The bad news is that it’s still too early to determine how COVID-19 will impact the rest of 2020. What we do know is that a significant portion of the population – your prospects – will continue to work from home and spend more time in front of a computer screen.
That’s encouraging news because web-based lead generation remains cost-effective, and it has become even more integrated into the customer journey from stranger, to prospect, to buyer. Advertising rates have fallen, but this doesn’t mean that lead generation costs less. The demand for online privacy, as well as data held captive by social media platforms, had already made it difficult and costly to identify qualified leads. Now it’s more difficult than ever because these potential customers are fragmenting their identities as they take the buyer’s journey using a growing number of devices. How sure are you that the 10 leads you’ve been nurturing aren’t just representations of a single buyer who’s using mobile devices, several computers, and a few smart speakers, too?
Your website is the foundation of your lead generation
Even if they are going out and about more than before, your buyers have gotten used to learning as much as they can about your products or services as digital information. Forbes magazine describes it as the “retail apocalypse,” reporting that the coronavirus will likely kill brick and mortar businesses that don’t embrace shopping tech.
The foundation of this transformation is your website. It’s also been one of the most effective ways to nurture leads. In fact, it just might be that your website is better at lead generation than revenue generation. It then becomes important to transform the content from being informational – which doesn’t generate leads – to problem-centric content.
Think about how prospects use search to move along the buyer’s journey. You can’t type the name of a company into Google or ask Alexa about it if you don’t even know that company exists. Awareness, the first step of the buyer’s journey, is achieved because people search to gain perspective about a problem they want to solve.
Qualified leads will never find you unless your website speaks specifically to those problems, and how your product or service can be a solution. And right now, as a result of COVID-19, prospects are more receptive than ever to messages showing you are sensitive to their pain points. Effective lead generation requires content that systematically walks prospects through understanding how to approach and understand a problem – well before there’s any introduction of your product or service as the solution that’ll work best. Lead nurturing also helps prospects identify themselves to you, so you’re able to have the appropriate engagement with them that matches up with their progress along the buyer’s journey.
Don’t be afraid to guide and ask
As prospects move closer towards making a buying decision, your desire to reward them with information can lead to what’s known as cognitive overload or “decision fatigue.” Our brains work much the way computers do. We have only so much thinking capacity, the same way that computers have a finite amount of working memory. If your computer gets more data than its capacity to process, it slows down. When our brains get more information than we can process, we get frustrated. Or, we start making poor decisions.
The only people who are impressed by website cleverness tend to be other marketers. Visitors looking for ways to put your product or service into their worldview want simple, easy information and direction.
This is especially important when creating lead generation forms that will convert. They require you to approach your lead generation efforts as a stranger. Calls to action should be direct and obvious, such as Fill Out this Form.
Keep in mind, too, that more than half of all Internet traffic is now generated by mobile devices, and this is expected to accelerate as 5G becomes more accessible to the general public. What does this mean? Your phone number is now a powerful call to action, so make sure mobile visitors can tap it to call you. Make sure, also, that mobile visitors can tap on your highly visible address to get driving directions.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to identify leads using traditional web methods. Ironically, more prospects are going online to make buying decisions. Your website and its lead generation capabilities have to be redirected to talk more about the problem prospects want to solve than the solution you offer. It’s the foundational first step, and it positions you to identify and directly communicate with the 3 percent of your market actually ready to make a purchase.
There’s a powerful complement to this process – and it’s one that up until recently was only accessible by big companies with deep pockets. They’re utilizing Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to align your sales process with the prospect buyer’s journeys so you can engage them precisely when they’re ready to make a choice. Learn more about this process and how we can help.