Unless your website is working 24-7 to grow your business, it is not performing. Just a couple of years ago a site that was part information and part brochureware was acceptable and useful. And it used to be a valid goal to watch for an increase in the number of unique visitors. But that’s not enough any longer. The measure of a site today is simple: how does it perform. Gone are the days where you passively ‘watch’ unique visitors increase, instead you now measure and drive an increase in those unique visitors converting to customers.

Which of these best describes the value that your site delivers to your organization:

1. Our site provides useful content and information that is valued by our audience.

2. The hub of our online presence is our website, which consistently attracts many people and creates community.

3. Our site is the best place to understand our organization and why we are so valued by and important to our members.

4. The website we have created is the place where the most credible and reliable information is found and shared that is important to our constituents.

5. Our website delivers leads that result in 5-12 new members a month. The membership growth and retention that results from our site leads has allowed us to reduce our direct mail expenses by 60%.

Which one of these is not like the others? Which website is worth investing more money into? That’s right, it’s the site that is performing. #5!

A performing site delivers leads that become customers.

How can your website perform too?

So what is #5 doing that the others are not doing? Well, #5 is the same as all of the others in that it delivers information and meets goals #1-4 above. But what distinguishes #5 is that the site is part of a lead development machine which uses content to attract and leverages technologies to identify and then customize the site experience to your various audience types. This results in the delivery of leads that become customers. That last part is important: the leads become customers, whether that be members, attendees, or buyers.

If you are the proud owner of a website that performs, then these questions are easy for you to answer:

  1. What is the conversion rate on our site?
  2. Where are your strengths/weaknesses in our web marketing funnel?
  3. How many leads does our site deliver?
  4. What is the close rate of those leads to customers?

You’re already content marketing; keeping your site full of fresh content and sharing it in social channels, right? Well, you just need to hone your content strategy and leverage the right technologies to make it easy and fast to roll out your targeted and dynamic content campaigns. These inbound campaigns attract the right visitors to your site. And you know they are the right individuals because they will convert. Meaning, become a customer, member, attendee, etc.

Your content strategy identified your goals and now you can close the loop on your marketing efforts. Not only will you be able to determine your ROI by measuring what you put in compared to what you got out of it, you’ll be more informed about how to invest your resources in the future.

The Best Website Knows Your Visitors

But not all visitors are created equal, are they? Some are first-time visitors while others are regular customers. Some are just looking around while others are ready to plunk down cash. A good website creates an experience that is appropriate for the stage that your visitor is at. The content is delivered within context.

For example, I visit rei.com several times shopping for a tent, and I even download a tent style comparison table. The site should learn that I am interested in tents and close to a purchase. That’s the context of me at this time. If I see the same site that everyone else sees each time I visit, complete with a generic welcome, the sale could slip away.

Instead the site can use dynamic content and images that change based on my data and viewing history. Automated actions move that tent information to a more prominent position, even alert me if there is a sale on a tent that I have viewed. Delivering dynamic content that is in context to where I am at creates an experience that is tailored to me. It feels like a good fit for me and I am more likely to buy a tent from them that day. And come back for sleeping bags.

It is not just firms that sell products that can benefit from dynamic or smart content, organizations that provide professional services can too. Members or donors who find the site to be such a good fit for them are more likely to come back. Consider the diversity of your audience, why not provide a customized experience. Why do members need to see information that is not relevant to me? Why clog up the screen for sponsors with information about CEUs?

This is what matters in a website of today. Use the right technologies and strategies to create a customized experience for each of your audience segments. Why? So the site can perform to acquire leads that convert to customers.

ROI is easy to determine

It is rather easy to measure the ROI of your content efforts, but you need to have the lead development machine in place.

Your site visitors’ behaviors provide valuable information about what they need, and their level of interest in you and your information. This teaches you more about your audience and allows you to better serve their content needs.

Now your content marketing plan will be informed enough to guide your content creation and delivery so that your visitors move from introductory-level interest content to other content that is indicative of a deeper level of interest in you and your services.

You’ll easily be able to determine your ROI.

Content Campaigns A, B, and C:

  • Spent $200,000. on content creation/delivery
  • Generated 182 leads
  • 60% (109) became members or customers
  • The value of each member/customer is $6,750. x 109 = $737,100.
  • Cost to close leads to customers $31,000.

$706,100. in : $200,000. out is an ROI of 3.5 : 1. Great work! Next, set a higher goal.

What About Your Back-End Technologies?

A basic component of any website creation is to ensure that all of your technology needs can be made to play nice together. No database will be  hampered by or conflict with the automated marketing solutions you will build to ensure that prospective buyers are identified so they can be marketed to a more effective way with dynamic content.

What Next?

So, here’s our advice when it comes to your website: don’t redesign it, don’t invest in it unless it is already performing as part of a lead ecosystem that is feeding your business. If it is not performing, then that is where you need to start to achieve your website goals. Performance is the goal and that is priority. A new look/feel or functionality can be achieved with a redesign, but I’ll bet a better-looking broken machine is not what you’re after.

Final note, here are your website goals:

> Site must be part of a lead development system
> Content must be dynamic
> Web marketing must be automated and efficient
> Technologies must be integrated