If your Local Marketing website or your Clients isn’t producing a consistent and predictable flow of Leads and Converting them into a healthy percentage of inquiries, all is not lost. There are some some simple Best practices that we can implement to dramatically increase your website conversion.
1. Optimizing Your Landing Pages
A landing page is simply the first page of your website that visitor arrives or ”lands” on. Landing pages where initially used for PPC (pay per click) campaigns where the pages are targeted and designed for one thing: To get visitors to take a specific action, whether buying a product, calling you on the telephone, or subscribing to your email list by filling out a lead form.
Landing pages have become the cornerstone of a high converting website and people are realizing the importance of having focused and specific objectives that your Website visitors take, rather than just landing on a general homepage. This has become a real art and science designing and optimizing landing pages, creating an industry all of its own, often known as conversion rate optimization (CRO).
Some of the larger companies Will pay big fees for CRO consultants and agencies to use special software and tools to test and tweak every aspect of the landing page, from the copy to the headline color and font selection to the shape and test all the calls to action. As you can imagine for large companies like these, improving conversion rates by even just .5% where they get millions of unique visitors per month can result in a massive increase in sales revenue.
As a Local Marketing Consultant your website is not likely to get huge website traffic like the big companies, however increasing your conversions from the typical 1% – 2% up to 3% – 4% can result in doubling or tripling your business from your online campaigns, and the exciting thing is it’s not that hard to do when you know how.
Treat all pages as landing pages
One of the big mistakes that most small business web designers make, is putting so much emphasis on building trust, engagement, and conversion elements on the homepage only. This is a big oversight that can be a very costly one because most first-time visitors to your website, do not land on your homepage. More often than not visitors will be coming from a blog post listing, a social media post or article and landing on that particular page, making that page the MOST important page on your site in that instant.
Important tip: If you have Google Analytics set up for your local marketing website (which you should), make a point to go and check the reports and specifically the “Content> landing pages” report. What this report does is show you the specific pages on your website that your visitors have landed on and ranks then in order of their popularity.
It’s important to realize that although your homepage may be the most popular, it realistically only gets a small percentage of your total traffic. This will show you that most of your visitors are entering your site on your content pages such as your blog pages and articles about specific topics which are listed in the search engines. This is why we must treat every page as a landing page.
Take a look at each of your pages and ask yourself if that was the only page that your website visitor landed on, would they be motivated to take action? Look at each of your blog pages to see if they contain as many engagement and conversion elements as possible. It’s all too easy to assume that because there are pathways for people to take in order to become a lead, subscriber or a customer, they’ll do it. Most Local Marketing websites fail dismally with these conversion elements, make sure yours isn’t one of them.
Three important factors to make your Web Pages like you’re landing page
- Focus of each page on a single topic. Regardless of whether your website visitor comes from Google, Bing, Facebook or a local directories ad, they are arriving on your site expecting to find specific information that relates to the question or need that brought them there in the first place. It’s crucial to focus each page of your Local Marketing website on a very narrow topic and not just general topics that many sites do.What you want to do is focus a specific section, for example if your Client is a Dentist then create topics on Dental Implants or Sleep Dentistry, and then within those categories have specific webpages on the various sub-topics.
This does take some extra work but it will pay you back in Spades by being very specific and talking to the heart of your prospects problems, which makes it much more likely that they will take the desired action.
- Minimize distractions and options: One of the immutable laws of sales is “a confused prospect rarely buys”. All too often we see so many Local Marketing websites with far too many links and options that have a tendency to distract and confuse website visitors. Your objective is to funnel your visitors towards the desired action i.e. Fill out a web form or call you on the telephone. This is best accomplished by removing any of the potentially distracting options that can cause visitors to click away, never to return.
- Include conversion elements on every page. Don’t be lazy here and don’t expect your visitors to work hard to seek you out and to reach you by clicking around on your site. Make it dead simple for them by putting everything right in front of their face, big and bold. Web forms on every page along with large phone numbers that can’t be missed.
