In the early years of the internet, websites were little more than expensive brochures. It may have been considered icing on the cake for a company to have a website, but certainly not something essential to doing business. Fast forward to 2013 and online conversion funnels have become an effective way for companies to generate leads, no matter what kind of services they offer. Here are some tips to help you increase the leads you get from your website.
Landing Page Optimization
The landing page (a page visitors see after they have clicked on an ad, link or other element) is one of the most important elements of the whole conversion funnel. Your landing page may be laid out in a specific way, whether you are using Google Adwords or some other method to drive traffic, but there are some general rules that should always be followed. The landing page is the point where visitors decide whether or not they made it to the right place, if the desired value proposition is delivered or, in general, if they want to proceed. The following are some common mistakes that will make your conversion numbers tank.
- Irrelevant page: In most instances where landing pages are used, people reached them by clicking on an ad or a link where there were also keywords and a value proposition involved. There was a reason they clicked on it, and they expect to receive what they are looking for when they arrive. Make sure any keywords that you used in your ads — as well as the value proposition — are prominent on the page. They need to be the header above any copy and also be above the fold of the page.
- Ambiguous actions: In order to generate a lead, a visitor typically has to enter some information and fill out a form. If this action is difficult to accomplish, they won’t do it. You would be surprised how much people will muddle through something when they really want the result. However, users can only take so much. Only ask for information that is absolutely necessary. Avoid long forms or actions that require special processes to take place in order to work. Opening a default email client with a link comes to mind. If you make it too hard to interact with an online form or drown out the action with other elements on the page, you won’t get the lead.
- Reduce competing elements: As mentioned in the previous paragraph, it’s a mistake to put so much stuff on the page that it’s hard for users to know what to do. If you want a user to fill out a form, it needs to be the most obvious thing on the page. They should have no doubt that this is what they should be doing on the page. You don’t have to go crazy by removing all of your standard navigation or logos, but you definitely want your action to be the most prominent thing on the page. Use contrasting colors for elements like submit buttons, forms, calls to action or whatever else composes your lead generation action. This can help them stand out against the background of your site.
- Make text easy to scan: When people are hastily looking for something online, they don’t read text — they scan it. They skim over it until they see words, images or phrases that pique their interest. A good way to make it easy is to use the key terms that may have brought a visitor to the page in the first place while ensuring concise copy. Add only as much detail as someone might need to proceed and nothing more.
Clarity in Lead Generation
If you are offering something in exchange for a visitor’s contact information, you need to be very clear about what they are getting as well as what they need to do to get it. If it will take three steps to download a whitepaper after just providing a name, email and phone number, let them know that. If you tell your visitor one thing and something else happens, they are likely to abandon the funnel.
Lead Generation Online is Iterative
When it comes to different kinds of marketing online, you plan, you implement, you analyze and then you re-work your tactics. Lead generation campaigns are no different. It is very important to have a method to test how your lead generation funnels are working, as well as one to measure them. Google Analytics is a great, free tool that allows you to set up goal URL’s to accurately track progress. You can also set up Google experiments like A/B/n testing. Try changing between different calls to action, the placement and size of contact forms, or the configuration of keyword phrases on a page. Sometimes small changes can make a big difference in the amount of leads you bring in.
There are a lot of valuable resources available that can help you increase conversions on your website. Many tactics can be applied effectively to lead generation. For example, the book Conversion Optimization offers a variety of great tips for increasing conversions. Another good book is Don’ Make Me Think, which is a quick read and gives sound advice on how people interact with web pages and the elements that cause them pain in the process.
What unique things have you tried to bring in more leads? Have you found one method to be most effective for your particular industry?