Companies cannot build a website haphazardly and expect it to generate sales leads systematically. Whereas e-commerce firms have mastered the art and science of building highly converting websites, other types of firms tend to approach web design with a mixture of vaguely thought-out objectives.
This unfortunate reality is what prompted Straight North, a PPC marketing agency, to create the white paper below, How to Build a High Performance Lead Generation Website. In it, I break down the elements of conversion optimization into five categories, with a number of specific, practical tips for each, which any company can implement easily and, in most cases, quickly. The five categories are:
- Usability — Delivering a positive user experience for users in any stage of the buying cycle.
- Mobile Design — Web design techniques crucial for converting the rapidly growing audience of mobile users.
- SEO — How to make sure the website is SEO ready and will not impede future SEO efforts.
- Copywriting — Techniques for writing persuasively as well as informatively.
- Conversion Optimization — Blocking-and-tackling design pointers to give users the greatest possible incentive to inquire now.
In addition to these tips, we have included an important supplement covering form and phone tracking best practices, which are necessary for proper execution of Internet marketing campaigns such as PPC, SEO and email marketing.
Proper tracking setup is extremely important in web design projects, but is rarely considered and made part of the project scope. As a result, when companies launch their shiny, new websites and turn their attention to Internet marketing campaigns, they encounter a rude awakening when they are told their websites won’t support call tracking and phone tracking, and consequently, cannot take full advantage of their marketing investment.
Phone tracking, in particular, requires special attention, in that Google Analytics and other standard website analytics platforms don’t enable webmasters to track website conversions back to their marketing source. Without this critical information, Internet marketing campaign managers are helpless when it comes to both evaluating the effectiveness of campaigns and interpreting the results of their campaign split testing. The result: marketing campaigns that produce dribbles — rather than torrents — of leads.
As a copywriter, I would encourage readers to pay special attention to the writing section of the white paper. All too often, companies undermine excellent design and usability decisions by serving website content to visitors that does more harm than good in terms of inspiring inquiries.
The many problems with business website content are usually traced back to inward thinking. Instead of concentrating on what it takes to turn website visitors into conversions, company personnel get sidetracked with peripheral issues such as branding, product/feature information dumps, and pleasing internal stakeholders by adding pages to the site that may thrill a particular department but totally confuse a potential customer.
Focusing content decisions on conversion leads to strong content decisions: brevity, elimination of jargon, simplicity and persuasive language. Remember that the purpose of a lead generation website is to inspire conversions, not do the entire job of selling. It’s OK to leave out some information — if you describe every possible feature and benefit of a product/service, you actually give the prospect less of a reason to make contact.
The irony here is that companies with lead generation websites usually have a sales department that is responsible for turning prospects into customers. These companies act as if they are trying to replace their sales departments when they attempt to make the website do the whole sales job. If this is occurring accidentally, I’ve just given you something important to think about. If it is being done intentionally, I can only say I’ve never seen a website yet that can do the job of a talented, trained and energetic sales force. For maximizing lead generation, the website and sales staffs should be allies and the closest of friends. How do things stack up on that score in your organization?