At the start of 2018, Netcraft conducted a survey to determine how many websites exist on the internet. It found a whopping 1.8 billion websites in existence. Yet, the majority of those sites get zero, or almost zero, visitors.
While a large percentage of these websites are probably inactive or kept for private use, there are undoubtedly visitor-less sites out there that want traffic and leads. Even the best performing websites are rarely satisfied with their website lead generation. There?s always a push for more.
It begs the question, why do some sites generate leads and others don't? The answer is mostly a matter of effort. Website lead generation takes work, especially in the beginning. Thus, there are website owners that continuously put in the work and generate those leads and those that kick rocks and wonder why no one is visiting their site.
This article will take a look at some website lead generation basics while providing helpful insights into how you can entice better performance from your own website(s).
Recommended reading: The Anatomy of e-commerce Website Design That gets More Traffic
What Is A Lead and Lead Generation?
A lead is an individual who has demonstrated interest, desire or need of your products, company, service, etc.
Lead generation is the process and tactics that go into turning non-customers into potential buyers or leads. In other words, attracting people to your business or website through offers, content and different strategies that generate genuine, natural interest.
For websites, it's essential to make a distinction between traffic and leads.
A lot of sites get traffic visiting the page, spending a few moments and then clicking off the page. These are not leads, as they haven't demonstrated an interest. Sure, they've visited your website, but their lack of time-on-page and engagement shows that, if anything, they are uninterested in your products.
Leads typically make it known that they are interested, by offering an email address, participating in a questionnaire/survey and many other ways.
Now that we?ve gotten a basic understanding of leads and lead generation, we can focus on proven strategies for website lead generation success.
Map Your Web Traffic
One of the keys to generating leads is understanding where your website traffic comes from and how it moves across the site. There are many different potential sources for website traffic, like social media pages, emails, search results or even from another website.
When you recognize where traffic is coming from, you can better understand the intent and motivation behind those visitors. Google ValueTrack is an excellent tool for seeing where your traffic is coming from.
Additionally, recognizing the web pages where your traffic gathers most allows you to understand where you should be including forms and offers that encourage lead generation.
Implement Lead Generators
Once you've established how your traffic moves, you need to start developing and implementing lead generators in the critical areas of your website where people gather most. Lead generators are, as the name suggests, tactics that help create leads.
Some examples are:
Email newsletter subscriptions
Content (social media posts, blogs, etc.)
Split Testing and Measuring Performance Of Lead Generators
Experimentation and measurement are fundamental aspects of creating sound, successful lead generators.
Even digital marketers that do this for a living don't have perfect success rates. That's because it is incredibly difficult to align the right lead generating tactics and messages with the prospects they are most suited for. Not only do you have to match the visitor's intent with the right messages, but you also have to trigger the correct emotions that compel them to act.
Measuring your active lead generators and experimenting with new ones is one of the most effective strategies towards understanding what works and what doesn?t.
For example, if you find that one landing page is creating a 2% conversion rate, while the other is at a colossal 7%, then there?s some aspect of landing page 2 that you need to identify and highlight in future efforts.
Split testing is one of the common ways of experimenting with ads and other lead generators. It works by creating two, almost-identical landing pages (or CTAs, advertisements, etc) that have one thing different. For example, you may change the background image, while keeping the text the same. As traffic passes through the landing page and conversions are made, you can determine which style of background works best.
It's vital that you make only one, small change when conducting split tests. Otherwise, it will be impossible to determine what exactly is influencing the change.
Give Your Customers Something For Nothing
Giving people something for nothing remains a great lead generation tool. Direct marketing employs it by sending free goods to your door. You use the same tactics for your website by creating a useful asset for your customer, or giving them an offer.
