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Website Not Generating Enough Leads? Is It Really Trying To?

Mar 25, 2008
I have a client who complained that his website was not generating enough leads. So he hired me to critique the site and propose a new design.

When I took a look at the website, the problem was immediately apparent. As it turned out, his site was not capturing any leads because there was no incentive for his site visitors to supply their contact information. My client - by the way, my client's name is Dave. If it's all the same to you, I am going to refer to him as Dave (I'm sure he won't mind), and I'm going to refer to his website visitors as "prospects". Anyway, Dave mistakenly believed that having a "Contact Us" link was going to cause tons and tons of prospects to fill out an online form or to pick up the phone and call him.

Obviously the first thing I suggested was creating a lead generation campaign. Now, because Dave is selling a rather complex service, he also has a very complex sales lifecycle, and so our lead generation campaign needed to be a rather complex one.

Here are the steps we took to improve his lead conversion - there are tons of ways you can customize this process to meet your own particular needs:

1. The first thing we did was actually create several lead generation devices in order to capture our prospects who are at various stages of the sales process. (Our downloads were a combination of PDF whitepapers and audio files.) We then advertised each of the lead generation devices on the home page with the assumption that the prospect will request the download that coincides with the stage in the sales process that he is currently in.

2. Next we created several different email campaigns using an online autoresponder system. Dave chose to use the same autoresponder system I use in my business because of its ability to link different email series with different product downloads. Depending on which lead generation device the prospect requested, he would be automatically registered for the corresponding autoresponder campaign.

Prospects at the very beginning of the sales cycle (the "Recognize A Need" stage) would naturally request the first lead generation device (because it was geared toward that prospect) and be automatically entered into Autoresponder Number One. Prospects who are farther along in the sales cycle ("Explore The Options"), who requested lead generation device #2, would be automatically subscribed to Autoresponder Number Two. Prospects in the "Narrow Down the Vendors" stage would be subscribed to Autoresponder Number Three, and so on.

The final message in each autoresponder series was an invitation to download the next lead generation device, and thus be automatically subscribed to the next autoresponder. The prospect did not receive a personal phone call from a company representative until after he completed the final autoresponder series.

Now I know you might be thinking, "Oh my goodness; you waited so long before any personal contact, you should have contacted the prospect by phone immediately." However, in the course of critiquing my client's original lead process, I discovered that the personal contacts were, by far, the most expensive step in his sales cycle. In addition, prospects really did not respond to personal contact when they were early on in that sales cycle. And so it was most cost-effective for us to wait until the prospect has cycled through all of the auto responders until making an initial phone call.

And obviously we thoroughly tested the landing page. We are currently running our A|B|C|D split test, and after several more months of testing we will be able to whittle down our controls and create additional pages to test.

Another critical change we implemented was simplifying Dave's original registration form. His initial Contact Us form asked his prospects to provide information on everything including their shoe size (OK, I might be exaggerating a bit there). The form asked for so much irrelevant information that I believe it was scaring away too many prospects. We simplified the registration form and asked only for the most critical elements. As prospects ended one autoresponder series and were invited to download the next lead generation device, the registration forms became a little more complex. At that point in time, because we had already built up some trust with the prospect, we were able to ask for more personal information.

When we began the process, Dave was worried that we would not know exactly where the prospect fit into his sales cycle when the prospect first landed on the website. And, to be perfectly honest, we don't know 100%. We're making an assumption based on the lead generation device that the prospect requested.

Did the new campaign work? Well, prior to implementing this campaign, Dave was receiving literally no contacts from his website. Honestly, he received about two completed contact us forms per year. After implementing our lead generation campaign, Dave is receiving a steady stream of three to four new prospects on a daily basis. And because this is a complex sale involving a rather expensive service, three to four prospects a day, approximately 120 prospects a month, actually results in a hefty bit of revenue for Dave.

So, how can you use this idea in your own online marketing?

1. First, take a cold, hard look at your website. If you want to capture leads, are you offering a REAL incentive for users to give up their precious contact information?

2. Next, consider the item or service you are marketing. Is it a no-brainer commodity that your site users will buy on impulse? Or is it a more complex, high investment item that might require educating the client before he is ready to make a purchase? A simple item can suffice with a simple lead generation process, but a complex item will require a complex lead generation campaign:

a. Create your lead generation devices for each stage of your sales cycle.

b. Create your autoresponder series for each stage of your sales cycle.

c. Optimize each of your registration forms, asking only for information that is necessary at the time.

d. Split test your landing page.

Time to implement: Now, I know I made it sound real simple. But to be honest, it is a very time intensive process. The split testing alone takes weeks. However, the increase in revenue should more than make up for the investment of time and/or money you spend revamping your lead generation campaign.
About the Author
Karen Scharf offers several whitepapers, free reports and checklists, including her FREE Can-Spam checklist and FREE email pre-flight checklist to ensure your emails get delivered, get opened and get read. Download your copies at http://www.ModernImage.com.
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