Getting qualified visitors to your website is only half the battle. The other half of the equation is to convert those visitors into qualified leads. To earn a positive ROI on your website investment and to support your sales team, you need to have a strategy to cause those visitors to take an action on your website; in effect to “raise their hand” and let you know where they stand in the sales cycle.
Generally speaking, there are five types of visitors who will visit your website:
- Visitors who are educating themselves on industry trends: These folks haven’t yet identified a business need, but they’re curious to “see what’s out there”. They’re trying to answer the questions “what are some of the technologies that are out there that can help my business?”; “what am I missing out on?”. They know they need to do something, but they’re not quite sure what that is yet. Maybe they know they need to do a better job of optimizing their website organically for the search engines. Maybe they know they need to invest in a CRM system, but they’re really not sure how to go about narrowing down the list of all the possible options. For these people, offer them access to your electronic newsletter. Have a short (just email address) form with a privacy statement to encourage them to educate themselves via your content. When they’re ready to take the next step in the sales cycle, hopefully the valuable content and education you provided these visitors will encourage them to seek you out.
- Visitors who are early in the sales cycle: Maybe they’ve heard of your company or perhaps they’ve arrived at your site via a keyword search. These folks have a business issue they need to solve but they’re not ready to “pull the trigger”. They’re still trying to identify the right solution and the right vendor to provide that solution. The offers mentioned in 1 and 3 would appeal to these visitors, too. Depending upon how much research they’ve done and how close they are to being ready to “pull the trigger” will determine whether they choose offer 1 or offer 3. The bottom line is that the content provided by the offer is what’s going to drive these folks.
- Visitors who know their business issue and have narrowed down the solution to a variety of vendors: These folks need validation. They need to know that your solution works. They want to see that others like them have used your product/solution to successfully address a business issue. In terms of offers, the best content to provide these visitors is case studies. Place some teaser text next to the offer such as “Learn how ABC Company, a global manufacturing company, saved $X via our product”. Or you could provide a short summary of the case study. Require the visitor to complete a short form to access the entire case study. For these visitors, you should feel comfortable in asking for more information than the visitors described in 1 above because the content you’re providing them is valuable and specific to their needs.
- Visitors who have done the research, know what they need, but aren’t quite ready to talk to a sales person. An online demo will appeal to these visitors. This visitor has probably narrowed down its list of vendors to a few, and before talking with a sales person, this visitor just wants to see how your product works. They want to see the user interface or get an idea of how easy the product is to install or use. They don’t want to speak with a sales person yet because, although the product has earned a spot on their short list, they’re still not convinced it’s the right solution for them. In their minds, they don’t want to be “bothered” by a sales rep. These folks are “transactional” in nature rather than “educational” like visitors 1-3.
- Visitors who are ready to speak with a sales person. For these folks, offer them a short form that says something like “Got a question?” or “Please contact me”. Don’t make the mistake of trying to have this form do too much. Many people make the mistake of having long forms, thinking that the form, rather than the sales person, should be doing the qualifying. Remember – web browsers are impatient, so don’t ask too many questions. Let the sales person do the qualifying. If the form is too long, resulting in a high exit rate, then you’ve lost out on the opportunity to speak with a qualified lead.
The vast majority of visitors to your website, in my opinion, are comprised of visitors 1-3. Many people make the mistake of providing offers that cast a very narrow net. If your only offer on your sub pages is “fill out this form for a demo”, think of all the visitors who are not ready to respond to this offer. Therefore, I recommend having offers that appeal to all visitor types be present on all your sub pages.