There’s a pervasive (and pretty damaging) myth out there about lead generation that far too many entrepreneurs assume is true. It goes something like this: A beautifully designed website with lots of information about my product or company will multiply my lead generation.
Don’t believe this myth! A website will not generate enough leads to sustain your business all by itself. Although a professionally designed site definitely helps in establishing your brand, on its own it is not enough to generate new leads for your business. Why is this the case?
Let’s take a step back and look at the origins of business websites. Before the internet made it easy for businesses to showcase their products and services online, many companies relied on printed brochures. These glossy publications helped customers make buying decisions by giving them heaps of information about the product or service and the company’s contact info. Human interaction took place only if the customer decided to pick up the phone or visit the business.
The first generation of websites emulated these printed brochures. They were viewed simply as publications that enabled customers to do their own research about a company. Many of these “brochure” sites still exist today.
The Problem With Brochure Sites
The brochure format may have worked fine in 2005, but there are many reasons why brochure sites no longer cut it. First, these sites make it nearly impossible to measure the return on your marketing investment because you cannot tell how many leads were converted into customers solely by visiting your site. Even if your website played a role in their decision, you wouldn’t know about it unless you surveyed all your new customers to find out. These types of sites are also terrible for SEO because they don’t usually include a plan to add and optimize new content, which means they miss out on opportunities to optimize for trending keywords that potential customers would use to search for solutions to their challenges. Finally, they don’t give your prospects or customers reasons to keep coming back to your site, which is crucial for nurturing them into loyal customers over time.
The biggest problem with brochure sites, however, is that they provide no way for you to turn web visitors into actual customers. Curious, potential customers visit your site, read about your product and are interested but not ready to buy today. Then what happens? Unless they pick up the phone and call you, you lose their business. Even though they expressed interest, there’s no way you can begin nurturing that lead because you have no way of contacting them.
Once these customers leave your website, they’ll likely continue researching your competitors, comparing prices and reading about similar products, and there’s not really anything you can do to bring them back. If you’re lucky, they’ll file the information they got from your site somewhere in the back of their minds for when they’re ready to make a buying decision. All you can do is cross your fingers and hope they remember you.
The Alternative: Landing Pages
While brochure websites focus on you, interactive and engaging landing pages focus on your customer and greet them wherever they are on their buying journey. In today’s competitive market, if you want to convert web visitors into customers, you must focus on solving the problems your potential customers are facing. Creating an interactive experience with a landing page is the perfect way to do this.
When customers land on your page, you don’t want to leave them guessing about what to do next. Instead, make the most of your opportunity and invite them to take action. The most important factor that makes a landing page different from a traditional website is that it focuses on a single, powerful call to action. Whereas a website offers dozens of navigational options and includes general information on your company, a landing page is built to motivate readers to take a positive step that shows they’re open to further interaction with your brand. When this happens, you’ve generated a lead.
3 Reasons to Focus on Landing Page Lead Generation
1. You can measure ROI
Marketing is expensive! Landing pages that capture leads are a smart strategy to generate a return on your significant investment. When your focus is on lead generation, you have a reliable, concrete way to measure the outcome of your efforts in advertisements and other channels for driving traffic.
2. You can stay in touch with visitors who are interested
Instead of losing customers who aren’t ready to buy, you can encourage them to return to your website or even to share their contact info so you can follow up. As a bonus, since each of your landing pages is focused around one specific problem and solution, you can use retargeting ads to continue showing ads for related content and offers to people who visit your page but don’t opt in.
3. Your potential customers are more receptive to future offers
Have you ever heard of the six principles of influence? One of them is consistency. People have a strong desire to be consistent with their own past behaviors. Think about how that might work to your advantage when your page focuses on lead collection. If someone subscribes to your blog or opts in to receive a free piece of content in return, they will likely be more receptive to further communications and offers from you.
3 Ways to Get Started With Landing Pages
Any of the three strategies below are great ways to get started with turning your web presence from a static brochure site into a dynamic, engaging lead generation machine.
1. Offer free content
Think about how you can meet potential customers along their buying journey. What can you offer to make the process easier? How can you provide the most value to your audience? By nurturing and educating your potential customers, you build trust and empower them to make a decision they can feel great about.
If you’re extremely knowledgeable in a certain area or have a particular expertise, try writing an ebook that teaches a specific skill that your average buyer is interested in. You could even write an ebook that helps them better understand a concept closely related to your product, setting yourself up as an authority.
You can use a landing page to position your free content as a solution to the problem they are experiencing right now. Try building a page that explains what you’re offering and why your visitors need it, and encourage them to opt in.
2. Collect more information about your leads
For customers who are a bit further along in your buying cycle, use an online form to make it easy for them to share more information with you when they request a demo, strategy call or a free trial of your product/service. To motivate them to fill out the form, explain what they will receive if they take advantage of your offer.
Create a page that walks visitors through the benefits of your offer and what is going to happen when they take the next step. If you want to collect more data by including several different form fields, consider using a lightbox popup. You can create these easily with ONTRAforms and add them to pages built with ONTRApages, or embed them anywhere on your website.
By collecting more information, you’ll be able to provide potential customers with more relevant information and tailor an experience specifically to their needs. You can segment them based on the information they share with you and customize the follow-up communications they receive depending on their responses.
Carefully consider what fields you want to add on your ONTRAforms — keep in mind that too many fields may turn off potential leads, while too few fields may not be enough info for you to have a productive call or demo with them.
To get the information you need, you can even separate the form into multiple steps by setting another lightbox as the thank you page for your first form. This helps to increase conversions by asking for as little info as possible upfront, then asking for more later on. Even if a lead doesn’t fill out step two, you’ll still get all the information from step one.
3. Re-examine your follow-up process
What happens to customers who respond to your calls to action? Do they get a prompt response from you? How easy is it for them to fall through the cracks?
The biggest sin of many websites is that they are not seamlessly integrated with the tools that entrepreneurs use to manage follow-up. When a new lead is collected, that information might go to number of different places — someone’s inbox, a CRM tool, or just into your email marketing platform’s subscriber list.
Some of those tools can automate the process for what happens next, but it often results in a complex system. When several different software tools that rely on people to move information between them are involved, the results are often inconsistent. When you or your team forget, that means a missed opportunity to make the most out of a new lead.
If new leads are simply getting delivered to someone’s inbox without automatic follow-up, it’s time to take a step back and set up a process to follow up with them reliably.
In ONTRAPORT, you can trigger a response message that is automatically sent whenever the form is filled out. If you’re using another email service, make sure you’ve set up a thoughtful autoresponder. Receiving an immediate response after filling out a form reassures customers that you value their decision to interact with your site. Making sure that you don’t drop the ball on any incoming leads can tremendously boost your bottom line.
Any of these three strategies will help turn your landing pages into a stronger representation of your brand and dramatically improve user experience. Don’t forget that the key to a great page (one that moves your business forward by generating leads) is to focus on your customer. When customers find you online, you have the opportunity to solve their most pressing problems, no matter where they are on the buying journey. Embrace this focus, and you will create relationships with your prospects that pay off in spades.