Increasing conversion rates for b-to-b search marketing

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Patricia Hursh
Patricia Hursh

Ask business-to-business marketers their top marketing challenges and you'll hear “generating leads” and “improving lead quality.” One way marketers generate leads online is by running pay-per-click ad campaigns that link searchers to landing pages with registration forms. Visitors register to receive, for instance, white papers, industry research, software downloads, e-mail newsletters and webcasts. To improve conversion rates and boost registrations, marketers can also follow these tips:

  • Understand visitors' needs Identify and analyze the various types of visitors who frequent your Web site. Create a persona for each visitor type. Think about their problems and pain points and how their needs change as they move through the buying process.
  • Create downloadable assets Analyze what you can offer each type of visitor. Map their specific needs to your assets. For example, if you have a compelling success story, create a downloadable case study. If you're giving a presentation, turn it into a webcast.
  • Offer action options Different types of visitors have different needs at different times. So it's important to offer action options on your landing pages. Early in the buying cycle, visitors are interested in general market research. Toward the middle, they want product, service and vendor comparisons. Only later will visitors be interested in a sales presentation or price quote.
  • Test landing pages Rigorously test, measure and improve all aspects of landing pages, including layout, images, benefit statements, triggers, and the names and descriptions associated with your conversions. Do more people want to “View Product Information” or “Take a Virtual Tour”?
  • Simplify registration forms An important aspect of the landing page is the registration form. Test at least three versions: short, medium and complex. Test various fields and form lengths.

Lead volume must be balanced with lead quality. Improving the quality of leads can be accomplished with tighter ad distribution, more precise keywords, ad copy and landing pages that pre-qualify visitors.

The challenge for BTB marketers is to strike a balance and find the online registration process that delivers the most leads at an acceptable qualification level.

Patricia Hursh is president/founder of SmartSearch Marketing, Boulder, CO.Reach her at

(This article first appeared in the June 2007 edition of the Essential Guide to Search Engine Marketing.)

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