When using your website as a lead generation tool, there are generally three activities on which to focus:

  1. Traffic Acquisition – The goal here is to generate visitors to your website.  There are many ways to do this including search engine optimization, pay per click advertising, email lists, social networking, and offline advertising. Most companies spend the most resources on this part of online marketing.

    “How many visitors did we get this week Fred?  6,000?  Wow!”

  2. Traffic Conversion – Once you have visitors, your goal is to get them to take action.  Convert the visitor into an actor by asking them to fill out a form, download a white paper, subscribe to a mailing list, or comment on your blog.  Visitors are not important to you until they take meaningful action

    “Hey Fred, did anyone contact us this week?  Really? No website leads?”

  3. Traffic Retention – After establishing contact with your audience, the next step is deepening the relationship.  You must gain your prospects’ trust over time by following up with them via email campaigns, newsletters, blog posts and other valuable content.  You are not hard selling them like a spam email, but rather offering an open line of communication so that you are not forgotten.

    “Fred make sure you blog this week or else our readers will forget us!”

Being the middle child growing up, I can’t help to feel bad for traffic conversion.  Most professional services firms we work with have a pretty good understanding of how to get visitors on their site. Additionally, they understand the importance of nurturing leads through newsletters.  However, it amazes me how often the conversion process is overlooked. 

There are many factors that contribute to whether or not a visitor takes action. 

  • Do they trust your site or are they anxious?
  • Is your site straightforward and clear or are there parts that cause confusion?
  • Do they feel alienated or do they feel understood and accepted?

From which graphic elements to use to what language is conveyed, there are many pieces that go into influencing a visitor.  The bottom line is that most people are comfortable enough without doing anything and don’t want to take action. It is your goal to appeal to their emotions and force them to leave their comfort zone. 

Is there an exact way to set up a website or landing page that is the ‘right’ way?  No, because every audience is going to react differently.  That is why it is important to continually test and tweak your website to ensure that all of that traffic you are paying for is also being marketed to properly.  You will be doing your company a favor if you focus a bit less on driving traffic and a bit more on what that traffic is doing once it’s there. 

For a great resource on traffic conversion techniques, check out Tim Ash’s book Landing Page Optimization.  It just might change your business.