7 Ways To Generate More Leads On Your Website

Magnet

Implementing just a few simple best practices in conversion can make a huge difference in your bottom line. If you can increase your website’s conversion from 1 to 2 percent, you will have doubled your number of qualified leads!

1. USE LANDING PAGE BEST PRACTICES

A landing page is the first page of your website that a visitor arrives or “lands” on. Initially used in the PPC (pay-per-click) world, landing pages are designed for one thing: to get visitors to take specific action, whether buying a product, downloading an ebook, or “opting in” by joining an email list or filling out a lead form

The art and science of designing and optimizing landing pages has evolved into an industry of its own, known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). In order to achieve improved conversion rates, high paid CRO consultants and agencies use advanced software and tools to test and tweak every aspect of a landing page, from the copy, headline color, and font, to the shape and test of the call-to-action button. As you can imagine, improving the conversion rate by just .5 percent on a site that gets millions of unique visitors per month can result in a significant increase in sales revenue.

An example of a landing page on my site fletchermethod.com

Treat Every Page As a Landing Page

A huge mistake often made by small business website designers is putting all their eggs in one basket, placing all the trust building, engagement, and conversion elements on the home page only. This costly oversight can easily be prevented if website owners and designers are made aware of one simple fact: Most first-time visitors to your site do not land on your home page.

The next time you look at your Google Analytics reports, check out the “Content > Landing Pages” report. This shows which specific pages on your site visitors landed on, ranked from most to least popular. Although your home page may be the most popular, it gets only a small percentage of your total traffic. This means that most of your visitors are entering your site on your content pages, which is why we must treat every page as a landing page. Each blog post you write must contain as many engagement and conversion elements as possible. Each page must stand alone in its ability to build trust with the reader, steering him or her toward action.

How to Make Your Web Pages Like Your Landing Page

  • Focus each page on a single topic. Whether coming from Google, Facebook, or a yellow pages ad, your visitors arrive at your site expecting to find specific information that relates to the question or need that brought them there. It’s critical to focus each page on your site on a very narrow topic and avoid the common, lazy “kitchen sink” approach used on all too many sites. For example, if you’re a bankruptcy lawyer, you should have separate Web pages for chapter 7, chapter 13, foreclosure, and chapter 11. If you’re a pastry chef, you’d find great benefit in creating separate pages for cakes, pies, and croissants.
  • Reduce options, driving visitors towards conversion. One of the core tenets of landing page optimization is to funnel visitors toward the call to action (Web form or phone number). This is best accomplished by limiting or removing other potentially distracting options that can cause visitors to “click away” from your calls to action, never to return.
  • Include conversion elements on every page. Don’t expect your visitors to seek out ways to reach you, clicking around your site looking for your contact form or phone number. Make it easy for them to take the next step by adding your Web forms and phone numbers to every page in “persistent” sections that don’t change, like your header or sidebar.

2. PROVIDE A COMPELLING OFFER AND CALL TO ACTION

According to businessdictionary.com, a call to action (CTA) is defined as

“Words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a sales promotion message to take an immediate action, such as ‘Write Now,’ ‘Call Now,’ or (on Internet) ‘Click Here.’ A retail advertisement or commercial without a call-to-action is considered incomplete and ineffective,” – dictionary.com

To the layperson, the call to action may seem unnecessary, intrusive, or even cheesy. No one wants to pressure their audience and risk being seen in a negative, infomercial-esque light. But every blog post you write, ad you place, or postcard you send must have a clear and compelling call to action. Otherwise, you are entering a sword fight with a spatula. An effective call to action adds a competitive edge to everything you print, post, or publish.

There exists no greater tragedy in online marketing than the all-too-frequent occurrence of a small business owner taking the time to write epic content that engages and builds trust with readers, only to have the visitors leave your site and find your competitor.