Examples of what you can give your customers include:
Infographics: Get stats from a free public resource, then turn them into an interactive resource. It?s simple. Not only will this give you a lead generation tool, it?ll also give you an asset that can help you build backlinks to your website ? try a free tool like Piktochart to get you going
Free offers: If you want a long-term customer, you can give them short-term access to your products for free. This is a great lead generation tool if you?re a SaaS company. Why? Because your customers won?t be able to live without your goods after seeing how beneficial they are
EBooks: You can turn podcasts, YouTube videos, or convert any online content into an eBook with no hassle with tools like Designrr. Like infographics, eBooks have the dual benefit of giving your customers free information, along with helping to build authority for your website
Spending a little time and money to give you customers something for nothing will pay you dividends. Decide which of the above you customers want and then let them have it.
Build Logical Conversion Paths
As a prospect is nurtured towards ultimately converting into a lead, their journey needs to make sense. If it doesn?t, they won?t commit to continuing the process. What this means is that each step, or each interaction, needs to follow a logical path.
For example, let's say a plumber creates a blog post: “How To Stop A Leaking Pipe,” which attracts a click off of Google from Susan, a homeowner with a water issue.
At the end of the blog are additional articles that are relevant to Susan's problem, like repairing water damage or how to shut off the water, which allows her to continue gathering information.
As Susan continues to click around and learn more about her leaking pipe, she decides that she?s in over her head. She follows a CTA on the page that puts her in contact with the plumber to schedule a service visit.
That?s a logical conversion path that converted a lead.
Now, if Susan read that first article, reached the end and found more articles talking about reasons to install a bidet or what tile colors are best, she?d be at a dead end. She?d click away from the page, back to Google, and continue researching on another page.
This is hard to perform each time seamlessly, but you can improve your success rate by critically thinking about the intent behind your prospects' actions. Why are they on this page and how can I encourage them to stay and convert?
There's a lot of strategy, planning, creativity, and even a little luck that goes into successful lead generation.
The most important thing to remember is to always pay attention to how your website visitors are behaving, what they respond to and what pushes them away. Then, make small adjustments to capitalize on your latest insights. You're always going to be changing strategies and adjusting landing pages in an attempt to drive better quality leads and, ultimately, a fatter bottom line.
Email marketing is a terrific way to drive traffic to your site. But you need to make sure you do it right.
The last thing you want to do is waste all the time you put into building a subscriber list. Understanding the best ways to leverage email marketing will make sure you don't. At the same time, you want to avoid making mistakes that will lose you subscribers.
It's a delicate balancing act.
These seven tips to help you get the most out of your email marketing strategy. And the result of using them? More traffic to your website.
Recommended reading: Why You Need to Build an Email List For Your Business Right Now
Give your readers value
To you, email marketing campaigns are there for one reason, and one reason only: driving conversions. When you look at the tracking data after sending out an email campaign, you want to see:
None of that matters to your subscribers. Why? Because they only want value in return for giving you their email address. There a few ways you can give them this. Such as exciting content, or discounts on products.
If your emails are a pure sales pitch, your subscribers won't hang around for long.
You need to make them meet in the middle and give you and your subscribers value. The video below explains how to make your emails sell your business in the right way:
Write subject lines that convert
Most people decide whether to open an email or send it to trash bin based on the subject line. Excessive hyperbole or too much of a sales-y vibe can turn subscribers off. Why? Because they feel like all they're getting from you is sales brochures or cheap clickbait.
The subject line needs to show the value of what people will get if they open your email. Let's use the example of a website about making cheese. You can write a subject line talking about a new article on cheese making mistakes to avoid.
This demonstrates value and will catch the reader's eye. Whereas a generic hype headline like “Cheesemakers will not want to miss this!!” will have the opposite effect.
Using software like Headline Analyzer helps you to write better subject lines. Adding this to your business will help increase your open-rate, giving you emails that convert.
Don?t send too many emails
If subscribers feel you're bombarding them with emails, they'll unsubscribe. Keep an eye on your tracking data. If you see either of these things:
It's a good sign that you're doing too much.
So how do you decide how many emails to send?
It's based on what product or services you're offering. An evergreen industry, like tech, needs lots of emails. A seasonal industry, like Halloween, will send most emails at peak time.
It also depends on the intention of your email. Your customers will be less receptive to sales-centered emails than offer based ones.
