In online marketing, talk is cheap but data driven conclusions are rare. Theories abound, but facts are elusive. As a result, marketers responsible for generating leads usually have one hand tied behind their back, or worse, have gotten their fingers stuck in too many pies.
Here is some data that might surprise you, and will definitely help you.
After validating more than 300,000 online sales leads, we discovered that 84 percent of website users convert on the first visit.
Yes, first impressions are everything in lead generation marketing:
- And yet, company websites cater more to internal stakeholders than prospects.
- And yet, company websites are designed without ever getting meaningful input from prospects.
- And yet, company websites cut corner upon corner in terms of conversion optimization, due to budget restraints, conflicting priorities, laziness or ignorance.
The result of a website with poor CMO is lead generation failure. By the second visit, a company only has a 16 percent chance of capturing a lead — and that’s way too thin for a thick, 5-figure annual investment in SEO, PPC, email marketing or any other type of online marketing campaign.
Overview of the Presentation
The following slide presentation, 10 Ways to Make Your Website Lead Generation Website Convert on the First Visit, provides an informative overview of proven, common sense techniques a company can apply to its website to start raking in substantially more first-visit sales leads. The 10 areas are:
- Content. Great content persuades as well as informs.
- Navigation. If it detracts from the user experience, you’re dead.
- Imagery. Go through the motions, and suffer the consequences.
- Credibility. Do it wrong and you could lose credibility.
- Personal Touch. People buy from people.
- Calls to Action. Not just any CTA will do.
- Web Forms. This is where the rubber meets the road: visitors will drive up or drive off … to the competition.
- Phone Number. Ten digits worth millions if handled properly.
- Testing. No matter how good your website or marketing is, it can get better.
- Mobile-friendly. Quite a different picture for B2B and B2C — based on the data you’ll see in the presentation.
How to Implement These Lead Generation Techniques
When companies are confronted with suggestions like these, they tend to ask the same question: Do we need to start all over again with our website, or can we modify the one we already have?
The answer to this question will differ for every organization, but the answer has less to do with the suggestions themselves and more to do with these considerations:
- Platform. If you’re using an open-source CMS, modifying the existing website may be practical and budget-friendly. If your platform is out of date, or if you are forced to rely on expensive third-party developers, ramping up your site’s lead generation may be the perfect reason to start over.
- Current Performance. If your website has the ability to track phone and form conversions, you can evaluate how well your website is performing now — in terms of current sales lead production and the trend. Ghastly performance or a downward trend are good indicators that a full re-do is in order. Unfortunately, many websites are not able to accurately track conversions (especially phone conversions), and must therefore either implement a tracking system and follow the results for several months, or go by “feel”. (See slide #21 for more details about tracking.)
- Lifetime Customer Value. A company should focus not only on the cost of a website redesign, but also the ROI a solid, lead-generation will produce. For e-commerce, these calculations are rather straightforward, but for lead generation, ROI requires a firm and consistent definition of lifetime customer value — as well as the ability to track online sales leads through the CRM to determine the revenue and profit the online leads actually generate. Again, these things may not be in place, but should be implemented before making a decision on whether to modify a current website or scrap it for a new one.
- SEO. Almost every company needs to be visible on Google for organic search — not only for lead generation, but also for branding and defensive purposes (to prevent competitors from getting leads from people searching for your branded products/services). If your current website is SEO-ready, or properly optimized, it’s a great indication you can update it to improve first-visit conversions. On the other hand, if your website is not SEO-ready, and/or running on a platform with poor SEO functionality, you are almost sure to be better off starting over.
- Mobile Design. B2Cs need mobile-friendly websites yesterday. In B2B, the answer is a bit less clear — much depends on the B2B’s current mix of mobile and desktop traffic. But in either case, if the current website cannot be realistically converted to a responsive design (to a website that automatically adjusts for optimal viewing on different size screens), a rebuild is almost sure to be in order. My reasoning here is, even if mobile traffic is not an immediate concern, if the new website design lasts 3-5 years, as it should, mobile traffic is sure to become a major factor in lead generation while the new site is still seeing action.
It’s also well worth noting that starting over is not necessarily more expensive or time consuming than modifying an existing website.
As a writer, I can tell you with 100 percent assurance that it’s usually faster and easier to write copy from scratch (with solid inputs) than trying to rework content that’s been cobbled together over years on a poorly performing website. Not only is it faster, the finished product is far better than cobbling on the cobbling!
The same holds true for designers and developers. It’s much more efficient to work from a blank canvas than to adapt to and make artistic/technical compromises around someone else’s work.
Tomorrow: Go for the Low Hanging Fruit
Of course, while you’re mulling all of these things over, there’s no need to sit on your hands. Start generating more sales leads now by attacking areas that are fast and affordable to implement. This can only help.
A great place to start happens to be a place that can move the dial a lot: calls to action.
It’s amazing how many companies go through the motions on their CTAs:
- Call now for a quote.
- Contact us for a free consultation.
- Talk to a sales agent.
Boring. Typical. Website visitors see this 50 times a week and it makes no impression whatsoever. If you can put a little imagination in your offers, or better yet put some real meat on them, you’ll get conversions. Keeping in mind the importance of that first visit, it’s the job of an offer to make the visitor’s eyes pop out:
- $250 off on orders placed by June 1.
- A no-charge, on-site, 30-day trial.
- Free logo sports gear with your quote request.
It’ll take more time and money to set up custom photography, overhaul site navigation and many other things. In the meantime, things such as CTAs, phone number display and content tweaks can help the cause right away.
To get started, make a punch list of everything you can think of doing that can be implemented within the next 30 days. Check out the presentation below for candidates to put on your list.