Generating leads from your website
In order for your website to generate leads, you first have to get visitors to your website via the search engines, word-of-mouth referrals, or other offline marketing and promotions that your business has in place.
Once visitors arrive at your site, lead generation may occur in many different forms. Your visitors may:
- Sign up to receive your newsletter or special offers;
- Download an article or white paper;
- Fill in a form that sends you an enquiry
- Request more information such as a quote;
- Pick up the phone and make contact the old-fashioned way.
Turning your visitors into leads
So, what are visitors on your website looking for? If you know the answer to this, then turning more of those visitors into leads will be a snap. Finding out can be tricky. Avoid guessing based on what you think you would like to know about your own business…..you’re too close to be objective. Try asking your customers why they do business with you. Ask them what their concerns or hesitations might have been. If you already have a website, you can look at which pages of information are most popular. This will give you an indication of what visitors to your website are most interested in. Be careful with this one though. If your website is poorly organized, your potential customers may not even be finding the information that’s important to them. This is usually indicated by a website that has a large number of visitors but provides very few lead conversions. If this is you, then your website may actually be working against you, or worse still, working for your competitors!
Once you do know what your customers are looking for, make sure your content and visitor interaction is based around your findings. Use active language, take the time to understand your customers’ needs and provide clear calls-to-action. Making it clear what your business is about and who your customers are will reduce the problem of being flooded with enquiries from unqualified leads who ultimately just waste your time.
With each lead you get, your website has met an important objective in the sales process. To understand if you are getting an adequate return on your investment, you’ll need to measure the results. This is an important but often overlooked element in determining if your website is a success.
For lead generation activities occurring on your website, measurement can be quite simple. Using your website statistics, either from your web host or from a software provider, you can determine the ratio of visitors to your website that performed one of the conversion actions such as downloading an article or using your contact form. Be careful not to fall into the trap of using ‘hits’ as a measurement tool (see sidebar for our website statistics glossary). For phone calls, I’m sure you’ve heard it time and time again…ask callers where they heard of you and if they’ve been to your website.
Once you have some statistics, don’t just tally up the numbers. Look at the number of leads that come from each type of conversion activity (eg. visitors that ask for a quote), and calculate the proportion of each activity that results in actual sales. From this you’ll know which activities are working for you, and you can concentrate more on those types of activities.
Remember that visitors to your website may be at a many stages of the sales cycle, so provide different options for people at different stages. It’s likely that a visitor may come back to your website a number of times after considering other factors, including your competitors. Go back to your website statistics and look at how visitors move through your website using the 'site path' tools. The patterns you find may help you to segment different groups. If you can clearly separate the groups, you are less likely to overwhelm visitors with too many options that try to cover all bases.
Test, test and test again.
Unless your website is providing you with more business than you can handle (a problem we’d all like to have, right!), then it has not yet been perfected. Until it is, spending a little time testing out different calls-to-action and using different types of interactions can reap tremendous rewards. And don’t forget to measure your results.
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