Editor’s Note: Our first regional i♥marketing user conference included six rapid-fire sessions on best practices for each stage of the customer lifecycle: Attract, Capture, Nurture, Convert, Report, and Expand. This blog post covers the key points of the Capture rapid-fire session.
Once you’ve attracted the attention of a potential new customer, the next step is to find out who they are and a little bit about them so you can begin a conversation that speaks to their interests.
The strategy is to capture enough information about an individual to move forward with specific purpose; one tactic is to drive prospects to a place where they can provide information, offering something they value as an incentive.
The three core tactics of your capture strategy are forms and landing pages, calls to action, and the identification of website visitors. Let’s look at each in turn:
Forms and landing pages
Most landing pages have one purpose: to turn a visitor to that page into a known lead. Effective pages are able to get a large number of visitors to the page to share information that allows you to identify who the person is and qualify them. In other words, these pages convert at a high rate.
According to MarketingSherpa, 44% of clicks for B2B companies are directed to a home page, not a landing page. And getting landing pages built and tested is one of the top five challenges faced by B2B marketers.
This landing page makes a valuable offer to marketers interested in targeting personas. If they fill it out, you will know who they are, how to contact them, and that they are probably interested in segmentation and targeting.
There are four key steps to an effective landing page:
1. A good offer. This is the number-one most important thing on your page. It must offer enough value that someone will trade their personal and professional contact information for it. Typical offers that perform well include videos, eBooks, white papers, free trials, demos, etc. Test to see which converts the most visitors. Make sure you deliver the promised value in your offer; this is the beginning of trust.
Your offer will inevitably map to one part or another of the buying cycle. The buyer who downloads a high-level white paper may be closer to the beginning of the buyer’s journey; the buyer who signs up for a webinar may be later in the journey, meaning this one could take less time to close.
2. Write copy that accurately describes the offer and makes it sound worth the effort.
- The main elements to really nail are: the headline, the sub-headline, the body or details of the offer, and the main call to action.
- Use simple, specific language, and use the same words your customers use. That not only helps them understand what you’re presenting, but helps SEO as well. Support any assertion with proof, to validate the claim.
3. Use good design principles to present the information clearly.
- Make the form pop off the page
- Use the fewest possible number of form fields to increase conversions (you can use progressive profiling to gather additional information on subsequent visits, and/or augment data with a third-party data vendor)
- Design a high impact headline
- Use bullet points to organize copy
- Minimize the number of links on the page
- Use a mobile-friendly template to create your page.
4. Test your page. Use A/B testing, and test one element at a time.
This form is long. Potential customers are likely to abandon it if the offer is not extremely compelling. However, the prospects motivated enough to fill this long form out will likely have a higher degree of interest and perhaps be more qualified. Be aware of the trade-off and where your offer fits in the buying cycle.
This short form is quick and easy to fill out. Short forms get more conversions. (And a shout-out to Ian Nate of Adaptive Computing for sharing sample forms with us.)
Killer calls to action
Your call to action (CTA) is the trigger that leads the visitor to engage in a meaningful next step. It’s usually expressed as a clickable graphic element, and set up by the copy around it.
- Make it specific. The online world is full of vague promises; being specific helps make your offer more concrete. For an eBook, you could say how many pages it is; for a video, how long. Set a specific expectation for what they will get.
- Deliver the goods. If your CTA promises an online demo but the landing page it takes the customer to makes a sales pitch before delivering the promised reward, you’re asking the customer to pay a higher price (more time, more attention), and that isn’t what you promised.
- Design your page so that the CTA is prominent. Above the fold, in the upper-right-hand corner is usually a good place. Buttons are often successful. Use other design elements to point to the CTA. Test language, color, and placement.
Website visitor tracking: different from website analytics
It’s been estimated that around 97% of visitors to a website are anonymous. Finding out who those website visitors represent is extremely valuable information, not only for marketing, but also for sales and other departments.
Going back to the essence of the Capture step: The strategy is to capture enough information about an individual to move forward with specific purpose. With website visitor tracking, the tactic shifts to watching what people do on your website and learning what they’re interested in.
Website visitor tracking is different from website analytics. Google Analytics and its competitors can show you the numbers of aggregate behavior. Website visitor tracking let you look at specific companies and individuals.
- Companies: If you see multiple anonymous visitors to your site from a specific company, you might suspect that you product or service is being considered for purchase. The average B2B purchase usually involves multiple buyers, and most of them will check you out online. If you know the typical title of your decision-makers, you can do a bit of detective work to find who holds that title at that company, and approach them.
- Known individuals: If someone ever filled out a form on your site, say to register for a webinar, then they are “known” and in your database. You can see the pages they visit on your site, and you can score specific page visits, which help you track them through the sales cycle. As an example, if someone visited your product page and drilled down into a specific product, then attended a webinar on that product, then visited the pricing page…you can draw some likely conclusions from this behavior. The prospect’s lead score will reflect that, and if a threshold has been crossed, that information could go directly to sales.
- Unknown visitors. Just as with companies, you can do the detective work to find out who that person is. If they’re spending a lot of time on your website looking at a recognizable pattern of pages, they might be more than just a tire-kicker.
- Alerts: You can set alerts to notify you or others when a specific person or company visits a specific page, or when a certain form is filled out. This notification can go directly to the salesperson, who can then look up the visit’s entire activity history to see all the interactions the buyer has had with your web pages and email campaigns, enabling a warm personal first phone call.