named leads that can feed your business development process.

M = Measure: Measure the results of your online marketing efforts to enhance the effectiveness of future TCM campaigns.

Drive targeted visitors

The first step is to target the right audience—the one highly likely to want your products or services. Members of this audience are out there. You know their profile, their interests and their buying habits.

Now the key is to get them to visit your Web site when they are looking for a solution. Below is a summary of the essential methods for driving targeted traffic to your Web site.

Search Engine Marketing

Research confirms that over 80% of prospective Web customers begin by using search engines to locate products, services or information. So, search engine marketing should be part of any marketing program. There are two primary techniques for attracting targeted visitors from search engines: search engine optimization (SEO) and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

SEO is the ongoing process of designing, writing and coding your Web site to maximize the chance that its pages will appear at the top of the "organic" or "natural" search engine results.

Search engines determine your ranking in the organic search results primarily by analyzing your Web site for the following:

  • Keyword relevance—how relevant the keyword phrase is used in your Web site's copy and site coding

  • Link popularity—the quantity and quality of third-party sites that link to your Web site

The higher your keyword relevance and link popularity, the higher your position will be in the organic search results. SEO is a gradual process that can take weeks or months to achieve.

PPC advertising is a search engine marketing technique that requires you to pay when someone clicks to your Web site from a brief text-based advertisement that you have placed in the sponsored links section of the search engine results. You pay a fee (starting at just 10 cents per click) every time that your advertisement is clicked by a user.

The more you agree to pay per click for that keyword, and the more effective your ad is, the higher your site will rank in the paid results. Pay-per-click advertising is immediate, and you can begin driving targeted traffic on the first day.

Your search engine marketing strategy should focus on understanding the keyword phrases that your target audience is searching for, and leveraging a combination of SEO and PPC advertising to gain maximum impact for these phrases.

Offline Direct Marketing and Advertising

Just because we are talking about online marketing doesn't mean you should forget about offline marketing. Print advertisements and direct mail pieces are excellent vehicles for driving targeted traffic to your Web site. By including a compelling call to action in these pieces to direct prospects to visit your Web site for more details, you can increase the value and ROI gained from your offline marketing efforts.

Also, by including unique Web addresses or landing pages for each offline marketing piece, you can measure the effectiveness of each individual ad, publication and direct mail piece.

Convert the targeted

You have enticed the right audience to visit your Web site. Now, how do you convert these anonymous visitors into named leads for your salespeople?

Don't rely only on your site's "Contact Us" form, hoping your visitors will find it and fill it out. You must pepper your Web site with a variety of ways for prospects to reach out to you. To effectively convert visitors into leads, you must provide your target audience with valuable offers and information in exchange for providing basic contact information.

Of course, this does not mean putting an online form in front of all of your Web site content. It means you must get inside the head of your prospects to understand what they are looking for, and provide a simple process for prospects to request access to it.

The following is a sample of content and features that can be used to convert visitors into leads:

  • Purchase online—the ultimate conversion

  • Order form for free samples or a free trial of a service

  • Subscribe to your email newsletter

  • Register to access "premium content"—whitepapers, presentations, articles, etc.

  • "Call me now" or online chat to reach out to salespeople

  • Registrations for seminars, Webinars or events

Your Web site should include a combination of these techniques to maximize the conversion rate of your lead-generation efforts.

Measure the effectiveness

Where is your most profitable Web traffic coming from? What features on your Web site are converting the most leads? Ongoing success measurement will help you answer these questions by identifying what is working, and what is not.

Measurement is the most important, yet least utilized aspect of any marketing program. You must measure the success of every aspect of your lead-generation efforts to identify your most successful targeting techniques, as well as your most effective conversion methods.

You should establish a Web site analytics system to monitor the following metrics:

  • Total leads

  • Conversion rate—visitor-to-lead ratio

  • Average cost per lead

  • Average revenue per lead

  • Web visitors by targeting method (search engine, pay-per-click ad, direct mail piece, etc.)

  • Leads by conversion technique

  • Lead conversions by targeting method

By monitoring these and other metrics, you will be able to measure the effectiveness of your lead-generation efforts. And you will be able to leverage this knowledge to enhance your efforts to improve your results in the future.

Any company in any industry can benefit from the TCM approach. By targeting the right audience to your Web site, converting anonymous visitors into named leads, and measuring the effectiveness of your efforts, your can turn your company's Web site into a valuable lead-generation machine.

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image of Bob DeStefano
Bob DeStefano is president of SVM E-Marketing Solutions, a B2B online marketing agency that helps industrial companies use online marketing to produce bottom-line results.

Pro members: Interested in hearing more wisdom from Bob? Be sure to check out this online seminar presented by Bob, How to Make Your B-to-B Website a Lead Generation Machine.