Following up on the ease of contact post. . .
Contacting you is often a general action. Lead generation is more specific. It involves the contact but with an intent to take a next step.
Ideally, professional services websites are developed with the intent that it will generate new business. In the case of consultants, trainers, and professional coaches, there are multiple factors that complicate the task. Which begs the question, “How do I, as a consultant, trainer, or professional coach, or similar professional service provider, make my website work for me?”
Actually generating leads doesn’t focus on getting people to the site, the assumption is that there are mechanisms in place to accomplish that. It is about generating the lead after the visitor has found you online. And it is amazing how many consultant, trainer, or professional coach websites fail to master the basics. The website should include the following:
- Prominent phone number. A phone number should be highly visible. It should be part of the site’s template structure on every single page. If you are serious about knowing where a lead is generated from, a secure phone line dedicated to the site will make tracking much easier and accurate. If a dedicated line is not feasible then training the voice on the other end to find out what prompted the call is the only way of attributing a phone call to the website.
- Contact form. Again, it is best to have it visible in a way where visitors don’t have to look for it. The form should find them, perhaps as part of the template where it can be seen on every page or as part of your primary navigation. A “how you heard about us” field can help identify the lead source. Contact forms are sometimes used after meeting someone from your firm or getting a more general marketing communication. While the website helped facilitate a contact that doesn’t mean it is necessarily responsible for it.
- Signups. Be sure the visitor can “subscribe” to something. It might be to opt-in for occasional newsletters, guides, whitepapers, or invites to podcasts, webinars, or events. Don’t limit lead generation to the prospective client needing your services right now. Develop a marketing relationship for future touches of your brand and offerings. These leads are simple to track as it’s a website specific lead. A field on how they came to the site can be useful for identifying an online communication channel that is most effective. However a good online marketing tracking system can track lead source on these leads for you without user input.
- Free Offers. Many consultants, trainers, and professional coaches provide ebooks that are how-to guides or whitepapers for a specific topic or process. Ebooks are less expensive and simple to deliver. Hard copies of documents can also be used. A hard copy requires a physical address which is typically more valuable than an email address but takes more time and money to deliver. Again this is a simple lead to track as it’s a web only offer.
I mention tracking in each section because it’s an often overlooked or poorly executed aspect of lead generation. Tracking can be as simple as an Excel worksheet or a complex CRM but without identifying how the lead was generated, assigning value generated is impossible. Effective tracking let’s you know your clients and prospects which helps you streamline lead generation by targeting prospects, and getting contact information. Then you have follow up tools; phone call, email, personal letter, soft-sell newsletter, or brochure that can turn a website lead into cash.