much different metric (the number of unique visitors to the site) than, say, an online bookseller (the number of shopping carts that make it through to the payment page). And the entrepreneur that relies on her blog to generate business would have yet another measure of success (the number of people who came to her site to read a specific article).
With those parameters defined, companies should look closely at what type of responses and behaviors they want to elicit from customers, and then design a Website that supports those goals. A company whose revenues rely on e-commerce transactions, for example, should place information about promotions and specials prominently on the site. Avoid too many distractions (such as links to articles), and use a shopping cart function that entices customers to click through to the payment page and finish the transaction.
Professional firms should focus more on the soft sell, says Shuman, making their sites succinct and specific at the same time. “Be brief, and get right to the point about what your firm can do for the prospect,” Shuman says.
Kick Into Gear
Once a potential customer makes contact with a firm, it’s time to jumpstart the conversion process with a return call or e-mail, depending on the company. “If you’re an accounting firm that’s getting 12 leads a month, and if each one is worth $5,000 to $7,000 over two tax seasons, then a phone call is definitely warranted,” Shuman says. “If you’re getting 100 e-mails a month, then communicating digitally might make more sense.”
Industry Insight: Turning Website Visitors Into CustomersHow to Convert Leads and Increase Web Sales
Regardless of how companies handle the initial contact, Shuman says prioritizing is important, particularly for small businesses that lack the resources necessary to handle online lead generation on a constant basis. “Start by calling the potential customers who are interested in your most valuable services and products, and e-mail those that aren’t as valuable and see how it goes from there,” he says.
To close the deals at his company, Phillips uses an auto-responder that promises a 48-hour window for a telephone follow-up. During that time, employees figure out whether an account manager or executive should handle that first call (depending on the scope of the potential client’s project, for example). “If it’s a celebrity or professional athlete, I’ll contact him or her myself,” Phillips says.