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Generating Business Online: Turning Website Visitors Into Leads

If you read my blog post last month (“Generating Business Online: How to Attract a Targeted Audience”), you might recall my philosophy on strong business-to-business (B2B) industrial marketing.

First, you have to have a website that attracts the right traffic/audience. If you’re reading this post, you probably have a very niche audience — don’t lose sight of that. Second, your traffic/audience must do more than just visit your site. Visitors must be converted into leads; otherwise they’re a missed opportunity. And finally, those leads that are converted on your site (along with any of the leads you already have) must be nurtured through the buying process. After all, isn’t that the point of marketing? This particular blog post will focus on the second step mentioned above: turning website visitors into leads.

You’ve got traffic to your website, and it’s exactly the kind you want…

Great! You’re heading in the right direction. But what good is that traffic from a sales perspective, which is the only perspective when it comes to a B2B industrial website, if you don’t know who those visitors are?

For a website to be a strong sales tool, it has to do more than attract the right audience; it has to tell you exactly who that audience is. I’m talking name, email, phone number, address, etc. And the only way to do that is by asking for that information with the proper forms on your site and giving your visitors something of value in return. As detailed on our industrial marketing blog, there are a few key components that your website must have to do this effectively.

1. You Must Have a Premium Content Offer
The days of putting up a “for more information” form and hoping for the best are long over. For a visitor to convert on your site, you must give him or her something of value in return. Whether that’s an educational white paper, a “how to” e-book, or a series of free webinars, this is a chance for your company to really earn the trust of your audience, while showing off your expertise at the same time.

From experience, we can tell you that it’s incredibly important to publish premium content that appeals to your audience. For instance, at my company, many of the lead generation contracts we take on begin with a website rebuild, as a sound website is a crucial part of the business development ecosystem. With this in mind, we wrote a B2B Website Planning Handbook to help educate our audience.

The results to date? In just four months, 94 downloads/leads! How’s that for the website working hard?

2. You Must Have Strong, Visual Calls-to-Action
Once you have your premium content in place, you have to communicate that you have your content. Pretty elementary, right? Well, there’s certainly some science that comes into play in terms of what works and what doesn’t work in the call-to-action world.

A good call-to-action is a visually appealing “button” that has a strong, enticing message that makes a user want to learn more. Often a call-to-action is written with a verb as the first word. You’ve seen calls-to-action before — I guarantee it. Typically the buttons have headlines like:

  • “Discover how to…” 
  • “Learn more about…” 
  • “Download the essential…”
  • “Click here to…”

You’ll want to make sure that you have a call-to-action on each page of your website. And if you’re looking to really take things to the next level, make sure that each page has a few calls-to-action (all for different “offers” of course) for each of the different stages of your buying cycle: researcher, evaluator, buyer, etc.

3. Your Landing Pages Must Be in Order
So what happens after a user clicks on the above call-to-action? They’re taken to a page where they can learn about what they’ll be getting in more detail, as well as the page where they’ll actually enter their information and make the online “transaction.” This is called a landing page, or a lead-capture page. This page is typically barren of any other site navigation, making it hard for a user to leave the page. After all, you have them here — you must convert them! And text that reinforces the call-to-action that got them to the page in the first place is absolutely vital to landing page success.

Think about a landing page as one of those drive-throughs that has landscaping on both sides. You know, the kind that won’t let you get out of line once you’re in them? I hate those — but hey, they work. Once you’re in line and you’ve placed your order, you might as well follow through with the purchase.

Your landing page should work the same way. Once a potential lead has landed on the page, there should be no distractions or opportunity for exit. They’re one step away from giving you their contact information. Don’t let them slip away. Your page must have clear, concise, descriptive copy that tells your potential leads what they can expect if they submit their information.

4. The Form Is Not to be Forgotten
Last but not least: the form. You absolutely cannot ignore the lead-capture form that lives on the landing page. We always recommend collecting the basics: name, email, and company name. But think beyond that as well. Get creative. Ask questions that will give you insight into the problems your potential customer might have. Ask questions that can help qualify whether this is a lead worth calling in the first place.

Obviously, don’t make your form too long, and require only those fields that you know your potential lead will have no qualms about filling out. Marketing automation software like Hubspot (we’re a proud user and partner) allows you to get a progressive profile. This means that each time a user gets on your site, he or she is asked different questions than the time before. This is amazing technology that can really help you create a much more robust sales database. We actually wrote a pretty in-depth e-book about marketing automation. You can download it here.

That’s It!

That’s all that stands between you and starting to discover online sales success. You have the knowledge and you have the audience — you can make it happen.

About the Author

Jon Franko is a partner at Gorilla 76, a marketing firm that helps B2B industrial companies generate website traffic, qualified business leads, and paying customers using their website and other online media. For more information, contact: Gorilla 76, (314) 332-1020,

Click here to  read Jon Franko's article on Generating Business Online: Nurturing Your Leads

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