We Hear This All the Time: WE NEED NEW LEADS! When you’re looking to bring in new business, it’s a natural...
Every time you ask people on your team what they want from your site, you likely always hear one thing — leads. It can get tiring after a while because you can’t force people to fill out your contact form! Everyone wants to have more leads, but just having a website that exists isn’t going to be enough to help your visitors convert. Online lead generation is one of the core strategies of inbound marketing, and with the right tools you can start attracting, converting, and delighting more of the visitors on your site.
To get the most out of your website, it needs to be a platform for your brand — not just something that exists in cyberspace. You’ll be able to start gaining leads by creating helpful, educational content that attracts and converts. This, of course, is easier said than done. Here are five easy steps you can take to start building a strong inbound site.
1. Gain Some Credibility
One great way to gain traffic which already views you as a trusted resource is to work on link building. While linking to your pages is great, having other sites link back to your content boosts your ranking in the search results page (SERP). (The SERP is what you see when you search for something on Google, by the way.) SEO is a major factor in online lead generation, so it’s crucial that you check off all the boxes for a well-optimized website. You can’t ask for links, (really, don’t do this) but you can make an effort toward earning them by researching opportunities, creating awesome content in your industry, or submitting your website to online directories.
2. Optimize, Optimize, Optimize
Link building is your off-page SEO, but before you put any content up on your site, you need to make sure it matches all the requirements for on-page SEO. This is how search engines are going to understand what your content is about and determine if it’s credible enough to place it higher in the SERP. The first step to good optimization is identifying a keyword for your content. Then use your keyword at least three times in your copy, make sure it’s included in your headline, a header two on your site, your image alt-tag, the meta description, and the URL.
3. Tag, You’re it!
The other place you’ll want to make sure your keyword is seen is in your meta tags and title tags on your site. This isn’t something you’ll be able to see on your site, but search engines will look for them. These tags are located in the code of your page, so if you open the web page in a plain text editor, you’ll see them toward the top of the document. If your keyword is included, you’re golden.
4. Give Google a Map
Including an XML sitemap on your website will help you cap off your SEO strategy by allowing another path for search engines to crawl your site to understand your content. Search engines will look for this too, so not having one will negatively affect your placement in the SERP. Keeping your sitemaps up to date will ensure that no matter when search engines crawl your site they’ll have the right information.
5. Don’t Lead Visitors the Wrong Way
If you change the URL to a page, you have to make sure that you set up a 301 redirect so old links to that page will still go where they’re supposed to. If people end up on a 404 page on your site because of a broken link, it can ruin the trust you’ve built with them, and they’ll leave.
Now that your site is a perfect place to attract and convert leads let’s take action! One of the best resources you can use is gated content. This is just like the content that is highly valuable to your audience. In other words, if someone was going to come to your site, the information they’d be most interested in is the piece you should gate.
Typically, a gated content piece is an eBook or a whitepaper, something that your visitors can download or save to their computer. You don’t want to use one of your blog posts, no matter how valuable it is, because you’ll ruin all the work you put toward SEO.
It has to be a highly valuable piece because to get through the gate your visitors will have to provide their email address or another form of their personal information to gain access. They get the content piece that they’re interested in, and you get a valuable email contact for your database.
With all of the privacy nonsense going on today, people are more hesitant to just hand out their personal information, so you have to be able to provide them with something they want to attract and convert. You’ll also want to create a strong call-to-action (CTA) to drive people to a landing page where they’ll download the content, receive a link, or fire an automatic email. These CTAs can appear anywhere, in a sidebar on your site, in a blog post, even in an email. It doesn’t have to say the same thing each time. It just has to grab attention. For example, if it’s an eBook, you might consider creating a button that says “Download Now” after you introduce your offer.
The most important thing to do with all your gated content pieces is to pay attention to how they perform and adjust your strategy as you go. If something isn’t working, don’t keep forcing it! Make your asset public and try again with something different.
