This article originally appeared in the October 2015 edition of the Marketing GPS Newsletter.
Not long ago – in geological terms, at least – businesses generated and nurtured sales leads differently. Before the Internet, Amazon.com and eBay, Americans in a buying mood could order and then peruse the latest Montgomery Ward catalog. They’d then purchase products in-store or by phone. Or, they’d open their mailbox and look over a slew of direct-mail offers, generated from carefully compiled mailing lists.
The Internet has changed a lot, including the lead-generation process. With the advent of email and the Web in the ‘90s, communication and commerce were transformed. Google and other search engines revolutionized how people used the Net to find products.
It has become increasingly difficult, however, for many brands to acquire customers through organic (“free”) search. The overwhelming number of online competitors, combined with changes Google has made in its search-ranking algorithm over the past several years, have made it increasingly risky to rely exclusively on organic search.
So, Google also revolutionized the way we advertise. Google ad placements – which include display and banner ads, text-based search ads, even YouTube video ads – are now commonplace. And commonplace quickly leads to “ad-blindness” (aka “banner blindness” and “ad fatigue.”) We’re bombarded with ads nearly every waking hour, both online and offline, and so we learn to ignore them as so much “noise.”
These realities are pushing marketers to shift their focus – diversifying from search- and ad-based strategies that progress directly to sales, to online lead-generation methods that use email to develop a relationship with prospects…all in an effort to cut down on advertising costs while increasing exposure.
If you are not currently using online lead-generation you need to consider it, because lead-generation marketing is the “next big thing,” as our friends at Samsung™ like to say.
At NSI, we’ve successfully built and managed lead-generation campaigns for a number of clients. Though the campaigns include many elements, at the center are the creation and testing of one or more lead-generation pages. A lead-generation page is as simple as it sounds: a web page specifically designed to generate leads for a business.
As you’re no doubt aware, lead-gen pages generally include sales text and/or video, a form that collects minimal information such as an email address, and may request other data such as name, telephone number, or other information specific to the business inquiry.
Lead-generation page development is a specialty all its own, but there are principles to keep in mind when developing yours. The following list provides five important points to remember.
Prospective customers do not like to be sold to – until they’re ready. If someone visits your site or clicks on your ad, you need to deliver the information they want, without a grandiose sales pitch. Simply tell them what you are offering (perhaps a freebie of some value in exchange for the information sought), make its benefits compelling, and ask for their contact information to deliver the promised item and begin an email-based relationship. This is essentially the old mail-order catalog formula, brought online.
Use as little text as possible. Keep the text on your lead-gen page brief, and save additional detail for future emails. You may also use a brief video to supplement text. In fact, video lead pages often have much higher success rates than text-only pages.
Use a compelling image. Due to the enormous popularity of images, this is a key requirement for nearly any lead-gen campaign. A compelling image can make or break your lead-gen efforts. In one client split-test, we discovered that a page featuring a multi-image collage significantly outperformed pages bearing only a single image each.
Don’t ask for TMI! This should go without saying, but the less information you ask of your prospects, the more likely they are to become a lead. “Cold” leads – i.e., people with whom you have yet to build a trusting relationship – are not keen on giving lots of personal information to an advertiser. Today an email address is the minimum, but you don’t generally need much more than that. Avoid asking for too much information in your lead-gen forms unless your audience knows you well.
K.I.S.S. – Keep It Simple, Silly! A lead-gen page is not the place to tell your customers every single detail about the product or service you’re offering. Rather, it’s a place to simply pique their interest. Long, complex lead-gen pages are not likely to yield a prospect’s contact information. These days, simplicity is strength.
Keeping these points in mind will go a long way toward designing high-converting landing pages.
Michael is responsible for client SEO work, reporting, FB ads, and web hosting. Prior to joining NSI Partners, Michael received his Bachelor of Science in Business Management Information Systems from Liberty University, and worked at the school’s Network Operations Center. Michael resides in Lynchburg, VA, with his wife, Megan. His hobbies include gaming, watching Atlanta Falcons football, and reading.
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About NSI Partners
A digital marketing company with almost two decades of experience, NSI Partners helps clients achieve robust results in search marketing, social media, and other digital marketing spaces.