How to Convert Website Visitors into Sales Prospects

woman using a megaphoneSEO is a critical part of your Internet marketing strategy, but it’s not the whole picture.  Getting visitors to your Website is only half of the battle—keeping their attention long enough to convert them to a qualified prospect is the ultimate endgame.

To encourage Website visitors who find you—whether from organic search, a pay-per-click ad, a social media post, etc.—to turn into qualified prospects involves creating effective calls to action.

To get some pointers on building strong calls to action on your Website, we talked to marketing expert Tara Lamboley of REV Demand, a business development strategy consulting firm.

“Your Website is the foundation of all your marketing efforts, every marketing activity points back to your Website – all email campaigns, direct mail pieces such as letters or postcards, social media, events, PR, etc. Once prospects are on your site, the goal is to get them to indicate in some way that they are interested in your offering (or ‘raise their hand’) for further follow-up.”

Lamboley recommends that business leaders looking to increase conversions on their Website do the following “homework”:

Determine your prospecting style based on your sales goals.

As the late great Stephen Covey would advise: “Start with the end in mind.” Do you want a high volume of suspects that you can nurture over time into qualified prospects, or do you prefer to refine the list right from the start?If you are looking to build up the size of your prospecting database, and don’t mind kissing a few frogs to find the princely prospect, your initial conversion strategy will focus on quantity over quality. If you are laser-focused on the qualifications for your prospects, then your approach will likely be much more selective and require the prospect to take more steps before reaching your prospect database.

Be as specific as possible

What action do you ultimately want the prospect to take?   Simply saying “call us” or “email us” on your landing page will likely result in a 0% response.

  • Tell the prospect exactly what they will receive in return for their valuable time and/or contact information. Again, refer back to your sales goals.   If the goal is to simply get verified contact info from your prospect for future nurture marketing, then offer a free report or another piece of content that the prospect can download after providing basic contact info. If your goal is to qualify the prospect for an appointment or a proprietary piece of content, then you have to spend some time on a landing page building the value of that appointment or content and convincing the prospect that they need to request one today.
  • Tell them how you will engage with them going forward. What is the process? Will they receive an email with the desired content, or can they download it right away? Will someone be calling them to verify receipt of content and answer questions?   (Tip: No one wishes to be contacted by a salesperson without some clear reason why.)

Create a sense of urgency

Prospects must feel that there is a compelling reason for them to act now, today. Here are a few tips for encouraging action:

  • Build the value in your offer – As mentioned above, the bigger the step you wish the prospect to take, the more valuable your offer must appear to be. You must convey the sense that you understand the prospect’s pain in depth, and that you have the solution available.
  • Set a deadline:   For better or worse, we all respond to deadlines. If we perceive something as valuable (see above), we sure don’t want to miss out on getting it. Here are some effective examples we have seen:

“Only 10 seats/slots/copies of X are remaining — grab yours today!”

“Receive X free if you are one of the first 25 people to respond to this offer.”

“This exclusive white paper/article/Webinar recording is available for download only for the next 48 hours”

“Schedule and complete your [X Assessment] before 5/31/15 and we will donate $100 to your favorite charity.”

  • Urgency is good, Chicken Little is not so good. A word of caution here: A call to action does not have to equate to a “hard sell” scenario that feels uncomfortable for everyone involved. You do want it to be compelling enough to motivate your potential prospect to take that next step in the nurturing sales process with you. And it’s OK to create a little FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) about what will happen if the prospect doesn’t take advantage of your amazing offer. However, you should decide up front: Do you really want to claim “The sky is falling!” just to grab an email address?

Make the perceived value high, but the risk low

As a general rule, you should keep the barriers to entry into your prospect universe low.

If you are looking to build your database, you may want to get the basics now and work them down through your marketing funnel over time. Simply ask for name and email address to start. For each field you add to your Web form, you will likely discourage another 10 potential prospects from completing and submitting it.

However, if you prefer to weed out the suspects from the prospects at the Website level, you may want to require more complete contact information to make sure that you don’t waste time and effort adding unqualified prospects to your database. Require the company name, phone number and perhaps some qualifying questions to weed out the tire-kickers.

Here are some ideas to make it as easy as possible for a prospect to say yes to the next step, no matter your price point:

  • State clearly what the next steps will be after they click “Submit” (see above) – no “sneak attacks” by Sales!
  • Place testimonials from satisfied customers on the landing page
  • Offer a money-back guarantee if possible.

Ultimately, your goal is to further qualify the visitors to your page (your benefit) while providing them with valuable information (their benefit).  If you want to further discuss how to increase the conversion of visitors to prospects on your site, please let us know!