The video underneath has guidance on how many emails you can send per day:
Segment your subscribers
This is a vital step. Why? Because sending mass emails puts them in front of disinterested readers. Segmentation lets you target the right people who will care.
Let's say you run an entertainment website covering television, movies, music, and art. If some of your subscribers only care about music, they don't want emails on television, movies, and art.
Email marketing software lets you segment your subscribers. A tool like Moosend lets you create targeted campaigns. You can segment based on things like:
Or anything else you have data on.
This means you can send your emails to the right people. When used right, email has the best ROI of any marketing type. Using segmentation allows you to send the right emails.
Send your emails at the right time
Email marketers often rush their campaigns out as soon as they're ready. I don't have any time for this.
What if a big chunk of your subscriber base is at work? Sleeping. Or otherwise occupied? If any of these things are true, it's not a good time to send your emails.
Why? Because by the time they see it, they'll have plenty of other emails to go through. This means yours may wind up on the back burner or never opened at all.
Use the data you have about your customers to find out what time you get the highest open-rate. Also consider also your demographic – all the things from your segmentation. Then send your emails when your subscribers want to read them.
Use a real person?s name
Brand awareness is critical. But people often take it too far by using their website's address or brand name as the sender name.
Subscribers like feeling as if they're interacting with humans. That can't happen if there's no human in your emails for them to connect with. A reluctance to use real names also gives the impression you're not reader-oriented.
Instead, use actual human names as the sender of your emails. You can even make a name up if you're worried about your privacy. The critical point is you need your subscribers to feel like there's a human on the other end.
Email marketing is crucial to your business. Apply these tips and you'll increase your open-rate, and grow the traffic to your website. Which will help your business make more money.
2017 was a year for bold, brutalist web design.
Take a brand like Balenciaga.
The use of negative space and clean lines makes for a highly functional web environment. It looks immaculate on all devices.
However, this year, trends are evolving towards the bold and immersive. Picture bright, saturated colors, pattern, and artful typography.
Whether you?re looking to draw users into your opt-in pages, or show off your products, this post will talk you through five web design trends for new ecommerce sites in 2018.
Making The Most Of Customer Reviews
88% of customers check out reviews online before deciding to buy. You need to make sure that you are doing what you can to maximize the increased traffic customer reviews can bring.
Sites like AO.com use layered review options, optimizing for the user?s preferences in the features of the products. Dynamic bars also animate to show the ratings. This is a useful design feature that adds a sense of authenticity to the user-generated reviews.
The data collected in survey content can help you structure your data for easier consumption on your website. Highly technical reviews can be separated from everyday ?happy customer? comments, satisfying different audience segments.
Reviews can also be thought of as a form of social proof. Developments over the last year within Facebook have enabled business pages to leverage all social media interactions towards their star rating. All comments, likes, and check-ins can count towards your site?s online clout. And so to encourage interaction across platforms, social plugins can help draw in new responses.
Chatbots and voice command A.I are starting to become mainstream. In the year ahead, ecommerce brands should be looking for ways to incorporate machine learning wherever there?s a fit. Chatbots are one of the easiest ways to make your site feel more personable and customer-service oriented.
There?s a lot that goes into marrying UX, personalization and live chat, and it starts with a brainstorming session. List all of the possible commands and questions your website could pose. Next, consider how they may be rephrased using different terms and start creating your own chatbot responses to common questions.
On-site chatbots are commonly seen on the bottom right-hand side of a website. However, the best ecommerce brands are using Facebook Messenger and unique hooks to encourage the user to interact long-term.
Typefaces: The Bolder The Better
Many brands are embracing the bold, serif typeface trend. In many cases, the header text spans across the length of the hero banner.
However, for a fresh new look, headers are also being scattered throughout landing page designs.
Left, right, center justification, or entirely animated ? bold text is being used in modern designs to create more immersive scanning patterns across the landing page copy.
Unconventional scanning patterns can keep visitors interested and reduce bounce rates.
Further, bolding certain words and phrases can help your messages sink in and trigger specific emotions in the reader.
In all of your on-page copy, you can use exciting typefaces to draw attention to the subheadings and keywords that you want your customers to focus on.
