10 min

Three reasons why your website is not generating leads

By David Lee




Are you frustrated that your website does not generate the number of leads you want?

Maybe you've hired a conversion rate optimization expert, a UI UX design team to come in and redesign your website.

They've changed the shape, the color of your call to action button. They've moved it to the upper right hand corner of your website. They've changed the wording from something like submit to something more engaging to at least contact us or request a consultation.

Still, you're not getting the number of leads you want. Maybe your website does look better and your engagement rate has improved, but that still has not resulted in increased number of leads.

In this episode, I'm going to talk about why this is happening and what you need to do to fix it.

At the heart of the problem is a disconnect.

There is a disconnect between what you want your website to do and what your visitors are looking for when they come to your website. You, and I put myself into the same category, your company, your company wants your website to generate leads. I mean, after all, we've invested hard earned cash into creating this website.

We've hired designers and they've built this website. And so we've invested a certain amount of sweat, blood, tears, money, resources into the website. And of course we are looking for a return on that investment. And the way we typically measure the return on a website is the number of leads it generates. And so we want our website to be a lead generation machine.

But however, I can assure you that the people who are visiting your website have very little interest in signing up for your newsletter, being put into your nurturing email campaign, or to become an entry in your CRM system and be put into your sales funnel.

They're not interested in doing that when they come to your website.

People visit your website because they're looking to solve their problem. They're looking to get smart.

They're looking to educate themselves on what their problem is and how to solve it.

And they will only press that contact us button or sign up for your newsletter or call or engage with you on a chat after, after you have demonstrated that you

  • One, understand their problems
  • Two, have the experience and expertise to solve their problems and
  • Three, that you're easy to work with.

So it's time for all of us to stop thinking of our website as this lead generation machine and really start to understand how your website fits into how people make purchasing decisions in today's digital age. And it's all psychological. This all comes down to human behavior. It's who we are as people.

There are three things I'd like to talk about to help you understand why your website is not generating the number of leads.

And it comes down to how we make purchasing decisions today. first of all, we have to understand that people are afraid of making mistakes. We're trained to do this. I think it's actually built into our DNA.

We don't like seeing the red check mark on our tests in grade school. We want to get the 100% not the 95%, we don't like making mistakes.

And you can see this today in our daily lives.

So, imagine yourself, driving down the street and there's maybe three or four lanes and there's this car in the 10 o 'clock position on your left -hand side. And all of a sudden this car swerves over three lanes because he has got to make that right-hand turn, right?

He can't say like, Gee, I'm gonna miss that right -hand turn. Maybe I should go do a U -turn or I'll just take the next off ramp on the freeway. No, no, we don't wanna make a mistake. And so we cut over those three lanes, you know, being a jerk, cutting people off, regardless of what kind of traffic hazard we're causing. And then when we succeed in making that last minute right -hand turn, we feel victorious. I didn't make a mistake,

This psychology of avoiding mistakes also applies to how we make purchasing decisions.

Simply put, we do not want to choose the wrong product or hire the wrong company.

We simply don't want to do that.

And so what do we do to avoid making a mistake?

This leads me to my second point.

To avoid making a mistake, we research before we buy.

And I'm not talking about the impulse buy where you're standing in line at the checkout center and there's a pack of denting gum and you just grab it.

I'm not talking about impulse buys. I'm talking about buying something of material value.

Can you remember the last time you bought something where you didn't research the snot out of it?

Thank you, Amazon. We all take a look at the reviews. In fact, they have filters on the left -hand side of like, what kind of products do you want to look at? And they give you like one star through five stars. You only select those that have four star reviews or higher because we don't want to make a mistake.

We don't want to have by a bad product.

And so we research before we buy.

And so even think about like when we want to buy a new car, can you, can you imagine walking onto a dealer's lot today in 2024 without having researched the car that you're interested in? By the time you walk onto that dealer's lot, you already know the make, model, trim, option package, floor mats, number of cup holders.

You know all of this. And if you've really done your research, you know the nearest competitors. So if you're looking for a Toyota Camry, I used to work for Toyota Motor Sales, so a lot of the things I talk about involve cars. But I mean, if you're looking for a Toyota Camry, you know the nearest competitor is the Honda Accord.

And so the last thing that you want to see when you're walking onto a dealer's lot is to see this horde of salespeople coming at you and asking you questions like, "Hey, do you have any questions about the car that you're interested in?"  "Can I help you find the right one?"

You already know that.

In fact, the only question you have for that salesperson is, "Hey, can I drive that car and take it out for a test drive?" And you're pointing to the exact car that you want because you probably also looked onto the dealer's website and found out if they actually have the car you want in inventory.

This behavior of researching before we buy doesn't just apply to when we do consumer products, cars or Amazon, right?

This also applies to the B2B world where your potential customers are looking to solve a problem. And then if they find you, they're trying to understand if you, your company, can solve their problem.

I mean, I can't imagine buying a product or a service from a company without researching them first.

Can you?

And this really leads to my third point.

So the first point was, we're afraid of making mistakes. And so to avoid making mistakes, the second thing we do is we research before we buy.

And the third is, where do we research?

