10 Common Mistakes in Online Lead Generation
About The Author:Ian Rhodes has over 13 years experience within the online marketing industry. Having been involved with internet marketing from the very outset, Ian offers a vast level of experience in direct ROI focused online marketing activity. Ian previously held the position of European Marketing Director for Priceline.com, one of the world’s leading travel companies, employing a multi-million pound online marketing budget across affiliate, PPC, SEO and partnership channels. Prior to founding his consultancy, Ian spent 5 years running his own successful online retail business within the Music Industry.
One of the main reasons I’m approached by new B2B clients is they feel frustrated having spent £x on a brand new website expecting customers to flock through, leaving their contact details to allow their sales teams to ‘finish the job’… this, I’m afraid to state, simply doesn’t happen.
Today I want to share my own insights, from my own experience, as to how and where online lead generation fails and what you can do to improve your site conversions.
If every business ran the perfect lead generation mechanism I guess it would make my own job far more difficult!
Your business expectations are always high once a website is relaunched with a new look and feel. Unfortunately, the first time visitor doesn’t inherit your own optimism as they simply see the latest version. Actively developing leads through a B2B website isn’t necessarily an aspect of your sales strategy which requires an abundance of money to be invested – the real investment is time; time to understand your visitors, their motivations and their requirements. Only then will you be able to deliver a successful lead generation platform through your website.
Let’s begin by looking at the 10 most common Lead Generation mistakes to avoid making:
1.) Writing Content With YOUR Needs in Mind
This is similar to the ’sell benefits, not features’ sales practice. If you site content is wordy and too technical (i.e. using terminology which relates to those with a greater understanding of your service/products) it will drive people to the most often clicked button on their browser… the BACK button. Make sure your site is structured to allow for ‘entry level’ information as well as detailed data. Keyword research within your industry will provide you with ideas for your content generation.
2.) Missing Conversion Opportunities
Time and time again I speak with new customers who have struggled to convert readers into leads. The simple reason? They’re not drawn to communicate with you! You’ve earned the right to request contact details from your visitors using a simple integrated lead generation platform. Utilise this right in a similar fashion to a telephone conversation or face-to-face meeting. Don’t bombard your users with “CLICK HERE” “CLICK ME” “CONTACT US” messages throughout your site. A simple, clean and professional Call to Action box within your site (on every page) will do the trick. Hesitant to implement this? Why not try a simple A/B testing campaign using Adwords to see just how much of an impact these changes may make?
3.) Wasting Money on Adwords
Don’t know which keywords work best for your business? Buying generic overpriced key terms or phrases to ‘at least generate some traffic’? Time to press the ‘pause’ button on that campaign. The key to a truly successful Adwords campaign is to match your ad and subsequent landing page to the requirements of the Google searcher. Give them what they’re looking for! If a proportion of your business comes through the Printing Industry – deliver the user with a landing page tailored to their needs. Talk to them in a language they understand and can engage through.
4.) Ignoring Your Site Analytics
Google offer Analytics for free. This information is essential. It tells you everything you need to know about your current site visitors – how they found you, what they did… and the page whereby the exited your site. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing perfectly relevant site traffic and not seeing the conversions on the back of these tailored potential clients. Why are people leaving your site without communicating with you? Does the page they landed on match the search term they used? Are you driving people to the wrong page and simply lacking any form of engagement? Spending 5 minutes a day looking at your daily Analytics report will answer a whole range of questions which will save you far mor ‘head scratching’ time later.
5.) The ‘Build It and They Will Come’ Mentality
2010 will represent the antithesis of this mindset. You’ve got your ‘Online Marketing requirements’ list in front of you… you’ve setup and tweeted a couple of comments on Twitter (please don’t tell folks the level of snow outside your office… they’re not interested), setup your Facebook Business Page… and updated your Linkedin account. Great. Well Done. How much traffic will this generate for you? Probably a big fat ZERO. You have to WORK your social media outposts as much as you have to WORK your traffic generation.
