If you are anything like me when it comes to designing a website, the first thing you think of is “how can I use this to generate sales leads?” In order to help make this thought-process a little more stream-lined, I came up with the 10 most important things you can do to increase leads from your website. By no means do I consider this list to be exhaustive, so if you have any extra tips you can think of, please share with a comment.
1. Attract The Right Visitors
This is probably the most important thing you can do to increase the amount of leads you accumulate from your site, however it is also one of the hardest things to accomplish. This relies heavily on SEM (search engine marketing), which includes PPC (pay-per-click) and SEO (search engine optimization). If you are looking for a quick spurt of highly targeted traffic, you will want to use some form of direct advertising such as Google AdWords, or Facebook Advertising. If you are not an internet marketer yourself, you may consider using a PPC management company that specializes in maximizing your budget and increasing targeted traffic. On the other hand, if you are interested in generating long-term traffic and are less concerned about immediate results, you should consider investing in SEO. By having targeted content and a healthy amount of proper links pointing to your site, you will be able to generate organic traffic.
2. Create Targeted Pages
Once you have found a way to attract your target market to your website, you will want to create personalized landing pages (first page visitors see when they arrive on your site). The most common place to do this is the “Services” or “Products” section of your site. The easiest way to make targeted landing pages is by starting with your initial service, and breaking it down into sub-categories. If you (or your client) owns a company that specializes in financial services, your first instinct may be to create a single page that lists all the services in one place. Although this is a good place to start, your next step should be to create individual pages, custom-tailored to each one of those services (ex. Personal Accounting, Corporate Accounting, Investment Management, etc.). This will allow you to direct your traffic to a more specific page that provides personalized information, and thus has a higher chance of converting that visitor into a lead.
3. Target the Long-Tail
To add to our discussion about attracting the right traffic, you should also focus attention on targeting long-tail keywords. (For an illustration of what long-tail keywords are, see this article by SEOmoz’s Rand Fishkin). Long-tail keywords draw in more distinct visitors looking for highly targeted phrases. As explained by Alan Mitchell of Calculate Marketing, these keywords generally cost less, have higher click-through rates (CTRs), and convert at a higher rate. So instead of trying to focus all your attention on “financial services”, try narrowing it down to longer tail keywords such as “pension services new york” and be sure to use different variations since long-tail keywords are more unique and searched less frequently. Also, make sure you include these phrases in your image captions, anchor text, URLs, and page content.
4. Turn Interest Into Desire
When visitors arrive on your site, they are most likely already interested in your product or service, otherwise they would not have clicked on your link, ad, search result etc. Aside from just providing basic information about your service/product, you will also want to make visitors desire it. For those of you who took a basic marketing course, you may remember the AIDA principle, which shows the general progression of effective advertising. If you want a consumer to purchase your product, give you their contact information, etc. your copy must take readers through these 4 stages: Attention > Interest > Desire > Action. By highlighting the benefits of your service/product and not just the features, you can increase desire. Below are two examples of this:
Example of Features Only (don’t do this!)
“The SuperPhone-300 comes with a 2000 mAh battery.”
Example of Features and Benefits (do this!)
“The large battery capacity of the SuperPhone-300 requires less frequent charging, so you can talk longer.”
Other ways that you can highlight the benefits and increase desire is by including videos, testimonials, product images, etc. Also to separate yourself from the competition, be sure to feature your supporting services (additional services that increase the quality of the primary service. Ex. Order Tracking, 24/7 Customer Service, etc.).
5. Use a Strong Call to Action (CTA)
So once you have found a way to convince the visitor that they need your product, you will need to influence them to act. By using a strong call to action (CTA), in several locations throughout your page, you can increase the likelihood of them converting into a lead. The key to writing good a good CTA is to focus on the “Why” instead of the “How”. Rather than simply saying “Fill out this form”, or “Contact us today”, try and offer an incentive. If you do not have something tangible to offer (explained in the next tip), try to come up with something that still sounds like it’s benefiting the visitor (ex. “Need help with your project? Have a specialist contact you today!”). Another tactic is to use a CTA that sparks more interest than a regular cookie-cutter approach. In this conversion optimization case study, from Conversion Rate Experts, you can see how they changed a cut-and-dry CTA into one that sparks interest:
“Improve your traffic and rankings with an SEOmoz PRO Membership!”
