Four Common Lead Generation Mistakes to Avoid

lead generation

Where would your sales figures be without qualified leads? Leads matter because people have demonstrated an interest in your business’ products or services and are willing to share personal information in order to learn more. Some of these leads can be nurtured into prospects and converted into sales, but many won’t.

The key for you and your sales team is recognizing common mistakes that negatively impact the opportunities to cultivate rich and eventually profitable leads. Here are four key mistakes to avoid:

1. Your lead capture forms aren’t “user-friendly.”

Generating leads starts with capturing key customer information—enough to move a casual
visitor to your site to start the sales process rolling. Many sales efforts stumble when the lead capture forms on your landing page don’t reflect a typical user’s preferences; either they ask for too much information or, alternately, request too little of the user.

Short forms may generate larger numbers of potential leads, but the quality of those leads might be lacking. There simply won’t be enough for your sales team to go on, and a lot of time can be wasted chasing after prospects who stubbornly refuse to become “qualified” in the desirable sense of the word.

Forms that ask for too much information are most likely to discourage potential interest in your business offering. (Though, on the bright side, those visitors willing to share an abundance of information are probably better qualified to begin with.)

Finding the right length for your lead form may depend on what you offer as a “reward” for sharing information. Strive to balance your request for data with the value of the benefit you’re offering.

2. Your web pages aren’t optimized to generate leads.

As with any business site, visitors flock to certain pages more than others. Businesses sometimes err by not optimizing the most heavily trafficked sites (such as the home page, “Contact Us,” etc.). Here are opportunities to seize on prospect interest in your business. Make sure these pages are optimized with eye-catching, stand-alone calls-to-action (CTAs), generally placed in the upper left-hand corner for prime visibility. Also consider adding special offers on these pages, in order to generate further interest.

“If your CTA does happen to send users to a general page on your site, it’s likely that they won’t bother wasting the time trying to find what they were after in the first place,” warns marketing expert Sarah Quinn. “They’ll just get it elsewhere.”

3. The call-to-action lacks urgency.

Speaking of CTAs, how compelling are the ones you feature now? Remember, visitors come to your site at different stages in their “buyer’s journey.” A generic CTA won’t likely produce much response. Consider tailoring these with different goals in mind, such as downloading a white paper, viewing a demo product video or some other value-added incentive to generate more click-throughs.

4. The definition of a “qualified lead” isn’t shared throughout the organization.

In some organizations, there’s a clash between marketing and sales when it comes to defining a lead. Marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) are those leads identified by marketing as having genuine potential for a long-range customer relationship (with an emphasis on repeat business), These leads may grow out of analytic results or customer demographic characteristics that have proven successful in the past.

Sales-qualified leads (SQLs) are, by contrast, regarded by the sales team as promising opportunities for a short-term closed deal.

“It’s imperative that your company’s definition of an MQL matches its definition of an SQL for this transference between departments to work seamlessly,” cautions marketing executive Giles House. For better results, close communications “between teams will improve overall sales by generating a marketing agenda that best suits and supports your sales force.”

Want more advice on sales and marketing or general advice from other business owners like you? Find out if a TAB Board is right for you!

 

Boost Conversions With Smarter Content

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Are you ready to make your content more effective when it comes to real conversion data? Don’t worry, content ROI is certainly out there – and we have the tactics you need to tap into it.

Calls to Action

This step is very, very obvious, but we need to mention it anyway, because it’s at the heart of content conversions: You need a call to action. You can write or create the best content in the world, but it’s not going to get the conversions that you need until you give people a way to respond. So if you want content to do more than build brand awareness and loyalty, you need to include a CTA. Link to your products, ask readers to fill out a survey, request comments or responses – your CTA can have many different goals, but it needs to exist!

Think in terms of a long-term funnel with multiple touchpoints and attribution. If your content is highly informational, you may not want to lead your visitor immediately towards a sales CTA. Instead, consider giving them a simple action, such as subscribing to your email list, so you can continue to market to them over time and slowly guide them to a sale.