Elements of an Effective Call to Action

A call to action must incorporate the following elements:

  • Who the reader is: Nothing appeals to us more then contextualized or targeted communication that feels like it’s speaking directly to us, whether we are:
    • “bay area road bikers”
    • “families of 4 or more”
    • “small business owners”
    • “chicken farmers”
  • What they’ll get: In the form of a valuable offer or promise, tell your users or readers exactly what they’ll get for taking action:
    • “to schedule your free consultation”
    • “to gain instant access to a FREE video”
    • “to reserve your spot”
    • “to make an appointment”
    • “to get a free soda”
  • How to take action:
    • “call”
    • “click”
    • “press 0”
    • “come on in!”
  • Where to take action:
    • “in the box below”
    • “the number above”
    • “at the front desk”
  • When to take action: Adding urgency (limited time) and/or scarcity (limited supply) is a time-tested tactic:
    • “now”
    • “before September 28th”
    • “while supplies last”
  • Why to take action: The “why” focuses on the benefit to the reader:
    • “to save time and money”
    • “to learn the secrets of fly fishing”
    • “so you can spend more time with your family”

Use Your Calls to Action Everywhere You Can

Your target customers will encounter your business through many channels, including your website. Because you can never predict exactly how or where this “first contact” may occur, it’s critical to include a strong call to action on every page of your website and elsewhere where your business is listed, online or otherwise.

  • Blog posts: Once a reader has found your article and taken the time to read it in detail, coming to see you as an authority in your niche in the process, where do they end up? At the end of your blog post. What better time than to leverage the reader’s heightened state of interest and focus than now?
  • In the header, sidebar, and footer: One extremely effective measure is to make a call to action part of your site’s DNA. By including a strong CTA in the header, sidebars, and footers of your site, you’re helping to put conversions on autopilot, as your visitors can’t help but be exposed to your offers on every page.
  • Online listings: Each instance in which you list your business online is an opportunity to increase conversions—no one says leads have to come from your website alone!

Social media profiles and multimedia sites: Whether consumers find you on YouTube, FaceBook, Twitter, or any other social media community, they should be prompted to contact your business right then and there.

3. USE SIMPLE WEB FORMS TO CAPTURE LEADS

A Web form, or “lead form,” is nothing more than a small area on a Web page containing fields. After users enter information into these fields, the information gets sent to a server for processing. Simply put, Web forms provide an easy way for visitors to contact you, much simpler than sending you an email or even picking up the phone.

Lead forms and their proper placement are a critical component of your conversion strategy. Remember, you have one singular goal when it comes to conversion: to measurably increase the percentage of your website visitors who convert into leads (which, again, means they contact you and express interest in your products or services).

Take a look at a few small business websites and the number of steps needed to get in touch with the corresponding businesses. On most sites, you’ll see some form of a “contact us” page that may or may not have a contact form. This is bad for two reasons:

  • Any time you require your visitors to click around to find something, your conversions will start to dwindle with each additional action they’ll have to take before getting to the form.
  • Burying your contact form on one page means that you’re missing 90 percent of your opportunities to generate leads. This is like a grocery store with one checkout counter hidden in a backroom.

Lead forms are one of the most valuable tools in your conversion arsenal for several reasons:

  • Measurability: Each form can be easily tracked (we’ll cover this later) so that website owners can quickly and accurately measure the success of traffic-driving efforts all the way through conversion (lead forms filled out).
  • Familiarity: These days, it’s safe to assume your customers are used to interacting with and trusting online Web forms, for both business and pleasure.
  • Highly customizable: There are dozens of companies who offer user-friendly, “drag and drop” Web form solutions, allowing you to quickly customize your forms to your needs and those of your visitors.
  • Portability: As we’ll see next, most Web form solutions allow you to place lead or contact forms just about anywhere on your site using a simple “copy and paste” code.

Types of Online Lead Forms

Before you bang your head against the wall or sell off your Facebook stock to hire a Web designer, hold your horses. If you can copy and paste, you possess all the technical skills required to add beautiful, powerful Web forms to your site. There are dozens of reputable products and entire companies dedicated to “drag and drop” Web forms and lead management.

