Which Website is Right for You: Brand Building or Lead Generation?

by Andrew Schulkind

You have two main options when you build a website: you can build a website focused on lead generation or a site devoted to brand building. One isn’t necessarily better than another, and they will frequently overlap, but knowing what you want your website marketing to achieve will make success more likely.

Fork in the Road

First, let’s define these two approaches.

Brand-Building Websites

A brand building website’s primary concern is creating trust and credibility for your firm with leads that are generated through other methods – primarily networking and referrals. You’ll also want to encourage them to engage with you in a way that helps build toward a working relationship.

Lead Generation Websites

A website focused on lead generation is tasked with all of the above, plus generating traffic from folks who have not been referred to you by other means. It will do this using features built into the site and with outside help of things like social media and email marketing. There are two big differences.

What Are the Differences, What Do They Mean?

Without the warm introduction of a referral, your lead-generation website has to break the ice. This typically requires content that not only creates trust, but also leads to the next piece of content.

Why the next piece of content? Because of the second big difference: without the expressed interest that networking and referrals often imply, you have to work through the prospect’s buying cycle. You also need to gain insight into their needs and motivation. How they interact with your site and its content can help provide that context.

Neither of these types of sites is better than the other, even if some marketers do look down their noses at “brochureware” sites. (Sites that are simple, static, and not actively encouraging engagement.) Even we have been known to talk about making your website more than an expensive business card …

But there are businesses for whom digital marketing is not the best use of their marketing resources. For them, the simpler site provides a better return on marketing investment. If the site’s content, voice, and visual design fit their target audience, any additional investment will yield only marginal gains.

For most of us, a more active approach will increase our site’s effectiveness, even in high-touch businesses such as law, accounting, coaching and therapy, etc.

It should be pretty easy to see which approach is most appropriate for your business. The real danger is in getting caught in between. Any resources devoted to driving traffic to a site not built to convert that traffic to leads is largely wasted. And any site that has the trappings of a lead-generation site but is allowed to lie fallow likely is even less effective than a well-designed brand building site.

Once you determine the right approach, commit to investing the resources to making it do the job it’s designed to do. How to do that is a much longer conversation, and one we’d be glad to have with you.