What is a “lead”, anyway?
A lead is any person who has raised their hand and indicated they are interested in what you are offering and would like to know more. They are not necessarily ready to buy yet. A lead should be taken through a qualification process and nurturing sequence before they can be classified as sales-ready.
What is Lead Generation?
Lead generation is the process of converting strangers into raving fans of your brand. It takes your potential customer through a journey, from being completely unaware of your brand to being aware, showing interest in learning more, making a purchase, and then bringing in repeat business and spontaneous referrals.
There are many moving parts to a lead generation funnel, and your website is a very important component in that system.
So how do you make your website work as a lead generation tool?
Having a website designed with your customers in mind is the very first step. When a customer arrives on your website, he or she may be at the stage they are still researching to find potential solutions for a problem or need they are having, or they might be ready to take the next step and want to find the best provider that will fit their needs. That’s why your website needs to have a little something for everyone, and include content tailored for customers on each step of their value journey – from “just-looking” to “who do I make this check out to?”. Here are seven things to pay attention to:
1 - C.T.As (Calls-to-Action)
A CTA or call-to-action is a direct request for your customer to perform a certain action and click on a button, fill out a form, or pick up the phone and call you. Whatever it is your customer should do to take the next step must be clearly stated in the call-to-action. It is important for customers to always understand what the next step is and what they need to do to move forward.
Including clear call-to-actions throughout your website helps move customers along their journey and also improves user experience. A website with confusing (or missing) call-to-actions will see reduced conversion rates because customers will be confused as they search for instructions on how to take the next step, and when those are not readily available, they will click away.
Include a primary call-to-action on the top part of your website, visible without scrolling down, and also throughout your page – especially at the end of a blog post, social media messages, and emails. The goal of your individual CTA’s may be for a visitor to download something, to contact you, to subscribe to a newsletter, to sign up for a product trial, etc. A primary CTA is essential, but you may also choose to add secondary CTAs that appeal to customers in different stages of their value journey. Such is the case with Spotify – visitors who land on this page have the choice to try the app for free or buy in the premium version.
So, which CTAs should you use? That will depend on your buyer’s persona. You need to understand your client and anticipate their needs, so you can understand at what point in their journey they might be landing on your website – are they just looking or ready to buy? Then adapt your CTAs to cater to each stage.
2. Landing Pages with ‘Gated’ Offers
A “gated offer” is a piece of valuable content that you can offer to your visitor in exchange for some information such as their email address. When they provide you with that information, you can instantly contribute to their journey by offering a bite-sized solution to their problem or need.
You can offer an ebook, a guide, cheat sheets, a free consultation, or anything that might help your prospect feel that you have something of value that will help them. Gated content works best when placed on a landing page specific for that free offer.
A landing page is different from your website because it has no navigation bar and only gives the visitor the choice of accepting your offer and entering their information or navigating away. It has no distractions and it is short and to the point. Landing pages are great opportunities to generate leads and help you build up your SEO (as long as they are not hosted on third-party platforms).
Strategically-placed forms throughout your website are fundamental to persuade a visitor to enter their information. Besides adding them on landing pages, you will want to add forms in other areas of your website. A well-designed form can also work hand-in-hand with your CTAs and point the customer towards the next step in their journey.
There are many ways to easily add a form to your website. For WordPress users, plugins such as Contact Form 7 are available. But if you have marketing software such as Drip, ActiveCampagin, or Hubspot, you can build a form inside the software and embed it onto your site. The nice thing about that is you can automatically link your form to a marketing campaign and start tracking link clicks and click-through rates automatically. Short forms that require less information upfront tend to perform better.
The text you choose for your form button is important as well. Try coming up with something catchy such as “Tell me More” instead of just “Submit”, for example.
4. No blog? That’s a problem!
Google loves websites that offer a wealth of value-adding content to visitors and tends to reward that by ranking them better on organic search results. The best way to make that happen is by making sure your website has a blog with interesting and engaging content that gets regularly updated.
Content-rich blogs not only help your SEO rankings but also generate leads by helping your prospect get to know your business and build their trust in you as an expert in the field. Adding a CTA on every post boosts your chances of converting a reader into a lead.
Testimonials of happy customers who have done business with you in the past are a great way to provide social proof for potential customers and boost their trust. Around 84% of people trust online reviews before making a buying decision, so displaying testimonials is fundamental to improve your conversion rates and build authority. Through positive reviews and testimonials, your leads can peek into results you have delivered for others and paint a picture in their minds of what they can expect when they do business with you. Case studies are also a great asset to boost social proof on your website and tell a more detailed story of how your product or service made a difference in your customer’s life.
6. Pop-Ups (a.k.a Interstitials)
Pop-ups can generate a love-hate relationship among business owners and not everyone is a fan. But the truth is that a well-placed pop-up can help improve your conversions and get good results for your lead generation efforts.
Avoid using pop-ups that show up right as the customer lands on your site or attempts to read your blog post. Those are annoying and affect the user experience. Instead, try using a pop-up that is triggered by a specific action, such as scrolling further down the page or clicks on a link. Make sure your pop-up is working properly on mobile devices, and that it is adding to the visitor’s experience and not detracting from it.
Pop-ups that are too big are penalized by Google. Make sure to double-check their best practices before employing a pop-up ad.
7. Web Credibility
Another important component of a lead-generating website is credibility. Not everyone believes what they see on the internet, and with your business website, it is not any different. You must prove that you are a real organization that they can safely trust.
A few ways to add credibility to your website is to add reference to external links that talk about your business. Has it been featured in a news outlet? Magazine? Are there any videos featuring your business? Being backed by a third-party website is key to build trust and show that you are real.
Do you have any credentials from industry-relevant associations? Have you worked with any major clients and gotten them results – and if so, are you displaying their logos on your site? This goes hand-in-hand with adding testimonials and case studies to your page. The more you can add to your site to show you are the real deal, the more customers are likely to feel confident in using your services.
So, to sum up, here are the key elements your website needs to have to work as a lead generation asset for you:
- CTA’s – Calls to Action
- Landing Pages
- Web credibility