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How to convert leads online

account_circle Web.com Team

Remember the old saying, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar?" The same principle applies when you're using digital marketing to generate and convert leads. You'll have a better chance of success if you gently lure those leads down the conversion path than if you try to force them. But what is a conversion path, and what does it mean to your business?

In this blog post, you will find:

  • What is a digital marketing conversion path?
  • 6 tips on how to convert leads online
  • 5 techniques to boost online marketing success
  • 6 ways to track your leads better

What is a digital marketing conversion path?

A conversion path consists of all the steps that people take along the road to becoming customers of your business. While the ultimate conversion is making a purchase, there are also smaller conversions along the way, such as signing up for a webinar, filling out a contact form, or downloading a white paper. Essentially, any time a customer follows through your call to action and does what you want them to, they’re converting.

 

6 tips on how to convert online leads to sales

So how can you speed prospects along the conversion path? Here are some tips:

1. Focus on quality of leads, not just quantity

The more specifically you target your desired leads, the better. Identify the characteristics of your ideal customers so you can craft your digital marketing to attract them.

2. Create persuasive calls-to-action (CTAs).

Your CTAs should be tailored to different prospects’ needs and should focus on the benefit to the prospect. For example, common CTAs for a prospect in the early stages of researching a purchase are "Learn more” or "Compare products." When the prospect clicks through the CTA, they get more information about the product or service. For a prospect that’s further along in the decision-making process, the CTA might be "Request a demo" or "Get a free quote."

3. Build focused landing pages

Different CTAs should lead to different landing pages depending on the action the user takes. The landing page is a critical element in the conversion path. It was found that companies with 30 or more landing pages generate seven times more leads than those with fewer than 10.  However, only 48% of marketers bother to build a new landing page for every marketing campaign. Landing pages should focus on one action you want the visitor to take so there's no way for them to get distracted from what you want them to do.

4. Nurture the lead.

Your website visitor clicked on the CTA and did what the landing page asked them to do. Now that you've got their contact information and permission, continue to nurture them down the conversion path by reaching out with information and offers tailored to their needs. 

5. Track your leads and monitor your results

Having a lot of leads is both good news and bad news — good news because you've got a lot of leads, but bad news because it's difficult to keep track of them all. Fortunately, there are lead management systems that can track your interactions with each lead so nothing ever falls through the cracks. Get a platform that will show you the results of your lead nurturing campaigns so you know exactly how well your marketing efforts are working.

6. Rinse and repeat

If you want a steady stream of leads that convert, you need to keep fine-tuning your online marketing efforts. You need to regularly assess the results of your lead generation campaign and use what you learn to continually improve your online marketing.

 

Build relationships with lead nurturing emails

Most of your leads likely aren't ready to buy — which is where lead nurturing comes in. Simply put, lead nurturing is the process of building and growing relationships between your brand and your customers. A successful lead nurturing email campaign drives brand awareness, educates potential customers about its products or services, and establishes enough rapport with audiences to improve sales. 

Even for customers that are ready to buy, nurturing the lead via online marketing can have a big payoff for your business by improving the average order value. What’s more, nurturing leads helps to develop a lasting relationship that hopefully leads to customer loyalty—and even more purchases down the road.

5 techniques to boost online marketing success

Few things are more frustrating than responding to a lead with what seems to be the perfectly crafted email, only to be met with the sound of crickets. If leads aren't responding to your emails, what can you do to change things? Here are five secrets to successful lead nurture emails:

1. Respond rapidly. 

The speed with which you reach out to a lead can make all the difference in nurturing the relationship and, ultimately, making the sale. But if you're like most busy small business owners and you're doing four different things at any given moment, it's easy to miss a new lead. You can ensure a speedy response by using a lead generation software that notifies you immediately when you get a new lead and automates responses to leads so you can reply to prospects quickly no matter what else you’re doing.

2. Make sure your emails are mobile-friendly

Whether you sell B2B or B2C, your prospects expect your emails to look as good on mobile devices as they do on a desktop or laptop. Some 83% of mobile users say that a seamless experience across all devices is very important. There's a good chance your prospect will be opening that email on a smartphone, and if they can't easily read your response or click on a link to act then and there, they may not interact with you further.