Easy-To-Scale Social-Friendly Sites
The number of selling channels is ever-increasing. Running a website that can evolve with the ecommerce trends is key to staying afloat in the saturated online market.
Open source CMS systems are enabling more brands to experiment with bespoke design elements, while maintaining scalable functionality.
Subscription as Service (SaaS) models allow you to create an online store, customize it, and access all of the backend features to keep it running it smoothly.? For those who are new to ecommerce and web design SaaS hosts offer useful 24/7 support. You can even buy one that?s already set up & running.
As a reflection of the domination of social media in ecommerce marketing, many sales sites are mirroring the aesthetics of networks like Instagram. A simple product grid can easily match that of an Instagram profile, in the case of the Nick Mayer art store site:
Homepages that focus on the products make for a layout that?s easy-on-the-eye for smartphone users. The nested menu options are also easy to navigate on any device..
Designing websites for accessibility is not a new thing. But, it is undoubtedly becoming more normalized as awareness of Inclusive Design Principles grows.
?The days of making assumptions about how, where, and why people consume content in the ways they do, are over. The need for inclusion is now ubiquitous.? ?? Leonie Watson, Brand Consultant @ Heydon Pickering?
Accessible Design gives people of all ages and abilities a clear path to conversion on any given webpage. As just one small example, if you are supplying video, you must ensure you include closed caption subtitles.
Bold and graphically exciting landing pages may look interesting. But, if the mix of fonts and colors is inconsistent, many users may have difficulty finding what they need from you.
Also, trends like parallax screens may have been trendy in the past. However, according to the outlined principles for web designers to follow, parallax sites can make some users feel nauseous.
Bear this in mind when considering your scroll options, on-screen animations, and use of video. You also need to present controls for turning these features off.
There you have five web design trends for new ecommerce sellers to look out for in 2018. One of the key takeaway points to consider is how you can use your layout, typography, and imagery to create a visual brand narrative. As long as your site is accessible and scaleable with the latest customer interaction trends, there?s plenty of creative leeway for businesses looking to push the aesthetic envelope.
Being a marketer means constantly being in tune with the latest industry trends ? but it can be easy to forget that marketing your business is not done in a vacuum.?
Have you given your business a thorough audit this year? Are there elements of your business, other than marketing, that need some concentrated attention?
After all, marketing only really works when you have a compelling brand and message to put out there in the first place? or an effective business framework that means campaigns are meeting commercial targets.
Here is how you can take an integrated approach with your company strategy this year, ensuring that your marketing budget will go towards conversions, sales, and tangible business goals.
Improve your brand, improve your value proposition
First and foremost, let?s talk about branding. Now, for the uninitiated, branding may not seem much more than trying to get the snazziest, simplest, most memorable logo since Apple?s quarter eaten? apple. Spending on a reliable and innovative designer purely for your logo may seem like a good idea, but a good foundation is still just a foundation.
You need to ensure that everything from your website copy to your e-shots, from your Facebook cover photo to your Instagram profile, are alight with brand messaging. Otherwise, you run the risk of wasting marketing budget on a brand that simply isn?t a reflection of what you can actually do.
It?s easy to become ?brand blind?, so it?s advisable to open up the conversation with your network to see how they feel about your brand. Be ready to have some difficult conversations.
- If you?re not a proficient writer, it?s important to hire people that are. Bad brand copywriting is not something you want to become famous for.
- Another great way to get your brand out there is by forming connections with influencers. They have a wide range of influence with the public, aiding with your PR targets? as well. Choosing the relevant one(s) for you is all about knowing your target audience and customer demographic. So, make sure that you choose wisely and don?t risk wasted time. Be true to your brand!
- Make sure that your brand has an inherent value proposition, so that your audience can quickly and easily form an accurate picture of what you?re offering them.
Strategy & data planning
A strategy is key for anyone wanting to get ahead. It?ll guide your thought processes for the year(s) to come; laying out clear steps for you and your team to follow.? It?s at the core of a healthy marketing plan, but should also take into account elements that fall outside the remit of marketing.
