Posts Tagged Lead Generation
A “landing” page is any page on your web-site where you are specifically sending visitors. When people first try online marketing they often direct traffic from their online campaigns to their home page. This is a mistake because there are too many distractions on most home pages – graphic panels, menu options, rolling banners – so the visitor wanders off without completing your desired action.
Instead you should bring visitors from your Google ad or email campaign to a dedicated web page – the landing page – that is designed to encourage an action – for example, to get the visitor to register for a download or ‘buy now’.
The main factors in improving the performance of the typical landing page include:
1. Clear linkage between keyword, ad and landing page: For Google ad campaigns, make sure there is a clear link between your keyword choice, the Google ad you show and the subsequent landing page to which you are bringing visitors. If these are all consistent then you’re off to a good start. If they’re not, then messing around with other issues will be a waste of time. So, for example, if the keyword phrase someone searches on is “CRM systems” then make sure that the ad you show in response refers to CRM systems and that your landing page also refers to CRM systems. This seems pretty obvious but it is not unusual to have a keyword trigger an ad and then clicking on the ad brings the visitor to a page that seems unrelated. Don’t confuse people by showing a page that is not clearly related to their search term and your ad.
2. Clear value proposition – make sure you articulate a clear value proposition for the item you are offering on the landing page. This is not the same as stating the overall value proposition for your company. For example, if I’m offering a white paper then my value proposition on the landing page should sell how great the white paper is, not how great my company is. (You can tell them about how great your company is in the white paper or in a follow-up email). Likewise a landing page that offers an online product demonstration should sell how great and beneficial the demo is, before selling how great the product is.
3. Brevity, benefits and bullet-points – don’t be too long winded, sell the benefits of your offer and use bulletpoints rather than big blocks of text.
4. Address perceived risk – is there anything about the landing page design or layout that could cause concern for the visitor? Show a few people outside your company the keywords, ads and landing pages you plan to use and ask for their feedback. List any of the issues or concerns they raise and test different ways to address those concerns. For example, a typical concern could be “I don’t know this company, I don’t recognize their logo, they are asking for my email in exchange for a document, am I going to get spammed with a lot of unwanted email after this?” You could address this by (a) adding a clear privacy statement explaning how visitor’s email addresses will be used, (b) stamping some well known logos or security badges on the landing page to increase trust (these are called ‘trust anchors’).
Aside from these 4 areas, there are lots of other elements to consider, including your headline text, your call to action, the design of your call to action button, the use of images of your product, the amount of product information you need to provide etc. I’ll cover these in a separate note.
Bear in mind that while there are lots of things you can change and test on your landing page, if you change too many things at once you may not be able to tell which change has made a difference. So when you first start improving your landing page don’t make ad hoc changes in the hope that they’ll produce a result – instead try to be systematic in your approach. Develop some ideas on what might improve your page (your ‘hypotheses’) and then methodically test 2 versions of your landing page to test those ideas (this is called A/B testing). When you get more sophisticated you can try multi-variate testing (MVT) where you test multiple elements of a landing page together.
There are a lot of great resources that provide advice on landing page design, testing and conversion rate optimization, including:
- MarketingExperiments – www.marketingexperiments.com
- Wider Funnel – www.widerfunnel.com/blog
- KissMetrics blog - http://blog.kissmetrics.com/
- Ion Interactive Marketing blog - http://www.ioninteractive.com/post-click-marketing-blog/
- The Unbounce blog – www.unbounce.com
- WhichTestWon – http://whichtestwon.com
- The Conversion Scientist – www.conversionscientist.com
In addition to those links, you should also monitor the hash tag #cro (for conversion rate optimization) on Twitter.
As pointed out by Tom Sant, if you can’t establish that you deliver superior value then the customer will choose based on price. In a previous post, “Value Propositions – what you do, why it’s important, how you do it” I reviewed articles from the Harvard Business Review, Forrester Research and other sources that discussed how to prepare your value proposition. Since writing that post we have started to use Tom Sant’s NOSE framework. It’s a simple approach to help you develop a compelling proposition focused on your customers’ needs.
Can you describe the value you deliver to customers? Is it sufficiently different from what your competitors do? Can you persuade prospects that you are their best choice? Understanding how to communicate your value proposition is essential for generating leads and acquiring new customers. For online marketers, you have to communicate the value to a web visitor in a few seconds or they may leave your site. For B2B sales teams, you have to describe a convincing value proposition in your sales proposals or you won’t win the deal.