2. Use simple web forms to Capture Leads
Web forms or Lead Forms are a big area where most Local Marketing businesses miss the mark. The reason is, most businesses think by just simply putting up basic contact form or a request a call back form that people will automatically use these to get in touch with you. The truth is 95+% of people Will never use these forms to contact you without an incentive. Don’t get me wrong, you definitely need to have web forms in the right place on every page of your site, but you also must give people a good reason to handover their contact information.
Think about what things you can offer as incentive for people to fill out your web forms. This is not to be confused with using a lead magnet for the incentive which I’ll talk about later in this article. This is about giving your website visitor a good reason to submit the details for a call back or email reply.
Incentives that work well here can be discounts and specials or the case of urgency you can have I guaranteed call back duration such as “enter your contact details here to get a guaranteed call back from one of our technicians in the next 90 minutes”. To someone who has an urgent pest problem this is Great peace-of-mind.
A great option for the urgent call back is to have an automated contact forwarding system that immediately sends the customers details to your mobile phone which allows you to make contact ASAP therefore getting in touch with the customer while they are still a hot lead!
Placing your lead forms in the right location are a critical part of your conversion strategy. Remember you have one specific goal when it comes to conversions: To measurably increase the percentage of your website visitors who convert into Leads, meaning they contact you and express interest in your products or services.
Do this exercise: take a few moments to check out a few small business websites and the number of steps that you need to get in contact with that business. On most websites you’ll see some form of contact us page that may or may not have contact form, this is Poor for two reasons.
Whenever you require your visitors to click around to find something, your conversions will diminish dramatically with each additional step or action that they have to take before getting what they want. Sticking your contact form on one page means that you’ll be missing out on 90% or more of your opportunities to generate leads. This is like a business having the sales counter stuck out in the back room where no one can find it.
Lead forms are a crucial an important tool to your website conversions for a number of reasons:
Measuring and optimizing: Each of the web forms on your site can easily be tracked to measure the success of that particular web form, meaning you can see how many visitors are viewing that lead form and how many people are filling it out i.e. Conversions.
Convenience: Some of your website visitors will be much more comfortable in filling out a form than jumping on the telephone and talking to a salesperson, or they may be in a situation where it’s just much easier and convenient to get a call back or an email later on.
Ease-of-use: These days there are many highly customizable and user-friendly solutions for adding web forms to a website. Ones that have simple drag-and-drop features allowing you to quickly and easily test different designs and elements.
Ease of placement: Most of the web form solutions today offer you the ability to display the forms throughout your website by simply copying and pasting a block of code in one location.
Types of Online Lead Forms
Before you bang your head against the wall or sell off your Apple stock to hire a Web designer, hold your horses. If you can copy and paste, you possess all the technical skills required to add beautiful, powerful Web forms to your site. There are dozens of reputable products and entire companies dedicated to “drag and drop” Web forms and lead management.
Virtually all of these solutions work the same way, with two basic steps:
Choose a Web form solution that works for the platform your site is built on, such as WordPress. There are both free and paid solutions to easily customize the form.
The one decision you’ll need to make is what type of form you want to use, in terms of what happens to the information once a form has been filled out. There are two main categories to choose from:
1. Simple email posted forms: As the name implies, these forms simply capture the information gathered from users and email this data to you and/or any other folks you specify. The pros of these forms is that they are very easy to use, and with off-the-shelf plugins available for many CMS systems, they’re usually free.
If you’re using WordPress, you can install plugins right from your website.
