Creating a website that has not been optimized for lead generation is like erecting a billboard facing the woods: utterly useless for bringing in potential customers.
As we discussed in previous chapters, an optimized site uses a call to action (CTA) to guide a visitor to a landing page, where they enter their information and turn into a lead. In Chapter 2 we went over developing a lead generation strategy, detailing the development process of creating effective email, content, search and social marketing campaigns. Here are a few steps to turn that billboard around and optimize your visitor’s journey to you.
Identify where you are
There is no point in throwing a ton of money into paying a web development firm or devoting the time and resources of someone on-staff to create a new or upgrade your existing website if you don’t understand where your site ranks currently. You need a benchmark from which to operate so you know what is working (and what is not). Think of your initial audit as a baseline: You need to understand where and how your site is currently performing, and these numbers will be what you compare against later to measure how you’ve grown.
SEO-Hacker explains that there are two main areas to identify when establishing your SEO-effectiveness: keyword rankings and traffic.Keyword rankings help to establish where your target keywords are in relation to your site in the search results of most search engines. Your keyword rankings should show movement, or fluctuations, and if time and effort are invested you could move your rankings further up and up in the search results. Most companies aim to maintain their standing or get on the first page of search results.Website traffic can be directly tied to your lead generation campaign and SEO efforts. When your marketing strategy and keywords are paired, you should see an increase in new, unique and returning visitors to your site.
Optimize your homepage
Where should you begin to optimize your homepage? First, add a current phone number for your business, as well as any pertinent contact information (such as email, contact form and physical location/address, if applicable). Additionally, if you have any certifications, memberships (like the BBB) or trust seals, include those in a place that is highly visible.
Every site should include testimonials. GiveMeService.com details how there are five main reasons that testimonials are important:
▪ They increase the trust between you (or your company) and the consumer.
▪ Testimonials add relevant content to your site, increasing SEO efforts.
▪ They help to distinguish and differentiate you from your competition.
▪ They can help explain and highlight the variety of services your business offers.
▪ Testimonials demonstrate how previous customers appreciate working with you — which provides a potential new consumer with a reference and reason why they should purchase your service, instead of a competitor’s.
Don’t forget the high-quality videos and photos — many people prefer to see what the business is about, and even if they are high-resolution photos from around your office, the images and videos should assist in telling the story of your site.
Other important SEO factors:
- Title tags.
- Meta description.
- Headings tags.
- Keyword density on each page, especially landing pages.
- Alt text on all image tags.
- Internal and outbound links to relevant content.
- A sitemap.
- Robots.txt information.
- Asynchronous loading of scripts.
- Redirects, where appropriate (like to landing pages).
- Technical SEO (which includes site structure, indexing and URL salvaging).
Create lead generation forms
Now that you’ve identified your baseline and optimized your homepage and website with SEO best practices, it’s time to build a lead generation form. This is the process in which you’ll encourage a visitor to opt-in to a service (like your email marketing or blog), turning them into a lead.
There are many types and locations for lead generation forms:
- Your site’s homepage.
- Your site’s footer.
- Landing pages built for promotions.
- On the company’s blog.
- Smart bar (a field that sits at the top of your site that prompts email sign-ups).
- Opt-in pop-up.
- Demo request.
- Contact form.
- Pop-up forms.
- Off-hours live chat.
- Email opt-in.
Lead generation expert, Lilach Bullock, says asking too much in your opt-in forms is a huge mistake businesses make. If they take too long to complete, or ask for too much personal information, you’ll most likely lose high-quality leads.
A call to action is not only what draws the visitor in, but also is usually the push to take an action on your site. Your CTA should be easily identifiable, preempt any and all objections that might be lingering, and compelling enough that it attracts attention and encourages the visitor to click.
Try making your CTA a button, to give it differentiation from the rest of your site content — perhaps even try it with multiple colors to make it bold and stand out. Make the wording and intention of the action (clicking that submit button) extremely clear: Instead of just “submit form,” try “submit registration” or any terms that are relevant to the action you’re asking the visitor to take.
In addition to your primary CTA (or your submit button), which is the primary action you’d like the visitor to take, test secondary, personalized CTAs that perform secondary actions. For example, while your primary button may call to the visitor to click “submit” or “finish” on their lead generation form, the secondary would be an option to go back, or cancel, or reset the field or entire form. Patternry describes secondary CTAs as alternative actions, which are usually less important than the primary CTA but can change the user experience.
With huge changes in how people buy and spend their money comes unprecedented changes in the buying cycle.
Therefore, you need to give your visitors something in exchange for their information. You need to give them a reason to sign up, whether that is a:
- Free trial of your product or service.
- Webinar or online video.
- White paper, a relevant article, or another similar content guide.
- Newsletter or ongoing email content.
- Coupon or discount on your products or service.
- Different product, service, or other objects of value.
This compelling offer helps to establish a meaningful relationship with the visitor, not only transforming them into a lead but also helping to distinguish you from the competition. This is your time to define your business, solidify the solutions to the consumer’s problem, and establish that initial relationship with your lead.
Your offer can range from an exchange of information for content, like an ebook, to one that demonstrates an element of scarcity. Some marketing and sales professionals argue that the establishment of scarcity creates an emotional response and fear of shortage, and will prompt the user to act quickly.
No matter what path you take, the important thing to remember is that your offer should be relevant to your industry, and it should be something that the consumer is already looking for or, after they discover it, won’t want to do without.
Run A/B tests
Now that you have multiple offers, and their corresponding landing pages and lead generation forms, it’s time to run A/B tests on the content to ensure that your SEO is effective and you’re getting the site traffic that you’re looking for. (Remember how we established a baseline, first? This is how you will compare your success and progress, and the effectiveness of each piece of content.)
Do this on all three parts of the lead generation process: the CTA, landing pages and thank-you pages. Use your benchmark to see what works and what does not.When you find content that needs improvement, try improving the effectiveness of the content by changing wording, images, offers, headlines, and requirements or barriers to entry. If your form is 10 questions long and your visitors aren’t completing it through to submission, see which fields you can cut or auto-fill and shorten it. If you’re not getting quality leads from your forms, try requesting additional information in your forms that will help to weed out the leads from the non-interested parties.Evaluate and test each step in your conversion process from visitor to lead. Improve the quality of leads by utilizing the data of what is most effective, and build on your content from there.
Nurture your leads
Finally, maximize your lead value through lead nurturing. You should be engaging your leads, encouraging them to complete the sales process, and hopefully retaining them as either continued, future customers, or as someone willing to give a testimonial and/or positive review. See chapter 9 in this ebook for more information on how to nurture your leads through the entire lead funnel.