Turn Visitors Into Leads: 5 Tips to Optimize Small Business Websites
If youâ€™ve been using your business site as a billboard, one of the best ways to increase sales is to upgrade to a lead-generation site. Iâ€™ve seen it succeed time and time again, and itâ€™s really one of the best marketing investments a small business can make.
The Difference between a Billboard Site and a Lead-Generation Site
A billboard site is a presentation of a firmâ€™s credentials. It explains what you do, how you do it, why you do it better than competitors, and why youâ€™re a credible and trustworthy source. In short, a billboard site is much like a PowerPoint in a different package.
In contrast, a lead-generation site is designed to convert visitors into sales leads. It accomplishes all the goals of a billboard site, but doesnâ€™t end there. A lead-generation site gives visitors various options for ordering, inquiring, downloading, or some other activity that takes them a step closer to becoming a customer. In short, a lead-generation site is your online sales rep.
Turning a billboard site into a lead-generation site can be as simple as tweaking your existing site, or as complex as building a new one from scratch. Many of the strategies and techniques used to make the transformation fall under the general marketing discipline of content rate optimization, or CRO.
1. If youâ€™re spending money on SEO and/or PPC, you must invest in CRO.
When companies grow frustrated that their organic and paid search marketing activities arenâ€™t generating enough leads, the solution they often hit upon is spending more on SEO and PPC to drive more traffic. The real problem, however, is probably what happens when visitors hit the site. If they have no easy way to take action, or if theyâ€™re confused, they wonâ€™t convertâ€”no matter how many of them there are. The best way to maximize your SEO and PPC investments is to make your site a lead generating machine.
2. Your offers must be relevant and persuasive.
This sounds ridiculously obvious, but in practice you donâ€™t always see it. Companies frequently promote what they want to sell rather than what customers want to buy: the products themselves, as well as key benefits, are not in sync, so visitors find the offers irrelevant. In terms of persuasion, companies seem to almost go through the motions, offering a â€œfree consultationâ€ instead of a â€œfree consultation to help you save 25%.â€
3. Appeal to visitors at different stages in the buying cycle.
An easy thing to lose sight of is that the vast majority of visitors to your site are not ready to buy. Consequently, if every call to action screams â€œBuy Now!â€ the vast majority of visitors will be either uninterested or turned off. To see how offers can be staged to address the needs of different types of visitors, take a look at this page from the National Metal Fabricators site.
For visitors who are in pure research modeâ€”probably the biggest group of visitorsâ€”there is a prominent link to download a brochure. For visitors who are closer to finding the right source, thereâ€™s a text link that gently presents the option to talk. For visitors who are closer to a buying decision, thereâ€™s a prominent link to request a quote.
4. Donâ€™t forget about referrals.
Ask any business what their best source of new customers is, and the answer is bound to be referrals. Since we all want to do business with people our friends and peers recommend, itâ€™s surprising how many lead-generation sites donâ€™t offer conversion options for visitors who want to refer someone.
The offer could be as simple as a link that says, â€œRefer a customerâ€ or as complex as creating an elaborate reward system for referrals. Either way, the important thing is to ask. Customers, business associates and peers who visit your site may be eager to refer, but unless you show them the way, few will have the initiative to figure it out for themselves.
5. Design and positioning are crucial.
To optimize conversions, itâ€™s not only what you say, but also how you say it, and where you say it. Small firms need to seek out designers who are familiar with the basics of CRO and web usability best practices. If offers are in the wrong place or donâ€™t attract attention, few visitors will act on them regardless of their value. For example, take a look at the home page of Track Your Truck:
Their one-month free offer is pretty hard to miss. The color and positioning capture your attention the instant you land on the page, and there are no other high-octane offers competing for attention. Firms can evaluate the effectiveness of their offers by tracking results and testing different designs, content, and positioning. These activities allow lead-generations to continuously improve, bringing in bigger numbers of better leads.