If you read a lot about B2B marketing like I enjoy doing, you would think that every company is generating leads from their websites, filling their sales pipeline to the point of bursting, breaking sales records and growing fast.
But the truth is there are lots of companies that aren’t quite there yet. In fact, many of them are just now getting to the point where they are realizing that they need to transition their websites from an electronic brochure into a powerful adjunct to their lead generation and sales efforts.
To get to that level of sales and marketing nirvana, a lot of things must happen before your prospects find your website. Those things include zeroing in on your buyer personas, creating content that is mapped to their buying process and using social media to share your content and attract more traffic. You might even need to have some online and even (gasp!) offline advertising to help build traffic to your site.
However you get traffic to your site (approaches vary), once the traffic is there, here are the “must haves” to unlock the power of your site’s lead generation program:
A Call-to-Action (CTA) is a website button, image, text link that encourages a visitor to take an action by typically clicking on the button, visiting a landing page and filling out a form in return for some kind of content. Often, that content is a white paper, eBook, webinar or a newsletter.
Your CTAs need to be clear (not clever), include action verbs (e.g. “download” or “register”), stand out, mirror the buying cycle and match the headline of the landing page to which the visitor is taken.
A landing page is a website page specifically designed to convert visitors to leads. It collects and processes information on website visitors who identify themselves in return for valuable content. An example of valuable content would be an eBook, research report, a webinar, etc.
Once the visitor is on the landing page, you’ve got just a few seconds to make your pitch. That’s why you need clear headlines, bullet points, a relevant image and a clear promised of what the visitor will gain from filling out the form and submitting the information.
One thing you don’t want on a landing page is your site navigation to distract the visitor from filling out and submitting the form. Landing page conversions are higher when the site navigation has been stripped out.
The fewer the fields in your landing page forms, the higher your conversions will be. If you’ve ever abandoned a landing page because there were just too many form fields (I have), then you’ve experienced an ineffective landing page.
When it comes to forms on landing pages, remember you’re just trying to start the relationship, not sell immediately. Think of the landing page form more as an introductory handshake on a first date than a marriage ceremony.
If your lead generation program is mapped to the buyer’s journey with other content, you can use progressive profiling to ask for additional information when the prospect returns and is ready to take the relationship to the next level.
After your visitor has submitted their information to get what’s behind the landing page, deliver them to a thank you page that includes a link to download the eBook, or the video player to watch the webinar, etc.
You should also send a thank you email to get the visitor used to receiving emails from you, but don’t require them go to their email program to retrieve the offer – put a link to it on the thank you page.
But don’t stop at thank you. A prospect that has just taken action on a landing page might be interested in additional information based on what they have just done. If they have just downloaded top-of-the-funnel information, they should be offered middle-of-the-funnel information in order to guide them down your sales funnel.
Sharing is caring. Once your visitor has been taken to the thank you page, include (with social sharing icons) the ability for your new lead to share the landing page with their social networks. Just make sure the social sharing is set up to share the landing page, not the thank you page (to capture a new lead).
Using marketing automation software, set up workflows to manage all the leads that will come pouring in. Sales cycles vary by industry and product, but all can benefit from automated lead nurturing that send out invitations to take the next step on the buyer’s journey.
Then, based on the lead’s “digital body language” you can set up additional actions that automate what your next step is in guiding the prospect toward the bottom-of-the-funnel action, which generally involves human-to-human contact like a product demo or a proposal request.
That which can be measured can be improved! Online lead generation can be broken down into three broad areas:
You should spend as much time on #3 as the first two in order to determine what’s working and what’s not working. Then, do more of what’s working and less of what’s not working to refine and strengthen your website’s lead generation power.