Capturing leads is a process every business needs to understand. These days most commercial websites have a lead capture form.
When someone expresses an interest in your company, a lead generation form helps you capture their details. It gives you the option to engage with people who might otherwise have simply passed by without leaving a trace. They are giving you permission to contact them, it could be through an email, a text message, or even video calling online.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 10 different ways you can improve your lead generation. If you read and apply the following tips, you’ll soon have a sparkling lead generation form. Then it’s time to convert these leads into happy, engaged customers.
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10 Ways for Improving Your Lead Generation
1. Set Yourself Specific Targets
The first thing you need to do is understand precisely what you want to achieve. It’s obvious but some companies don’t do this properly. Yes, you want to generate more leads and convert each lead into a happy customer. That’s not specific enough. If you want to properly optimize your lead generation form you need to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve.
The targets you set need a broader focus than the customer alone, they need a market orientation. That means focusing on the entire business environment, benchmarking competitors, suppliers, the entire market.
Not just specific, it also needs to be measurable. Things that you can measure, you can improve. For instance, you could simply track how many leads (email addresses) your form generates over time. Or, you could track how many of the leads from each form ultimately convert into sales.
When you set targets, make them achievable and realistic. If you set yourself goals that you can’t possibly meet you’ll either ignore them or you’ll get disheartened.
2. Use the AIDA Model
AIDA stands for Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. It’s a classic marketing communications technique, and it works. Get your audience’s attention with a great headline, bright colors, or an appealing offer, whatever works for your customers.
Once you’ve got their attention you need to get their interest so they don’t click away. You could use an interesting statistic or an interesting question.
Once someone is interested in what you're offering, you should convert that interest into desire. Here’s where you’re going to stress the benefits. Explain the features in terms of the benefits they offer.
Finally, get the prospect to take action. We’ll be talking about your CTAs (call to action) in more detail later, but for now, remember the AIDA technique.
Take the above example from Quick Base. The headline offering a 30-day trial grabs the attention. The revelation that thousands of other businesses are already benefiting, builds interest. The promise to improve your workday turns that interest into desire, and the fact that only two fields have to get filled in helps to ensure action.
3. Keep It Short and Simple
Have you ever been completing a form online and you got bored and gave up? It’s a disaster if you’re trying to promote your website or business.
When you ask people to complete a form online, you have to keep it short and simple. Only ask for info that’s absolutely necessary, and nothing more. If possible, keep it just down to a few tick boxes. If you make it too long people will get bored and click away. Or, possibly fall asleep at their desk.
Imagine it’s the first time someone comes into contact with your organization and they decide they want more information. Perhaps they like the idea of receiving your email newsletter, and you’ve got a form to fill in. That’s great, you’ve got a lead, haven’t you?
Not yet. You need that person to complete the form and click send. If it’s 20 pages long and asks for the color of your second cousin’s first bike, you might not get that lead after all.
Keep it short and simple. One way to do this is through enterprise automation. It will make things easier and more convenient for you and your customers.
Give people a reason to complete your form, preferably several reasons.
The first way to do this is to stress the benefits. Don't just focus on the features. You need to make it clear why those features bring benefits to everyone completing the form. That’s your first incentive.
After you’ve done that you should consider other forms of incentive. You could offer entry into a prize draw with a chance to win a great prize, or a free download, or an ebook.
Automizy offers a free course in email marketing. That’s something perfectly tailored to their audience, and that they know prospects will be interested in.
You can be clever about this. Not all incentives appeal to everyone, so you can use this as a way of qualifying your leads too. For example, if you want to find people who are interested in foreign travel, offer a chance to win air miles.
Make it interesting. Make it exciting. Most of all, make it worthwhile. If possible use CRM (customer relationship management) techniques to make it personalized.
If you want more people to complete your form, give them a proper reason.
5. Use Testimonials
When you ask someone to fill out a form on your website, you’re asking them to give you something free of charge. You're asking for their time and their personal data. If that person is familiar with your company they might be happy to do that. If they’ve already had several positive engagements with you, you’ll have earned their trust.
If they’re new to you, you’ll need more customer engagement to earn that trust. Here’s where testimonials come in. Testimonials can help persuade and reassure people, but they need to be credible. The best testimonials come from people you know and respect. Check out these examples of landing page best practice for more info.
Do your research and get authentic testimonials from people your target audience can relate to.
6. Encourage Sharing on Social Media
This is where testimonials meet word-of-mouth recommendations. Getting a happy customer to share your information on social media is like winning first prize at the game of business. You’ll get a boost to your social media engagement and more people directed towards your lead generation form.
Most people have hundreds of social media friends and connections. At the click of a button, your lead generation form could be in front of thousands of people. When a friend shares something it’s far more credible.
Check out what Maude does above. They make it really simple for anyone to share their link via popular social media platforms. They also clearly display the benefit (in this case £5 each) to both sharer and those they share with. Okay, this isn’t a lead generation form, per se, but the same principles apply.
7. Address Privacy Concerns
Protect people’s privacy. If someone gives you their personal data, that’s a vote of confidence in you. That person is trusting you. Don’t abuse their trust. Most important of all: don’t try and make a quick buck by selling their information.
8. Use Great Copy
This one might sound obvious, but have you really tried to optimize your copy? That doesn’t just mean proofreading it, it means tailoring it for your audience.
Don’t forget the basic rules. Keep your text short and simple. Make it easy to read with the most important information first. That’s the information that tells your audience why they’ll benefit by filling out your form. Make sure to keep what’s in it for them front and center.
You can set up several versions of your lead generation form with different main text and calls to action. That gives you the chance to check which version delivers the best click through rate.
9. Make It Time-Sensitive
Create a sense of urgency with time restrictions. Doing this will help convince people to take action immediately.
If you create a special offer that is available for a limited time, people will feel like they could miss out on an opportunity. Time limits persuade people to act fast, helping to boost your conversion rates. Those reluctant folk sitting on the fence might be close to completing your form. A time-restricted offer might be what it takes to get them to commit.
If you were on the lookout for deodorant, for instance, the above form has a great chance of spurring you into action. You’ve only got 56 seconds, after all, to avoid missing out on the chance of 12 months’ worth of free product!
10. Test and Change
Finally, test everything, make constant changes, and see what works best for you and your audience. With an online lead capture form, you can do exactly that. With very little effort you can monitor success rate with different > design ideas.
Here are just a handful of the form elements you can A/B test to find what works best with your audience:
Images or graphics on the form
Wording for your form’s fields
Number of fields
Wording and design of any CTAs on your form
Don’t make big changes unless you have to. Make a series of small, incremental changes. Try to only change one thing at a time then leave it for a week or so. One week you might try a different landing page, the next week you try a new incentive. That way you can take a scientific approach to your lead generation form.
The Point of Points
The final point applies to all the previous tips. You can change or tweak things very easily. Try different incentives and different calls to action. You can experiment with different testimonials. Change the length of the form. Try everything and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. It’s the errors that help you learn.
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Sam O'Brien is the Director of Digital and Growth for EMEA at RingCentral, a Global VoIP, video conferencing and call centre software provider. Sam has a passion for innovation and loves exploring ways to collaborate more with dispersed teams. He has written for websites such as G2 and Hubspot. Here is his LinkedIn.