Data processing should be a big part of your strategy ? as it?s largely insights based on facts and figures that should go into a business strategy. By all means, theorize and hypothesize, but don?t lose sight of the actual customer and market data that?s pouring in.
Writers & content creators
Generating traffic to your website is probably one of, if not the most important factor to think about when allocating your business funds. Traffic leads to the essential inquiries and sales that keep your business running.
In order to generate quality web traffic, you need a stack of high-quality, relevant online content. Not only do you want quality content that?s representative of your brand, you want it to be consistent across all your business channels (including any printed literature).
Hiring people that are both reliable and good at copywriting is the secret behind compelling content creation. Don?t try to fob it off to a junior team member, or squeeze it in yourself between dealing with customer orders. You need to invest in good writers if you want to see a return from your content efforts.
Luckily there are loads of high quality writers and content creators out there that you can contract on a freelance basis.
Outsourcing your business
Don?t be afraid to delegate! Source photographers, HR professionals, designers, developers SEOs etc who are professional and timely.
There is always going to be somebody who can do a job better than you can, so don?t shy away from leaning on expertise when it?s clearly needed.
Hiring those with more experience than yourself can benefit you two-fold. Firstly, they will undoubtedly give your business a necessary boost in quality. Secondly, you can use their expertise to expand your own knowledge whilst also saving time.
And outsourcing doesn?t stop at people. You can also outsource things like logistics via dropshipping or customer service via chatbots. Use the latest tech to help you scale your operations and, ultimately, improve your margins.
The importance of a great financial structure is sometimes underestimated in the small business world.
Having your finances handled properly is the crux of any good business. While you use your time to focus on directorial things, your accountant can deal with the monetary side of your work. This can save you both valuable time and money.? A knowledgeable accountant or part-time financial director can be deep wells of high-quality advice.
You should also look into whether financial cloud apps like Receipt Bank or Quickbooks could help you save processing time. The better financial data you have, the better decisions you?ll be able to make for your business.
Travel & networking
Traveling it is a great way to increase the size of your network. Going further afield to meet a client and/or would-be business partner can help solidify rapport ? showing how far you?re willing to go to connect.
Ultimately, you can?t put a price on human interaction. While emailing is efficient (and free), it?s nothing compared to the experience of physical interaction; especially if you?re planning to work together long term. Instead of your words being misconstrued, time being wasted and not being able to properly gauge your relationship ? take a trip, and see how much further you get? together.
Don?t be afraid to show your face at local networking events, meetups, and conferences either. There are plenty of offline opportunities out there waiting for you.
Marketing works best when it?s part of the wider conversation concerning your business. Look to outsourcing and financial management as ways to run a more efficient business, and branding and content as ways to supercharge your sales. Don?t fall into the trap of running after vanity metrics or running your business in restrictive silos.
Nowadays, all retailers should have a website. This much we know to be true. But as with so many things in life, web design trends come and go. In fact, some websites exhibit strange styles choices that were never in fashion to begin with.
Back in the mid-90s, most websites were pretty horrible to look at. Either that, or they were plain and boring. Today, there are some gorgeous ecommerce web designs out there. But there still exists a wide range of flashing, brightly colored, overcrowded and poor quality websites in the digital ethos, just waiting for some poor hapless soul to stumble across them.
From these shining, Flash-animated, vaguely terrifying examples, we can learn what not to do when it comes to making our own ecommerce websites, and what to avoid when browsing new websites for sale ourselves ? investing in badly designed site may cost you a pretty penny… Don?t do it people!
Right folks, what do we like about this website?
It?s hard to know where to start with this one…
At first glance, it?s like someone cut up a catalogue and made a collage from their favorite listings. At second glance ? yes, it?s the same. That?s exactly what it looks like.
Here are just a few of the many things wrong with it:
- It?s overcrowded (that?s an understatement)
- There?s no informational hierarchy ? we don?t know where to begin
- The graphics are small and poor quality
As you arrive on this one-of-a-kind car rental website, the second thing you?ll notice, after the explosion of color and animation that hits your eyes, is the intensely off-putting music that starts playing automatically.
