Fact #1: Capturing leads is difficult.
Fact #2: Capturing qualified, in-market leads is even more difficult.
Although it heavily depends on what industry your business resides, it’s safe to say that most businesses invest in some kind of lead capture — newsletter sign-ups, static forms, contests, etc. Heck, you know as well as I do how beneficial lead capture is. Not only does it provide you (the business owner) with a general idea or consensus of what consumers are looking for, but the ability to collect specific information from individual consumers helps with follow-up.
Many businesses still resort to lavish promotions in order to get more foot traffic into their store and to build consumer profiles. This isn’t true for all businesses, but there are quite a few who still fail to realize that their website is an insanely powerful vessel for lead capture. Given the fact that the majority of consumers do their shopping and product research online, optimizing your website for lead capture makes total sense. It also makes financial sense, as the cost for consistently running big promotions (with the goal of collecting information) is typically much higher than making long-lasting changes to your website. Here’s how to optimize your site to capture more leads:
While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with static forms, consumers have become all the more wary about using them to submit their contact information. After all, most static form-fills are just requests to receive more information — likely at a later time from a sales rep. One of the things consumers have come to hate rather vehemently are calls from sales reps. Why? They don’t want to be bombarded with sales pitches.
Even if your sales team is fairly low pressure, consumers have been consistently left with a bad taste in their mouths from previous experiences. Phone call, after phone call. Email after email. Sales teams are definitely necessary for pushing consumers further down the purchasing funnel, but in an age where information is so accessible, consumers can draw conclusions on their own. That said, figure out other, more creative ways to capture consumer information. Static forms are (or should be) a thing of the past.
A major alternative to using static forms on your website is to develop interactive experiences (or interactive content) to capture consumer information — which are highly engaging and customizable. Although these experiences will generally contain a static-esque form for your consumers to fill out their contact information, the experience, as a whole, is far different than what most consumers see in lead capture forms. Depending on your business’ initiatives or goals, you can start off the experience with a game, a survey, a quiz or an assessment with any questions that you want to ask your consumers. These types of customized experiences allow your business the opportunity to let consumers build their own consumer profiles — listing off their preferences, purchase history, lifestyle, and so on.
Consumers are more comfortable supplying their contact information if they’re supplying answers to questions that could ultimately help them with their purchasing decision. So questions like “What kind of furniture are you looking to purchase?” “What’s your budget?” or “When do you plan on purchasing?” give your sales team direction on how to reach out to them. Consumers often realize this right off the bat as they’re going through the experience.
Most online businesses have a number of different Calls-to-Action (or CTAs) that they place on various pages of their website. While CTAs are a great way to attract consumers to specific sections of your website, consumers have admitted to feeling a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of CTAs on one page. Even if all the banners are well designed and interesting, consumers are left to make a decision on what inventory or services to look at first — before they’ve even made a definitive purchasing decision.
To alleviate this, many businesses have begun integrating software that serve specific banner ads (on their site) to the most appropriate consumers for that product/service. They’re generally labeled as “Behavior Based CTAs,” and they’ve helped many businesses to attract the right types of consumers. Here’s an example of how it works: Let’s say you’re a dealership that wants to improve its lead generation for car sales. A consumer visits your dealership’s website looking for a new vehicle… but they don’t yet know what kind of vehicle they want to purchase.
Upon first visiting the site, they’re served generic CTAs about the current promotion. As the consumer maneuvers throughout the site — say, looking at trucks — the next CTA they’ll be served will be relevant to that. A logical CTA that could be served would be one that incentivizes that consumer to relinquish their information, like: “Schedule a Test Drive on <Truck Brand>” or “Value Your Trade.” Anything that pushes them to the next step of the funnel, really.
Speaking of incentives, the one mentioned right now is an excellent example of something valuable you can offer in exchange for contact information. One of the first thoughts that pop into a consumer’s head upon seeing a “form-fill” is “what’s in it for me?” And it’s only natural. Remember: consumers are expecting to be bombarded with phone calls, emails, and texts from your sales people. Their mindset is “If I’m going to be bothered, then I want something valuable so that it’s worth the aggravation.” (Although we’ll safely assume that your business doesn’t bombard folks with phone calls).
Consumer incentives don’t have to be anything fancy whatsoever. So long as what the consumer receives possesses some sort of value, then it can basically be anything. A coupon for $10 off a $20 purchase for taking a survey is an excellent way for your business to get someone to sign up for your e-mail list or newsletter. Sure, it might just be a coupon, but it’s an incentive for your consumers to save money and shop at your store. Other great examples are: free services, free consultations, trade appraisals, 0% APR, as well as the chance to win a prize. Through online lead capture, these offers and incentives can be provided to the consumer immediately — which eliminates the need to wait on a chatty salesperson to call them and sell them something to guilt them into using an offer.
There are probably a TON more ways for your business to optimize your website to capture leads. What it all boils down to is making sure your consumers are being pointed in the right direction, and that they’re receiving the best offers and incentives possible.
As a marketer or entrepreneur, how have you seen how to capture more leads on websites evolve? Tell us in the comments!