Sunday, June 22, 2008

The Right Way to Generate More Leads on Your Site

It's been a very busy month with lots of travel thrown in. Throughout my journeys much of the conversation comes back to generating a higher quantity of leads from the web that are of better quality. I had the pleasure of attending the Marketing Experiments Website Optimization workshop that was held in Florida earlier this month (still waiting for my landing page professional certification badge :) ). From that conference, combined with a very good study on email tactics in retail I've been inspired to write a post on this topic.

What's in it for me?

They key point hammered home at the Marketing Experiments Workshop is that all points of interaction on your website should answer the following question from the web visitor's perspective: "What's in it for me?". Therefore, if you have one of those newsletter sign up boxes on every page of your site (like the one I have in the top right hand corner) that says "Enter your email to get our newsletter", you may need to rethink this area as you're not providing a compelling reason for the visitor to sign up for your newsletter. A better approach may be "Get expert updates on X" (by X I mean a specific topic that is assumed to be relevant to the site's content or why would they be there in the first place). Even the submit button should be written in a way that answers the question "What's in it for me". For example: "Send me Product Alerts".

To use a simple sign up form or to not use a simple sign up form - that is the question.

To go back to my last point on that newsletter sign up - should this be a simple email only form or should you have a link that directs web visitors to a newsletter sign up page? This depends on your target audience as well as the type of segmentation and personalization you would like to perform in your marketing campaigns. B2C companies may only need email to begin the conversation but B2B companies typically collect company name and first and last name.

Here are the points to remember:
  1. Most of the pages on your site can be accessed from a search engine. Don't assume that web visitors come waltzing through the front door (your home page). A website is like a big semi-permeable blob (think back to your to your biology days) that can be entered from all areas. Therefore ensure that you have a call to action on every page to engage new visitors and turn them into leads that you can market to.

  2. Ensure you answer the question "What's in it for me" and don't assume that because they are on a website about say hot dogs that the visitor will know that the newsletter will provide the latest deals on hot dogs. Don't assume anything. You need to spell it out.

    Another bad tactic that I see is to use landing pages for multiple purposes. For example, directing newsletter registrations to the Contact Us page. This is not a good idea as the call to action doesn't correspond to the desired result and possible subscribers would be scared off as they don't want Mr/Mrs Salesperson calling on them asking them how many hot dogs they want.

  3. The more fields on your web form, the less conversions. For some marketers, this is OK as they only want serious submissions. For example, if you're inquiring about how you can fly into space through one of those private space programs, you first need some serious coin to be considered. It would be a good idea to ask subscribers for their annual income before having someone in sales call them back.

    However, if you are just trying to start a conversation to attract a larger audience to a subject area that you have expert content in, the less fields on your form that you do have, the higher the conversion rate. Always ask yourself if you really need those additional form fields (say for segmenting or personalization) and can you get that information in a future campaign or do you need this information right away.

    Another consideration is to ask subscribers what type of information they would like to receive. This is definitely recommended. It should also be clear how often you will be sending subscribers communications.

  4. Test, test, test... I know you hear that all the time. Imagine being stuck in a conference room for 8 hours straight each day in Florida right beside a PGA golf course and being forced to hear that when you could be outside. Of course the Marketing Experiment people are right. You need to test out the method that will work the best for your situation.
I hope that this post has been helpful and I should be adding some additional findings from my landing page workshop experience. In the meantime, feel free to check out my twitter profile for updates on marketing tools and info that I pick up. I just found an interesting tool that can tell you the type of email client that your subscribers are using to view your email in. This can be key in better understanding how best to design your emails.

Chad H.

PS: I just changed my blog updates sign up form text - we'll see if it improves conversions. I think I need to provide content more often. :)
PPS - image courtesy of

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