Virtually all of these solutions work the same way, with two basic steps:

  • Choose a Web form solution that works for the platform your site is built on. There are both free and paid solutions.
  • Easily customize the form.

The one decision you’ll need to make is what type of form you want to use, in terms of what happens to the information once a form has been filled out. There are two main categories to choose from:

1. Simple email posted forms: As the name implies, these forms simply capture the information gathered from form users and email this data to you and/or any other folks you specify. The pros of these forms is that they are very easy to use, and with off-the-shelf plugins available for many CMS systems, they’re usually free.

If you’re using WordPress, you can install plugins right from your website. See this link for further details: http://codex.wordpress.org/Managing_Plugins

For the copy and paste method, use one of the following Web form providers:

2. Database-driven forms: These forms have the same front-end functions as simple email forms, with the added functionality of posting respondents’ data directly into a lead nurturing database or email marketing system, both of which store your “Web leads” in one organized place, making it super-easy to build and follow up with your growing list of contacts via email marketing campaigns. These email marketing platforms are very useful:

How to Use Lead Forms for Maximum Conversions

Be sure your forms are designed for maximum lead-generating effectiveness by following these Web form tips:

  • Make your forms as short as possible. Many small businesses make the mistake of requiring too much information on their forms. The problem with this is that a higher number of fields measurably reduces conversion. Shorter is better when it comes to lead forms. Try and challenge yourself to minimize the number of fields to as little as two or three. It’s better to have less information from a hundred leads than to have more detailed information from only ten leads. Start with the following fields and measure your conversion rates:
  • Name
  • Phone
  • Email (optional)
  • Message

Make sure your lead forms gather the minimum amount of information you need to be able to follow up with your prospects. You can always ask more questions once you make contact.

  • Place at least one lead form on every page. Most website owners miss a huge opportunity and lose countless leads each month by not properly positioning lead forms. You can’t expect your visitors to have either the time or the attention span required to seek out a contact form—you must make it easy for them.
  • Place your lead forms in prominent places. It’s also critical that you place lead forms in prominent places where your visitors are most likely to see and interact with them. Start with a form above the fold (viewable on users’ screens without scrolling), on every page. The sidebar is a great spot since it shows up on all or most pages.
  • Make your form stand out. Many Web designers make the mistake of treating contact forms like any other design element, aiming to make them blend in with the aesthetics of the website. Don’t do this. Your lead form should jump out and grab your reader’s attention, clearly revealing the “next step,” which is usually contacting you, stopping by your place of business, or downloading content.
  • Remember to include your call to action. Most small business sites that do make use of Web forms do so without incorporating effective calls to action. A form with the header “Contact Us” is better than no form at all. To get the highest conversions from your lead forms, be sure to include an offer with a powerful call to action as we covered earler.
  • Tell your visitors that spam’s not an issue. These days we’re all hyper-resistant to handing out our personal information. The last thing any of us want is to have our email address sold and blasted by spammers. All the trust-building measures we’ve covered contribute to your visitors feeling comfortable enough to give up their coveted e-digits, but you should also underscore your anti-spam policy on the form itself.

4. MAKE THE PHONE RING WITH PROMINENT PHONE NUMBERS

The advent of fax machines, computers, mobile phones, and tablets may have provided new methods of lead generation, but none of these techy devices have yet displaced the undisputed heavyweight champion of lead generation: the telephone!

In fact, most advertising models used for online and mobile platforms involve driving users to the phone (as opposed to using lead forms alone). In terms of engagement, getting a phone call from a potential customer is much better than receiving a Web form. You, or your staff, are much more able to qualify leads on the phone, converting a higher percentage of them into appointments and customers.

There are a handful of easy things you can do with your phone number that are proven to result in more phone calls from qualified leads. Many of these best practices are the same as the ones we just covered relating to lead forms.

