Online sales leads are one of the most lucrative avenues for any business or brand. Pushing customers or visitors through a sales funnel with the intent to capitalize on an opportunity is the ultimate goal.
Almost everything on a site, from the moment of discovery to the moment visitors provide their financial information and check out, has the sole purpose of encouraging customers to move further and further through that process. It stands to reason that the concept of lead generation should embody just about everything your site stands for. Even if you’re not openly showing that’s the case, your underlying goal should be to boost those leads.
Whether or not they pan out, leads offer nothing of use if you cannot measure and track them with a degree of accuracy. The only information you have after closing a sale is that, well, you made a sale.
Sales and marketing technology — particularly customer relationship management, or CRM, software — can fill the role of tracking all this information and building actionable insights into your customers, leads and more. More importantly, it helps establish an automated process that’s essentially self-sustaining, with little to no input from your or your team.
Before you go about setting up a funnel and process and building a lead generation pattern, you need to have the tools to track and analyze what’s happening behind the scenes. That’s why step one should always be to choose, incorporate and enable these platforms, if you haven’t already.
Dollar Shave Club relies on an in-house CRM to deliver targeted products and services to their customers. It clearly has worked out well, as they now claim to have more than 1.5 million happy subscribers to their mail-order grooming gear service.
There’s a reason company websites include a variety of contact info for the support team, such as a telephone number, address and email. It establishes both credibility and trust, and tells new visitors your brand and team are available for them. Even if no one ever uses the contact information to reach out — though it’s likely some will — the presence of this information makes others more comfortable.
Common practice is to build a separate page expressly for displaying ways to contact a team or company. While this may be a good idea in some scenarios, it’s not always the best solution. Why? Forty-four percent of website visitors will leave your site if they cannot quickly find contact information. Sometimes, it’s better to just place it where everyone can see it, such as in your site’s header or footer. That way, it shows up on every page, no matter where your customer is on the site.
Pixpa does have a separate contact page — which may or may not work for you — but the more important point is how they used it. It’s a subtle nod to customers, offering just the right amount of information and encouragement they need to get in touch with the brand. It doesn’t overstay its welcome by including lengthy forms or lines of detailed contact info. It merely includes a simple in-line form to reach out, as well as their email and mailing addresses, and that’s it.
Again, this step is about establishing more trust and credibility, but you’ll soon notice that’s crucial to building a successful rapport with your customers. If your product or services are officially certified, display the related logo or seal proudly. If you’ve won awards, make sure your visitors know it. Finally, if you have prominent credentials that are relevant to the industry or business, share them.
You may be uncomfortable with self-promotion, but customers look for these kinds of affirmations before dealing with a brand they’re personally unfamiliar with. Considering a whopping 70 percent of customers learn about a company or brand through their blog, as opposed to ads, that’s a big deal. They’re learning about a new brand most often through official channels, which means you have that initial opportunity to build trust and engage their interest. Get as many prestigious details in front of them as soon as possible.
It’s a common misconception that if you want information from your audience, or want them to engage further, you need to set up some kind of form. In fact, many marketers and designers err on the side of “more forms is always better.” That philosophy couldn’t be further from the truth.
Forms are boring, intrusive and can be a huge deterrent for visitors. Not to mention, they’re more about gathering the right information, as opposed to as much as possible. If all you’re looking for is an email address, for example, requiring them to provide their mailing address, first and last name, phone number and social URLs is a bit much.
When you can, implement smart-field and auto-fill technologies to pre-populate information for the customer. It makes things a whole lot easier for everyone. For personal fields, this obviously isn’t going to be possible, so try to keep the requirements for those at a minimum. Asking your customer to provide a credit card number for a free trial, for example, is going to turn them away faster than you can say “poop sandwich,” and no one likes to eat poop.
In other words, if for nothing else but for sanity’s sake, go easy on the darn forms.
Notice how McElroy Metal used a single form field on their front page to direct new visitors? Not only did they keep the form itself to a minimum, they used in a highly engaging and beneficial way for the audience. Just select the relevant category, and you automatically land on a related page with the necessary information. It’s efficient, quick and unobtrusive.
Video will persuade 73 percent of people to buy a product or service, if and when they encounter the media on a brand or company website. But if you don’t have the resources to provide high-quality, attractive videos, it’s OK to settle for images instead. The point is that you should use the media you have available to your advantage, to invoke emotions and reactions from your audience.
Saying a consumer drone can do all kinds of cool tricks and handle some pretty crazy flying maneuvers is just not the same as showing it happening in real time in a high-quality video. Use a combination of media, including visual content, to entice your customers and make a sale.
If you offer a service, as opposed to a product, this advice is still relevant. You could provide a demonstration of your team or service(s) in action, for instance. Engaging visual media make it more likely your customers will follow through your lead generation funnel.
A remarkably effective visual element of modern web design is called “white space.” This concept refers to the blank areas on a page or site. Just because there’s nothing there, of course, don’t take that to mean it’s wasted space, because it’s not.
The most beneficial way of using white space is to highlight important elements on the page, such as a button or icon. It highlights the element you want to stand out, without overstating the obvious — and without using a conventional highlight method.
Plus, white space also helps eliminate distractions in many cases, especially when your page design or related content is a bit busy. Sometimes, your visitors just need some breathing room to maintain the flow of the experience.
Chanel makes excellent use of white space on their site, which highlights the beauty and style in their main image slider. Of course, that design strategy permeates nearly every sub-page or additional portal, making for an astonishingly visual experience. Check out their jewelry page to see white space combined with gorgeous imagery.
Sadly, many businesses fail to follow any of the rules above. Their websites end up being a remarkably ineffective mix of various elements, disembodied calls to action and more easily avoidable mistakes. Promoting lead generation on your site starts with the design, and should follow through in nearly every element, component and media piece available.
Lexie Lu is a designer and writer. She loves researching trends in the web and graphic design industry. She writes weekly on Design Roast and can be followed on Twitter @lexieludesigner.