6.) Ignoring the Importance of Location
B2B is real world marketing and sales. It’s a strategy which leads to long-term revenue prospects for your business. It’s nurtured… it’s time consuming, and it certainly isn’t easy. In your own world, how often would you veer towards sourcing your required services or products locally? Whether it’s your accountant, lawyer or tyre replacement service, the important of locality is crucial. With this in mind, how obvious on your current website is it as to where your business is based?
Do you have multiple locations across the country? Fantastic! Now, tell your prospects. Too often the simple fact of where your business is based is overlooked on Business websites. It’s a crucial element. Not only does it assist with your Search Engine rankings it assists the ability to convert your local potential clients. If location matters to you, it matters to your prospects, make those changes to your website today.
7.) Borrrrrrring Content
Don't drive potential leads away from your site simple by offering mundane and frankly dull information
Forget copy-and-pasting your content from your latest brochures…. it doesn’t wash. Brochures can sit on your prospects desks for years and are used for reference…. the first introduction of your business to a new prospect gives you 30-60 seconds of their time before they decide to read on or leave. Grab their attention! Use ‘Headlines’ to engage your site visitors. Ask them questions, inspire them, show them that what you offer is what they need. Selling print machines? Please don’t simply list the specifications listed in the manufacturers website. It’s dull, and is probably the same information relayed on each of your competitors websites. Don’t talk gobbledeegook – speak to your visitors through clear concise punchy content. They’ll thank you for it by offering their details for further communication
8.) Give it Away…Give it Away…Give it Away Now!
If you’re in the enviable position of having reems of relevant content ready to be made available to your users… hold back. Natural tendancies, especially when speaking with your SEO advisor, are to provide as much rich content as can be made available to ensure improved relevant ranking within google. However, hold back your most ‘precious’ information and look at the opportunity to build an ebook or simple PDF download which offers information to your visitor in return for their sign-up. You can build your site into a definitive resource to build ‘authority’ within your industry and indirectly related industries too.
Maybe a passive income stream for your business can be built using a ‘premium’ subscription service? MemberWing offer a superb plug-in for Wordpress designed websites whereby you can still offer all of your content to be indexed by Google but further content to the end user requires a premium signup.
9.) Ignorance of Authority
No, it’s not a line from a Rage Against the Machine song, it’s simply the fact that you may be missing out on the opportunity to build your business’ online authority. As mentioned earlier, B2B Sales Strategy isn’t a simple process, often times it involves nurturing leads through a range of differing platforms (email, RSS, podcasts etc). Your Lead Generation process can be as simple as requesting an email address in return for email delivery of your monthly newsletter. Building frequency with your prospects not only tremendously assists your business sales strategy it allows you to build ‘authority’. When you’re visualised as the ‘champion’ of your industry it makes life a whole lot easier throughout the sales funnel.
Don’t put your prospects off by having one single labourious ‘Contact Form’. Use a range of simple tools throughout your website to engage new visitors and quickly build your subscriber base and your authority. (For more great reading I highly recommend Trust Agents: Using the Web to Build Influence, Improve Reputation, and Earn Trust by Chris Brogan)
10.) Assume Web Users Have Time On Their Hands
If a prospect has found your site chances are, they’ve found your competitors too. No SEO or Content structure can ensure that your site visitors first click is their final click. Optimise your online campaigns around every click which your potential client may make and keep the process as simple as is possible. Web users are a wonderful bunch, similar to any of your current clients. Some are happy to sit and read your content, the greater proportion, however, simply do not have the time. Again, more and more reason to ensure your site captures their attention from the very first click.
2010 is going to be one hell of a year for your online business. It’s never been so competitive, but the rules remain the same as ever. Keep your message simple, make every effort to engage your users and know exactly how to differentiate your site message for those that are ‘researching’ and those that are in the final ‘decision making’ process.