Chapter 19: 21st Century Lead Generation
The goal and general process of lead generation haven’t changed since leads for business became a thing. Since the Internet Changed Everything, though, many of the key components of lead generation don’t even resemble the tools used during the 20th century.
Here is your 5,000-foot-view of the new territory. From this high, the details of how and who aren’t visible. They’re responsible for the big landmarks you see, but you only know they’re there because of the impact of their actions. Up this high, we see three key things:
- Lead Generation Page: the web page where a visitor lands when he follows a link or enters a URL you advertised. This is different from your web page. As we’ll see, the most effective websites have multiple lead generation pages, each with a different purpose.
- Offer: content or something of value offered in the copy on the lead generation page. The offer both demonstrates your expertise in your industry and elicits buy-in from the reader in the form of clicking through to the offer or providing an opt-in.
- Call- to- Action: a clearly labeled instruction that tells a casual reader what to do if he wants to get more deeply involved with your website, content, or company. This element is the heart of an automated lead generation, and done right can be the hardest-working salesperson on your team.
These landmarks form the basis of every successful lead generation program. Every website must contain all three to produce the numbers we showed you in the previous section. Let’s look at each one in greater detail to learn the basic fundamentals, best practices and insider tricks of each.
Your Lead Generation Page
A lead generation page is where visitors first arrive at your site after clicking a link from search, advertising, email or a similar marketing effort. It’s the first real contact you have with a casually interested reader, and its job is to move them from casual interest to legitimate lead.
Don’t confuse lead generation page with a home page. Some (mostly simpler) websites have a home page that is also a lead generation page, but most companies will have several lead generation pages tuned to different products — one of which may or may not be the site’s home page.
- Make More Lead Generation Pages, tied to the different questions a potential customer might be asking and to different programs your business offers. The more targeted a specific lead-generation page is, the more likely the right viewer is to become a qualified lead.
- Communicate Clearly to express what the reader can get from your page and how the reader can get further information. This is not the place to use jargon or your best English school essay skills. Stay simple, to the point and easy to want to read.
- Grab Attention early and do attention-grabbing things often. Consumers land at your lead generation page looking for a reason to navigate away. You have less than five seconds to give them a reason to stay, and only 100 to 200 words to convince them to keep staying.
- Reduce Anxiety in two ways. Readers don’t come to you without a problem they’re hoping you’ll solve. They’re anxious both about the problem itself, and about the experience they’ll have with the company they hire to solve it. Use offers, phrasing and the beginnings of your mentor-student relationship to put both anxieties at ease.
- Create Urgency using psychological cues like the bandwagon effect, limited quantities, hyperbolic discounting and the loss aversion bias to get viewers to click your CTA now.
Resist the temptation to “build up to” a call to action or talking about business. The top of your lead generation page should grab attention, hold it, and create an emotional attachment to you and your online content.
Never skimp on design. Just like you keep your lobby clean and your staff looking professional, you must have lead generation pages that look sharp, project credibility, and are easy to navigate. A large study from Stanford University found that unprofessional lead generation pages resulted almost universally in high bounce rates, and left the viewer with a bad impression of the site owner overall.
Don’t ask for too much information. The more fields you ask somebody to fill out, the less likely people are to fill out the form and complete the signup. You can always gather additional information later in the journey after the consumer has developed a deeper interest in what you have to offer.
Your offer is the content or another item of value that you offer on a lead generation page. It’s the bait on the hook of your inbound marketing efforts, something of enough value that a visitor to your site is willing to give you their contact information in exchange for it.
Do not confuse an offer with a link to further marketing collateral, or one of those little panes encouraging viewers to sign up for your newsletter. Neither of those provide sufficient value to turn viewers into subscribers. An offer must be worth more than that, presenting the casual viewer with “an offer she can’t refuse.”
- Begin With the Customer In Mind by crafting your specific offers to specific types of customer who will want what you provide. This includes specific demographics, specific positions within your typical business client, specific points in the Buyer’s Journey and sales process, specific regions, and any other detail of your ideal customer that might impact what offers value and what does not.
- Go Broad with the types of offers you…um…offer. What’s absolutely compelling to one high-value lead might be of no use to another. Multiple offers targeted to different types of buyer far outperform a single, one-size-fits-all attempt.
- Test and Track all of your offers to see which ones perform best, and what traits grab the most attention. Consistently tweak, test, and fine-tune all of your offers until each is generating enough leads to justify the effort and expense.
- Give Massive Value with your offers by giving away knowledge or service that people would be willing to pay cash for. You want page visitors to see your offer as a golden opportunity, not a favor you’re asking them to do for you.
Hiding Everything Behind a Lead Capture Offer, where only subscribers can see your content. Product descriptions, customer case studies and similar strong marketing material are things you want everybody to see. Leave plenty of that, plus your first-stage blog posts open and available. Save only the good stuff for your offers.
Keeping The Offers Secret by confining them to forms available from your lead generation pages. Mention them early and often via your social media feeds, pay-per-click campaigns and even your outbound techniques. The more people who learn about your offer, the more qualified leads will give you their contact information.
Your Call- to- Action
A call- to- action is an image that drives the reader to click -through to your offer or other online content. It’s there so visitors to your site know what to do next once you’ve successfully piqued their interest.
You’ll notice we said the call to action is an image. Linked text in bold face, embedded in the bottom of your content, does not cut it. Call- to- Action buttons result in 200% higher clickthroughs than text. Your call to action should be one of the top most visible elements on the page. Do not skimp on its quality or placement.
- Keep it Simple, Sunshine. Your call- to- action should be clean and uncluttered, containing just one idea with simple instructions on how to execute that idea.
- What’s In It For Them? Clearly state the benefits of answering the call, in terms your customers/industry/tribe can understand.
- Begin With Conversion In Mind Make your CTA part of a clearly-defined, step-by-step journey toward conversion. Depending on the page, this could be conversion to lead, conversion to qualified lead or conversion to sale.
- Test Your CTAs Run A/B testing on your site, in your mailing list, and via PPC runs to determine what messaging and imaging creates the best results. Make real-time changes and adjustments informed by those tests.
- Map to the different stages of the buyer’s journey so that all visitors have something specific to do after reading the high-value content on the page they visit.
Do not limit yourself to just one CTA. You should begin and end your page with a call- to- action. The call above the fold is there to grab the attention of people in a hurry, or who are already at a later stage of the buyer’s journey. The one at the end is to capitalize on the value received by a visitor who has just read the whole page. While you’re at it, put CTAs on your pages that are mapped to different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Avoid the trap of matching the color to the page’s visual design. Don’t get tacky or jarring, but do everything to make the button for your CTA “pop.” High contrast gets attention, and attention gets click-throughs.
These three features of digital lead generation will form the core of every aspect of your website and other online content. In future chapters, we’ll go into some of the details about how to apply this. For now, just remember:
Multiple lead generation pages boasting powerful offers linked via effective calls- to- action.
Memorize it. Love it. Live it. Sleep with it (in your head). This is the key to effective online lead generation. Nuanced Media is a premier Phoenix marketing agency, and our experts are always willing to answer your lead generation questions.