by Jayne Burch
Blogging, PPC ads, social media posting, email blasts - everything you do to get traffic to your website, is a waste.
There. I said it. That hard work you're doing is not building your business - unless.
Unless, you're also using a lead capture tool to turn your traffic into qualified leads for your business.
Lead capture is essential to building your business with your website.
What is lead capture anyway?
Lead capture is the process of collecting the contact information of visitors to your website into a database for future follow up. If you do any surfing online, you've probably participated in a lead capture process for someone else’s business. It looks like this:
The business you’re visiting online is offering a “comprehensive guide” or a “how to” ebook to solve the very problem you were researching online. They are happy to have you download it for free, in exchange for your name and email address so they can send it to you. That’s called “opting in” Sound familiar?
When a website visitor (one that you’ve attracted through your awesome content) opts in, they demonstrate they are a qualified prospect for your business. How qualified? Qualified enough to continue marketing to them, but may not be yet ready for a sales call.
What lead capture is not.
Lead capture is not the same thing as a contact us form on your contact page. It’s not a “Join Our Mailing List” form in the footer of your website. While these two things may occasionally get you inquiries, true lead generation systems and lead capture processes have a few elements that truly make them part of a business building strategy.
Why is capturing leads with your website important?
The biggest reason to capture leads is to not leave money on the table. You may think you’re covered by publishing your phone number on the front page of your website. For website visitors who know your company and are ready to buy from you, the phone number is probably what they’re looking for.
What about the first time visitors who don’t know you, or may not even know that you can help them? They will probably bounce off without contacting you. Lead capture done right can start a relationship with prospects in the earlier stages of their buying process. That means, when they are ready to buy, you’ll be top of mind, instead of your competitor.
How do I capture qualified leads with my website?
It’s simple, really.
Here are the basic requirements to capture truly qualified leads
- Content offers (lead magnets) with value to your target marketing/ buyer persona. Examples are: ebooks, checklists, guides, infographics, etc. that gives them the answers they are searching for.
- Prominently placed calls-to-action that gets your website visitor to act.
- Lead capture landing page(s) or lead flow/popovers
- Lead capture forms to collect their information
- A database/autoresponder to manage your new leads and follow up
What are the barriers to lead capture for most companies?
eConsultancy found in a 2016 study that only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. It’s not a surprise that most company websites are seller-centric, providing information about the company services with very few opportunities for visitor interaction such as an opt-in offer.
One big barrier is the lack of understanding about the current state of marketing and sales. Hubspot in 2016 found that most buyers are around 60% of the way through their buying process by the time they reach out to a sales person. The need for a business to help their potential buyers with their initial research online is critical. Publishing content in the form of blogs, videos, webinars, audios, ebooks and so on that help their prospective customers is how companies will attract them to their website and generate new leads.
The cost of creating a lead generation system and developing quality content offers can be hard on the budget, especially for small or startup companies. The technical expertise to develop a lead capture process may not be available, especially in organizations where marketing is managed by one person who must produce and manage all the marketing initiatives.
There is good news, however. Getting started with lead generation doesn’t have to be expensive or overwhelming with these two free tools.
Lead Capture and Follow Up Tools
HubSpot Marketing Free is a free and very easy to use solution to achieve a popover lead capture forms. The same company that provides a state of the art enterprise level marketing automation solution, provides excellent, entry level solutions for small business.
HubSpot provides a script you can easily install on your website that generates attractive, eye-catching but not obnoxious popovers on any page of your website. The information captured is collected into a Hubspot account for you to manage your leads. HubSpot also collects data about what your leads do on your website. (Caveat: the captured data about each lead is only available for seven days in the free version. The next level Starter Version is very reasonable at $50/month and provides unlimited data about your leads.)
The HubSpot free CRM is also available and integrates seemlessly. All the leads you capture and any contacts from other sources are nicely managed in the HubSpot CRM so you can track your sales process from start to close.
The second tool is MailChimp, an email marketing system. Hubspot free can easily connect with MailChimp and send your leads to a MailChimp list and autoresponder campaign for follow up and lead nurturing. MailChimp pricing is based on the number of subscribers, and is free up your first 2000 subscribers and 12,000 emails a month.
If you’re starting a business on a shoestring and need a website to start blogging and capturing leads, consider using Google’s Blogger (also free.) The HubSpot Marketing script is easily added to a Blogger site too. When you're ready to upgrade your website, your Blogger content can be exported to your new website.
Summary and Next Steps
So, there is every reason to start capturing leads from your website, and with the free lead generation software available, there are no real barriers to getting started. The software setup is possible to do without developer skills. The challenge for most newcomers to lead generation is having a viable marketing strategy in place that will assure success. Planning a lead generation process, even a beginning one, should be based on who you are trying to attract (your buyer persona) and having a compelling offer. For help planning your lead generation system get our “30 Greatest Lead Generation Tips” ebook series here:.
Share your experience with lead capture in the comments below. And, consider sharing this article because it just might help someone else to accelerate their lead generation, too.