It doesn’t matter if lead generation is your site’s sole purpose or only one discreet piece of your marketing mix. Generating a lead is always about communicating the value of doing business with you and answering a prospect’s unspoken questions. Perhaps you’d like a visitor to fill in a contact form, download a white paper or demo, register, opt in to a newsletter or email list, or forward your content to a friend.
How can the design, architecture, and content of your Web site motivate lead generation? Bear in mind prospects are researching online so they don’t have to interact with someone (start thinking of visitors as the most introverted people you ever knew). They’re not going to ask you a bunch of questions. You need to pull it out of them (that’s what every click is about).
Can you convince visitors you’re valuable to them, so they give something of value to you in return? Here’s your challenge:
Implement as many of the steps below as possible before Monday. Next Friday, email me your conversion growth (in percent). Maybe I’ll relate your story to readers the following week.
Ready? Let’s start!
Message Must be Relevant
Identify what really matters to your visitors. What motivates them to seek you out? What problems do you solve for them? What friction points do you reduce for them? Identify the benefits and value your products or services confer. Find your visitors’ buttons, then push them by serving up a nice, juicy, relevant message!
Unless you’re marketing to a select audience that absolutely requires you to communicate credibility via insiderspeak (jargon), stay away from the stuff. Jargon convinces folks you aren’t really interested in talking to them, so they’re far less likely to listen in the future. If you must include specific terminology, give it a low profile. Those wanting to know if you can really talk the talk will look to find it. If you’re not sure how folks talk or think about your products or services, conduct online consumer research. Using your customers’ language on your Web site may help your chances with the search engines.
Don’t “We” All Over Yourself
The first rule of online success is it’s never about you. Brilliant as you and your business may be, focus on visitors. Let them know you understand their needs and what matters to them. Put them center stage. Want a thumbnail view of how customer-focused the language on your site is? Try the customer focus calculator on our Web site. It sees how often your copy brags about things like, “We are the best, we are the original.”
Keep It Need-to-Know
Ask for as little information as possible. You probably want to request customer information that includes everything from name to shoe size. You can certainly ask for it. But the more information you ask for, the less likely folks are to fork it over. Conversion rates are generally proportional to the amount of information requested. This holds especially true for lead-generating conversions.
Lead generation is a value exchange. Your visitors expect to get something of value from you in exchange for their information. What they have to provide should not be one iota more than they perceive necessary! If you want more information, provide more value in proportion to the request. You want my shoe size for your newsletter? Offer me a free pair of socks after I’ve received the newsletter (let me know if you do this… I really could use a free pair).
Help Them See It
No two ways about it, if visitors can’t quickly make visual heads or tails of your content, they won’t stick around and you won’t generate a lead. Layout matters. Evaluate text scannability, and use eye-tracking principles to encourage visitors to engage with your site.
We’ve talked about the importance of helping visitors qualify their needs so they can find what they need and get to it quickly. It’s a process that begins on the home page (or a well-designed landing page).
But not all visitors know exactly what they want. Some may not be in a buying mood. That doesn’t mean they won’t buy. An exceptional qualification scheme is critical to getting a customer. It’s just as critical to generating a lead. Let visitors know briefly who you are, what you do, and what you offer. You’re more likely to persuade them to become a lead.
Test, Measure, and Optimize
Improving lead generation means evaluating what you’ve done so you can figure out how to do it better. Web analytics to consider include:
- Responses: How many folks downloaded your white paper, subscribed to your newsletter, or opted in to your email list?
- Time spent on site: How long do visitors stick around?
- Reject rates, especially on contact pages: Where do folks bail out of your site? Are you losing visitors just when you think you have them?
- Leads-to-close ratio: Is there a connect between perception and satisfaction?
Think of a prospect as a hungry dog on the scent of his favorite food (meat). When you speak to the dog, speak in the language of the dog, about what matters to the heart of the dog. The dog cares about meat. Don’t tell him about grooming. He’ll get irritated and go elsewhere.
Make this the centerpiece of your site’s conversion philosophy, and watch those leads roll in! If you don’t have the time or resources to take advantage of all seven tips, try at least one.
Meet Bryan at ClickZ E-Mail Strategies in New York City on May 19 and 20.
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