In the old days before the internet, lead generation was a different game. It was primarily done proactively by cold calling, or by sending out a mailing and having responders call in. In both cases it was up to a live sales rep to convert the interest to a lead.
When the internet began proliferating in the mid-1990s, websites appeared everywhere. At first a website was just something that every modern company “had to have” in addition to all of its other marketing activities—but a website’s function in lead generation wasn’t quite clear and much of the conversion from interest to lead was still performed by salespeople.
Today it’s a whole different game. Prospects hear about your company in any number of ways: through a banner ad, a YouTube video, an online article, at a trade show, or through social media. Once interest has been sparked, potential customers have one destination: your website. And it is almost exclusively up to that website to convert someone from being interested in your product or service to a lead—or ideally, a customer.
#1: Capture Their Attention When They First Arrive
In the past, it was known that first impressions were everything. The front office where clients arrived was designed to create that all-important first impression—to inform a prospect that they had come to the right place for what they were seeking. This was done both through the appearance of the space as well as the helpfulness of the staff. If it failed in any of these regards prospects were likely to turn around and go elsewhere.
In modern times your website is your “front office” in lead generation process—and it’s even more important than the brick-and-mortar entryway because it’s far easier for someone to leave; it just takes a mouse-click instead of physically walking out. Your homepage or landing page must create the instant impression that you have what your prospect wants, and convince them to stay and find out more.
#2: Direct them to Their Next Step
The last thing you want on a website is to capture your prospect’s attention—and they don’t lead them anywhere else. That would be like having someone come into your front office and just leave them sitting there. To generate leads your website must cause prospects to go further, for more information on the product or service they are seeking.
You must, of course, have already well figured out what kind of information your prospects would be looking for, and you have to provide options for all levels of interest. Your visitor might be a total novice in your industry and need to know about the industry itself, and what makes you unique in it. Or, it might be a seasoned buyer who already knows all about you and is there to find out what kind of deal they could currently get. It might be someone in one or two levels in between these two extremes.
For each of these “routes” you need to make it extremely easy for that visitor to find their way around. In web terms, this means your site is very user-friendly and easy to navigate. That also means that your home or landing page should not be cluttered or confusing; those routes should be clearly indicated and easy to find, and the visitor steered to them.
#3: Do Your Homework
How do you know what your web visitor is going to want, and where you should lead them after they arrive? The answer is that you must fully flesh out your ideal customer profile and know it intimately. And that is done through full research on your industry and potential customers, their issues and patterns.
#4: Monitor Your Site Lead Generation
Once your website is up and running, you should employ analytics to monitor traffic and track any possible lead generation. What pages are visitors visiting? What percentage of visitors are showing up on the home or landing page and then “bouncing out”? What pages are best at converting interest to a lead? In order for your website to do its job in lead generation, you’re going to need to know all of this information and be able to act on it. If this looks like a too complicated task for you, don’t worry – you can always find a trusted Chicago web design agency that can help you with the process, make sure you get satisfying results, and track the progress along the way.
#5: Use Your CRM Solution as Your Rear View Mirror
Once an interested prospect has become a leader, that lead will go into your CRM solution. It will then make its way along your sales pipeline. If you have selected your CRM application well, Marketing and sales management will be able to monitor those leads carefully for their quality. The more intuitive and logically functional your CRM solution is, the more detail you will have on what kind of job your website is doing in generating the kind of leads you truly require.
For lead generation, your website means everything. Time, effort and money spent making it as perfect as possible for attracting visitors and converting those visitors to leads will pay you back many times.
What kind of CRM solution makes it possible to truly evaluate and monitor your leads? Find out! Sign up for one of our free webinars.