By Eric Spellmann –
If you’ve heard me speak before, you know that I feel strongly that a website should never be just a virtual pamphlet or online billboard. It must DO something. In more than 90% of the cases, that “do” can be defined as “generating leads.”
But how do you get a website to drive leads, or more importantly, qualified leads to your business? The key is to understand online user behavior and build your site to not only accommodate your site visitors, but prompt them to action!
I’ve noticed three big mistakes most websites make when trying to meet the goal of lead generation:
Hiding Phone Numbers
When needing a phone number, very few people pull out their phonebooks. In fact, today, the number one use of the yellow pages is to prop up computer monitors! Most people simply “google” a business to find a number.
How many times have you searched for a business just so you can find their phone number only to have to “hunt” through numerous pages? It’s almost as if they don’t want you to contact them! I know the telephone may seem low-tech, but if someone wants to contact me, I want them to be able to use whatever method they prefer. So, put your phone number on EVERY page.
Weak Contact Incentives
Most websites have a “Contact Us” page, a simple form, that if filled out, will email the contents to the site owner. How many of those type forms have you ever filled out? Yeah, me neither.
Remember this: You have no way of knowing who is visiting your site unless you convince them to contact you. And, in the case of lead generation, that is the whole goal! The secret to lead generation is to remember that a person’s personal information has a value associated with it. They will not just give it to you because you asked. BUT, they will trade for it.
In other words, if you offer them something of greater value than the privacy of their information, they will happily give it to you. This concept is not new. It has been implemented at tradeshows for years every time you put your business card in a fish bowl to enter a drawing.
In a future post, I’ll share the secret giveaway that guarantees a lead and costs you NOTHING.
Asking For Too Much Information
Once you have a proper incentive, make sure you are only asking for the most important information. Here’s the rule: Only collect enough information to make an initial contact with the prospect. The more data you ask for, the fewer people will fill it out. My rule is to only ask for Name, Email, Phone, and then give them a space to ask questions or write comments. I ask for email AND phone only as a backup precaution, in case they mistype one.
About the Author: Eric Spellmann continues to be one of the highest rated speakers at our national ASBDC conferences. His unique view that small business websites should “do” something pushes against the standard “online pamphlet” view of most web design companies. He believes your customer’s websites should be driving qualified leads and sales on a weekly basis. Eric speaks at a number of other national and state conferences nationwide, but enjoys running one of the most successful web design companies in the country. He truly believes in the SBDC mission as it helped him start his own company many years ago. To contact him, visit his website at EricSpellmann.com.