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Online Lead Generation Through Your Website: A Guide For B2B Companies

Online Lead Generation Through Your Website: A Beginner’s Guide For B2B Companies On How It All Works

How to Generate Leads Online By Better Understanding Your Website’s Potential

Is your website driving leads for your business? Real leads that your sales team can close?

Most B2B companies struggle with the strategy of online lead generation through their website. They’re unsure where to begin, or how to begin. But like all companies, they know they need leads — better leads, and more of them.

According to a recent survey of B2B marketers:

“The #1 challenge for B2B companies is generating high quality leads.”

Those leads are getting harder and harder to come by using traditional marketing techniques like print ads and tradeshows. With fewer quality leads coming in, and many marketing budgets remaining frozen, the cost per lead is increasing. Marketers at B2B companies are increasingly turning to online means of sales lead generation.

However, where does a B2B marketer begin to navigate the complex world of online lead generation? There are so many buzzwords to learn (inbound, tweet, impressions, convert, bounce rate, etc.), and so many acronyms to decipher (SEO, SEM, PPC, CRO, ESP, UX, etc.).

Let’s start at the beginning: What is a lead?

A lead is a person contacting you interested in purchasing your B2B company’s services or product. These leads are people coming to your website and filling out forms to contact you or dialing your phone number (which they found on your website) to call you.

Before we go any further, let’s all get on the same page regarding what a “lead” is. This is what a lead generated from our website looks like:

Website-Lead-Generation-Example

This is a person who could potentially buy a website from us. In general, a lead should be a prospective customer or client who has a need in the near future for your product or services, and has a budget allocated for this. Ideally the lead is interested in a follow up call or meeting. This is a lead. This is valuable to us as a B2B company.

Where do the online leads come from?

Your website. It all starts with your website. If you don’t have a website it will be awfully hard to generate leads online. Your website should be the hub of all your future online marketing and thus online lead generation activities.

Here’s the basic flow of how B2B website leads are generated online:

Website-Lead-Generation-B2B-Flow

With your website being the central hub, it’s up to your marketing department to employ online marketing strategies to drive qualified traffic into your website.

Once the traffic is driven into your website, it’s your website’s job to turn those website visitors into leads. This is called “converting.” This means you convert a website visitor (who is a stranger to you) into a lead you can follow up with. A website converts a visitor (stranger) into a lead by getting that visitor to provide their name and contact information via a website form (or getting them to call you on the phone and provide this information).

Every website has a “conversion rate.”

This is simply the total number of leads generated from your website divided by the number of visitors to your website (over a set period of time).

Once this basic understanding is established, online lead generation becomes a simple mathematical equation:

Website-Lead-Generation-Conversions

Makes sense, right? While this is an oversimplification, this is basically how online lead generation via a website works. In B2B industries, we generally see conversion rates between 2% and 6% (varies by specific industry).

What insightful marketers will immediately notice is the opportunity to increase the first two variables in this equation. You can either (1) increase traffic, or (2) improve conversion rate.

This is the lens through which all businesses should view online lead generation.

These are the two questions all businesses should be asking their marketing agencies:

1. How will you increase (quality) traffic to my website?

2. How will you improve my website’s conversion rate?

Let’s do some math here.

As savvy B2B marketers we know we can increase the total of website traffic  (visitors) to get more leads:

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Traffic

Simple logic, right? Just drive more traffic into your lead generation machine (your website). It’s important to note, this needs to be quality, relevant traffic.

The other option here is we can increase the website’s conversion rate to get more leads:

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-for-More-Leads

Again, simple, right? Make your lead generation machine (website) work better and convert at a higher rate. There are a number of ways to increase your conversion rate, which we will explain later in this post.

Then of course here’s what we really should do. Both. Beast it.

We should increase traffic and improve conversion rate:

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Increase-Traffic-and_Converions

Ok great. Now you know the equation and how to manipulate the numbers to crank out leads. But until now, we’ve only discussed equations and general numbers. You might ask, “but how do I actually go about increasing my website traffic and improving my website’s conversion rate?”

Great questions. Let’s tackle them!

How do I increase my website traffic?

You increase your website traffic through “traffic driving tactics.” These tactics include:

  • Blogging — Writing blog posts (“blog articles”) that feature your target keywords is a great way to help your website rank in search engines for those keywords. These posts are also great for sharing on social media and sending out via email.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — Get the technical aspects of the way your website is built in order so it’s easy for search engines like Google to crawl. This includes technical, buzzword-y things like setting up 301 redirects, optimizing meta descriptions and page titles, and fixing canonicalization errors. This also includes improving the overall usability of the site for the user.
  • Social Media Marketing — This includes participating in conversations your customers are already having on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. By posting helpful content on social media, you can help drive those social media users back to your website.
  • Email Marketing — Sending helpful, informative emails to a qualified email list will drive those people to your website to learn more information. Sending your list a quick email telling them about a new blog post on your website will drive them to your website to read a blog post they may have never known about.
  • Referral Traffic — When you create helpful content (such as blog posts, webinars, or eBooks), and you tell the world about it (via social media and email) other websites may then link to it (as a reference). You will in turn receive traffic from their websites (and links!).

