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The Internet is called the world wide web because it connects every computer to every other computer around the world. Other than the visualization of all those computers looking like a spider web, I’m sure the Internet founders never really gave any further thought to how spiders catch flies. Spiders, however, have a lot in common with business owners. Spiders need to catch flies and other insects to eat, and we as business owners need to catch customers.

As the owner of a digital marketing agency, I receive calls from many business owners, especially those just starting a business, who want a simple five-page website. The truth is a five-page website will never rank on page one of Google in a competitive market. Because 97% of Google users never go to page two, one’s chances of getting new customers via their website is zero. So, what does it take to get a website to page one to generate leads?

Lesson 1 – To Catch a Customer, Build a Large Web

To start, build a larger website. You’ve no doubt, at some point in your life, saw a large spider web dangling between bushes, in a garden or hanging on the eaves of your home. Orb-weaving spiders, known for their large circular spider webs, know that a large web catches more flies than a tiny web. And so, it is the same with your website.

To capture leads you must have enough pages with the right content to match what your potential customers enter in Google as search phrases (keywords). What we see often is a four or five-page website that lists all the company’s services on the home page; or maybe they have a services page with a bullet-point list of services on it. Google is looking for informative content—in depth information for one subject on each page.

Let’s say you are a custom home builder that also does remodels and renovations, and you build in Denver. You would want one page for the keywords Denver Custom Home Builder, one for Denver Home Remodeler and one for Denver Home Renovations at a minimum. The more pages you have, the larger your website. The larger your website, the more unique content designed around keywords that customers search, the more possibilities that the pages you’ve written will catch customers.

Lesson 2—Your Web Needs to Be Sticky

Have you ever walked into a spider web? It is not easy to get off because the spider web silk is sticky. The lesson here is that once you have your customer at your website, you want them to stay. To do that you want to offer additional value-added content that makes the potential customer stick around. That means providing additional information in which the potential customer might have an interest.

Using our example of the Denver Custom Home Builder, this might include things like floor plans, financing, or a blog including articles on the different aspects of building a home to name just a few. One way to tackle content is to think about the questions customers always ask. Another is to break your higher-level topics into sub-topics. You have a page for Denver custom home builder. How about adding a page for ranch style homes, main level living, or Tuscan inspired homes? Think about the different ways that someone might search for your work then write about it.

As you add additional information to your site, you want to cross-reference the available information either with links within your content or with a link in the side bar. If you have a blog (which we highly recommend) having links to some of the most read topics on your blog can greatly increase the time spent on your site. When a visitor lingers on your website it means they are finding information that is valuable to them. This increases the chance that they will contact you.

In their ranking algorithm, Google uses the amount of time visitors look at your website and the number of pages they view as an indicator of the relevancy of your website to the search phrase through which the visitor found your site. The higher the relevancy the higher you will be ranked in the search engines.

Lesson 3 – Catch More Customers With a Funnel

What we often see when we look at website statistics is that many people visit a website and leave never to return. Building a lead generating website means that your website converts visitors to leads. It goes without saying that each page in your website should have a "Request a Free Quote" form or something similar. But sometimes visitors aren’t ready for a quote. Sometimes they are in the research or “just looking” stage. How do we capture them and keep in touch?

We talked about orb spiders that build circular webs but there are also funnel building spiders that build funnel shaped webs. The funnel is designed for the prey to come in the top and eventually drop through the bottom where the spider is patiently waiting. (Okay, the spider doesn’t always patiently wait. Sometimes he comes up and attacks his prey. We don’t recommend that you try that, but the funnel methodology is invaluable as you will read.)

The idea of a funnel in your website goes hand in hand with the 5-stage customer lifecycle:

1. Reach—The potential customer becomes aware of your brand.

2. Acquisition—The potential customer visits your website to learn more about your brand offerings and the association strengthens.

3. Conversion—The visit to your website generates a lead and you convert them to a customer.

4. Retention—You work to assure customer satisfaction through well thought out processes and systems.

5. Loyalty—You keep in touch and the satisfied customer buys again from you and/or gives you referrals.

A visit to your website starts in the acquisition stage. Here, ideally, you want the prospect to fill out the request a quote form. If they don’t do that you need to have another way to capture their information so that you can nurture them until they are ready to fill out the form. This is done with a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something of value that you offer on your site that the visitor can access after they provide their contact information. For a builder a lead magnet might include a PDF of the Top 10 Most Requested Floor Plans, a white paper on how to save money when renovating their home, a checklist on how to select a builder, etc.

Once the website visitor requests the lead magnet, they are put onto an email campaign related to their request. If they requested floorplans, the emails would include value added information about building a home. If they requested information on renovating their home, the emails would provide information focused on renovations. Each email that goes out also includes a call to action whether that is to request a quote or onsite consultation; or to download more information from your site. Each time the prospective customer interacts with your emails it indicates they are getting closer to a buying decision.

The email campaign does not reside in the website itself but in a third-party software platform like MailChimp or Infusionsoft. The idea is that each additional email sent is increasing brand awareness, advancing the relationship with the customer (i.e., moving them further down the funnel), and helping them to choose your company when they are ready to purchase.

Once they have purchased from you, the funnel continues to work as you nurture your past clients with a different email campaign that continues to build on the excellent experience of working with your company and helps to develop referrals and repeat business.

Most of the builder websites we see miss this very integral part of increasing brand awareness and strengthening ties to the customer. However, the more times you can touch the customer the more you set yourself apart from the competition.

In this article we talked about your website being analogous to a spider web. Your web needs to be wide, sticky, and funnel visitors’ awareness to your brand. You must conduct research on keywords and key-phrases to attract the right kind of prospects. You must have content that is informative and of interest to your potential market to create engagement. And your web must act as a funnel – nurturing the relationship with prospects as they go through the customer lifecycle.

This can be confusing and tricky, but the payoff for creating and maintaining an effective website is the inflow of fresh leads that can be converted into customers. Spiders may be a little creepy and off-putting, but they have been making webs for 380 million years. They must be doing something right.

This article originally appeared on our sibling publication's website, BUILDER .