In this post we’ll walk you through, step by step, the exact software we use to build and publish a super flexible, lead generating website that will all provide a better customer experience. The backbone of this strategy is ultimately formed from customer feedback and analytics which will help your team refine and pivot to a winning digital sales strategy. By modeling this, you can build a successful company in record time with much less money than what your competitors are spending.

One of the most exciting benefits of selling direct to consumer in an industry otherwise devoted to the traditional retail supply chain is uncovering the nitty gritty data behind the sales of our products directly from the customer themselves.Waiting months or years to capture feedback through a tiered sales channel is tough in a competitive industry.

So why not build a lead generating website in the meantime? Don’t get us wrong, we love to support brick and mortar retail shops that care about the customers having fun as much as we do. However, as we’ve discovered over the years, competing in the traditional retail channel is a time consuming and expensive strategy. I’ve written a post of why that’s the case here.

 

Before we dive in to how we build a lead generating website, it’s important to give you some background in how this digital strategy came to be. In a nutshell, we developing a winning digital strategy by weeding out what’s not working quickly.

While we’re careful not to embrace failures, it is important to understand mistakes are a part of the process. Learn from them and move forward. That means you’ll need relevant & detailed customer feedback as early on in the process as possible, a flexible and easy to update website, and an ego that won’t get in the way.

The outline I’m going to walk you through for building a lead generating website was developed through trial and error over years. We used dozens of paid apps and services within our own day to day operations. Finally, we studied how some of the most successful tech companies operate and scale.

The single biggest mistake we made along the way is assuming we knew what our customers wanted since we had some experience in the industry. We built our products around preconceived strategies without any customer feedback or data. We took ‘industry expert’ feedback instead of our own customers feedback. Not a solid recipe for success when your just starting out. Relying purely on your ego is a very risky strategy and takes decades of experience (which we don’t have).

Lead generating website data. The importance of quick product reiteration and implementation.

Working purely at a retail level, customer feedback doesn’t always make it way back through the proper channels quick enough where you can distill and develop into a winning strategy. In early stages of a company’s founding it’s critical to gather feedback from your end customer as soon as possible. By staying close to your customer base, you uncover gems about what they like, new improvements to be made, and instant feedback on the product features or sales strategies that are winning. As a famous example, the founders of Instagram actually stayed overnight in other people’s homes to gather feedback before they had a fully baked software product.

So in short, gathering in depth analytics and customer feedback from your website is absolutely crucial. You can then tweak your website and strategy based on the feedback and analytics that you deem important to your brand’s overall strategy.

With the software I outline below, you’ll remain flexible enough to constantly update your website and find a winning strategy with much less time and money invested. You’ll also significantly reduce the amount of communication needed with developers and designers.

A quick example of leading generating website data with simple A/B testing

Remaining flexible and focused around the key performance indicators (KPIs) are crucial around building a winning strategy. Key performance indicators are measurements that allow you to decide if your strategy is achieving the outcomes you want. KPIs can be simple indicators. Let me give you a real example of this in use.

This past season we released a master graphic wakeboard option and made the graphic available on our site. The master graphic was a simple graphic we could replicate across our entire line of wakeboards easily.

 

IO Master Graphic Humanoid

We were careful not to promote the graphic so it could not influence our KPIs. We used only 1 simple KPI, which was total sales. This would inform whether or not we offer the master graphic option again in the future. To our surprise, we found that the master graphic outsold our other graphic options by a significant number. We got our answers over the course of weeks rather than waiting months or an entire year in the traditional retail model.

Architecting a flexible, lead generating website and digital strategy for your business

OK, So we know it’s crucial to filter feedback from the end user directly back into your sales strategies as quickly as possible. So let’s get to the details…

Part of our digital strategy is to build web pages [sometimes called landing pages or sales funnels] that give us insight into our website visitors’ behaviors and buyer interests. These pages show us how traffic on each web page is performing, how visitors arrived on the page, and ultimately how and what our visitors buy that tells us if a particular sales funnel is working.

Remember once your sales funnel is live, your work has just begun. The next step is driving your traffic through a variety of paid and unpaid channels (more on that later).

There are dozens of software companies that offer automated, pre-built web pages [sales funnels or landing pages].

I keep using the word flexibility. Why is that?