How to Double Your Phone Bill in Ten Minutes (In a Good Way)

  • Use a local number. In many cases, 800 numbers have strategic advantages over their local counterparts, including making a business look bigger and increasing call-ins by paying for long-distance charges. But for small, local businesses, the use of toll-free numbers has been proven to lower call rates because most local consumers in search of a local business want to talk to someone local.
  • Place the number in the header on every page of your site. The header is a great place to start. Just as with lead forms, don’t make the mistake of expecting your visitors to seek out your phone number.
  • Make your phone number larger. This is another issue that creates design and positioning conflicts. Few of us want to be perceived as “salesy” or “cheesy” in the way we and our businesses are portrayed online. For greater visibility, however, make your phone number two or three times as large as you’d normally feel comfortable with.
  • Pair your phone number with a call to action. For increased results, tell the user exactly what to do and when, and what they’ll get in return for doing so. And remember, the promise should speak to your customer, not your business. “Speak to one of our representatives” doesn’t cut the mustard compared with “Discover How to Erase Your Credit Card Debt.”
  • Track your phone calls. One of the greatest advantages of online marketing is the complete transparency that it offers. Rather than just guess what’s working or going by feel, you can—and should—discern, right down to the dollar and phone call, which lead sources are producing a positive ROI and which are falling flat. Utilize one of several services offering trackball trackable phone numbers, I recommend Call Rail.

5. SAY “HELLO” WITH POPUPS AND TOOLBARS

Aside from the staple tools of online lead conversion covered thus far, there are several ancillary elements, including online chat services, pop-up forms and Web toolbars, that, depending on your business goals and website design, may deserve a place in your lead-generation arsenal.

Popups and lightboxes: Most of us hate “popups,” especially those of us who were unfortunate enough to get attacked by the multiple simultaneous Christmas-light-adorned popups so common in the late ’90s, which often prevented any further action, as the computer would freeze completely and indefinitely. Luckily in our current era, those abrasive popups have been toned down and transformed into vehicles to communicate important information that people find useful. If you’re open to experimenting with this slightly more aggressive lead generation/conversion tactic, here’s a list of simple-to-use popup and lightbox plugins for your WordPress (or other CMS) site:

WARNING: Now Google Hates Popups Too!

Google’s quality score is a set criteria that the search engine uses for PPC (pay-per-click) customers to measure the quality of Web pages. Quality score factors in a number of elements including your site’s bounce rate, content quality, relevance, and a litany of other criteria. Using popups places a clear negative “ding” on your Google quality report card.

  • While you certainly should not use popups on pages you’re driving Google AdWords campaigns to, you may still find great use for, and conversions from, tasteful popups. For more information, click here.

Web Toolbars: This is the much less aggressive cousin of popups. Web toolbars are small, colored banner-like blocks that slide into view from the top or bottom of the page. Web toolbars can be customized to your liking and include either a hyperlink to the Web page of your choice or a complete mini-contact form (see below).

Recommended Web toolbar solutions:

  • Hello Bar is an awesome solution for increasing conversion rates. All you need to do is register, customize the bar using their simple drag-and-drop interface (selecting your message, colors, and target page to link to), download the Hello Bar plugin, paste some simple code when prompted, and . . . Hello! More leads are on the way! And, it’s FREE to try for thirty days. I recommend that you start with a Hello Bar and monitor the results (difference in opt-ins or leads generated).
  • Viper Bar is a great WordPress plugin that integrates with many Web form providers and allows you to launch a full-blown contact form within your toolbar. To add a Viper Bar to your site, simply download the Viper Bar plugin from your WordPress control panel.

6. START UP A CONVERSATION WITH ONLINE CHAT

An online chat window is a small box that appears on a Web page, offering visitors on-the-spot customer service. In my opinion, online chat windows can be more helpful to your visitors than not, providing an easily accessible format for folks to have their basic questions answered in real time. You must evaluate whether this fits into your site design and supports your online marketing goals.