Bringing Value

Why do consumers read your content? Hint: It’s not because you really, really want them to. Content can’t ask nicely for people to spare some of their valuable time and attention – it has to promise something in return. In other words, every piece of content you create should provide value to the consumer. Fortunately, there are many different potential approaches to this. Successful content provides value in some of these ways:

  • Product Information: New or interesting ways to use products, or how-to guides. This can work with services, too, but it’s generally more difficult.
  • Industry Information: More popular in B2B circles, this approach provides insight and analysis about market trends and the general industry which readers may find interesting.
  • Entertainment: More common in the B2C field, entertaining content uses pop culture, humor, memes, and other factors to give the consumer an enjoyable experience. A consistent tone is important here.
  • Savings and Money: If content helps customers save money – not necessarily through discounts, although that’s a possibility – then it has immediately apparent value.

Tip-related articles (just like the post you are reading right now) also fall into this category, because they focus on helping the reader either save time, money or even earn more money through successful practices.

boost conversions

Positioning Yourself as an Expert

The long-term goal of good marketing content should be to set up the company as an expert on its products and industry. This accomplishes a couple things. First, it helps bring in more traffic as consumers who think you are an expert continue to revisit your content and examine new content: More traffic means more conversions. Second, it gives your direct ads and product listings greater weight. If people believe that you know what you are doing, they will be more likely to think your products/services are worth their time, and so they take the next conversion step.

TIP: Give away as much information as possible. Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. Thin, fluffy pieces don’t perform as well as very in-depth, comprehensive guides where you not only talk about an idea, but you give very specific advice about how to tackle a topic.   Trendjack so you can use new and emerging topics to gain thought leadership. For example, Teensafe, a smartphone monitoring app, used the Pokemon Go phenomena to become “Top-of-Mind” for parents wanting to keep their kids safe while using the app.   By being first to market with this kind of content, they become the go-to site for parents.

Case studies are another powerful way to showcase your expertise and the success of your product/service/process. Writing in-depth case studies is a prime example of smarter content that provides the proof that your company is the ideal solution for your visitors problems. Backlinko publishes powerful case studies that have helped to rocket their traffic and the sales of their products/services.

Community Connections

Content is the perfect place to tap into the community that exists within your industry, city, and customer base. When possible, try to cultivate a thriving comments section that keeps people talking and sharing.

Create a strong business persona that allows you to comment on other articles in return (like LinkedIn discussions or Google Hangouts). Invite expert guest bloggers or interviewees whenever possible. All of this will help you reach other circles of customers and drive up traffic.

Instant Answers

Let’s talk a little about mobile: There’s a whole lot we could say here, but let’s distill it down. It’s a good idea to have at least some of your content focused on instant answers to questions that buyers have. Sometimes a full post or lengthy article isn’t always necessary. When people bring up their mobile devices, they are both – in a hurry to find an answer and ready to make a purchase decision. You can win these conversions by creating mobile-ready content that gives people exactly what they want.

A “Call Now” or “Order Now” button just may be some of the best content you ever create…as long as people can find it! Make sure you use the right colors and designs to help people find exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily.

Targeted Content

While ads and emails can be targeted, you may not have thought much about targeting your more general marketing content. However, this is both possible and an effective way of getting more conversions from a particular demographic that you aren’t already reaching as much as you should be.

Salesforce and others call this narrowcasting, but it doesn’t really need another marketing buzz term to define it – just work on making content that answers questions and provides value for a very particular type of customer persona that you want to reach.

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Nick Rojas is a self-taught, serial entrepreneur who’s enjoyed working with and consulting for startups. Using his journalism training, Nick writes for publications such as Entrepreneur, TechCrunch, and Yahoo. He concentrates on teaching small and medium sized enterprises how best to manage their social media marketing and define their branding objectives @NickARojas