Quick ways to improve your online lead generation

Jessica Lucnik / Posted 1.24.2017

Quick ways to improve your online lead generation

Maybe you have some lead generation efforts in place and you’re thinking they might need some fine-tuning because they aren’t producing the results you’re looking for. Or maybe you’re just starting to think about adding some lead generation options to your website. This article will help you in either stage.

A couple of main options for lead generation on a website are adding forms to your content, making a popup to sign up for your newsletter, or creating an entire landing page geared towards enticing the customer to take action on one specific item. I’m sure while searching the web, you’ve been asked for information such as your name, email address, location—or possibly even your company name, role, how many employees work with you, etc. You’ve most likely filled out a form or two, and you may have encountered others you were hesitant about and opted out of continuing onto the next step altogether.

All of those websites, forms, and landing pages have the same end goal: to collect your data. They want to learn more about you because collecting customer data creates a very clear image of their target customer and how to best communicate, advertise, and market to them. The biggest advantage of collecting data on a target customer is the ability to leverage the data to offer your customer added value. By understanding your ideal customer, you can really start to understand their needs and wants, which means you can create even better offers to entice them, ultimately boosting sales.

When it comes to lead generation, you should always begin with the end in mind. What exactly does a “lead” mean to you? Defining this will make your testing and analytics clearer, and also help you determine what specific actions you would like the user to take while visiting your website or piece of content. Is a lead considered someone who fills out a specific form? Someone who signs up for a newsletter? Someone who registers for a product demo? If you clearly define your starting point you’ll have a much easier time adjusting your conversion goals appropriately.

You can start by accumulating customer data every time they interact with your company—on the phone, in an online chat with customer service, in your store with a salesperson, or even in an online survey or contest. Another popular way is to ask for information in exchange for downloading a piece of content, such as a whitepaper or a webinar recording. As long as the content is of value, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for, at the very minimum, an email address.

When is it acceptable to ask for more than an email address? Maybe for a bigger or higher-value piece of content such as: a product demo, a free trial, a webinar recording, an upcoming webinar. You can also have a content giveaway where the visitor would enter information in exchange for a downloadable piece of content such as a slideshare or an ebook.

Do you have more creative ideas? With offers like those, prospects wouldn’t mind filling in a form like this:

I caution you to be very careful when determining how much information to ask for when weighed against the value of what you’re offering. Be honest with yourself and ask the question, “Would I be willing to enter my name, business name, email address, size of company,etc., for this piece of content?”

What if no one is filling out your lead generation form?

If you’re noticing your visitors aren’t filling out the form to download the content, there are several things you can analyze:

  1. Is your message enticing? Does it give away some valuable information to incline the reader to take the next action?
  2. Are you asking for too much information? It’s possible the reader doesn’t think the content would be valuable enough to give away their information.
  3. Are you asking for enough information? There could be a select group out there that doesn’t believe any piece of content is worth downloading if they aren’t asked for more than their email address. You can find this balance by A/B testing your content. Create two different forms for one piece of content and let the test run for no less than a week. Ask for a small amount of information on version A and then ask for more information on version B. At the end of the test, compare your results to find your balance.
  4. Does your page have visual interest? Do you have an engaging graphic to go along with your landing page or form? People love visuals, visuals are what draws their attention to a certain place first; the words are what keep them there. Also, people like to see a sneak peek of what they’re about to receive… so make sure you spend the time, effort, and money to create a good graphic. Which ebook would you be more likely to download?

On the technical side, be sure your lead generation forms are optimally structured.

Keep the barrier for submitting a form low. Do you use a captcha? I recommend you make sure it’s the friendly version that makes you click a box to confirm you’re not a robot. The not-so-friendly version that requires typing weird letters and numbers from highly distorted photos will absolutely have a negative effect on your form submission rate. You can also try removing the captcha altogether and see how many more leads you acquire.

Ensure your form is accessible. Will people who use screen readers, or want more contrast or larger font sizes, be able to use your form?

Make your form mobile- and user-friendly. Is your customer able to fill out your form on their mobile device or tablet? To better help you decide if this is important, review your analytics and see which devices your audience is using.

Hopefully by now you have a better sense of how to optimize some of your lead generation efforts and how to determine next steps if what you’re doing isn’t producing the results you’d like. If you’d like more information on performing A/B tests, you can read about some of the do’s and don’ts here. Lead generation requires keeping a constant eye on your data, performing regular reviews of your forms while keeping your customers top of mind.

Jessica Lucnik

Jessica Lucnik

Digital Marketing Strategist

Jessica Lucnik is the Digital Marketing Strategist for Q Digital Studio, a web design and development studio in Denver, Colorado. She is an innovative, solutions-oriented marketer with a keen eye for detail. Jessica believes digital marketing is part technology, part content strategy, part marketing-art and science. She leverages years of marketing experience and has worked with a variety of nonprofit and global organizations. Jessica manages marketing automation programs while building SEO and web performance optimization for some of Q Digital Studio's client partners, as well as supporting Q's internal marketing campaigns. For thoughts on digital marketing, social media and creative solutions, connect with her on LinkedIn or follow her on twitter @jeslooch.