There are two categories of live chat services available: self-managed and outsourced. The only difference is who does the “chatting”—someone you manage or an outsourced, full-service provider. Start with the outsourced version, as you’re not in the live chat business and there’s no sense setting up such infrastructure (even a simple one) before you test the results from using live chat in the first place.

Self-managed live chat: With this option, your staff communicates with respondents via an “operator interface,” which is simple software that allows whomever you designate to communicate with visitors. When your staff is out of the office or you’re closed for business, your staff can simply “turn off” the live chat feature on your site. These services charge a modest monthly fee ($10-100), depending on the number of “operator” licenses you have.

All-in-one live chat solutions: Just as the name implies, these providers offer complete solutions, meaning their staff responds to chat requests as representatives of your business. The top turnkey live chat providers are extremely good at what they do. Reps are trained to capture the respondents’ contact information and redirect their questions to their meeting with you, either in-person or over the phone.

7. ENTICE YOUR AUDIENCE WITH CONVERSION MAGNETS

A conversion magnet is a tool—usually a piece of high-quality content—that’s designed to offer something of enough value that it influences visitors’ behavior.

In the context of your website, conversion magnets include e-books, downloads, tip sheets, white papers, videos, and coupons—anything that provides enough value to make your audience take action. Remember, Internet users are reluctant to give out personal details, so you have to offer something that’s very relevant and of exceptional value to your audience.

The potential benefit of taking the time to put together a high-quality traffic magnet is a measurable increase in qualified leads. Keep in mind that most of your site visitors won’t contact you—even if you have an incredible 5 percent conversion rate, ninety-five out of every one hundred visitors that come to your site will leave, usually never to return or contact you again. Conversion magnets are about reaching out to those folks who may be on the fence and grabbing them with an offer they can’t refuse.

For example, let’s say you’re checking out websites of local assisted living communities, doing research for an aging parent or family member. The first two sites you visit both have contact forms and calls to action in prominent places. So far so good. But the two contact forms differ in one regard—one has a conversion magnet and the other does not:

  • Website #1 lead form offer: “Contact us now for a FREE tour”
  • Website #2 lead form offer: “FREE Download: The Smart Family’s Guide to Paying For Senior Care: 10 Things You Must Know Before Selecting an Assisted Living Community”

Which of the above offers do you think would generate a higher conversion rate? The second offer is much more compelling, because it promises something of value in return.

Types of Conversion Magnets

Regardless of format, the content of your conversion magnet should be focused on one thing: the top questions and concerns of your audience. All it takes is a quick look at your past several customer interactions to come up with a clear list of their most frequently asked questions. We’ll cover how to create each of the following types of media later, but for now, look at this list and start thinking about which would best suit your audience and business goals.

  • Tip sheets: The simplest to create, tip sheets are little more than sheets with tips on them. All you need to do is create a “Top 10 Things You Need to Know About/Secrets of/Tips to . . .” list in PDF format and place it on your site. Once a respondent fills out your website form, they will be directed to the Web page that contains your tip sheet.
  • Video: Creating and uploading attractive, client-engaging and converting videos is as simple as point, shoot, click. How-to and Q&A videos are extremely popular on YouTube and other video sharing sites.
  • E-books: Nothing builds credibility and trust with your audience like e-books. Easy and cheap to write, manage, and deliver (no printing or postage required), e-books are great conversion magnets—who wouldn’t readily trade their name and email address for thirty to fifty pages of high-quality content that addresses their needs?

BLOG SUMMARY

The end goal of your website, content, marketing, and advertising efforts is to generate qualified leads and customers. Once members of your target audience come into contact with your brand and message (Reach), and consume your copy and read your content (Engagement), it’s critical that you provide them with a well-lit path to the “next steps” (Conversion), while eliminating distractions that could lead them astray, never to return. Using the conversion strategies outlined in this chapter will go a long way toward a measurable increase in qualified leads and customers.

NEXT STEPS:

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