Here are a few things that aren?t working:
- First off, it?s an assault to the senses
- There?s far too much going on ? sounds, colors, animation, brains?
- Despite this compelling graphic, I don?t know if I do trust Ling
Now, the first thing you?ll need to do when you arrive at Pennyjuice.com is chosen whether you want to view it in HTML or Flash. Choose well.
Just who is Penny Juice? Great question. As you can see, people have a lot to say about Penny Juice. Finally, a 100% juice that kids will drink! Available in bright yellow, pink, green, blue, purple and orange.
Penny Juice teaches us that:
- There is such a thing as too much color
- The best place for your menu is not in tiny writing at the bottom of the screen
- Adobe Flash is dying
Another Flash-based dominion of terror! Patimex, a Polish charcoal company, has a very special mascot ? a grinning devil barbecuing a sausage. What you can?t see from the image is that the mascot also bounces around the screen and sings. You cannot take your eyes off him.
Here?s what we can take away:
- Audio autoplay is a singularly off-putting feature in a website
- Devils don?t make cute mascots ? consider what your graphics say about your brand
- Adobe Flash is dying
Wait, Suzanne Collins as in the author of The Hunger Games trilogy? Yes. This is her website. It?s not what you were expecting, is it?
The website is bare, and the first call to action we see takes us to another website: one with little on it except a request to download Adobe Flash Player. For a dynamic author of futuristic teen books, it?s surprising that this website looks and acts the way it does.
What?s wrong with this website?
- It?s full of dead links
- It?s designed for 200% zoom, so it looks strange and sparse on a desktop
- It?s dated and unexciting ? downloadable documents galore
Ok, so compared to the others, this one doesn?t look too bad. But it?s not good either.
There?s a scrolling carousel of 32 promotional images that hit you right in the face ? like this one of a very ?stock image? employee. It?s dated and bland ? where the others have over-compensated to give their websites ?character?, this one has done the opposite.
What we can learn:
- There will always be a better menu heading than ?Things We Do For You?
- Some explanatory text on the homepage that explains what you?re about is helpful
- If you have to use stock images, there are better stock images out there
Welcome to the black hole that is Low Price Skates. Clearly, there?s something missing from the top section here. Who knows what that could be? More skates pics, one must presume.
Low Prices Skates offers free shipping from $99.99 ? what a great deal! Presumably, it means when you spend $99.99 ? but regardless, it?s not very clear.
We have a lot of images crowded onto the homepage, with tiny text descriptions that even a person with impeccable eyesight would struggle to read from a reasonable distance. The copy also reads like it?s been written for SEO, not users, as you?ll see from this paragraph on quad speed skates:
That?s a lot of keyword stuffing, right there.
So, what can we learn?
- For one thing, make sure your website displays properly
- Keep all text at a reasonable, legible size ? 16px should be the minimum
- Optimizing for SEO requires more than including the same keyword over and over
Gosh! What a lot of things there are to look at here.
We have a tuxedo model ? the same picture twice? ? intermingled in a collage-like style with what appears to be a footbridge. We have no way of knowing how the footbridge is involved.
The menu and copy we see on this page look like it was created in Microsoft Paint. There?s little to distinguish content from links. And the color palette is absolute madness.
We?ve not even looked at the gowns and veils page yet! Here it is:
It?s quite something. Yvette is obviously passionate about what she does. She seems to do many things.
This website teaches us that:
- Too many choices make taking the next step paralyzing
- Updates are important ? it?s not been PROM 2010!!! for quite some time?
- LESS IS MORE !!!!!!!!!!!! **
Now, most of these websites are quite old ? but they?re still out there on the web. Even today, there are plenty of newer e-commerce websites making simple design and usability mistakes that will affect users? impressions of the brand ? and its ability to make sales. So if you?re thinking of creating a website for your online business, say no to bad web design!?
Victoria Greene is a branding consultant and freelance writer. On her blog, Victoria Ecommerce, she shares tips on e-commerce and how writers can hone their craft. She is passionate about using her experience to help e-commerce companies increase their brand reach.