Flexibility in how you operate is the most important factor between the software products I outline below and some of the packaged software options currently available. Others offer more advanced features or more detailed analytics, however the difference maker is the speed and cost of building a web page while making it still look pro.

The exact software we use to hack together a pro looking lead generating website for next to nothing.

There’s a ton of expensive apps that can shorten the work load for creating websites, sales funnels, or landing pages. Shopify, Squarespace and Leadpages are a couple popular options. They are all great options.

But again, the key to everything is flexibility in design as you gather analytics. With this, you’re able to remain nimble throughout the process of filtering data from your customers back into your own products, strategies and websites.

The packaged options can get expensive and time consuming really quick. Especially when you’re maintaining updates between your team and working on fixes between designer, developer, and quality control people.

We find the websites, pages and templates offered by the others are generic, which in turn makes them harder to customize for our needs. Remember, the key is we want to stay fluid and flexible with our approach.

#1 Running Your Website

WordPress:

We run our site off of WordPress & add an eCommerce plugin called Woocommerce [both free]. We find it’s the best balance of price, flexibility, and performance. Plus, free is hard to beat.

The key advantage for WordPress & Woocommerce is the quantity of integrations, plugins, and out of the box Search Engine Optimization [SEO] support. This can be a good or a bad thing but the difference maker is to find the minimal amount of plugins necessary with good support. The knock against WordPress is the constant updates required. However, you can bypass this with a simple hosting service like WordPress Engine which takes care of all security updates, plugins, and WordPress version updates.

The other knock against WordPress is optimization. Now, yes this takes some work to compress and optimize the site but we find using minify & ShortPixel plugins help with this significantly. We find it’s an easy trade for the flexibility and price we get.

The cost for hosting on WordPress Engine about $35.00 a month. You can research what technologies a website deploys with Built With.

#2 Customizing Your Website

Visual Composer:

We use Visual Composer to design our websites and sales pages. Visual Composer is a drag and drop visual editor [no coding necessary] that works with most modern WordPress themes. In summary, Visual Composer helps you import and customize thousands of modern looking, responsive web page layouts using custom WordPress Themes. Humanoid’s WordPress theme is called Uncode and comes packaged with 100’s of nicely designed pages we can customize with Visual Composer. In our case, Visual Composer came packaged with our Uncode theme for free. Our entire website is built off of Visual Composer with customized Woo & Uncode theme pages.

The Visual Composer is the software for us to bypass any designers or developers. Crafting a sales funnel that would otherwise require 100’s of hours of communication between designers and developers. We find the level of control in our website designs is significantly more advanced versus drag and drop visual editors offered by Shopify, Clickfunnels, Leadpages, and Squarespace.

It takes a few hours of studying Visual Composer initially, but once you understand how rows, columns, and elements work (called a grid), you can build a pro looking website and sales funnel in Visual Composer that rivals some of the most advanced websites out there. This is the most powerful and flexible software we’ve found for designing custom web pages. In fact, this is the exact system most web development agencies use to handle website development.

Watch the short video below for a basic demo of Visual Composer:

#3 Data Retention & Feedback :

Okay, After you customize your web pages you’ll need to integrate secure storage of data, customer sales and feedback! Now remember, the reason why we chose WordPress is because the variety of free integrations and plugins their software allows. Flexibility is key!

There are soooo many options for this and we’ve tried several dozens. The following software integrates directly with WordPress. We use a combination of Google Docs, Mailchimp (free up to 2k subscribers), Typeform and or Sumo,  & Zapier.

First, Capture Customer Feedback Data in WordPress with Typeform or Sumo:

We use Typeform to build all our quizzes listed in the ‘resources’ menu tab. We then analyze the Typeform results using Google Docs.

Additionally, you can use Sumo for creating landing pages and lead magnet forms

Then, Export Customer Feedback Data with Zapier

Zapier is the tool that helps us communicate data between apps to analyze our customer data.

Finally, Analyze Customer Feedback Data with Google Docs.

We also install free visitor tracking software provided by Google Analytics and Facebook Pixel. This will tell us basic visitor events. For example, which ad or page that is receiving the most traffic or clicks. This way we’ll get instant feedback from our organic or paid traffic channels.

Do you have other resources you use to run your website? I’d like to know…drop us a line or say hi.