Increasing your Lead Capture Ratio Via Lead Capture Optimization (LCO):
Once you have 1) ensured that you have done what you can to cross-promote the web site to its fullest, and 2) increased your closing percentage from existing leads from your site, it is time to turn your attention toward gleaning more leads from your web site through a process known as Lead Capture Optimization (LCO).
Conveying Locality – This applies to regional and local business more than National or International firms. In most cases, people shop nationally, but buy locally. That means that as folks get closer to buying a product or service, they start spending more and more time on websites of local providers. If your business is a regional concern or your products and/or services only apply to certain geographic areas (such as mosquito traps or monsoon survivability literature), your web site should celebrate the region you service and provide a clear signal that when it comes time for buying or selling, no one in your territory knows the area or the supplies a better service or product than you do in that geographic region.
Conveying Expertise – Tidy and Sharp - All retail businesses know the importance of a clean “shop”. People are turned-off by unkempt, dirty places of business. The same can be said of your web site: if you want people to visit and feel comfortable with you, or to think of you as an authority in your industry, your site has to reflect taste, value, and professionalism. This does not mean it should not reflect your business’s image, uniqueness, funkiness (if it applies), etc.
Audience/User Identification – Who is coming to your site? Do you know? Engineers? Buyers, receptionists, moms, teens, teenage moms? Other vendors? Clients? Partners? Sales Staff? It is crucial to know for whom the site exists. Without knowing who its “audience” is, you will not be able to maximize your web ROI.
Clear Calls to Action – Once you know who your audience is – or whom the site is for – whether one type of visitor (eg. Dog Owners) or even 10 distinct user types – you can turn your attention to what it is you want each group to do when they come to your site. You need to “ask for the sale,” whether the “sale” is getting one visitor type to give you their email address, while getting another user type to buy something right then and there: if you don’t make it easy for visitors to understand how you would like them to interact with your site (what you want from them), you can’t blame them for not giving you what you want.
User Path Optimization – Once you know your site’s audience (the user groups or audiences) and you know what behavior you want each of the user groups to engage in (what calls-to-action you intend to pitch each group), you are ready to examine the User Paths your site should employ. In some cases there will be 3 or 4 – even 5 – different User Paths on a given site. If you are asking them for their business improperly, based on their user type, you won’t get the business. Your calls-to-action, like everything else, need to be well-conceived, in context, and realistic.
Review Existing Forms – Are you asking too little information on your web site forms? Are you requiring too much to submit your web site’s forms? It is critical to understand the psychology at play. For instance, if the form only requires an email address, how can you craft a finely-worded, personal email to the prospect? On the other hand, if we ask too much from our site visitors, you’ll defeat the purpose entirely. You have to determine the proper equilibrium. Ask too much and folks will simply leave before submitting their inquiry to you. Ask too little, and you may be inundated with requests that are difficult to route, answer, or even respond.
Incentive-based Lead-Capture – Employ lead capture technologies that lend to the overall excitement and “stickiness” of your web site and create a unique experience. Free quotes, subscriptions, access to DIY videos or proprietary reports, “inside information”, club benefits, giveaways, valuable tips and self-educational materials are often enough to prompt users to provide their emails, first names, and often times more. You may protest and say, “I would never fill out something like that!” And if you were the target audience your concern might be valid. But you have to ask for information to get it . . . and the user has to see a clear benefit of providing the info you want them to provide. Again, it’s your job to approach these things in a prudent fashion! It must fit the branding of the company and how you position yourselves in the marketplace.
Content, content, and content – You MUST offer up-to-date content that is of interest to your web visitors in order for them to stay on your site. This means good data regarding products, timely updates, FYI, FAQs for buyers and sellers, et cetera. Nothing is worse than ending up on a well-marketed site only to find it is an empty promise, devoid of decent value (information), or crammed full of out-of-date information.
List-Building – Make sure your website assists you in creating your own opt-in list of people who are visiting you and are interested in your firm. Create your own opt-in list. It is an invaluable resource that can be “mined” over time, and at will, producing sales today and well into the future. Once again, don’t ask for too much info. This is a very common mistake! Typically a First Name and an email will suffice. Better to ask for the least amount of info you can get away with (despite what IT or Marketing might say).
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Is our Site is visually-appealing?
- Does our site celebrate our regional “roots”?
- Are all of our website inquiries responded to with auto-responders?
- Is our site easy to use/navigate?
- Does our site have our phone number prominently displayed?
- Does our site move visitors to share their contact information with us?
- Does our site offer at least one incentive-based lead capture mechanism (Registry for Free Newsletter, access to an industry whitepaper, dollars-off closing costs coupon, sweeps for a car, et cetera)?
- Does our site have worthwhile general textual content (FYIs, FAQs, Tips, et cetera)?
- How many clicks are required for a user to get search results?
- Does our site properly convey our corporate image?