Why Consulting Websites Are Terrible

I had a consulting website for a long time. It was terrible. Through various updates, tweaks, and relaunches, it got less terrible, but it was always terrible.

Here’s why.

In the early days of the web, you put up a website for your company to show that you were a real business. If you did B2B services, you didn’t expect anyone to actually buy online as they would from Amazon, but you’d describe your services, have a “Contact Us” page, and maybe even some white papers. The purpose of the website was to compliment word-of-mouth, so that when someone heard a recommendation for your company, they could go to your website, and see “yes, they look professional, and the cover the situation I have.”

This is no longer the purpose for your website.

Your website is there to give you leads. Period. If you want to grow beyond word-of-mouth, you need to get more leads from your website. This is harder for you than for Amazon or someone selling cookie-cutter training services (no offense to people selling that, it just means they have an easier time). No one can actually buy anything from your site. Nor do they expect to. You need to have a conversation to qualify them, and perhaps several conversations to create a proposal.

More leads means more conversations, which means more proposals, and more business.

Yes, to give you leads, your site needs to look clean and professional (on various devices), just like it did before. But it needs to do something else— get visitors to reach out to you directly, or, more likely, provide their contact information.

To get visitors to provide contact information, you have to provide them with a good reason, something you offer in exchange. This is known as a lead magnet. Lead magnets can be e-books, videos, info graphics, mailing lists, and more. They don’t necessarily require lots of time and effort to create, but they do need to be useful to the visitor. They need to be something that fits with the visitor’s psychology, making them think, “yes, that’s the right next step— that looks really interesting.”

If your consulting website gets you leads, it’s working. If it doesn’t it’s terrible, and you need to fix it.

What’s a good lead conversion rate? Of course, this depends, but 2-10% is probably pretty healthy, with the higher figures coming if you having lots of traffic going to dedicated landing pages, and the lower range if most of your traffic is coming to your blog. (Remember to tailor your lead magnets for the page.) If getting a lead from your website is a rare event, as it was for me back in the day, definitely fix it.

Here’s a handy list of 22 concepts for lead magnets for consulting companies. Some are can require a lot of effort (ebooks, video courses), some are really easy (PDF versions of blog posts, cheat sheets that you already use in-house). If you’re just getting started, start small. Just focus on being useful to your visitors.

In this next post, we’ll discuss going from leads to conversations.

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