A Contact Form is NOT Lead Generation


Apologies to Jeff Foxworthy…  If your website has a contact form as it’s primary form of lead generation, you might be a poor marketer.

So many websites – ourselves included at times – fall into the trap of pinning all your marketing hopes to the infamous contact form (cue sinister music).  The truth is that most websites out there aren’t selling products through shopping carts – they are selling themselves.  This doesn’t mean that you have to let your site fall into the marketing dungeon known as the stale brochure-ware website (more sinister music).  You can turn your website into a lead generation superstar!

I should probably preface this post by saying that there are so many different facets to determining the best lead generation strategy for you, it’s practically impossible to cover them all right here, so let’s hit the high points and then maybe we’ll cover some areas in more detail in a future post.

The Call to Action

Every good online lead starts with a clear and compelling call to action. The call to action can come in all different shapes and sizes from colorful buttons and boxes to fully embedded forms (if they’re short – more on this later).

Appeal to all stages of prospects. While there is certainly a visual aspect to achieving this, there is also a strategic one.  Taking that action demonstrates a level of commitment on the part of your user so you should be prepared to address a varying level of commitment that the user is prepared to take.  Not everyone may be ready to “Request a Quote” yet.  Maybe all they are ready to do now is to “Ask a Question.”

Put it everywhere. What pages should your call to action be on?  Well – all of them.  Again – not JUST your contact page.  The action may even be different on different pages.  As Joe User is perusing your finely written site content, you just never know when he will finally be motivated to take action and you definitely want your call to action visible when the time is right.

The Form

We could do a whole post just on this – and maybe we just will soon.  The form is obviously the key to the whole lead generation proposition.  You need them to give you some information about themselves so that your sales team can follow up and turn them from a prospect into a client.

Keep it short. Only ask the bare minimum info you need for your sales team to effectively follow up with them.  Eliminate the nice-to-have’s from the form and stick with the have-to-have’s.  You can always ask for more later.

Beauty Points Count. Yes – being pretty helps.  Studies clearly show that conversation rates drastically improve with better-looking, well-organized forms. If your form looks like your most recent 1040, you probably need some help.

The Follow-up

All your efforts above will go by the wayside if your eager prospect has to wait too long to get a response.

We all like instant gratification. Let’s face it.  We feel better when we KNOW that our request for help has gone through.  In addition to the obvious confirmation page on your site, send an automated confirmation email to the user that you have received their request.  Give them a realistic expectation on when they will hear from you.  This is also a great opportunity to engage with you further by suggesting that they follow you on Twitter or like you on Facebook.

Hurry. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve filled out a request on a website and waited 2-3 days for a phone call.  Really?  Make sure you have a solid process in place for responding to leads in a timely manner.  Email is the easiest and cheapest ay to do this, but it’s also the easiest way to get a lead misplaced if you’re not careful.  Why not tie your form to your CRM system like Salesforce or Highrise.  Don’t have a CRM system?  Get one.

The Analysis

You didn’t think this was going to be a conversation about digital and NOT talk about measurement did you?

Analytics – not just for hits anymore. Yes it’s true, you can use site stats to measure much more than just how many people come to your site.  Make sure you are measuring your lead generation efforts.  Conversation rates, cost per lead, ROI and the like should be your friend.  We’re a big supporter of Google Analytics here are Enilon.  It’s robust, flexible and free.  If you haven’t gotten to know your site analytics software on a more intimate level – it’s far past time.

Which is clearer, A or B? Sorry, I just got back from the eye doctor recently.  Never ever rest on your laurels.  I’m supremely confident in our team here at Enilon to produce a good online lead generation game plan, but there is always room for improvement.  Make sure you test different calls to action, different form designs and lengths.  Even a 10-20% boost in conversation rates (there he goes with that analytics stuff again) is mighty significant to your bottom line.

The concepts here aren’t rocket science, yet most sites do a horrific job of planning and implementing them.  If the primary purpose of your site is lead generation and you can’t quantify how you are doing with hard numbers or if those numbers are disappointing, it’s time to consider a fresh strategic approach.

How is your site doing?


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