Niall Devitt is Co-founder and Community Manager of TweakYourBiz.com. Niall begins his talk by informing us that contrary to popular opinion, a website is not a “shop window.” Niall finds this to be a misleading and unproductive comparison. He reminds listeners that when opening a physical store people will select a busy street in order to convert a ready footfall of potential customers.
Niall notes that with a website there is no footfall and there are no passers-by. The first task of a new website is to generate traffic. At launch there needs to be a strategy in place to grow website traffic. There are a number of options available such as Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising or more traditional mediums of TV and radio but Niall finds that content is the best and most cost effective method. Content should firstly generate traffic, and secondly, help convert traffic into leads and prospects.
When you launch a website, there are no passers-by. There is no footfall.
A company website is essentially an online sales funnel and it should have content that tallies with each stage of the sales funnel. The three stages of the sales funnel are awareness, consideration and decision making. In generating awareness, suitable content often comes in the form of blog posts, how-to guides and newsletters. The consideration stage requires “meatier” content perhaps in the form of white papers. At the end of the funnel, the decision making stage, it’s great to have calls to action such as online forms to arrange a consultation, a demonstration or further engagement with sales staff.
In the latter portion of his talk, Niall discusses the need to continually optimise the effectiveness of the sales funnel. Different metrics will determine the effectiveness of different stages of the sales funnel. In the first stage, traffic levels are best. This includes page views, page views per visit, average amount of time spent on site or the numbers that sign up for a newsletter. In later stages, the number of visitors responding to calls to action is important. For example, the percentage of visitors who download a key publication such as a white paper or study. At the end of the funnel businesses will want to know how many visitors took the final step and took up calls to action. Niall argues that website owners must be constantly looking to improve on the averages and conversion rates. This is often done through AB testing.