Five steps that will make your website a more effective tool for acquiring new leads for your business.

Five steps that will make your website a more effective tool for acquiring new leads for your business.

Once implemented, this process can generate leads for your business for many months or even years with minimal maintenance - and there's no need to feel guilty about not writing your blogs anymore too!

Monday 22nd April 2019

Imagine two stalls selling the same products at a busy market. One stall is unmanned and has a few fliers spread over the table. The other has a friendly salesperson and a sign out front that says "free cakes here"

Which stall is going to do better?

Most businesses in Hong Kong are running their websites like the unmanned stall. They're just passive displays of products or services that do little to entice interaction. They do nothing to actively acquire new leads.

These "business card" websites as we call them do not deliver the value that can help the business grow. They do not attract enough of the right customers and there is little in place to convert or capture visitors.

The lesson here is that we need to conduct our online business in the same way as our offline business.

A website can be an important tool to generate new business and far too often business owners do not put in place the tools to maximise the returns. 

So why don't businesses make the most out of their websites?

The first reason is that many business owners are not aware of the full potential of their website. They are not aware of the difference between simply having a website, and having a website set up to generate business. 

The other reason is that business owners feel they are too busy to be working on time-intensive digital marketing! And we get this. Over the years the mantra of digital marketing agencies has been "content is king" and they provide instruction to produce monthly, if not weekly, blogs!

Over the years we have worked with over 50 Hong Kong business’s on their website development and under 5% have kept an up-to-date blog.

Hong Kong is a super busy place, and we are all short of time, so writing a blog quickly gets pushed to the bottom of the priority pile. Its too time consuming to write blogs and there is no evident return on the time invested! For most businesses, its a big ask to produce regular original content that stands out.

That is the crux of the problem. It is SO DIFFICULT to stand out from all the noise! The amount of content being generated online is immense! There are 80 million new blogs published every month on WordPress websites alone! This is just a fraction of total websites and on top of that, there are podcasts and videos galore. 

A report by Buzzsumo's report, Content Trends Report 2018  identified that sharing of content on social networks was well down, and the mean number of backlinks to blogs is zero! That's right, there is so much content out there that the majority of it never gets shared!

But don't give up. There is a way to reach your audience, and engage with them- and you don't need to be a prolific author!!

In this blog, we are going to run through the steps needed to generate highly qualified leads from your website, and the best part is that this will not be reliant on generating heaps of new blogs and running time-intensive marketing campaigns.

We are going to take advantage of the flipside or silver lining to the content saturated online market place.

That is that digital advertising tools such as those provided by Facebook and Google Adwords allow you to target very specific people. Search engines work the same way, they will show websites that provide information about specific problems.

Its all about specificity and finding your target audience. 

It is possible to set up systems that encourage engagement, and then track it, so that you can nurture interested parties and convert them into customers

We are going to go into the intricate details of how this is possible - how you can use your website to cut through the noise, target your audience and capture potential leads - without the need of a massive marketing budget or becoming a prolific writer.

Step Number 1 - One Great Blog!

You do not need to produce piles of written content for your blog on a regular basis. BEST NEWS EVER! 

However, you are going to need one good blog or piece of content on your website. Its got to be a great piece but don't fret - you have this already, at least in your head. 

Let me explain. You are an expert in your field and you are already providing this content in one form or other on a regular basis - probably verbally most of the time. 

You see, whatever the product or services you provide, you almost certainly have a full understanding of the problem that your product/service fixes for your customers. You probably already talk to your customers about this problem in some depth. Well, this is the content for your blog! You can write it down once in full detail and save yourself having to repeat yourself over and over. It'll be a bit of work to get together, but this is the first important step in saving your time in the long-run.

Customers that come to you through this content will already fully understand their problem, and they will be aware that so do you! And you will be the one helping them to reach a solution. You are no longer selling to them. They are seeking help from you – the expert that can help them reach their goals.

Step Number 2 - Blog Structure and Offer

There is a specific formula to follow for your blog. As mentioned above, this blog needs to address a problem that your product or service seeks to fix. And it needs to be very very helpful.