See this link for further details: http://codex.wordpress.org/Managing_Plugins
2. Database-driven forms: These forms have the same front-end functions as simple email forms, with the added functionality of posting respondents’ data directly into a lead nurturing database or email marketing systems, both of which store your “Web leads” in one organized place, making it super-easy to build and follow up with your growing list of contacts via email marketing campaigns. These email marketing platforms are very useful:
• Constant Contact
• Vertical Response
How to Use Lead Forms for Maximum Conversions
Be sure your forms are designed for maximum lead-generating effectiveness by following these Web form tips:
• Make your forms as short as possible. Many small businesses make the mistake of requiring too much information on their forms. The problem with this is that a higher number of fields measurably reduces conversion. Shorter is better when it comes to lead forms. Try and challenge yourself to minimize the number of fields to as little as two or three. It’s better to have less information from a hundred leads than to have more detailed information from only ten leads. Start with the following fields and measure your conversion rates:
• Phone (Optional)
Make sure your lead forms gather the minimum amount of information you need to be able to follow up with your prospects. You can always ask more questions once you make contact.
• Place at least one lead form on every page. Most website owners miss a huge opportunity and lose countless leads each month by not properly positioning lead forms. You can’t expect your visitors to have either the time or the attention span required to seek out a contact form—you must make it easy for them.
• Place your lead forms in prominent places. It’s also critical that you place lead forms in prominent places where your visitors are most likely to see and interact with them. Start with a form above the fold (viewable on users’ screens without scrolling), on every page. The sidebar is a great spot since it shows up on all or most pages.
• Make your form stand out. Many Web designers make the mistake of treating contact forms like any other design element, aiming to make them blend in with the aesthetics of the website. Don’t do this. Your lead form should jump out and grab your reader’s attention, clearly revealing the “next step,” which is usually contacting you, stopping by your place of business, or downloading content.
• Remember to include your call to action. Most small business sites that do make use of Web forms do so without incorporating effective calls to action. A form with the header “Contact Us” is better than no form at all. To get the highest conversions from your lead forms, be sure to include an offer with a powerful call to action as we covered earlier.
• Tell your visitors that spam’s not an issue. These days we’re all hyper-resistant to handing out our personal information. The last thing any of us want is to have our email address sold and blasted by spammers. All the trust-building measures we’ve covered contribute to your visitors feeling comfortable enough to give up their coveted contact info, but you should also underscore your anti-spam policy on the form itself.
3. Provide a Compelling Offer and Call to Action
According to businessdictionary.com, a call to action (CTA) is defined as:
“Words that urge the reader, listener, or viewer of a sales promotion message to take an immediate action, such as ‘Write Now,’ ‘Call Now,’ or (on Internet) ‘Click Here.’ A retail advertisement or commercial without a call-to-action is considered incomplete and ineffective,” – dictionary.com
If the term call to action seems unnecessary, intrusive or even cheesy I can assure you it’s not. We’ve all seen countless infomercials and all the cheesy over the top calls to action that they make, but this is not what I’m talking about. Every blog post you write or ad that you place and letter that you send out must contain clear and compelling calls to action to be effective.
There exists a tragedy of epic proportions in online marketing where so many small business owners take time to write awesome content that engages the reader, builds trust and delivers fantastic value, only to have a visitor leave with no clear message or reason to contact you.
How to craft a compelling call to action
An Effective call to action must incorporate the following elements:
• Connecting with the reader: nothing appeals to us more than contextualized or targeted communication that feels like it’s speaking directly to us, Whether we are:
• “Families living in Scottsdale”
• “Small business owners”
• “Two story Home owners”
What they’ll get: In the form of a valuable offer or promise, tell your users or readers exactly what they’ll get for taking action:
• “To schedule your free Inspection”
• “To gain instant access to a FREE video”
• “Get 20% off your first service call”
• “To make an appointment”
• “To get a free Termite inspection”
How to take action:
• “Press 0”
• “Come on in!”
Where to take action:
• “In the box below”
• “The number above”
• “At the front desk”
When to take action: Adding urgency (limited time) and/or scarcity (limited supply) is a time-tested tactic:
• “Before September 28th”
• “While supplies last”
Why to take action: The “why” focuses on the benefit to the reader:
• “to save $197 on your next dental visit”
• “to learn the 3 secrets to reducing tooth decay”
• “so you can know you’re getting the right service at the right price”
Implement your calls to action everywhere you can.
