Websites are compulsory for small business owners. Despite what others have said about how anyone can make money online without one, it is still an integral part of any business. That’s a fact.
Building a business is not like money making opportunities. You offer people what they want and bring in sales. That certainly works to some extent. However, the problem with this scenario is you’re not building any asset whatsoever.
With no important asset, nothing can be leveraged. The latter part is a very important part of a business. (Not to mention that people usually don’t buy from someone they don’t know or trust.)
The Role of a Website
A web site serves many purposes. You may already know that but from a marketing standpoint, a web site:
1. Delivers Content
People are searching for all sorts of information constantly. They search in search engines for websites that provide the content they need. They read blogs to get news, insights and others. (A blog is just another type of a website.)
2. Generates leads
A website is like a salesman that works for your 24/7. Site visitors that are interested in what you have to share could opt to get more information from you.
It’s generating leads automatically.
3. Sells Products or Services
A web site allows you to provide information about your products and services.
With forms, e-commerce tools to accept payments, security data submission and other web technologies, you can accept payment directly without human intervention.
4. Automates Promotions
Not only does it sells products and process orders, a website lets you cross- and up-sell and run various promotions like coupon and time-limited sales.
We haven’t even gone into various web applications, the fact that web sites are now favorite places to gather, chat, share information, establish community, and so on.
This article particularly talks about lead generation using a web site. I’m going to give some general advices first. Later in future posts, I’ll fill in with more specific information.
3 Tips to Generate Qualified Leads From Your Web Site
Almost all websites can benefit from lead generation if that falls into the business and marketing model.
For certain type of websites that serve to sell products, this may not be feasible but for the rest, this model brings better results.
This is true even for web sites which sole purpose is to deliver content to the visitors. Remember that once people get what they want, they may still be interested in knowing more about the problem. Or they feel like they can get more information but need someone to fill them in.
The thing is, the visitors may click away although their problems are unsolved yet.
You have just missed the opportunity to educate them about the problem and offer the solution later. Most people don’t remember which sites they’ve visited. Even if they make a mental note to come back later, they usually don’t.
There are certainly more reasons to generate leads from web site visitors but I hope I’ve convinced you about the importance of it as part of any website’s goal.
Here are 3 tips for making every web site a lead generating machine:
1. Educate and Give Information
Free newsletter is not enough of a reason for people to subscribe anymore. There should be more real benefits that make them want to trade their contact information.
Case studies and white papers are low cost but valuable tools to give as an offer. Focus on problems the web visitors have and solutions you have as part of your products and services.
Do it in a low key way that it is more of being helpful and resourceful rather than selling. (It’s not the white paper, but the information within.)
Be sincere in helping others. The money will follow.
2. Capture at Least Name and Email
Depending on your lead nurturing process, at the very least, you want to capture name and email information. This is to make sure you can follow up and keep in touch with the prospects later.
If you want to contact them via snail mail, offer something physical like a free CD. Whoever wants a copy must give their physical address information.
I’ve seen websites who require 15-20 form fields — of which all of them must be filled in — to download a free white paper. Researches showed that for every text field you add, you risk of losing 10% of the leads that would otherwise opt in to request the whitepaper.
While having physical address is a bonus, only ask the information that you will absolutely need to deliver the information to them. You can always ask for more data later when you need them.
3. Build Your Credibility… Fast!
Except you’re a big name that have built brand awareness with huge budget, the leads who have just opted in don’t know you at all.
As a small business owner or service professional, you need to build your credibility fast. Do it as soon as possible, even in the welcome email.
Besides giving away content the leads would need, give reasons why they should trust you. Introduce a bit about yourself and tell them what they should expect from you. If your communication includes sending regular e-newsletter, make sure you mention that too.
People often forget they’ve subscribed to a list very quickly. It’s your responsibility to remind them soon, so they’re more likely to open your email and read it. I just can’t stress this enough.
A website is very useful tool for small business owners. Used properly, it can help others know more about you and your business.
Lead generation using a website is an important marketing activity that many have overlooked. Many marketers think this must be the only purpose of a web site.
It is, in my opinion, for most websites. Think of a website that fail to do this as a bucket with a hole at the bottom. You can drive a lot of traffic to the site, but much of them will disappear into the dark, never to be seen again.
By carefully put lead generation devices in your site, you can keep in touch with them again and again. After all, only a few people will buy from you the first time they arrive at your site. And that usually happens with relatively low cost product or unless you already have the recommendation from a friend.
For services, they need more information. They don’t always come back for more even if they know you may be able to help them.
Capturing leads this way by giving away white papers or articles are very effective to move the prospects closer to sales.