Want to ramp up the conversion rate on your lead generation site?
Lead generation sites fail to convert for three basic reasons:
Obviously each is interrelated and flow from one to the other. There might be a few more reasons, but for now, these three gigantic culprits are enough to start you identifying specific problems on your site and determining action items for optimization.
Keep in mind, more leads may not be what you need. You may need more qualified leads, and a properly planned Web site should help the visitor qualify herself.
We've worked with several companies that have seen a decrease in the number of leads, but increased sales and optimized the sales team time and closing ratios because the quality of their leads was improved.
Exchanging Value: My Name for Your Service
Many sites offering "free" whitepapers, case studies, or resources in exchange for some visitor information do a poor job of merchandising their downloads. Your downloads contain valuable information. Treat them as such.
Stop thinking of these downloads as free. You're asking for something extremely valuable to both you and the visitor, their contact information. To get this valuable information "merchandise" your downloads better. Show the visitor the value of what they're downloading. So when they fill out the lead form, they feel they're making a good exchange, valuable information for valuable information.
If you offer a free trial or demo period, provide clear information about what they are getting. Is it a fully functional trial with a time limit? What happens when the demo runs out? Will you offer them support during the trial? (Sounds like a good way to win over a potential customer doesn't it?) Disclose system requirements before they begin the sign up process.
Track the number of "bogus" e-mails you get, either bad e-mail addresses or e-mails from Hotmail, Yahoo, or Gmail. If you get too many emails from email@example.com or elvisp@hotmail, rest assured that visitors don't see value in the offer and the exchange.
Beware, sometimes these tactics will cause a drop in the number of leads, but rid you of junk leads. You have to determine if this is an acceptable trade off (it almost always is).
Help for the Informationally Challenged
Information, information, information is all around us. Some is useful, sometimes it's hard to find what's useful, and some information is just plain not helpful at all.
One approach to determine if you have info problems is to examine time spent on page. Often times I work with sites that have low time spent on main content pages but their FAQ page gets more visitor time. This may indicate that visitors aren't finding information they need elsewhere. If a visitor relies on your FAQ to get information, it reduces trust. Why aren't these frequent questions answered frequently (or linked to) on key pages like home and service/product pages?
Often sites put up so much information that visitors cannot find the piece of info they seek. This occasionally indicates an information architecture problem, but more often indicates that the visitors' needs and motivations aren't addressed in the content.
Another key issue often neglected is that often the person doing the research on the Web site isn't the decision maker. She's trying to gather, sort, and print (you do make it easy to do that, right?) information to give to the person making the decision. Are you making your site easy to understand for this person as well?
There really are no easy solutions to get your information in order. First begin to establish a persuasive framework, building personas then planning each persona's interaction or persuasion scenarios with your site, and determining what information they need and when and where they need it on the site.
Establishing Trust and Expectations
Visitors must trust you. If they don't, they don't become leads or often they become bad leads. Visitors may even fill out a lead form if they mistrust you. Sometimes they are just going through the motion of getting proposals and pricing and are planning on buying from your competitor. You might have the better solution for them but the site or the lead process doesn't instill enough confidence to take you seriously.
Most visitors who aren't confident simply won't contact you. They fear harassment from the sales team. Or sometimes your site is ineffective in communicating the values of the visitor and they bail. Again, this is a tragedy especially when you consider they could be in the market to buy what you sell.
Other times, visitors are in early stages of the buying process and an overly aggressive lead form will cause them to tighten up, assuming you'll push them somewhere they don't feel ready to go. Here are some things you can do to help instill trust.
Now go get some leads.
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Bryan Eisenberg is coauthor of the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times bestselling books "Call to Action," "Waiting For Your Cat to Bark?," and "Always Be Testing." Bryan is a professional marketing speaker and has keynoted conferences globally such as SES, Shop.org, Direct Marketing Association, MarketingSherpa, Econsultancy, Webcom, SEM Konferansen Norway, the Canadian Marketing Association, and others. In 2010, Bryan was named a winner of the Direct Marketing Educational Foundation's Rising Stars Awards, which recognizes the most talented professionals 40 years of age or younger in the field of direct/interactive marketing. He is also cofounder and chairman emeritus of the Web Analytics Association. Bryan serves as an advisory board member of SES Conference & Expo, the eMetrics Marketing Optimization Summit, and several venture capital backed companies. He works with his coauthor and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg. You can find them at BryanEisenberg.com.