I write a lot about increasing traffic to your site and improving conversion rates, and this is important for B2B and B2C companies alike. B2B companies usually rely on this process to generate leads, which can then be followed up on to land more sales, and generate revenue. That means there’s only one real difference between a B2B conversion and a B2C conversion—a B2C conversion represents tangible, measurable revenue while a B2B conversion represents potential revenue.
Both types of conversions mean more total revenue for your site, as long as you’re closing leads, but when most people (myself included) talk about “conversion optimization,” we’re talking about increasing the quantity of leads you receive. Today I want to address another type of optimization—one that increases the quality of leads you receive, which is just as important if your bottom line goal is more revenue.
If you’ve ever been in a sales position, you know why lead quality matters. Low quality leads are people who aren’t interested in your product or brand, or those who are just interested in finding out more details without really buying anything (tire-kickers). They may even be people who fall outside your demographics if you’re generating leads automatically. All this is a problem because every “weak” lead you spend time on is wasted time you could have spent on a high quality lead. You might get fewer leads overall, but your sales ratio will be much better.
If you’re just getting started with online marketing or conversion optimization, you might want to focus on quantity first—there’s no use trying to filter two leads down to one lead, but once you start getting dozens or hundreds of leads on a regular basis, you’ll need to focus that stream down to only what’s most important. Here’s how you do it:
This first option might seem obvious, but it’s easy to neglect. Your content is responsible for the majority of your inbound traffic and early interested leads—it attracts people from search engines and social media, and forms visitors’ impressions of your site when they start poking around. The type of topics you pick can have a drastic impact on the people who eventually choose to convert. For example, if you write about basic, general topics in your industry, you’ll tend to attract leads who are nearly unfamiliar with your type of company and industry best practices. If you need qualified leads with more experience or familiarity, you’ll have to increase the vocabulary and change the focus of your articles.
Just like content, the things you publish on social media can have an effect on who comes to your site. However, on social media, you have more control over who comes into and remains in your pool of followers. For example, you can target specific demographics to reach out to and build an audience person by person to increase the percentage of connections who fall into your targeted demographics. You can also use segmented lists to filter out those who might not be relevant—such as people outside your geographic area.
If your content and social adjustments don’t help, you can consider funneling people to different landing pages based on their intentions (and possibly behavior). For example, let’s say you offer three different levels of service: one for beginners, one for experts, and one as a white-label service for other businesses. Here, you can create three different landing pages with specific copy that only appeals to one of these demographics (each). If you funnel lots of traffic to each of these pages, they’ll naturally filter out any leads who aren’t qualified for each specific service.
Instead of attempting to get leads right away, turn your main site of conversion into a “prospective lead” generator. When you get someone to fill out your form, subscribe them to an ongoing email campaign (or similar marketing strategy that keeps your brand top-of-mind). A portion of these subscribers—only the most interested—will open your emails regularly, and might even reach out directly to you. With every email, your pool of prospective leads will grow warmer toward your brand, and uninterested parties will naturally unsubscribe, allowing your lead pool to filter itself.
What I’m about to suggest violates a basic principle of conversion optimization: make the conversion as easy as possible. When you do this, you greatly increase the quantity of leads you receive, but unfortunately, you also decrease the quality. By making your conversion process more difficult, such as asking more questions or requiring a specific commitment to proceed, you’ll filter out the marginally interested parties and focus solely on those who are already willing to buy.
These aren’t the only options for increasing lead quality, but they are some of the most practical and most effective. As you can see, most can be set up in a matter of hours, and provide a steady filter to weed out some of the least relevant leads in your sales pool. Every bad lead filtered out is less time wasted by the sales team and higher percentages of sales to traffic, so continue refining your system until you’re left with a well-oiled lead-generating machine.