Company websites are important – there is no doubt about that. Twenty years ago, if you simply had a one-page website for your business you were ahead of the competition. However, times have drastically changed. As of 2016, a study found that there are at least 1.24 billion websites in the world. Thanks to modern technology, you are competing with these companies, regardless of their location. So, how do you stand out from the crowd to convert your prospects into customers?
In saturated markets, a basic website is no longer going to get the job done. Websites have become more and more sophisticated and everyone has similar features. In 2018 and beyond, companies must have all of the standard lead generation tools and be innovative enough to stand out from the crowd. Especially with all of the recent security breaches, users are becoming more and more reluctant to give up their personal information on the web. Companies, especially small businesses, must leverage their websites to offer unique experiences that will help bolster their lead generation numbers.
The following lead generation tips will help you stand out from the pack:
One of the best ways to earn new leads is to prove that you are an industry expert. An effective way of doing this with your website is to have valuable content and resources available for your site visitors to find and use. Once consumers believe that you have experience and understand the industry they will be more likely to work with your company in the future.
This information can include things like case studies, ebooks, tips and tricks, answers to frequently asked questions, and similar items. Don’t be afraid to give away a couple valuable tips — this is an effective way to build trust.
In addition, sites can also group all of these resources together in a centralized portal. Check out the example from the Community Tax resource portal. This is a great example because the company groups the blog together with important resources, indicating that the blog also has pertinent information. This is a great way to earn more readership on your blog as well!
Be sure to give away these resources for free, or else you will be severely limiting the number of potential leads. However, you can request “payment” in the form of email addresses or contact information.
Pro Tip: Offer free download access to resources for users that provide an email address.
Funny 404 Pages
We’ve all had a 404-page error pop up as we searched for information on a company. It is a frustrating experience that often results in visitors bouncing from the page.
404 errors happen for different reasons: people mistype the web address, another site has an incorrect link, or you accidentally moved a page or retitled it without thinking about old links that are still out there. Whatever the reason, you can turn this error into a fun experience for your users.
Check out the example below from Airbnb. Not only does this page help the user get back to important pages on the site, they also get treated to a cute moving graphic.
You can use this 404 opportunity to have some fun and gain new leads. Look for creative ways to let people know there is nothing on that page, but then provide them with a search option, related links, or other important information.
Pro tip: For the best results, include a form submission that users can fill out and request information. By doing this, you have just turned your 404 pages into a bonafide lead generation tool!
Solve Problems in Your Industry
Every industry has problems and painpoints. Websites can capitalize on this by creating pages that answer the questions that many consumers have about a specific industry. However, the problem most companies face is that they do not always know what problems to answer on their website.
Leverage data to find industry problems. A great way to accomplish this is to pull all of your reviews (and reviews of your competitors) and look for patterns. Once you have pinpointed one or two of these issues, you can create a page that addresses the problem.
Pro Tip: Take all of your data and run it through an Ngram Analyzer. This will automatically show groupings of words and help you find patterns. The Guide to Data Mining has a great resource here.
As your prospect is searching for answers to their problems they will naturally land on your page to find their answer. These pages can be almost anything, from a short resource to a long guide.
Check out this additional example from the VitaMedica blog. Though they are in the nutraceutical industry, they have an entire blog about topics that do not directly drive sales.
These pages can also be used as a portal to point users to sales pages and other resources available on your site. In addition to a lead generation tool, creating new content is always beneficial for your SEO.
Referral Discounts and Promotions
Many companies are finding success by enlisting their current customers to do the lead generation work for them. This is an easy process and one that your customers will be more than willing to help you with.
All you need to accomplish this is to offer your current customers a discount for any referrals that they pass your way. People love discounts, especially on a product they are already buying or a service they are already using. The key to getting this to work is by making the discount worth it and making the process easy.
Uber does a fantastic job of this as they remind their users in each receipt email about their personalized referral code:
In addition to CTAs on receipts, when your customer makes a purchase or makes a regular payment, you can offer an incentive to share with their friends or family via email. This helps you to accumulate additional leads and gain additional email addresses from each new purchase.
Pro Tip: You can segment these new leads based on the customer that referred them and create more granular retargeting campaigns.
Robots and AI
The future is now! Robots and chatbots are a fantastic way to bolster your lead generation tactics. It sounds like a crazy idea, but many smaller sites are finding success by using chatbots.
Chatbots can be easily made and be hosted on several tools, including Facebook’s messenger, WhatsApp, Slack, and others. This post from Chat Bots Magazine offers great advice for those looking to create a conversational chatbot for their business.
These bots can be programmed to answer many of your FAQ questions that visitors often have. While they can’t replace your customer service team, if the questions are too difficult the bot can collect email addresses for your team to follow up with. This tactic gives you access to new email addresses you wouldn’t have been able to obtain otherwise!
Pro Tip: In addition to leveraging chatbots, companies can also benefit from chat functionality on your website with real people! If you have the resources and people available, have a “real person” chat during working hours and a chatbot afterhours. Companies like Live Chat Inc., acquire.io, Callback Softwares can help businesses incorporate live chat functionality on their sites.
While technology seems to be taking over the world, don’t forget that good ol’ fashioned networking is a very successful way to earn new business leads. Take your efforts off the web, and then point people back to your site during the event.
This event must have a unique twist in order to garner attention. For example, if you own a mattress store and want to boost your sales, get creative and hold a “sleepover.” Provide free beer, wine, and appetizers for those that are interested in purchasing a new bed. This will gain you more attention than a traditional flyer in the mail.
Don’t be afraid to create a quirky festival as well. There are thousands of festivals around the world ranging from very small to very large. We personally love the Elvies festival where everyone dresses up as Elvis!
Remember the three F’s when planning — Free, Fun, and Food. People love all three, so when you put them together, you are creating an event that people will come to.
If you don’t want to spend the capital for an entire event, look for ways to connect with other businesses in your efforts. For example, a real estate agent could host a New Homeowner Party where you work with others such as contractors, lenders, gardeners, and interior designers to put together a fun evening for those interested in purchasing a house.
Pro Tip: Offer incentives for people to visit your website while at the event. Collect email addresses to follow up with prospects, hold giveaways in exchange for emails, or offer something free for anyone that visits your website after the event.
Other Great Tips
- VR experiences through a 360 camera – Show your prospects what they are missing by not working with your business to entice them to work with you. Show off your showroom, products, or the experience that you create for your customers.
- Sponsorships for good causes – This is often overlooked as a way to gain leads, but it is very effective. When you sponsor an event or activity you often pay much less than you would if you were advertising, and you get the chance to interact with prospects through social media sites and other platforms. Make sure you can include a CTA with your sponsorship.
- Podcast about your industry – People enjoy podcasts that are entertaining and filled with valuable information. Create a podcast about your industry, which will give you the opportunity to interact with your specific market and be easily found by those that are interested in what you are offering.
Lead generation is crucial to being able to build a successful business. Your competitors are trying to gain the same leads that you are, so innovative website design is crucial. Give these options a try, and look for new and unique ways to connect with people in your target market. Keep track of what is working and what isn’t. Analyze your data. Repeat what is working, and try other new things to replace what isn’t.