10 common online lead generation mistakes

By: Ian Rhodes

Date: 4 March 2010

One of the main reasons I’m approached by new B2B clients is they feel frustrated having spent £X on a new website expecting customers to flock to it and make contact so sales teams can simply ‘finish the job’. This simply doesn’t happen.

Actively developing leads through a B2B website isn’t necessarily an aspect of your sales strategy that requires a major cash injection. The real investment is time; time to understand your visitors, their motivations and requirements. Only then will your website provide a successful lead generation platform.

So what key mistakes should you avoid?

1 Jargon and unnecessarily complex language
If the content on your website unnecessarily technical it will drive visitors away. Keep the language plain and accessible – only include more complex information data if absolutely necessary. You must quickly capture visitors’ attention, so tell them what makes you special and explain how your products/services will benefit them.

2 Missing conversion opportunities
Time and again I speak to new customers who struggle to convert readers into leads. Why? They’re not drawn to communicate. You’ve earned the right to request contact details from visitors, but don’t bombard users with “CLICK HERE” and “CONTACT US” messages throughout your site. A simple, clean and professional call to action on every page will do. Don’t have one laborious contact form. Use simple tools throughout your website to engage new visitors and quickly build your subscriber base.

3 Badly thought out AdWords campaigns
The key to a truly successful Adwords campaign is to match your ad and subsequent landing page to the requirements of the Google searcher. Give them what they’re looking for. Deliver visitors to a landing page that is tailored to their needs. Talk to them in a language they understand and engage them by showing how your business can meet their needs.

4 Ignoring Analytics
Google offer site Analytics for free. It’s essential information. It tells you how site visitors found you, what they did on your site and from which page they left. There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing perfectly relevant site traffic without conversions. Spending just five minutes a day looking at your daily Analytics report can answer a whole range of key questions that can help you understand where you’re going wrong.

5 The ‘build it and they will come’ mentality
They won’t – it takes a lot of hard work. You might have Tweeted a couple of Tweets (please, not how much snow there is outside – people aren’t interested), setup your Facebook business page and updated your Linkedin profile. Well done. How much traffic will this generate for your business? Probably none. You’ve got to work your social media outposts as hard as website traffic generation.

6 Ignoring your local attraction
If the price and quality is the same, many (most?) people prefer to ‘buy local’, so let people nearby know you’re there. Look at your website – how obvious is your location? Maybe you have a few locations? Fantastic. Tell your prospects. Not only does location assist with search engine rankings, it also leaves you better placed to convert prospects not your doorstep.

7 Borrrrrrring content
Want to drive away potential leads from your website? Dull and uninspiring content will do it every time. You must grab visitors’ attention. Ask them questions, inspire them, engage them, amuse them, let them know why you’re special, show them you can meet their needs or solve their problems. Don’t merely focus on features – people buy benefits.

8 Give it all away for free
Even if you’ve got loads of content ready to be made available to your website users – hold back some of it. Produce an e-book or simple PDF download that offers information in return for visitors signing up. You can make your site into a definitive resource to build ‘authority’ within your industry. Maybe an additional income stream can be built using a ‘premium’ subscription service to your website?

9 Giving up the chance to be an authority
Your lead-generation process can be as simple as requesting visitors’ email addresses in return for your free monthly e-newsletter. Building frequency with prospects not only assists your business sales strategy significantly, it also allows you to build ‘authority’. Being seen as a leading voice within your industry makes things much easier throughout the sales funnel.

10 Assume web users have loads of time
If a prospect has found your site, they’ve probably found your competitors, too. No SEO or content structure can ensure visitors’ first click is their final click. Optimise your online campaigns around every click your potential client may make and keep the process simple. Some visitors will happily sit and read your content. However, most simply won’t have the time, which means your site must capture their attention immediately and tell them what they need to know.

It’s never been so competitive, but the rules of online selling remain the same. Keep your message simple, fully engage your site visitors and know exactly how to differentiate your site messages for those who are simply browsing and those much closer to buying.

Ian Rhodes, Webformula

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