You may have stumbled across this term every so often when it comes to websites and their development: “lead generation”. A lot of marketers talk about it as a means to an end, concrete results for any business that wants to see long-term profit and prosperity online. It’s also come up in website development every so often, and if asked, we’d say your website, whether old and being rejuvenated or being built/rebuilt from scratch, could use it too.

It’s a fine term and all, but you may also be wondering: “What is it?” In fact, lead generation is an older term than most may realize, and it’s one many a salesperson is greatly familiar with. We’re going to really dive into this subject in today’s article, so let’s find out together what lead generation is, why your business’s website needs it, and how and where to make improvements on said website.

So What IS Lead Generation?

‘Lead generation’ according to Wikipedia is “the initiation of consumer interest or enquiry into products or services of a business.” In layman’s terms, it’s the process of creating interest and brand awareness of your company, usually for two purposes: sales and marketing. When it comes to online practices, lead generation pretty much means collecting a site visitor’s contact information, also known as a lead, via a contact form.

Although lead generation tends to be associated with advertising, nonetheless there are means of creating it via organic means, such as referrals from other customers or organic search engine page results.

Why Does My Website Need Lead Generation?

Basically if you want to make more money or improve your current marketing strategies for your business, lead generation is a must for your website. There are several forms of lead generation that are typically used on most company websites:

  • Contact (web) forms, the simplest yet effective creation of leads. Every time we address the use of calls to action on your website, be it in the Contact Us page or the home page, these forms are usually what we’re referring to. They can be as long as you want, but keep in mind the simpler the forms are the better (ditto with the calls to action).
  • E-newsletter forms. Another simple means of lead generation specifically for content marketing. Again, these forms don’t have to be super complicated in order to generate new leads.
  • Landing pages. These are effective short-term means of generating interest in events and other marketing promotions your company may need more people to sign up for, such as workshops, conferences, and online classes to name a few. If you’re not sure about landing pages, we’ve written a blog post comparing them to websites here for your reference.
  • Blog posts. Yes, even these count as a form of lead generation! At the end of each post, you have the option to add a web form for leaving a comment, or add some buttons to share your content online via several distribution channels. Having these options on your blog will allow your visitors to become engaged with your brand, as opposed to simply knowing about it.
  • Coupons. Depending on what kind of promotion you want to offer, these are usually a pretty good promotional tool for would-be customers.
  • Live chat and events. Both have the potential to include people in real time, whether it’s you as the business owner and your customer in need, or people participating in an event from several locations online.

This is only a short list of the different methods to turn browsing visitors into paying customers. If sales and brand awareness are your main concern, then your website needs lead generation–no exceptions.

How & Where to Make Improvements

Depending on what type of website you’re running and for what purpose (we wrote about those types here, if you need a refresher), there are a few ways to better improve your site and increase lead generation.

  • First, measure where the most traffic is coming from on your website. It could be from your blog, or e-newsletters, or the contact form on your website. Using Google Analytics or other insightful tools from social media are good ideas. Once you’ve identified where the traffic is coming from, see if you can add forms to these parts of your website.
  • Next, measure the success rate of these newly placed forms. Again you can use Google Analytics for this part. The conversion rates are what you’ll really want to look for. Let’s say you have two e-newsletters. Letter A basically converts 10 people out of 100 who opened the letter into clicking through; that would be considered a low conversion rate. Letter B on the other hand converted 50 out of 100; see how much higher that conversion rate is looking already? Your next step after this should be to identify what makes letter B stand out from A, and then optimize accordingly.
  • Start with a basic contact form on the home page of your website if no others exist. It’s easier to measure lead generation this way than it would to count the phone calls you get for sales (that’s an unreasonable way to measure things!). This form can be placed in the footer or sidebar of your website if you wish (depending on the design). Keep these forms simple and easy to use, as opposed to clunky and confusing.
  • If you truly desire a landing page for certain time-limited events, get one made. Remember that a website is a lasting, concrete way to generate leads over time however, so don’t blow your budget on a landing page alone!
  • Create and set up a thank you e-mail or page after someone signs up using your form, whether it’s to get in touch with you or to take part in an event. Gratitude goes a long, long way in terms of building brand awareness.
  • Have live chat on your website. Particularly if you offer things like service calls and people need help immediately, or they want to sign up for a limited time offer and want to talk to someone in real time and hate using the phone (it’s a real thing), this feature is a must in these cases.
  • Test, test, test before launching these features! We can’t stress that enough. Usually it’s much, much easier to add these means of lead generation to a new website before launch as opposed to adding them on a currently existing one. That’s because some of the software on the current site may not be able to support newer tech such as the live chat.

Need a New Website?

We want your business to grow and prosper online as well as off. Lead generation can help make that happen. As we mentioned before however, it’s much, much easier to build a new website with these features than it would be to add new software onto an older design. If you need help generating leads, or want a new website that helps you make money and promote your brand when you’re offline in general, a new website can do all of that. Give us a call today if you need a professional team to build you a website that functions great, looks beautiful, and most importantly is your best tool for the job.