If there’s one stat that makes me froth at the mouth it’s that people consider a 1 or 2% conversion rate to be the norm for websites. Somehow, someone has hoodwinked us unto waving goodbye to 49/50 visitors to our site with a smile on our faces.

What a load of old tosh.

Having watched the evolution of online interaction over the years, primarily with a heavy slant towards SMEs, I’ve seen loads of business owners sign up for a new site and concurrent SEO campaign and be massively underwhelmed by the results – even by hitting these “acceptable” conversion rates.

The truth is, that this two pronged approach to digital marketing is missing arguably its most important leg.

Chart showing how most agencies lead generation campaigns only go around two-thirds of the way of Tone's lead nurturing campaigns

For ages, SEO companies would say that you can’t just “build it and they will come” as leverage to sell their optimisation services, hoping to convince you that actually all you need to do to get the website generating mega sales is to get more traffic to it.

Web design companies would adopt a similar approach and say that a redesign was all that was between you and online dominance.

A whole industry was born out of selling one of both of these services in isolation from where I think blind eyes have been turning for years. I’m talking about lead nurturing and it’s what kicks sand in the face of those crappy 1 and 2% conversion rates.

To better explain what I mean, think about that moment of “close” – the agreement has been reached, deal done and hands shook – now think about that customer and the journey they’ve been on. Did they enter the shop 5 minutes ago and in that time assess you, your proposition and your brand before racing to the till with credit cards outstretched? Unlikely.

What’s more likely is that this is their 4th or 5th visit, they’ve sat down with their friendly sales guy and discussed a deal over coffee. They know what they’re getting into because they’ve read the accompanying sales material and they believe that this product absolutely fulfils their needs.

Lead nurturing is about taking that website visitor by the hand and guiding them through their buying cycle – providing them with insightful commentary, guides, stats and expertise along the way to establish your credibility and desire to become their supplier. Remember that fuzzy feeling of “close” from earlier? Lead nurturing takes your customers right there to that place, scrambling to sign your order form.

The best part of all this?

Those two fingers you can massively stick up to the “acceptable” 1 or 2% conversion rate.

iconic image in black and white of a small child holding up two fingers

If you want to make more money through your website and you recognise that you’ve got to spend a bit to make a bit then I’d like to have a chat with you. At worst, I promise that you’ll get some common sense, actionable advice on digital marketing and at best we will help you massively increase what you get from your website.

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Posted By David Redmond

Dave is the Head of Sales at Tone, talking sensible strategies for the benefit of customers. Follow him on Twitter @daveredtone