The Art and Science of Building Contact Lists Using Your Website

Using Your Website for Lead GenYour website is your business’ virtual storefront, and can be a wonderful place for people to learn about your products or services, read about your company history or maybe even make a purchase. But beyond this, your website also can serve many other purposes. One of the best functions for a company site is to draw in—and then capture—leads. And no one needs to tell you that the leads of today are tomorrow’s loyal customers.

Here’s a look at three ways you can successfully (and non-intrusively) generate the leads that visit your website:

1. Look the Part

When it comes to your online presence, aesthetics are important. After all, your prospects are going to see the images and copy you present online and make immediate judgments about your brand. In order to entice website visitors to divulge personal contact information in some way on your site, play to the visual. The images you use on your home page especially, but also other Web pages, can make or break the likelihood someone will stay on your page longer. And the more time spent on your site equates to a better chance they’ll convert into a customer.

You don’t need an expensive photographer, either. You can use a photo service like Shutterstock to get quality images that move your visitors where you want them to go. You can also use Skillfeed, a site that provides helpful tutorial videos, to keep your technical and creative skills in tip-top shape when it comes to photo editing, graphic design, video and more.

Be sure you’re using the right graphics and images to move prospects down your page, or direct them to a contact information form. Let’s say you’re a bakery. Maybe one of your pages includes recipes that visitors can try. Instead of simply posting the text of the recipes, include pictures that depict a pre-baking setup and a finished result. At the end, next to the finished dessert, you can include a webform. If a prospect gives you an email address, you offer to send them that recipe. By using images, you’ve made this visitor spend a little more time on that page and become a little more intrigued by—and invested in—what your company does.

2. Keep Some Content Under Lock and Key

As the content your business produces becomes a more significant factor in drawing individuals to your website in the first place, you should consider guarding some of it. Blog posts and less intensive forms of content can be free, but think about putting your longer content behind a wall. For instance, if you have an in-depth whitepaper you think prospects can benefit from reading, think about employing a popup. Some businesses have seen conversion rates increase almost 15 percent on average by going the popup route, according to Omnicore.

One way to do this is to have a popup appear on your home page when a visitor clicks on something that would signal interest in the whitepaper’s topic. For example, if you have a whitepaper written about how to train employees in a SaaS business, the popup could appear when an individual clicks on a blog post about maintaining confidentiality when employees must know tech secrets. By asking for an email address and name in exchange for viewing the whitepaper, your prospect gets information and more exposure to your company. And the best part—you have another name and email address to add to your vault of future customers.

3. Offer Something of Value

In addition to giving valuable content to visitors in exchange for some contact information, another great way to capture leads is by presenting deals to those who visit your site. It’s been found that over 70 percent of consumers say that sales or price discounts aid in their decision to buy from certain businesses, according to a recent NRF survey.

Consider a sidebar on your site that offers first time customers a price break if they join your mailing list. If you’re a handmade sweater shop, for example, you could give a little more than just a discount. Product-based businesses, as opposed to those in service industries, have a little more to play with as incentives. A way to use this to your advantage is by promising a free sweater to any new prospects that invite a friend to opt in to your email list. The point is to entice new visitors to freely give you ways to follow up with them (and others in their networks), while making them feel like they walked away with value themselves.

There are many ways to capture leads on your website, and you can get carried away in devising creative methods to do so. Sometimes, though, the most direct and proven methods work most optimally. Be sure to use compelling images that help your visitors navigate your site the way you want them to, guard some of your longer form content and offer discounts or promotions in exchange for contact information. You’ll not only have a more robust list of prospects, but those prospects will also view your company more favorably since they’ve also received something beneficial in return.