Now, I'm old. I'm a Gen Xer. And so, you know, when I was growing up, when I needed to research something, I went to the library. And research involved going to the library, going to the card catalog and finding what I want. And then I found the Dewey decimal number, right? I have the card and then I know where it's located from the Dewey decimal number. And then I walked down the aisles of books and maybe I find the book or the microfiche that I want.

I mean, that's how we used to research in the old days. And maybe some of you miss the Dewey decimal system. I certainly don't.

So today, people research online and it goes something like this.

They go into their favorite search engine, Google, Yahoo, Bing, whatever it's going to be.

Interestingly enough, I think in the future is going to be, chat GPT or, you know, some type of generative AI that we're going to be asking questions to.

But for right now in 2024, we go to our favorite search engine and we put in our question.

And the second thing happens, we get our search page results. We kind of scan through the results, find the article that we're that answers our question and click on it.

And usually this leads to a website.

I mean, yes, there are other places you can go, a video, a podcast, a PDF, social media post. There are other places you can go, but I think we can all agree that, you know, remember the movie, Finding Nemo, where all drains lead to the ocean? It's the same thing.

All these different customer acquisition channels, they all eventually lead to your website because that's where we do the final research. And when they come to your website, they're looking to answer those questions. And so don't just take my word for it.

Forrester recently did a study where they found that

  • 68 % of B2B buyers prefer to research by themselves online.
  • And 62 % of the B2B buyers develop a short list based solely on digital content.

So these B2B buyers, almost two thirds of them, don't even want to talk to your sales team. Don't want to pick up the phone, don't want to initiate a chat, don't wanna click the contact us button, they're gonna develop a shortlist based on only your digital content.

And so if you haven't put enough time and effort to answer those three questions, remember the questions that I said, there are three things you have to answer. one, do you understand their problems? Two, do you have the expertise and experience to solve their problem? And three, are you easy to work with?

They're looking to answer those three questions and you have to answer it all on your website.

It's a one -way communication. There's no opportunity for you to go back and forth and ask clarifying questions and really drill down to what their problem is. You have to demonstrate and answer all the stuff online.

If your website is not addressing these three questions, it doesn't really matter what color your button is. It doesn't matter how your website design, the colors, the fonts, how big your logo is.

All of that is secondary because if they don't believe you understand their problems, can solve their problems and are easy to work with, you're not gonna be on the short list.

That is a reason why your website is not generating the number of leads that you want.

Nothing to do with UI or UX or conversion rate optimization.

It has everything to do with the psychology of how we make purchasing decisions today.

I want you to do a couple things.

The first is close your eyes, picture your own website. And then ask yourself, as you look at your website and look at all the content is there.

  • Are you helping those visitors, your potential customers?
  • Are you helping the visitors understand their problem and solve their problem?

And the best way to do that is with educational content.

And the content can be in any medium, It could be written, blogs, video, whatever it is, but are you helping the visitors solve their problems.

Now a lot of people tell me, well, I don't want to give away the secret. I don't want to give away the secret sauce. I can assure you there are no more secrets on the internet. You want to find the secret sauce for Kentucky Fried Chicken? Google it. You will find it.

The simple fact of the matter is by telling people that you can understand their problems and solve them and show them how that is a huge step in building your credibility.

There's always going to be those people who can read the content and solve the problems and actually execute it on their own. And that's perfectly fine because then they didn't really need your product or services in the first place.

But those folks who can't do it themselves, it's usually one of two things. Either they read your content material, they understand what you're saying. They understand the solution, but they're either one, unable to do it by themselves because maybe they lack the technical skills or two, they're unwilling to do it by themselves because they have better things to do.

Don't be afraid of giving away all of the secrets because those people who can actually do it by themselves, they weren't going to be your customers anyway.

It's really the people who are either unable or unwilling to do it by themselves that you're really targeting. And for that, you have to demonstrate you can solve their problems. that's the first thing. Does your website solve their problems?

And the second thing is, does your website reduce the fear that they're making the wrong purchasing decision?

Even if you have the expertise and experience, somehow are you reducing their fear of making that wrong choice?

And the best way to do that is through testimonials and case studies and use cases, giving him specific examples of how you solve their problem is going to help overcome their buyer's remorse or their fear of making that wrong purchasing decision.

This is coming from me, a chief marketing officer. If your website is not converting, yes, take a look at those conversion rate optimization stuff.

But first really ask yourself, are you solving your customers problems?

So, don't worry about that marketing fluff, SEO keywords, how pretty your website looks, the size of your logo.

That's all secondary because if you're not convincing people that you one, understand their problem, two, have the experience and expertise to solve their problem, and three, demonstrate you're easy to work with, that all the design doesn't really matter because they're gonna move on to someone else.

And that is the reason why your website is not generating the number of leads you want.

I hope this was helpful for you. Please visit do what .works for more information and some other great educational material on marketing, sales, and how to get marketing results faster. I'll see you next time.

David Lee

David Lee

Leveraging 20+ years of experience with Fortune 500 companies including Toyota, Beckman Coulter, and Deloitte, I craft data-driven website and content strategies to help companies compete and win in the digital age. Explore my insight articles to learn what works and how to craft winning strategies and tactics to move the revenue needle for your company.