By Bob DeStefano
Lead generation consistently ranks as a top priority for B-to-B companies. However, most companies handicap their online lead generation efforts by relying on their Website’s ‘Contact Us’ page as the sole method for prospects to take action.
To turn your Website into a money-maker, put the following proven recommendations into action. I have seen many companies more than triple their sales leads with these tips.
Make a Call to Action
Do you want to turn your Website into a lead generation machine? Then stop relying on your ‘Contact Us’ page. Rather, offer visitors easy access to contact information on every page of your Website in a consistent location. I like to see calls to action offered in the top right section of every page. You will be amazed by how many more prospects will reach out to you if you invite them to do so.
Appeal to Prospects at Every Stage of the Buying Cycle
Only 10% of your Website visitors are ready to buy. The other 90% are kicking tires. Offer a variety of calls to action that appeal to prospects at every stage of the buying process. This will help you generate leads for near-term business, as well as build a marketing database to nurture future opportunities. Additional ‘calls to action’ can include:
- ‘Request a Quote’ form
- ‘Ask the Experts’ form for pre-sales questions
- Online chat to reach out to salespeople
- Registrations for seminars, webinars or events
- Register to access whitepapers, presentations, articles, etc.
- Free samples
- Free trial of a service
- Free consultations
- Subscribe to your e-mail newsletter
Prominently Display Your Phone Number
According to my research, people are at least as likely, if not more likely, to pick up the phone and call when they are browsing a company’s Website. To boost the number of inquiries you receive, don’t make your visitors hunt for your phone number. Make your phone number one of the prominent calls to action on every page of your Website and encourage prospects to call you. There is no better time for your salespeople to be speaking with prospects because they can use your Website as a presentation tool.
Optimize Your Forms for Leads & Sales
Are your Web forms helping or hurting your lead generation efforts? You may have more than enough traffic to achieve your sales goals, but your forms may be getting in the way. Most online forms are too long, too hidden or too boring to generate leads – but you need them to fill your sales pipeline. Follow these tips to boost your leads by fixing your forms:
- Use a simple and clean design. Make your forms appear easy to complete by leveraging ‘white space’ to improve legibility, remove all unnecessary elements and ensure your field labels are understandable.
- Remove unnecessary fields. Are your online lead generation forms as long and daunting as a tax return? If so, shorten them. The more fields your forms include, the less likely prospects will be to fill them out. Ask only for basic contact information that your salespeople will need to make an intelligent follow-up.
- Fix your buttons. No one wants to ‘submit.’ Label your buttons so they represent the action the prospect wants to take. Use phrases like Order Now, Sign Up, Get Started, Begin Free Trial, Request a Quote, Please Contact Me, etc. Also, use large buttons with contrasting colors so the button pops off the page.
- Get creative – use the ‘Mad Libs’ approach. Try offering your lead generation form in a narrative format, presenting input fields to people as blanks within sentences. It is a fun and interesting way for prospects to take the next step.
- Get creative – ask a question. Replace your field labels with complete questions, such as ‘How much do you want to buy?’ instead of ‘Quantity.’ It makes your form friendlier and easier to understand.
- Shorten your checkout process. If you sell products online, look for opportunities to simplify your checkout process. Cut the number of clicks required to complete the sale. Communicate shipping costs early. Offer a progress meter to let people know where they are in the process. In addition, offer alternative (offline) ways to order.
Have a Process in Place to Ensure Immediate Follow-up
How long does it take for your salespeople to follow-up online lead inquiries? If the follow-up is not immediate, you are leaving money on the table. Assign salespeople to follow-up online leads and make sure the inquiries get to them as soon as possible. Also, don’t let leads languish in someone’s inbox – look for technology solutions to shorten the follow-up time. Tie your Website forms into a customer relationship management (CRM) system like SalesForce.com or SugarCRM to streamline your lead management and follow-up process. You want to make sure your salespeople talk to the prospect when they are still on your Website.