Let’s begin with this simple premise:  you can’t drive sales or grow your business without generating a sufficient quantity of leads. But it’s not just about creating more leads—they need to be the right kinds of leads, the kind who are likely to buy your products or subscribe to your services. In fact, when it comes to lead generation, quality trumps quantity every time.

If your company’s website isn’t generating quality leads, it’s not doing its job, and that means it’s time you considered updating it. Of course, you won’t know if your website’s doing its job if you aren’t continually testing it with some strong analytics. If you don’t know how to assess your site’s effectiveness, or to fix it, it’s time to partner with someone who does.

Start with the Basics 1:  Assess Your Design

Before you examine how well your site moves visitors along the buyer’s journey (in other words, its ability to turn window shoppers into qualified leads, leads into customers and customers into your brand promoters), you need to make sure it’s strong on the essentials.  Ask yourself (or someone you trust) these questions:

  • Is the design sufficiently professional to create buyer trust?
  • Does it have a content management system (CMS) that lets you make changes easily?
  • Do you have a blog, and do you add to it on a regular basis?
  • Does it have an analytics program that you understand to continually monitor results?
  • Does it have social media follow and share icons that are visible and easy to find?
  • Is your site’s navigation intuitive, easy to understand and use?
  • Is your content compelling enough that prospective customers will want it?

Start with the Basics 2:  Define Your Target Audience

You don’t want just anyone to visit your website and share their contact information with you—you want people who are likely to buy your products. You can’t make that happen until you define, as specifically as possible, who your target audience is.

One of the best ways to do that is by creating buyer personas. These are fictional characters who represent large swaths of your current customer base. Each persona has key demographic and behavioral characteristics. Hubspot defines buyer personas this way:

“A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers. When creating your buyer persona(s), consider including customer demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals. The more detailed you are, the better.”

In defining your ideal customer, you give yourself a roadmap for identifying prospective customers who share the same characteristics. Knowing what their primary problems (or “pain points”) are, you take the first step in creating an effective marketing strategy. Finally, understanding the steps they took, from their initial interaction with your website to their current status as loyal customers, you can create a user experience which directs future customers to take the same steps.

Designing for Lead Generation

You probably know the inbound drill: you create content that helps prospective customers solve key problems, put it in places where they can find it and drive them to landing pages where they exchange their contact information for access to that content. Sounds easy, right? But doing it right is more than theory—you need to make it work on your website. Here are 3 smart strategies to help you do that:

  1. Don’t Make People Hunt for Your Content Offers

Using your analytics tool, find out which webpages are your most popular—this is likely going to be your home page, about us page, blog and contact us page.  Make sure those pages are optimized to drive more web traffic to them. Since the lion’s share of your site visitors will be on these pages, place your content offers there, and make them prominent and visible.

  1. Increase Downloads with Clear CTAs and Smart Headlines

To increase downloads of your content, use headlines that make it clear what problem the content will help prospects solve. You also need to embed calls-to-action (CTAs) which visitors will want to click on—that means making them visible, positioning them throughout your site, and using verbs that encourage action (like “discover,” “learn,” and “get”). Finally, it’s useful to include “social proof” associated with your CTAs—things like “X people have already downloaded this article,” or customer reviews and testimonials.

  1. Create Landing Pages That Encourage Action

Your landing pages have one purpose: to convert visitors into leads—that means they need to encourage visitors to fill out the forms which collect their contact information.  Everything about your landing page should be directed to this goal.

That means using a simple layout. You should keep text to a minimum (no more than a few sentences), use bullets to highlight your key points and include no more than one prominent image.

At this point in the process, you don’t need to know everything about prospective leads—just enough to enable and personalize subsequent contacts. That usually means first name, last name and email address. Now, it is true that the shorter the form, the more leads you’ll generate—and that asking for more information generally produces fewer leads, but potentially higher quality leads. You need to carefully thread this needle—if you’re not sure, get help from an experienced digital marketing agency.

It’s A Delicate Balancing Act

Digital marketing is both an art and a science. Many of the decisions you make are necessarily subjective—like defining your “ideal customer” and determining what their primary “pain points” are. But those decisions should still be supported by reliable data to increase the likelihood of success.

To learn more about the ways our branding, design, digital experiential and social marketing solutions can help you generate more quality leads, drive sales and grow your business, contact us today.