How to Turn Your Website Into a Lead-Generation Machine

Your website is more than an online business card for your company: When used properly, it can be your most powerful tool for capturing the contact details of prospective clients and customers.

If you’re selling big-ticket items — furniture, cars, web development, real estate services — customers are unlikely to make immediate purchases. But by capturing their contact information during their initial visits, you can put your business in prime position when they are ready to buy.

Try these strategies for turning your website into a lead-generation machine.

Offer a free download as an incentive to sign up for your email newsletter. If you’re selling legal advice, offer an e-book on a relevant topic, such as Legal Red Flags in Hiring New Employees. Ask site visitors to provide their names and email addresses to receive the e-book and then add them to your newsletter mailing list (they may unsubscribe later, of course). Sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter to your contact list keeps you at the top of their minds.

Make sure your SEO efforts are up to par. Think about the terms you want people to associate with your business and beef up your content with blog posts and other items that incorporate those keywords. That said, don’t create content purely for SEO purposes. Focus on providing high-quality, valuable information that visitors will want to share with their friends. Direct referrals from social networks are more powerful than Google search results.

Host a giveaway contest. Donate or buy a big-ticket item that you know your potential customers would love. If you sell furniture, for instance, offering a raffle for a high-end sofa could help you gain contact details for thousands of potential customers in your community.

Use pop-up windows (tastefully). Many people hate pop-up windows, but when used wisely, they can be effective in capturing sales leads. A study conducted by GartnerG2 found that although 78 percent of respondents found pop-up ads “very annoying,” pop-ups nonetheless get nearly twice the click-through rate of typical banner ads. Consider offering an email newsletter sign-up or a free e-book though a pop-up window that only opens after viewers have already begun scrolling down the page. This way, they’re likely to be engaged with your content and less annoyed when the screen gets blocked by a pop-up.

About Kathryn Hawkins

Kathryn Hawkins is a principal at the content marketing agency Eucalypt Media. She's written about business, marketing, and entrepreneurship for publications including BNET, TheAtlantic.com, Inc.com, and owns and operates the positive news site Gimundo. Follow her on Twitter at @kathrynhawkins.
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1 comments
Builder
Builder

Kathryn you have some great tips here, however I think there are a lot of even simpler things that many SMB's don't do with their websites that are driving their customers away.Here's a few:1. Put your phone number on each and every page. Its amazing how many businesses don't put their phone number on their website, it needs to be there. More importantly place your phone number in a prominent place (like the banner at the top) on every single page of your site.2. Give people your address. Let people see that you are a genuine business, and that you are actually local to them.3. Testimonials and social proof. Get real customers to give you real testimonials to put on your site. Also, having Facebook likes and Twitter followers is great too.5. Actually answer emails that people send you via your site. A survey once found that only 10% of local businesses actually read the emails that potential customers send them through their website. Why?????Hope that helps.