We mentioned CTAs before, but they’re not worth glossing over. At a high level, a CTA is usually just a button asking to be clicked, but it’s the strategy that goes into driving your visitors to click that makes them work. Use the wrong strategy and all your work will be ignored, but if you do it right, your form could be ringing multiple times a week.
Every good CTA has a purpose. What’s the goal for your CTA? Do you want people to download something or schedule a meeting with your team? For your CTA to work and boost online lead generation that information has to be clear to your reader.
You can use CTAs for people who are anywhere in the funnel, from those who want to learn more to those who are ready to talk to your sales team, the main point is to keep them on your site and interacting with your brand until they finally convert.
Let’s talk about the types of CTAs. (Yes, there’s a difference!) The one that you see in the previous sentence is a text CTA. These are going to fit seamlessly into your content and should provide a little insight into where your reader will going. If you click that link, it will take you to our more in-depth piece on CTAs, just like you’d expect it to.
The other CTA you’ll want to use is that flashy button everyone knows so well. Do the color and size really matter? Our advice is not to be obnoxious and match your branding. It needs to stand out but not be showy. No one wants a business card from the guy who is aggressively pushing his product on everyone he makes eye contact with. Don’t make your CTAs be that guy.
Work with a designer to create a CTA that matches your branding. Like this one, that our oh-so-wonderful design team made.
Don’t have a designer? You can still create a CTA by placing short, punchy copy above a button, or you can consider working with a marketing team who can help you achieve the best practices of CTAs and analyze the results.
Combined with inbound marketing pieces, your CTAs will start bringing more people to the bottom of your funnel. Converting leads isn’t a mystery, you just have to know what your audience is looking for and speak to that. Your CTAs will drive people to different places, and then it’s up to the content you create for those different pieces to convert them.
One of the most common is a landing page. Your landing page is where people will fill out a form, and it’s essentially the last step in their journey before they reach the goal you’ve created. Want a real-world example? Check out this one. Landing pages need to be clear and to the point, so people understand what’s expected of them and what they’re getting. Your only purpose with this page is to get people to fill out the form, so this should be a standalone page. Keep your site navigation included though, so people can still jump back into your site when they’re finished.
For your forms, the shorter they are, the better. People like things that are quick and easy, and if you ask them to hand over a ton of personal information, you’re not going to see as many conversions. However, if your form requires a few details, like the order size they’re interested in or the state they’re in, you can use a pick list to help keep the time they spend filling it out down.
One other piece your CTA can lead to is a newsletter. Not every CTA needs to lead to a big-ticket item, and having eyes on branded content every month is still a great way to keep people in your funnel and eventually pull them through. It’s also a great way to collect email addresses. All you’ll want to do with these is make sure your subscription form is easy to find.
Another way you can put your gated content and CTAs to good use is through social media ads. Facebook is one of the hottest places for businesses to advertise right now, even with all the changes that are being made to the platform. More than two billion people are on Facebook every month, so no matter what you’re advertising, there’s someone who will see what you have to share.
With Facebook ad targeting options, you’re not just throwing your content offer or deal out into the ether, so don’t think that what you sell isn’t going to garner enough attention! With Facebook’s Ad Manager, you can create ads that are distributed to targeted audiences based on who you believe will care about what you have to say. You get to set the parameters, so if your target market is men ages 18-25, you can make sure that is who is seeing your content.
You can even upload your customer lists to show ads to people who have already shown interest or purchased from your company. From there you can make an audience of similar people to grow your network even further. All you need to create a good Facebook ad is compelling content and a hook. Link them to your CTA offers or gated content to start bringing even more people from the outside world onto your site.
If you want to drive traffic and generate more leads, having strong CTAs, landing pages, and forms will help you improve the number of people you’re sending to your sales team. This is the best way to stop the nagging about needing more leads, and people will be able to see the value that marketing brings to your business. If you want to learn more about online lead generation, check out the blogs below.
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