One of the most blatant errors I see on business websites is the absence of an easy way to contact the business. Isn’t it the dream of any salesperson to have a new customer or client call or email them directly with an inquiry? No long hours of prospecting or cold calling required. It’s like a deer running to a hunter and saying, “here I am!” I can tell you’re getting excited just thinking about it!
Clearly, having a phone number and/or “contact us” link prominently displayed on every page of a website is a requirement (unless there’s a reason why you specifically don’t want potential customers to contact you). Make it as easy as possible for people to contact you. If they have to search for contact info, they might just bounce to your competitors site. Online attention spans are notoriously short.
Simply having your phone number and contact us link is not good enough from a lead generation standpoint. You will capture the “low hanging fruit” — prospects who are ready to engage in a sales call and make a purchase. But what about the prospects who might not be ready to contact you just yet?
Research shows that buyer’s make 70% to 90% of their buying decision before every speaking with a salesperson. Read this post for more statistics that point to the same conclusion. Buyers engage in a decision making process before finally reaching their decision to buy. A big part of this process is online research. When buyers do contact a salesperson they most likely have already decided that they need your product or service and that you are someone who they are considering buying from or hiring. They’ve most likely researched the product or service and your major competitors. Now they’re ready to discuss specifics and close a deal.
If your prospect has already gone through their decision making process and chosen to contact you, then having your number or email link is good enough. But if that prospect has come to your site for the first time to do their research as part of their process, they’ll most likely leave your site without contacting you. They might return to your site when they are ready to talk, or they might not and go elsewhere instead.
The only way to increase the chances of getting those prospects to return is by creating a relationship with them and then nurturing that relationship until they are ready to buy.
How do you convert that prospect into a lead that you can nurture through the buying cycle?
The first step is to get their information, usually a name and email. How do you get that info? By offering them something of value in exchange for that info. It could be an ebook, whitepaper or whatever you can offer that would convince your prospect to part with some of their contact info. Once you’ve got your lead in your system, you can send them automated emails to help them make their buying decision.
There’s a lot more to discuss regarding how to set up this lead generation and nurturing system, and we’ve created our own ebook called The Digital Marketing Blueprint for companies that are serious about creating their own system.
The main lesson here is that by not having a system in place to capture and nurture leads who do not immediately contact you, you are leaving money on the table. You don’t want to do that. So set up a lead generation system on your website and stop those potential customers from getting away.