lead generation - provided by HubSpot.comA couple of days ago, I blogged about the first part of the inbound process; attracting visitors to your website. Now that you know the fundamentals of how and what tools to use to attract visitors to your digital presence. What do you do next?

You have to convert these visitors into leads. It doesn’t matter if your website experiences a 100% increase in visits if there is nothing for these visitors to do once they reach your website. They will quickly leave and look at other websites. Furthermore, even if you have content and information that are compelling enough to make these visitors stick around, if there is no way to capture their information, there will be no way to convert them into leads.

Here are the highlights I took away from the second part of Hubspot’s Inbound Certification program (bear with me, it’s a little long):

Part II – Convert

content attract visitors1. Creating Content with a Purpose

  • Content is KING! It is the building block of the Internet. Without any content, there won’t be anything on the Internet. It is how you call to attention strangers on the web and attract them into your space.
  • Create content that your ideal customers love. Base your content on a solution or need, not on a product. Solution-based content increases your authority as a thought leader and level of trustworthiness.
  • Direct all your content to your buyer personas. What problems do they have? What common questions does he/she have about your industry? Who does he/she report to? What does he/she do for fun? How much control does he/she have with the budget? 
  • Use the 10-4-1 rule for your social media accounts. 10 links to third-party articles. 4 links to company blog posts. 1 link to a company landing page.
  • Use social proof and strong ties to create a social connection. Big numbers in likes, followers, retweets, testimonials, reviews, etc. make people feel safe.

2. The Anatomy of a Landing Page

  • A landing page is different from a regular website page. It is specifically designed to convert visitors into leads. As HubSpot puts it, “they are your digital sales reps; they are like 24/7 information-gathering machines.”
  • webtrends.comNot all leads are equal. There are three stages of the buying process: (1) performing research, (2) establishing buying criteria, and (3) evaluating vendors.
    • 71%-89% of website visitors start their information searching/performing research online. Although the quality of these visitors are lower than of those in the other two stages in terms of readiness-to-buy, the quantity makes up for the quality (71-89% vs. 11%-29%), thus visitors in the first stage have more value. There are just not enough visitors starting their search online directly from the 2nd or 3rd stages of the buying process.
    • futureofmarketing.comThe types of content most suited for visitors in the 1st stage are: free whitepapers, guides, tip sheets, eBooks, checklists, videos, and kits.
    • The infrastructure of a landing page involves three supporting pieces: (1) call-to-action button or link that directs visitors to landing page, (2) landing page with form to capture lead information, and (3) thank you page and email with the relevant offer.
  • Landing page best practices:
    • Write clear, concise, compelling headlines.
    • Explain the value and importance of the offer to your persona.
    • Use bullet points to make information digestible.
    • Only include the necessary number of form fields.
    • Remove navigation and links.
    • Include a relevant image.
    • Add social media share icons.
    • Replace text with video if applicable.
    • Add testimonials when relevant.
    • Use industry awards and recognition.
  • Test and measure! Use metrics like submission rate to test the successfulness of the landing page. Tweak the page to find out what is working and what is not.

3. Perfecting the Conversion Process

Call-To-Actions

  • The call-to-action button or image serves to drive visitors to your landing pages. Make the call-to-action clear and attractive, contrast and pop.
  • Call-to-action best practices:
    • Make it action-oriented.
    • Include keywords consistent with the landing page.
    • Make it attention-grabbing.
    • Put it in the appropriate place on the page.
    • Have to be relevant to the page it is on.
    • Use a call-to-action on every page of your website: homepage, blog posts, products and services pages, etc.
  • Test and measure call-to-actions. Use A/B testing and click-through rates to test the design, text & copy, page placement, positioning, and offer type.

Thank You Pages

  • After the visitor submits the form on the landing page, the visitor now becomes a lead and will be brought to the thank you page with the promised offer.
  • Thank you page best practices:
    • Make the offer available to be viewed or downloaded.
    • Include next steps to help move them further into the sales process.
    • Send a follow up email to thank them again.
    • Include social networking options.
  • Test and measure thank you pages: share buttons, follow up CTAs, layout, copy, and offer delivery.

lead funnel

You have just gone through the process of seeing how a landing page converts a visitor into a lead. We are almost there, guys and gals! The next step is to close the lead into a customer and to delight them so they become an active promoter for you, which I will talk about in my next blog post.

The landing page process seems like a lot of work, but it gets easier after building the first couple (I promise). So don’t give up! If you stick to the best practices and keeping testing, the results will be rewarding.

Again, this is just a brief summary of the process. For a more in-depth understanding of the inbound methodology, I encourage you to view the online classes that HubSpot Academy offers.

Subscribe to my blog on the left to get notified when I post my next article on how to close a lead into a customer!

If you are confused or have any questions about the conversion process, leave me a comment below and explain in more detail.

Update 9/27/13: Parts III & IV are out. Find out how to close your leads into customers and keep them delighted.