“When eBay, Disney and Marriot need SEO help, here’s what they do…”
The original CTA was not necessarily bad as it included both a benefit and a follow-up action; however, the optimized rendition provided a sense of curiosity and prestige, enticing visitors to continue reading.
6. Offer Something In Exchange
As mentioned in Tip #5, it is important to have a strong and/or creative CTA in order to entice visitors to fill out a lead form or purchase a product. In our experience, the strongest CTAs are the ones that offer something in return, specifically when dealing with lead generation. What we often times will do with our clients, is have them come up with something tangible, that they can offer to visitors in return for their contact information. This incentive can be anything from a white-paper or case-study, to a free trial or coupon. However, the key is to maintain a strong ROI, thus you will want to avoid the use of discounts or rebates if they are going to have a drastic effect on profit.
7. Soft-Sells Still Count
If you’re finding that no matter what you try, your visitors are not converting into leads, then you may need to take a soft-sell approach. Often times visitors are discouraged by long contact forms, and may be on the brink of wanting your service but still want to shop around a bit, so they avoid filling out your lead form. For these visitors, you will want to include a low involvement way to capture their contact information so that you may contact them at a future time in their purchasing stage. Examples of these would be a quick and easy e-mail sign-up form where visitors can input their email to hear about special offers or receive newsletters. An interesting tool that allows you to do just that is the Hello Bar, which can be installed on your site relatively easily, and is very subtle. Since every visitor costs money (directly or indirectly), you will want to maximize the conversion rate as much as possible. Using the soft-sell approach will ensure that each visitor at least has the chance to partake in a low-commitment form of communication, while still increasing your lead-pool.
8. Make it Easy for Visitors to Convert
So you have the targeted traffic, compelling content, and strong CTA’s.. Now what? All of these things are great, but without having the right forms of communication available, your visitors will become impatient and discouraged, at which point they will hit the one button that all internet marketers fear.. the “Back” button. So how do you solve this problem? Simple.. By ensuring that you provide multiple and easily accessible paths for the visitor to take in order to contact you. Without being too “in-your-face”, try to make sure that each page has a contact form and a phone number. Many companies are now using individual landing pages, targeted at specific topics that include only three options for visitors – fill out the form, call the number at the top, or hit the back button. By placing a phone number in key areas on the landing page (ex. as part of the copy and within the header), and by making your contact form prominent (some take up as much as half the page), you can ensure that your users will not have to go through a treasure hunt, just to give you their information.
9. Use Multivariates and A/B Testing
Using all the tips I just mentioned, you will now want to test, test, test! If you use the first 8 tips and only apply the principles once, you will miss out on other possibilities that may lead to better results. Very rarely will you ever create the highest performing landing page on the first try, which is why it is important to use multivariate and a/b testing. Both of these are forms of “split testing” meaning that you would create two or more page variations and literally split the traffic between the two to see which one performs better. Multivariate testing involves changing a portion of the page such as an image or CTA, while A/B testing compares two entirely different pages. WhichMVT.com provides a full list of multivariate programs to choose from, including Google Optimizer, which is free.
10. Analyze Your Data and Adjust
By now you have gone through the entire list of tips, including split testing, and are wondering where to go from here. You will want to ensure that from the start of your efforts, you have some form of data gathering system to refer to. This could be Google Analytics, SEOmoz, or even stats from your AdWords account. My recommendation is to get as much data as possible, because in the end, this will be your secret weapon. Once you have a sufficient amount of data to work with, you should start making adjustments to your pages. Things to look for are trends (ex. pages with longer forms may perform better, while pages with too much content could perform worse, etc.). By paying attention to stats like bounce-rates, time-on-site, and exit-pages, you will be able to identify weak areas of your site.
Of course every website is different, and the results vary from industry to industry, but by following these tips you should be able increase the conversion rate of your website. The key thing to keep in mind at all times, is that your website is a sales tool, and as much as you want to provide information about your company, you should also be trying to connect with your visitors.
If you have any questions or would like to stir up the pot with some suggestions, please comment below. Cheers, and good luck!