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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.