I recently started working with a client who has a consulting business and discovered something really intriguing about their SEO and inbound lead generation.
To keep client confidentiality, let’s call the company, “Dave Smith Consulting.” We were looking at the company’s organic Google traffic, and we found that the #1 Google query leading visitors to the site was “Dave Smith Consulting,” as can be expected.
But can you guess what the #2 Google search keyword was that brought visitors to the site? It was “Should I trust Dave Smith Consulting.”
This was really interesting, because I had never seen this before. It’s really kind of a profound idea; the #2 way that people clicked on the company’s site was by asking Google, “Should I trust this company?”
As part of Dave Smith’s sales strategy, he offered customers a 30-day trial of his services. It sounds great in theory; the client can really benefit, and build a relationship with Dave, who would continue the relationship in a paid service. The issue we discovered is that prospects don’t usually like to divulge confidential information to a “stranger,” and wanted to make sure they could trust Dave Smith.
This illustrates the importance of building trust with prospects at every stage of the inbound lead generation process, because ultimately, when prospects read your website content, they are looking for reasons to trust your company. And your website needs to build up sufficient trust to make the visitor want to pick up the phone and call you, or send an e-mail for more information. Your website alone doesn’t have to close the deal, but you need to have a website that builds trust with prospects to the point that you can convert website visitors into sales leads.
Here are a few lessons from our client, “Dave Smith Consulting,” on how to get more inbound sales leads by building trust with your website:
A Good Offer is Not Enough
Like many consulting firms and service providers, Dave Smith Consulting offers visitors a free “Test Drive” of his consulting services, so that prospective customers can learn more about how he can help their businesses. We learned from checking the site visits and statistics that a lot of people were clicking on the page for the “Free Test Drive,” but were not taking the step of actually filling out the form to request a test drive.
The offer was good and generous: free consultation by phone with customized ideas and analysis of the prospect’s situation. But the site’s visitors weren’t converting because the overall website was poorly done: outdated design, low-quality content, and not a lot of relevant, factual testimonials to build trust.
Add Client Testimonials
Every B2B sales organization needs to be able to point to authentic, relevant, updated testimonials from the clients they have served. Include the real names of the companies (unless you have signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement) and if possible, the real names and job titles of your client contacts.
We have a lot of client testimonials on our own company website, and we find that the clients who have given us testimonials often get emails or calls from our prospective customers, wanting to find out more about our business. This is a good thing … This is a sign that prospects want to learn more and are almost ready to take the leap into signing on as a client, but they need a bit more affirmation first.
Write Case Studies
In addition to quotes from your clients, a great way to build credibility on your website is to write detailed Case Studies that share some of your biggest client success stories. Each case study should focus on one specific client and one specific story, and you can use a simple format of Challenge, Approach, and Results: What was the challenge that your clients hired you to solve? What approach or process did you recommend to help the client solve the challenge? Finally, what results did your clients see in the end?
Case studies should have supporting evidence and statistics and should be as specific as possible. Show how your company made a positive difference in improving the client’s situation. And include multiple case studies to show the breadth of your company’s expertise, if you serve multiple industries, show different case studies for each industry. If you have different core products or services, include case studies to spotlight the various offerings.
Publish White Papers
One of the best ways to build credibility with your website is to include original “thought leadership” and research about your industry. Customers respond well to companies that aren’t just trying to make a sale, but are also trying to shape the direction of the industry by commenting on industry issues and trends.
Publishing your own original white papers is a great way to show your prospects that you really know your stuff, that you’re not afraid to express an opinion about where the industry is headed, and that you are generous with your research and expertise.
Share Plenty of Details
There are two schools of thought on writing website content; on the one hand, some people think that website content needs to be as concise as possible. But for B2B inbound lead generation, if you are trying to build trust with prospects who are thinking about buying high-dollar products and services, you need to be ready to give your visitors as much information as they need.
Don’t be afraid to share lengthy descriptions of your products and services, if the information is relevant to your prospect’s decision process. If a prospect is reading your website, and they like what they read, then it’s really not possible to include “too much” information. Give them a good sense of what you’re like and what your company is like. Share your passion for the industry. Lay the groundwork to hit the ground running once the prospect picks up the phone and calls you.
Your website needs to be a content-rich environment that is transparent, authentic, and welcoming. You need to show your visitors why they should trust you, why your company is great at what you do, how your company approaches problems for your clients, and which clients you’ve helped. If you can build trust with people as soon as they first visit your website, you’ll see a big increase in the quality of your sales leads.