Your Local Marketing customers will come in contact with your business through many channels including your website, online directories and social media properties. This is why so important to have a strong call to action on every page of your website and all other places your businesses is listed.
Website header sidebar and footer: Placing a strong call to action in these places on your website you’re making this part of your site’s DNA and therefore your visitors will see these no matter which page they land on.
Local listings and directories: Every instance in which you list your business online is an opportunity to increase conversions – nowhere does it say that leads and inquiries have to always come from your website alone.
When it comes to social media profiles, regardless of whether you’re customers find you on Facebook, YouTube or any other social media platform you should have your contact information right then and there.
4. Getting Your Phone to Ring
With All the clever tools and strategies we have today for customers to contact us and become a lead, none of them are as fast and effective in turning a prospect into lead or sale as the good old telephone. So if this is a case, which it is, why do so many small business websites have small little telephone numbers that you often have to squint to read hiding up there in the top corner?
In terms of turning a prospect into a customer nothing beats getting on the phone to quickly qualify leads and in turn converting more people into clients or customers.
There are some simple yet highly effective strategies you can use to make your phone ring more often.
How to double your phone calls in 5 easy steps:
Place your phone number in the header of your website and make sure it’s on every page. Don’t assume your potential customers will seek it out.
Use a local phone number: Using an 800 number does have advantages of making the business look bigger and increasing long distance call ins, however it’s proven that it reduces local call rates because people want to talk to someone local and assume that maybe you’re not.
Make your phone number BIG: Forget about beauty of design and not wanting to look salesy. Nothing happens until you get a lead or a sale so make you phone number big enough to read easily at a glance, don’t give customers any reason not to call you.
Combine calls to action with your phone number. You can increase your results by making it clear and simple as to why they should call you and what to do next. Remember everything needs to have a promise of value attached and instead of saying “Talk to us or Call us” use something like “Discover how to be Termite Free in 21 Days… Ask us How”
Track your phone calls. One of the great advantages with online marketing is being able to quickly and easily track what’s going on with leads and sales. Having a tracking phone number allows you to know exactly right down to the dollar, what’s working and what lead sources are producing the best ROI. One of the best services that we use is Call Rail.
5. Add that feel of a Live interactive site with Online Chat.
You’ve no doubt seen those small little box windows that appear at the bottom of a webpage offering visitors on the spot customer service and answering questions. Having an online chat service on your website can be more helpful to your visitors than simply having their basic questions answered in real-time. These services can give your website a sense of being much more of real business with real people behind it rather than just a static website.
It’s important that you evaluate whether an online chat system fits your site design and supports your online marketing goals and objectives.
There are two categories of live chat services available: self managed and outsourced. The only difference is who does the chatting or talking to the customer. Self manage means that someone in your office responds or talks to a customer to provide the service or answer sales questions.
The outsourced version is the one I recommend simply because you’re not in the live chat business and there’s no sense setting up such infrastructure, before you test results from using a live chat service in the first place.
For the outsourced all-in-one Live chat solution, one of the better Systems out there is Answer Connect.
In our testing we’ve found having a live chat solution is definitely worth trying as it can be very effective in generating leads and sales, not just answering support questions.
6. Grab Attention with Pop-ups and Toolbars
Another ancillary type of conversion Elements that can be very effective are pop-ups toolbars. Most of us don’t like popups or at least the old style annoying ones that make your browsing experience unpleasant. Thank goodness those abrasive type popups have been toned down and there are many now that communicate important information and present value in a much more pleasing way.
If this fits your goals and you don’t mind experimenting then I would test out some well designed popups that offer some very good value to a visitor and track what happens.
Warning: I must Warn you that Google doesn’t like popups and their quality score that measures the quality of a webpage penalizes a page for having a popup if you are sending PPC traffic to it. However you can test these out on non PPC landing pages to see how they perform. Here is more information from Google, click here.
