When you’re building a new lead generation website, there’s an easy way to stay on the road to success: For every creative decision, think like your prospects.
Notice I said prospects, not customers; and there is a reason for that which I’ll cover in a few minutes.
Inward Thinking Kills Lead Generation
Web design projects usually involve an internal committee working with an agency, and a lot of voices are heard … except for the prospects’. This is why most lead generation websites fail to convert. Creative decisions, instead of being based on what prospects need, are based on what project stakeholders want.
Ask the Right Questions
Beat the odds and build a website that does convert by asking these questions:
- What do prospects need to know about our company, product and service to make them interested enough to make contact? (Stuff to put in.)
- What information about our company, products and services will confuse our prospects, sidetrack them and/or put doubt in their minds? (Stuff to leave out.)
- What are the most important pieces of information a cold prospect needs to know about our company, products and services?
- What are the most important pieces of information a warm prospect needs to know about our company, products and services?
- What kind of devices (desktops, tablets, mobile phones) are our prospects likely to use when viewing our website?
- What style of communication strikes a responsive chord with our prospects?
- What level of technical language is suitable for our prospects?
- What images of our company, products and services drive home key selling points to our prospects?
- What enticements are effective in motivating prospects to phone in or submit a contact form?
Answer these questions correctly, and then execute copywriting and design accordingly, and your website will persuade prospects to convert. What’s the best way to come up with the correct answers? Get prospects involved in your discovery process.
It never ceases to amaze me how seldom companies do this, and instead make all sorts of assumptions and outright guesses about what prospects need from the website. But a really smart company will pose these questions to a broad spectrum of prospects: skeptical prospects, indifferent prospects, unfavorably inclined prospects and prospects on the verge of doing business. The company may not like what it hears, but it will not only make it build a better website, but perhaps also build a better company!
Test Your Answers
Taking prospect involvement a step further, keep prospects involved in the testing and review phases of the web design project. This is by far THE most effective way to spot areas of your website that cause confusion, raise doubt or distract attention from the conversion funnel.
Testing and review from internal stakeholders — employees and agency personnel — serves an important function to be sure, but these people are too close to the project and too familiar with the material to put themselves fully in the shoes of the prospect.
Yes, getting prospect feedback before site launch is an obvious and crucial step … and also one that most companies fail to do.
Don’t Fall Into the Customer Trap
At the top of this article I stressed thinking like a prospect, not like a customer. Very important.
Naturally, your new website needs to make a positive impression on existing customers: The website must reinforce the reasons why they do business with you; the messaging must be consistent with your established brand identity; your content must provide information customers need for maintaining the relationship.
But in terms of content hierarchy and thematic emphasis, these are secondary considerations for a lead generation website. And it must be so, because the needs of prospects and customers are not the same. For instance:
- Prospects need to be convinced of your credibility, whereas customers already are.
- Prospects need to understand the basics of your products and services, whereas customers already know them.
- Prospects will be overwhelmed by too much information, whereas customers will not.
There are any number of ways to balance customer and prospect needs on a company website, but the key is always to keep these two audiences clearly separated in your thinking during the creative process. Failing to do so results in a website full of compromises that leaves both customers and prospects feeling uninspired.
On the other hand, by concentrating on prospect needs, your new site will inspire prospects to take the next step in building a business relationship, whatever that may be. Then, after launch, by applying the same prospect-driven thinking to website changes and Internet marketing campaigns, your site will improve month after month in terms of sales lead quality and quantity.
Need help designing a highly effective lead generation website? Contact us now to discuss your project!