3. Follow email best practices

The last thing you want is for your lead nurture email to be perceived as annoying spam. To prevent that, be sure to follow a few basic best practices for email. First, identify the source of the email by including your business name in the "From" field. Second, use the subject line to clearly show that you are responding to the prospects' request. Third, always provide a way for recipients to unsubscribe to emails from your business. Learn more about email best practices and compliance with the CAN-SPAM Act.

4. Offer something of value

Are your lead nurture emails focused on all the great things your business can do? That's the wrong approach. Focus on offering something of value to the lead, whether that's information, a consultation, a discount, or a limited-time package. Never miss an opportunity to add value. For example, if you’re emailing a link to download an e-book the lead signed up for, include another offer in that email as well. Leads will appreciate your helpfulness in educating them to make the best purchasing decision.

5. Personalize your emails

Making your emails relevant to the prospect means more than just addressing the prospect by name (although that's important, too). Create different types of lead nurturing emails for different kinds of prospects. For example, if you provide home services, you could create one type of email for homeowners and another for landlords with rental properties. You can also personalize emails based on the prospect’s stage in the buying journey, such as whether they are close to making a decision or have just begun to research the purchase. Finally, you can develop different emails based on what marketing method persuaded the prospect to contact you. Lead management software can help you segment your leads, identify the best nurture emails to send them, and automate the process of sending the emails. Look for a lead management tool that includes a library of email templates you can choose from to save time and help ensure success.

Read more: 4 lead management mistakes that are costing you money

6 ways to track your leads better

The time and effort you’ve invested in website SEO, online advertising, social media marketing, and publicity have paid off with lots of leads. But if you aren't tracking your leads carefully, you could be missing out on some of your most valuable prospects. What's more, tracking your leads properly can show you just how effective your marketing and advertising is. Here are six tips for tracking leads better:

1. Create a system for organizing and managing your leads

Jotting down notes on a pad of paper or sticky note may have worked when your business was just starting out, but as your company grows, you'll need to systematize lead management or risk dropping the ball on valuable leads. Start developing your lead management system now, and you'll have a firm foundation for business expansion.

2. Know where your leads are coming from

For example, if you have a leads form on your website, how are prospects getting to the form? Did they find your website via an online search, by typing in your URL, or by clicking on your online advertising? It's easy to track the source of leads online using code, but you can also find out where phone calls or walk-in customers learned about your business. Just make it a habit to ask, "How did you learn about our business?" and take note of the answers.

3. Set up lead notifications

A lead generation and management solution that gives you lead notifications in real time can ensure you don't lose a juicy lead to a competitor because you didn't answer fast enough. When you get alerts of new leads, respond right away. You can even set up autoresponders to leads so that when you're busy with another customer, you can still reply to the new lead with an appropriate response.

4. Get as much information as you can about leads

Once you connect with a lead, get additional information to help you assess their stage in the sales funnel. Start by collecting the same basic information about each lead, such as name, business name, phone number, email, title, timeline for purchase and more. The information you need will vary depending on your industry and customer base — and you probably won't get it all at once. Some of it will come through direct conversation or email with the customer; some of it will come from website analytics that track their behavior on your site. By getting a little more data each time, you connect with a customer, and you will eventually have a full picture of each lead.

5. Categorize your leads.

After following up with the lead and gathering the information above, you will be able to segment your leads based on their stage in the sales funnel. You can determine if they are ready to buy or just starting their research process; if they are the sole decision-maker or if someone else is involved, too; if they have a budget in mind or not; and other factors that will help you make the sale. Even if the actual purchase is far in the future, staying in touch with the lead until they're closer to making a decision will help keep your business top-of-mind.

6. Maintain your lead data

Clean and consistent data about leads is key to effective follow-up. At regular intervals, go through your lead database and clean out your records to eliminate duplicates, correct errors and generally keep them in good shape. A lead management solution that has an easy-to-use dashboard can speed up the process of searching and sorting through leads.

 

Make every lead count

Every marketer understands that the lead to opportunity conversion rate is an important metric — one you should be constantly optimizing. Effective monitoring of opportunities in your sales data helps you assess and improve your performance. It will also help build your pipeline and contribute to your forecasting efforts. One good investment is having a robust lead management system. An effective lead management system will pay off quickly by boosting the percentage of leads you convert to customers. But in the meantime, feel free to work on the practical steps enumerated above to boost your lead conversion rate and get the sales you need.

Image credits: Shutterstock