The idea is that this blog is going to be read by people that have never heard of your brand or company. They have not come to your website for your products or services. They are "cold" traffic. They are coming to read something in the hope that there is some (free) advice or information to help them with their problem.

And you are going to provide this. For free. Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but the free or home-made solution is never going to be as good as the tailor-made product or professional service. You need to give away the solution to the problem to gain trust.

For example, if your business is to make wedding videos, then your blog might be about the best equipment and methods to use for people to make their own wedding videos.  

The blog should be useful and detailed enough by itself, but you also need to make an offer of even better and more useful content in the form of a downloadable guide. The visitor will be asked to hand over their email for this guide. This is the "lead capture" part and it's important that this guide/offer/information is highly specific to the blog, and provides immediate help to the visitor.

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Step Number 3 - Facebook Pixel and Google Tags

If you haven't already, you need to install a Facebook pixel and/or Google Tag to your website. This little bit of technology allows you to target people that have already visited your website. In Gold Nugget Number 2 we attracted "cold" traffic. Well, now these visitors have been to your website and possibly even downloaded some helpful information. They know who you are and are now "warm" traffic. 

You can now target these visitors with ads that can either remind them that you exist or even better link to a service or product offer. These visitors came to your initial blog because they were trying to solve the problem that your services/product solves. So they are obviously highly qualified to make a purchase. Advertising strategies that target warm leads like this are much more cost effective.

Step Number 4 - Email Automation

Combined with the lead capture mechanism mentioned in Step Number 2, it's important to have an email send out automation in place. What this means is that once you have captured the email address of the visitor, your email system should send out a number of emails over the next few days that will nurture the relationship. There are many different formats for this succession of emails, and the important thing is to tread carefully on the fine line of offering help and value to the lead and coming across as salesy. 

We follow an 8 email format, starting with the initial content download email and progressing through daily follow-ups for 3 days and then a reduced interval for further emails. The email sequence should provide value to the receiver and slowly educate them on how much your products and services can help. 

No one likes to receive sales emails so this concept might trigger some alarm bells for you, but if the emails do provide real value then you will grow good-will. Some may unsubscribe, but that is all part of the strategy of casting the net wide enough to capture those that will convert. As long as this is automated then it can run continuously without any further management from you!

Step Number 5 - Promotion

Once you have your great piece of content set up and all systems are running with your email capture and automation systems then its time to promote. If you have approached the creation of this blog with the tips we provided above, then hopefully you have a piece of content you are proud of. Something that can really provide value. If that's the case then you should feel a LOT more confident about reaching out to people and asking them to promote it. 

Of course, you can follow the normal channels of sharing the content on social media but you should also consider the following:

  • You'll need to promote this blog as much as possible. Contact other experts or authorities in your field and share it with them. Persuade them to link to it.
  • If there are forums or websites with content listings, then post the blog there. These channels can amplify your traffic.
  • Share it multiple times over weeks/months on your normal social channels. Too often people share content once and then forget about it. Keep sharing.
  • Add to the blog over time and repromote (consider updating the date too). The blog will slowly gain position in search engines and it's more effective to add to the same blog rather than write a new blog.
  • Use Facebook and Google Adwords advertising campaigns to drive targetted traffic to the blog. Over time organic position in search engines will improve but always good to give an initial nudge with a paid campaign.

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We hope that this article can help you reduce the amount of time you spend writing blogs (or feeling guilty about not writing blogs!) and yet still increase the effectiveness of your website to acquire traffic and convert leads out of that traffic.

The core concepts you need to remember are:

  • Create one great blog that communicates directly to the needs of your potential customer and provides help/a solution to the problem.
  • Set up incentives to acquire email addresses by offering more help through a download.
  • Use email automation to nurture your relationship and eventually offer your product/services to those that are engaged.
  • Make a real effort to promote your great blog through social media and advertising. Don't be afraid to promote it several times on the same platform - you can always update the content slightly and repromote. 
  • Reach out to influencers in the industry and see if they will promote it or link to it or, post it on forums or in relevant Facebook groups.