Several of my recent columns have dealt with testing and optimization. Today, I'll focus on the other half of the online marketing world, those who must drive leads through their site.Review Your Lead Generation FormsTypically lead-gen site forms fail in two major areas:
* Many lead-gen sites simply copy forms from a site they like, giving little thought to the nuances and the difference between their business goals and the site they copied. The result can lead to a slew of unqualified leads, or low conversion to lead.
* Some companies make their complex lead scoring requirements the visitor's job. We worked with a client with a highly complex lead scoring system that, in turn, created an intimidating lead form with a dozen intrusive questions and several drop downs with more than 20 choices. Only the most determined of leads would actually complete the entire form. The obvious result was an offensively high form abandonment rate.
The obvious advantage to collecting information from potential prospects in a lead form is that it can help a business convert more qualified leads. To solve both of the above problems, there's one successful approach: use a two-part lead form.
On the first page, ask the minimum amount of questions possible for a visitor to become a lead, where each field is a required field. Ask for the contact information and little else.
On the second page, ask several more optional questions that will help the company better qualify the lead. Above the form, explain that the more information they provide, the better you can prepare for a conversation with them. With this technique, even if little (or no) information is provided on the second page, you at least have contact information that the sales team can follow up on.Develop More Than One Lead Form
Many sites still link to one lead form on the site. Consider placing lead forms in several places on the site. Providing lead forms on each product/service pages and on other key pages allows you to track where the lead form was filled out and provides a helpful nugget of data for the sales team as they contact that lead.Avoid Asking for the Lead Too Early
While recently shopping some demand-gen companies, I did a Google search for Eloqua. The second paid listing for Marketo caught my interest, so I clicked through.
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Someone on my staff ended up on a landing a page that successfully enticed them to learn more -- specifically this person wanted to see the video demo. Unfortunately, one couldn't watch the video without filling out the lead form.
Many visitors in this situation aren't ready to begin the sales process by filling out a lead form with only a promise to watch a demo. My colleague was one of those visitors and bailed. Ironically, another member of my team noticed that the logo on top of the page was a link to the Marketo home page and was able to watch a demo video without filling out a form.
While it may be a "best practice" to limit visitor choices on landing pages, this certainly isn't a persuasive practice, especially for someone in the early stages of the buying process. My colleague didn't know what Marketo was, and certainly wasn't ready to give up personal information at this stage to find out. Marketo is losing conversion opportunities by not providing more actions on this page for visitors who aren't ready to give out personal info until they know more.How to Do Lead Gen the Right Way
Our partner and marketing to women guru, Michele Miller recently blogged about Jenny Craig's successful persona-based marketing plan. Whether on purpose or by intuition, Jenny Craig's celebrity spokeswomen appeal to specific personas and buying types. As we dug further, we were even more impressed. We Googled both Queen Latifah and Valerie Bertinelli and were surprised to find that Jenny Craig had purchased some AdWords ads on those two terms.
Even better, as we clicked through the ads to their landing pages, we noticed that each landing page was crafted and had elements for the persona type that would be attracted to each celebrity.
We extrapolated that Latifah appealed to a more humanistic persona. The page was filled with relational language giving the overall impression to the humanistic persona that becoming a lead for Jenny Craig meant starting a relationship -- a key motivator for a humanistic buyer. Take a look at the page and see if you can see the strategy at work.
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Bertinelli's page reflects her methodical style, thereby making it easier for a methodical prospect to get more information. Elements on this page are more information focused and allow for the methodical persona to take action their way. Can you see the difference a persona-based page makes?
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Aggressively Optimize Your Lead-Gen Process
Many e-commerce sites pour resources and time into improving their checkout process. Lead-gen sites don't seem to have the same commitment to testing and optimizing their lead generation process. If you're a lead gen site, your lead-generation process is your checkout process -- it's just as critical to your business as a shopping cart is to an e-commerce site.
What have you done lately to improve your lead-gen efforts? Let me know and I'll share it with my readers.