Problem Solver: How can I turn anonymous Web visitors into leads?

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Martin Schneider
Martin Schneider

So, you've spent a lot of time and resources building a killer Web site; one that you know is attracting a lot of visitors every day. But there is just one problem: you have no idea who is coming to your site and clicking around. The Web is a great tool for casting a wide net and reaching millions of potential customers, and with a few simple tweaks to your site, you can take the anonymity out of the equation.

Here is a simple method for converting visitors into leads, and some best practices for insuring you get the most out of these efforts.

Build online Web forms.  You can easily bolt on Web forms to your corporate site, without performing a lot of heavy lifting. Online Web forms lie on top of your site and capture customer data that prospects submit themselves. This means that you are allowing the Web to automatically generate leads for you, saving a lot of extra steps for sales and marketing personnel.

Building these forms range in complexity. If you are to build a form from scratch and overlay it on your site, you will need some amount of html or Web site design skills. However, if you leverage Web-to-lead form functions in a CRM product, the coding work has already been done. With pre-built Web-to-lead forms, you simply choose which fields (name, e-mail, address, phone number, etc.) you wish to see in the form, and the CRM system instantly generates an html file you can append to your site.

Tie it all together. Now, you have already made your site more valuable to your business by getting prospects to identify themselves. But Web-to-lead forms can do even more. If you are using a Web-to-lead form inside a CRM system, leads can be qualified faster, routed to the right agent, and used in market intelligence reports. The one-two punch of automatic lead generation, coupled with enabling sales to quickly jump on hot leads is a huge benefit.

Incent the prospect. Web-to-lead forms are most effective when tied to some sort of promotion. Using the lead form as a registration page for a company Webinar, or placing the form in front of a download page for a white paper outlining your strengths will give prospects reasons to give you their information.

Choose data points wisely. One last point to consider – don't overdo it when asking for customer information. If all you need to start a relationship is a name and email, get that person on the radar and get them on a newsletter or e-mail campaign list. Or, sometimes just a company name and phone number will suffice in order to facilitate fast follow up calls.  The idea is to break the barriers of anonymity on your Web properties, without prospects feeling like they are being intruded upon. The right balance will result in a lot more leads, with a lot less effort.

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