How to Turn Your Website Into a Lead-Generation Machine

kathryn by Kathryn Hawkins on January 2, 2012
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Your website is more than an online business card for your company: When used properly, it can be your most powerful tool for capturing the contact details of prospective clients and customers.

If you’re selling big-ticket items — furniture, cars, web development, real estate services — customers are unlikely to make immediate purchases. But by capturing their contact information during their initial visits, you can put your business in prime position when they are ready to buy.

Try these strategies for turning your website into a lead-generation machine.

Offer a free download as an incentive to sign up for your email newsletter. If you’re selling legal advice, offer an e-book on a relevant topic, such as Legal Red Flags in Hiring New Employees. Ask site visitors to provide their names and email addresses to receive the e-book and then add them to your newsletter mailing list (they may unsubscribe later, of course). Sending out a monthly or quarterly newsletter to your contact list keeps you at the top of their minds.

Make sure your SEO efforts are up to par. Think about the terms you want people to associate with your business and beef up your content with blog posts and other items that incorporate those keywords. That said, don’t create content purely for SEO purposes. Focus on providing high-quality, valuable information that visitors will want to share with their friends. Direct referrals from social networks are more powerful than Google search results.

Host a giveaway contest. Donate or buy a big-ticket item that you know your potential customers would love. If you sell furniture, for instance, offering a raffle for a high-end sofa could help you gain contact details for thousands of potential customers in your community.

Use pop-up windows (tastefully). Many people hate pop-up windows, but when used wisely, they can be effective in capturing sales leads. A study conducted by GartnerG2 found that although 78 percent of respondents found pop-up ads “very annoying,” pop-ups nonetheless get nearly twice the click-through rate of typical banner ads. Consider offering an email newsletter sign-up or a free e-book though a pop-up window that only opens after viewers have already begun scrolling down the page. This way, they’re likely to be engaged with your content and less annoyed when the screen gets blocked by a pop-up.

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