“I’m a web developer; if you want to talk about ‘lead generation’, ask the marketing guys…”
What’s wrong with this statement? We all know developers and designers have enough on their plates getting stable, functioning and good-looking sites off the ground. So why does lead generation need to be considered at the development stage? The simple answer is that for traffic to convert into leads, the right visitors need to find your site, they have to like – and more precisely trust what they see – and they have to stick around to find out more.
Your buyers are on a journey in which they require specific information at different stages to help them decide whether the product or service you’re offering is for them. Who are these people? What do they need to know? When do they need to know it? Finding the answers to these questions should be the number one reason why your marketing staff turn up to work each day.
It’s not the whole story though. The DNA of your actual site has to factor in lead generation - which means plenty of joined up thinking between marketing and web development. As a starting point, pay special attention to the following…
Do you know what a lead is?
It may seem a silly question, but the definition of a ‘lead’ will differ subtly from business to business, often depending on the complexity of the product. Are you aiming for a callback request? Is there a form to fill in? Will you be directing visitors to a newsletter or white paper?
Sales funnels, user experience, end goals: As soon as these are discussed, it’s worth getting the developer and designer in the room.
Make sure the code is clean
Questioning a developer’s coding skills may result in removal from his Christmas card list – but everyone on the team needs to appreciate the importance of nice mark-up. For one thing, it ticks the right boxes with search engines as it makes it easier for the likes of Google to read what’s on the site. It also helps ensure page load times are as quick as possible; something that’s vital if you want visitors to stick around long enough to convert into actual leads.
Don’t tail off on quality as you get further into the site
So you give your developers a list of pages to prepare: (Home, About, History, Services etc…). The first few pages are watertight. As the week draws on though, concentration wanes and other jobs loom on the horizon. The last few pages may even be handed over to the work placement guy to finish off…
Your analytics will show that visitors arrive at your site from multiple sources – often going straight to specific product pages. The level of attention to detail needs to be paid to those pages that describe services and products as your Homepage.
Install trust seals
Are these people worth listening to? This is what your customers are asking themselves before they consider requesting any further information. They rely on reviews but need reassurance that the reviews are authentic. If you are involved with the likes of Trustpilot, consider including a link back to the review site so customers can satisfy themselves that the reviews are likely to be genuine. Won any awards? Sticking in the trophy logo is good: making it clickable and linking it either to the awards organisation itself – (or to a relevant news article on your site) is even better.
Make it easy for your customers
Generally, this involves installing forms on all pages. Rather than having exactly the same form on each page, tailor the content to what is actually contained on that page. Don’t overdo it with “required fields” either; it’s a needless hassle for potential leads and it can create the impression that they are likely to be bombarded with spam. Requiring a customer email address with the option of further info will suffice in most cases.
Less is often more
This is one for both developers and designers. Cramming too much onto a page in the way of links, images, text and video can mean the CTA (i.e. the ‘portal’ for lead generation) is obscured. After viewing the page content, the potential lead should come away with a clear indication that you understand their problem and you have a potential solution. They should also be given the opportunity to find out more in the form of information that’s useful to them. Anything else is surplus to requirements.
Your website structure is not cast in stone– and as you track your visitors’ activity, you’ll get to understand their habits and tailor the site accordingly. The vital point is that collaboration between development and marketing is key to your website’s success.