These tactics, implemented successfully, can increase the quality of traffic visiting your website. And the key here is quality traffic. Not all traffic is created equal. Therefore not all traffic is quality traffic. Inbound marketing focuses on driving quality traffic only. When you drive quality traffic, the statistics are hard to ignore:

Implementing all these tactics together as a part of one comprehensive strategy is known as an inbound marketing strategy. Inbound marketing strategies are focused on generating quality content that will rank high up on search engine results pages, be shared on social media, and then emailed to a dedicated email list through a trusted email service provider (ESP).

How do I improve my website’s conversion rate?

Good question. Let’s say you’re driving more traffic into your website, nice job! And let’s say your website converts at a 2% conversion rate. To get more leads out of your traffic you need to improve your conversion rate.

There are many ways to improve the conversion rate on your website, here are three examples:

1. A/B Testing

Quick: are your website visitors more likely to click red buttons or green buttons?

I bet you don’t know.

How about this one: would more website visitors fill out your “Contact Us” form if you did not ask for their phone number on it?

I bet you don’t know.

Don’t feel bad. Most businesses don’t know these things. They have not paid attention to how visitors behave on their website. But they should. By testing two different versions of the same website pages, business can learn what elements of a website will drive more leads.

Do you have forms on your website with a button that says “Submit?”

According to online lead generation research, website forms using the button text “Submit” have lower conversion rates than those who used other wording like “Contact Us Today” or “Click Here.”

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Occurance-by-Submit

Can you believe it? By simply changing the wording on your website’s buttons you can improve your conversion rate and thus the number of leads you generate.

Additionally, adjusting certain elements such as removing the navigation bar, writing better headline copy, and adding customer reviews, a website’s conversion rates can increase over 100%. Check out these 12 case studies: 12 Surprising A/B Test Results.

A/B testing certain elements on your site will allow you to convert more of the website traffic you already have. That’s the beauty of A/B testing. It seeks to convert more of your existing traffic, therefore getting you more conversions without needing to send more traffic. Most in the inbound marketing world refer to this as conversion rate optimization.

2. Add Testimonials and Case Studies (Social Proof) To Your Website

Your website visitors want to know that you’ve been successful with your current customers or clients before they buy your product or services. By adding testimonials and case studies to your website, you show your website visitors that others have come before them, are happy with you, and trust you. It adds validation to your business.

This type of validation is known as social proof. This is the concept that people will conform to the actions of others because they believe those actions represent successful behavior. Basically, if other people are doing it, and those other people are trustworthy, then they should be doing it.

For example, if your target buyer is an HR director, they will feel more comfortable with your business after viewing testimonials and case studies featuring other HR directors they can relate to. These testimonials and case studies essentially serve as references for your business.

Here’s a case study on how one business received 64.53% more downloads by using testimonials on a landing page.

3. Add Micro-Conversions

Most B2B websites offer their visitors one opportunity to convert and it’s usually via their main “Contact Us” form. That’s typically the only form on the website.

Let’s say out of 100 website visitors, 2% of them fill out that contact form, and because that one form is the only conversion opportunity on the website it sets the conversion rate for the entire website.

But what if you added another form on your website? Let’s say this new form allows your website visitors to download a recent whitepaper, eBook, or webinar you created. And in order for your website visitors to download and view any of these items, they must first fill out a form providing their name, email, job title, and company name. Bingo, you just created a brand new conversion opportunity. A brand spanking new way to generate lead information from your website, without requiring those visitors to fill out the “Contact Us” form.

We call these things (whitepapers, eBooks, webinars) “micro-conversions,” because while they may not have filled out the main “Contact Us” form, they did fill out a form that provided your sales team with enough lead information to follow up on.

Let’s bring it back to math, you have 100 website visitors:

  • 100 website visitors x 2% Contact Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Whitepaper Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • Total: 4 Leads

Now let’s say you added all three of the new micro-conversion strategies (whitepaper, eBook, and webinar):

  • 100 website visitors x 2% Contact Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Whitepaper Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% eBook Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • 100 website visitors x 2% Webinar Form Conversion Rate = 2 Leads
  • Total: 8 Leads

There it is. By adding more opportunities on your website for visitors to convert, you generate more potential leads.

With that, here’s what your new website lead generation equation looks like:

Website-Lead-Generation-Increase-Conversions-Lead-Generation

Now that you understand the basics of how to get more online sales leads through your website, you’re ready to dive deeper into the world of inbound marketing.

And like all other companies, Vital depends on these leads to thrive and grow. We understand the importance of having an effective lead-generation strategy that leverages quality content and thought leadership. This is what makes us among the top inbound marketing agencies.

Just in case you’re not quite clear on what exactly inbound marketing is and does, check out this recent post written by our co-founder that explains Inbound Marketing vs. Outbound Marketing.

Contact us today to learn even more strategies on how to increase website traffic and improve conversion rate to create more leads.

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