Web Toolbars are a much less aggressive cousin of the popup. These are usually small colored banners that slide in to the top or bottom of the screen. These can be great for alerting a visitor to a special offer that you have or to download your Lead Magnet (more on lead magnets shortly), they can be customized to your liking and even link to your contact form.
Here are some recommended Web toolbar solutions:
▪ Hello Bar This is one of my favorites for increasing conversions. All you need to do is register, download the plugin, then customize the bar with a simple drag and drop system selecting your message and page that you want to link to, then paste some simple code when prompted. It’s FREE for 30 days so you test it out. This is the one I use and would recommend to test out.
▪ Viper Bar This is another very good toolbar that works with many Web-form providers and allows you to launch a full blown contact form within your toolbar. To install Viper Bar simply go to your WordPress plugin section and download from there.
7. The Must-Have Irresistible LEAD MAGNET
This is by far my number ONE way to increase leads and conversions from any Website. What is a Lead Magnet you may ask? A lead magnet is something of value that you offer to a Website visitor in exchange for their contact information. If you don’t have one, and a really good one at that, then I hate to think how many leads and potential customers you are missing out on!
Seriously, most sites get around a 1-2% conversion rate which means 98-99% of people who visit your site leave without doing anything, never to return. Most people won’t contact you for a variety of reasons, so once they’re gone you’ve missed that opportunity. Lead Magnets give you a powerful tool to entice them to hand over their contact details giving you the crucial opportunity to follow up with them and stay top-of-mind.
Types of Lead Magnets
There are a wide variety of lead magnets you can use such as: E-books, tools, tip sheets, cheat sheets, reports, service discounts and coupons etc. You can really use anything that gives your customers enough value to hand over their details. As a Local Marketing business the most valuable and relevant for our market are information and/or discounts.
Creating Your Lead Magnets
Sure it can take some time and effort to create a lead magnet, however once it’s done it can sit there improving your conversions day after day, week after week. The more you put into creating something of high value the more it will pay you back in spades over time, and I’m not talking about some lame newsletter here. It has to be irresistible.
Imagine you are a home owner browsing around looking for some info on Termites because you’ve been told they’re in the area. You’re not ready to hire someone just yet so you’re in the info gathering stage. You visit a few different Local Marketing websites and all but one give you the usual “Fill out this form to contact us” or “Get a free inspection”. Now the free inspection sounds good but you know they’ll try hard to sell you on the service which you don’t want right now.
Keep in mind at this point where people are not wanting to commit to a service they are most likely weighing up a few options, often it’s what they see on your Website. If we compare the example of these following two options:
- Local Marketing Website #1 Webform: “Fill out the form to contact us”
- Local Marketing Website #2 Webform: “FREE Download: The 3 Simple Steps to double your New Dental Patients in 60 Days or Less!”.
You can see just how hard it would be not to want to download the free guide, if new patients are on your mind then you want to know those 3 simple steps.
Some points to help you create a great lead magnet are:
- Focus on one major pain point for a customer and help solve that problem.
- Make it short and to the point.
- Make it help further the sale.
Another thing that people often ask is “will it hurt my sales if I give away the good stuff”? This is a good question and the answer is no, giving away your best tips does way more positive than negative things for your business. People appreciate great advice and what you’re doing is demonstrating you can help them by actually helping them! The higher quality the info and advice, the higher your Authority and Credibility soars.
The main objective and goal of all your content, marketing and advertising efforts is to create qualified leads and customers. Once you reach any of your target audience in any channel and get them to consume your content or message, you must engage them and motivate them to take an action. By following the steps presented in this guide you will be able to provide a clear and well defined path for them to take to the next step, while at the same time eliminating distractions.
Once you start looking at all your marketing and advertising efforts through the lens of these conversion elements you should see a marked improvement in your Local Marketing lead generation and sales results.