7 Tips to Generating Leads

You’d love to close a deal.  But sometimes you’d be plenty happy just to generate a lead, right?  You’d like your visitor to fill in a contact form, download a white paper or a demo program, register, opt in to your newsletter or your email list, forward something of yours to a friend.  You’d like this because you’re hoping while your visitor might not be ready for you today, she may well be interested in you tomorrow.  And you’d like the opportunity to initiate and sustain further contact.

It doesn’t matter if the sole purpose of your site is to generate a lead, or if lead-generation is just one piece of your marketing strategy pie.   Generating a lead is always about communicating the value of doing business with you. 

We’ve talked before about marketing strategies that can help you generate new leads.  Now I’d like to take a broader view and look at how the design, architecture and content of your Web site can motivate lead generation.  Can you convince your visitors of your value to them so they give something of value to you?  Here are some ideas that will help.

The message must be meat.  The most important thing to focus on is identifying what really matters to your visitors.  What motivates them to seek you out?  What problems are you solving for them?  What friction points are you reducing for them?  Identify the benefits that you and your products or services confer.  Find your visitor’s buttons, then push ‘em by serving up a message of nice juicy meat!

No jargon.  Unless you’re marketing to a select audience that absolutely requires you to communicate your credibility through insider-speak – jargon – stay away from the stuff.  Jargon tends to convince folks you aren’t really interested in talking to them, so they’re far less likely to give you the chance to talk to them in the future.   If you have to include specific terminology, make it available, but give it a lower profile – those who want to know if you can really talk the talk will look to find it.  If you’re not sure how folks talk or think about your products or services, do some online consumer group research.

Less We-we-ing.  It’s not about you!  Consider that a shout.  Brilliant though you and your business may be, focus on your visitors.  Let them know you understand their needs and what matters to them.  Put them center stage.  Want a thumbnail picture of how customer-focused the language on your site is?  Try our We-We Monitor!  (It’s free.)

Keep things need-to-know.  As need-to-know as possible.  You might want to get information that includes everything from name to shoe size, and you can certainly ask for it.  But the more information you ask for, the less likely folks are to give it to you.  Conversion rates are generally proportional to the amount of information you request, and this is especially true for lead generating conversions.  Lead generation is about an exchange of value – your visitor gets something of value from you in exchange for their information.  And what they have to provide should not be one iota more than they perceive to be necessary!  If you want more information, you’ve got to provide more value appropriate to the request.  You want my shoe size for your newsletter?  Offer me a free pair of socks after I’ve received your newsletter. 

Help them see it.  No two ways about it, if your visitors can’t make visual heads or tails of your content quickly, they aren’t going to stick around, and you won’t generate a lead.  Layout matters.  Evaluate the scannability of your text and use the principles of eye-tracking to encourage your visitors to engage with your site.

Qualify.  We’ve talked a lot about the importance of helping your visitors qualify their needs so they can find what they are looking for and get to it quickly.  It’s a process that needs to begin on the home page.  But not all your visitors know exactly what they want.  Some may not even be in a buying mood.  That doesn’t mean they won’t buy from you.   An exceptional qualification scheme is critical to getting a customer – it’s just as critical to generating a lead.  Let them know who you are, what you do and what you have to offer, and you are more likely to persuade them to become a lead.

Test, measure and optimize.  A big part of improving your lead generation lies in evaluating what you’ve done so you can figure out how to do it better.  The web analytics you want to consider for lead generation include:

This is what it really comes down to:  speak to the dog, in the language of the dog, about what matters to the heart of the dog.  Make this the centerpiece of your Web site’s conversion philosophy and watch those leads roll in!

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The Price is Right:  Shopping Modes

When Wizards come together, interesting things start to happen, and you learn some cool stuff from some incredible minds.  I’ve been following a thread on a private-newsgroup for graduates of The Wizard Academy – the topic is a discussion of price as the imperative in a shopper’s decision to buy.

You know the basic debate:  price is king versus value is king.  And some of you may recall I weighed in on the subject a year-and-a-half ago.  But I think it’s time to revisit the topic, because it really isn’t as straight forward as you might think.

The issue of price, or at least the perception of price, is integral to the buying decision process and to the characteristics of the personalities for whom you tailor both the buying and selling processes on your Web site.  But before we go too far, I’d like us to think about the two classic modes of shopping:  the transactional shopper and the relational shopper.  This is really where our discussion of price begins.

In a recent Monday Morning Memo, Roy H. Williams laid out the differences between these two modes of shopping (and I’m borrowing heavily from his stuff here ‘cause I couldn’t say it better).

The transactional shopper:  

  1. is focused only on today’s transaction and gives little thought to the possibility of future purchases.
  2. fears only paying more than she has to pay.  Price is the primary determinant of value.
  3. enjoys the process of comparing and negotiating, and will shop at several stores before making a decision to purchase.
  4. does her own research so she won’t need to consult an expert.  Consumer Reports is published primarily for the transactional shopper.
  5. doesn’t consider her time spent shopping as part of the purchase price.
  6. is anxious to share the ‘good deal’ she’s found.  The transactional shopper is an excellent source of word-of-mouth advertising.

  The relational shopper:

  1. considers today’s transaction to be one in a long series of many future exchanges.  The business has priority over the product.
  2. fears only making a poor choice.  Confidence is the primary motivator of a purchase.
  3. doesn’t enjoy the process of shopping and negotiating.
  4. is looking principally for an expert he can trust.
  5. considers his time to be part of the purchase price.
  6. feels confident he has found ‘the right place to buy.’  The relational shopper is very likely to become a repeat customer.

You may incline toward one shopping mode, but nobody is always transactional or always relational.  You probably see bits of yourself in both descriptions.  Also, as with all other shoppers, your shopping mode will very likely be a function of the product or service category.  Eggs tend to be transactional products.  Soda tends to be a relational product.

Because transactional shoppers go all over to get the best deal and love to negotiate, merchants tend to come in contact with the transactional mode more often than the relational mode.  So they conclude price is important to more of their potential customers.

But consider this example.  Six shoppers are looking to buy a TV.  Three of these folks are transactional shoppers; three are relational.  The transactionals each go to five different electronics stores, ask lots of questions and haggle a bit on price.  Then each one buys a TV at one store.  Fifteen store visits total, twelve frustrated sales people, three purchases.  The three relationals each go to their favorite electronics store – one they trust or had a good experience with before – talk with the sales person, purchase a TV and go home.  Three store visits total, no frustrated sales people and three purchases.

Now, here’s the math:  each group of shoppers accounts for 50% of the sales volume, but the three transactional shoppers account for 83% of all store visits, while the three relational shoppers account for only 17% of all store visits.

See how you might start thinking price was the key selling point in a decision to buy?

Price versus confidence.  Transaction versus relationship.  The question of what constitutes value.  The question of how you shape your site based on these modes of shopping.  Important stuff to think about.   So pense for a while on where you think you fit in the equation.  I’ll be back to dig a bit deeper.

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