This may sound shocking, but your company may already have more than enough traffic on your Web site to achieve your business goals—but the problem is that you may have a leaky Web site... That is, prospects and customers are visiting your Web site, but very few are taking the next step to do business with you.

Might you have a leaky Web site? Read on to learn how to diagnose the problem and, more importantly, how to fix the leaks.

How to Tell If You Have a Leaky Web Site

To determine whether you suffer from the symptoms of a leaky Web site, review your Web analytic reports that track visitor behavior and look for the following issues:

  • Your conversion rate is low. How many anonymous Web visitors turn into named leads for your sales process? Your conversion rate is the measure of your ability to persuade your visitors to take action and reach out to you. If your conversion rate is low (or nonexistent), your Web site definitely has leaks.
  • Your bounce rate is high. Your bounce rate measures the number of people who arrive at one of your Web site pages and then leave without doing anything. They are a good indicator of whether your Web site meets the needs of your visitors, or whether they think it is a complete waste of time. If your bounce rate is relatively low (under 25%), then your Web site is doing its job effectively, leading prospects to the next step. If your bounce rate is high (over 40%), you have a leaky Web site.

How to Plug the Leaks

If you have a leaky Web site, don't fret. The following tips will help you plug the leaks and optimize your Web site for more leads and sales.

Make sure your content is customer-focused

Prospects are not visiting your Web site to kill time. They are there to find a solution or solve a problem. Does your Web site content draw these prospects in—or cause them to bounce away?

To draw them in, make sure your Web site engages prospects by offering customer-focused content that speaks to their needs and provides a solution to their problems. Talk less about you and your company and more about your customers' needs and concerns. If your content is customer-focused, prospects will stick around and ask for more.

Don't rely on your 'contact us' page

Do you want to turn your Web site into a lead-generation machine? Then stop relying on your Contact Us page as the sole method for prospects to contact you. Rather, offer visitors easy access to contact information on every page of your Web site in a consistent location.

You will be amazed at how many more prospects will reach out to you if you invite them to do so.

Make an offer they can't refuse

Now, take it one step further by supplementing your contact information with relevant calls to action that will compel your site visitors to respond.

When crafting your offers, think about the audiences you are trying to attract, as well as the various stages of the buying process they may be in. To attract individuals ready to buy, offer product specials, quote-request forms, salesperson consultations, and online ordering.

In addition, to help you build a marketing database, offer softer calls to action for the tire kickers and early-stage buyers. Examples of soft calls to action include downloadable "how to" guides, whitepapers, "ask the expert" question submission, and e-newsletter subscriptions.

Simplify your lead generation forms

Are your lead-generation forms as daunting as a tax return? If so, simplify them immediately. Don't try to qualify prospects with your online forms—that's the salesperson's job.

The more fields you require to be filled out, the fewer people you will hear from. So, ask only for the most basic information that a salesperson will need to reach out to the prospect and begin the relationship.

Also, make sure that those forms immediately get to a knowledgeable salesperson for follow-up. The best time to follow up with a prospect is when they are still browsing your Web site.

Shorten your checkout process

If you sell products online, take a close look at your checkout process to identify leaks. How many customers who add an item to their shopping cart actually complete the sale?

If you are losing many of these valuable customers, look for opportunities to simplify your checkout process, including the following: cut the number of clicks required to complete the sale; communicate shipping costs early; offer a progress meter to let people know where they are in the process; and offer alternative (offline) ways to order.

Make your phone number obvious

According to our research, people are highly likely to want to pick up the phone and call when they are browsing a company's Web site. To boost the number of inquiries you receive, don't make your visitors hunt for your number. Make your phone number one of the prominent calls to action on every page.

In addition, I recommend using a unique toll-free number on your Web site so you can accurately track the number of calls you receive from Web site visitors.  

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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.