It’s rare for a new visitor to make a purchase on their first visit to your website. However, there are elements you can add to your site to increase the likelihood that first-time visitors don’t leave without taking some kind of action. The information you’re able to capture early on will allow you to nurture leads through the sales funnel until they’re ready to buy.
Welcome to the final installment of our 21 Website Must-Haves series.
So far in this series, we've covered:
- How to optimize your website for search discovery to drive a steady stream of new qualified leads to your site.
- How to create a good user-experience that invites visitors to venture deeper into your site, rather than running back to Google.
- How to use content marketing to attract visitors, boost search engine success, and convert leads into customers.
If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably on a roll driving traffic to your site and engaging visitors with great content. The next step is to guide your visitors on the journey from prospect to lead—and eventually, customer.
In this final installment, we’re going to look at some of the additions you can make to your website to capture information from new visitors, kicking off the lead nurturing process and ultimately converting casual visitors into loyal customers.
4 Lead-Capturing Website Elements
All the effort that goes into designing and building your website ultimately boils down to one thing: the call-to-action (CTA).
A CTA is a button that converts visitors to leads by prompting them to fill out a form to redeem an offer. This offer can take a variety of forms, such as downloading a piece of content, signing up for a newsletter, starting a free trial, or making an appointment.
The button may be simple, but an effective CTA is the product of much strategic thought. An effective CTA has the following qualities:
- High-value offer
- Compelling copy that conveys the benefit of the offer
- Visually striking design, with bright colors that contrast with surrounding color scheme
- Short, clear, action-oriented directive that starts with a verb (“Download”, “Register”)
- Highly visible positioning “above the fold”
- Large enough to attract attention without distracting from page content
2. Landing Page
A great offer needs a great landing page to support it.
A landing page is the destination at the end of the CTA. Sometimes called a “lead capture page,” landing pages convert visitors into leads by compelling them to complete a transaction of information in exchange for the contents of the offer. After a prospect clicks on your CTA, they are delivered to the landing page, which further outlines the benefits of the offer and houses the form necessary to gain access.
The landing page is the crucial final step in the lead conversion process. Design, copy, and UX must work together in order to make your landing page a conversion machine.
Here are some of the most important elements of effective landing pages:
- Limited navigation
- Compelling headline
- Brief description of offer benefits
- At least one supporting image
- Simple form to capture information
The golden rule of landing pages is “Keep It Simple.” You want the process of completing your form to be seamless and effortless. Any friction in the process can cause visitors to abandon the offer rather than putting in the effort.
Use minimal copy to convey your message, keep your form short and sweet (more on this in the next section), and remove main site navigation so that your prospects don’t get distracted by continuing to browse your site.
3. Lead Capture Forms
The lead capture form is absolutely essential to securing conversions. It is the last point of friction before a visitor becomes a lead, and its design will either make or break your conversion.
The length and contents of your form are important. A longer form will be perceived as more work. The simpler your form, the higher your conversion rate.
Here’s how to get it right, every time:
- Only ask for the information you absolutely need. The fewer the fields, the better.
- Tailor your number of fields to the value of the offer. For a newsletter, only ask for an email. For a higher-value offer, you can ask for a little more information, but stay under five fields.
- Include a privacy message to reduce anxiety about giving up information.
- Use action-oriented language on your buttons (remember what we said about CTAs? This is another CTA). Instead of “SUBMIT,” try something tailored to the offer, such as “DOWNLOAD E-BOOK” or “JOIN NEWSLETTER.”
- Fulfill the request right away. If your offer is a download, the download link should appear immediately. If it’s a newsletter, have a welcome email waiting in their inbox.
4. Email Newsletter
Once your website is a well-oiled lead generation machine, you will soon acquire a list of leads and it’s time to start nurturing them. One of the most tried and true lead nurturing methods is an email newsletter.
Email newsletters allow you to tackle several important objectives of lead nurturing all at once:
- Staying relevant in prospects’ minds
- Sharing content that demonstrates your value
- And building trust between your company and your prospects
The challenge is creating an email newsletter that people actually want to read.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Determine your focus. Will your newsletter be an update on happenings within your company? A digest of relevant industry news?
2. Define your audience. Newsletters shouldn’t be one size fits all. Segment your recipients by lifecycle stage and conversion type to keep your content relevant.
3. Don't be promotional. No one wants to read a sales email. Your newsletter should be mostly educational/entertaining and no more than 10% promotional.
4. Set expectations. Outline the benefit of your newsletter above your signup box with a simple phrase, such as “The smart way to stay on top of marketing trends.”
5. Don't be afraid to be casual. Relationships are a human construct, so act like a human! Loosen up and show some personality. Write like you would to a colleague or friend.
6. Be consistent. If you’re going to do a newsletter, don’t let it be an afterthought. Consistency builds trust. A newsletter that shows up sporadically doesn’t build anything.
Your website is your strongest online business tool. But, as we’ve outlined in the four installments of the 21 Website Must-Have series, simply having a website is not enough. Your website should represent an integration of SEO, social media, content marketing, CTAs, lead capturing forms and landing pages, and nurturing tactics that convert leads into customers.
In short, it needs to be a lean, mean, conversion machine. Inbound marketing fills your sales funnel with qualified leads, and your website is where education, engagement, and conversion take place.
Follow the guidelines outlined in this series and you’ll be off to a great start creating a website that generates traffic, leads, and sales. But the internet is constantly evolving and a great website is never truly “finished.” Keep learning, and stay tuned for more updates.
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