Drawing traffic to your website is an important step toward growing your business. But your bottom line goal is to sell products and services. You may make a few immediate sales to website visitors, but usually the sales cycle is longer. To increase sales, you must convert qualified visitors into leads.
Your website can generate two types of leads. The most desirable are those who have directly expressed an interest in your product or service. Though they may not be ready to close the deal while on the site, they’re already considering a purchase and are much closer to converting to a sale. The second type of lead is a visitor who hasn’t expressed an interest in your products or services, but has shared contact information with you in order to gain access to information or resources. This second group typically takes more time and effort to convert. However, if your offerings are carefully crafted, most will fall within your target market.
Make Your Website User-Friendly
While drawing traffic to your website requires far less effort than drawing people into a brick-and-mortar location, it’s also much easier to lose those prospects. Someone who has driven to your retail location isn’t likely to walk back out the door simply because a quick scan of the front area doesn’t reveal what he’s looking for. A website visitor may very well do just that.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you can force visitors to view what you want them to see — make it easy for them to find what they came for or they’re going to turn around and look elsewhere.
Sweeten the Deal
Using your website to generate leads means offering something in return. While some visitors might provide contact information simply because you asked, most will do so only if there’s something in it for them. That something could be a special discount if they act immediately or it could be a resource like a newsletter or access to free resources that require a log-in. The possibilities are nearly endless: newsletters, white papers, video access, contest entries, association benefits —be creative! Just make sure you’re offering something your target market will want enough to provide contact information in order to get it.
Include Strong Calls to Action
Whether you’re selling a product or offering a free white paper, provide clear direction. Just as you don’t want to force your visitors to dig for what they want, you don’t want to make them work to place an order or provide you with their contact information. When you’ve described an offer, follow it up immediately with clear instructions as to what they should do next. When practical, provide them with more than one opportunity, such as a “Get Your FREE White Paper Now” button at the top of the page and a “Download Instantly” option at the end of the offer.
Make the link text active and use it to create an imperative; flat, passive language won’t get you the results you want. And, above all, be clear: a visitor who isn’t sure how to take advantage of your offer is a visitor who may well wander off without finding out.
Your website provides an excellent opportunity to generate leads who are interested in your range of products and services and perhaps already looking to you as a source of useful information. However, they’re not going to do your job for you! Make sure you’re offering them valuable information, resources and incentives and make it as easy as possible for them to take the next step.