But a lot of companies find it difficult to communicate that value to customers. Typical problems include
- talking about your company and its capabilities rather than focusing on the customer;
- talking about features instead of the value provided by those features;
- using marketing waffle like ‘leading global provider of X’;
- highlighting benefits that your customers don’t care about.
The NOSE framework described by Tom Sant could help you avoid those problems. The NOSE acronym stands for
- Need – what is the customer’s need? The more specific you can be about the problem the more convincing you will be about the value you provide in solving the problem
- Outcomes – Clearly describe the results the client wants to see
- Solutions – recommend a specific solution
- Evidence – provide proof that you can deliver the solution on time and on budget – case studies, customer testimonials, resumes etc.
His approach aligns very well with the use of ‘Buyer Personas’ in B2B marketing. Personas are profiles you create of a typical customer type e.g. “Facility Manager”. You create personas by interviewing real individuals who hold those roles so you can develop a good understanding of their business needs and drivers. When using the NOSE approach, carrying out your buyer persona analysis will help you establish the Need and Outcomes.
Once you have determined the needs and desired outcomes you then describe a solution that will deliver those outcomes. You have to persuade your potential customers that you can meet their needs, that it is worth doing and that you can actually deliver what you promise. Providing evidence is an essential part of making your case. Show them examples of where you have successfully delivered a similar solution.
In summary, you need to communicate your value proposition if you want to win customers. Check out Tom Sant’s NOSE framework and see if it helps.
Time is money. I was asked by a client at a business-to-business technology firm last week how quickly you should respond to a web-generated sales enquiry? My answer is “as quickly as you can, definitely within 24 hours or less”. An MIT study, discussed below, shows that companies that respond fastest to web leads make more sales.
My answer was based on a 2007 study called “How much time do you have before web-generated leads go cold?” prepared by James Oldroyd of MIT (and previously at Kellogg University) and David Elkington of Insidesales.com. Prof. Oldroyd carried out a Lead Response Management survey while at Kellogg and a second survey while at MIT and he published an update on the research in March 2011 with the Harvard Business Review (see “The short life of online sales leads”). Then InsideSales delivered a joint webinar on the research with B2B Lead Blog in July 2011, “Research from Harvard, MIT Pinpoints Hard Lead Conversion Lessons with Easy Solutions”.
The first survey looked at the impact response times had on leads converting to sales. It also studied whether the day of week and time of day had an effect on the success of follow-up activities. The second survey looked in more detail at the best days and times of day. They found that the odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes versus 30 minutes drop 100 times – “Immediacy of response far overshadows both time of day and day of week in its effect on contact and qualification ratios”. Why is that the case? InsidesSales.com suggested it is because:
- You know where they are – since the lead was just generated you can be pretty sure they are online and accessible by phone.
- People search on the web when they want something – a few days later they may not even remember they registered on your website. Responding immediately means you reach the lead at the highest point of interest.
- The “Wow” effect – by responding very quickly you can impress potential customers with your speed and responsiveness.
In the March 2011 HBR update to the lead response survey Professor Oldroyd and his researchers audited 2,241 US firms and found that the average response time was 42 hours – 37% responded to a web lead within an hour, 16% responded in 24 hours, 24% took more than 24 hours and 23% never responded.
Professor Oldroyd concluded that delays cost money – “firms that tried to contact potential customers within an hour of receiving a query were nearly seven times as likely to qualify the lead (which we defined as having a meaningful conversation with a key decision maker) as those that tried to contact the customer even an hour later—and more than 60 times as likely as companies that waited 24 hours or longer”.
The big standout from the July webinar – “for inquiries submitted on the web, 78% of sales go to the first company to respond”.
So the conclusion is that you should follow-up web leads and enquiries as quickly as possible. There are a few caveats though. First, the type of contact should determine the way you respond. For example, someone who submits an urgent request for quote should be followed up faster than someone who simply registers to download a white paper. Secondly, it depends on what you are selling – for example, if you make high-value complex technology products you may want to test the most appropriate mixture of phone and email follow-up. Phoning someone 2 minutes after they download a technical product specification may ‘creep them out’, whereas a confirmation email with links to other downloadable resources and a request to schedule a call could work better.
Over and above the appropriate follow-up timing and approach, you may need to implement new processes and possibly new technology to guarantee a consistent response. The reasons some companies do not respond quickly enough can include not having any way to track web leads, having no agreed rules for prioritizing or ’scoring’ them, no clear rules for routing leads to sales staff and no integration of the web leads to the company CRM. Fixing these issues requires a mixture of process redesign and possibly some new systems.
To learn more about how Business-to-Business (B2B) companies can generate leads on the web please read our white paper, “Generating demand for technology products” (registration required).