Five Ways to Increase Your Online Leads (and Avoid Those Time-Consuming Networking Meetings)

If you could avoid just one or two of those time-consuming networking meetings this year, would you be interested? One way to do that is to beef up your online presence with these five fast and simple ideas.

1. Tell prospects what to do next.

Most web sites that offer services leave prospects hanging. They don’t know what to do to get started with you, so they give up and go away. You’ll get 20 percent more leads if you tell people what to do at the bottom of each page.

It might feel like you are over-communicating (especially if you are an introvert), but you aren’t; you’re providing an extra level of clarity. This can be as simple as “Call me.”

Better yet, let them know what you have for free that they can sample. Example: “To claim your complimentary QuickBooks consulting session, email David at __ or call Shelley at xxx-xxx-xxxx, extension xx.”

2. Don’t make prospects hunt for your contact info.

When we do a website for a client, we make a point to showcase the phone number prominently in the header if at all possible. When you make it super-easy for your prospect to reach out, you will gain the most amount of calls.

There is one exception to this rule: if you are well-established with a large book of business and exclusivity is one of your marketing strategies, then you want to do the opposite. Most of the time, this exception will not apply in the competitive accounting industry.

3. Include your full address and contact information.

When I look at a contact page on a web site that doesn’t have a physical mailing address, it’s a red flag for me. I wonder if they are part-time, serious about their business, or hiding something.

I don’t recommend adding your home address if you work from home. I do recommend getting a box at a mailbox place such as Postal Annex, The UPS Store, or Mailboxes, Etc. that you can use on your site.

The more contact information, the better. I even recommend a fax number even though it’s older technology. The reason is it makes you look like you are more established and have been in business longer, which is reassuring to the prospect and increase the trust factor which closes the sale faster.

4. Warm leads up.

Only three percent of prospects are ready to buy when they first find out about you. It’s a crime to forget about the other 97 percent that need further interactions with you before they buy. Keep these leads warm by providing a lead collection mechanism on your web site and blog such as a newsletter or free report sign up.

The big secret is, you don’t have to send a newsletter to have a good list (although it helps).

I started collecting names in 2006, and I knew better in 2003. My list is great now, but would be greater had I started earlier. I don’t know one person that doesn’t wish they started earlier on their list-building efforts. A good list is worth tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes millions) to most businesses.

5. Provide a contact form.

Some leads prefer to complete a form on your website when initiating contact for the first time. A simple contact form that emails you the information is easy for a webmaster to install on your contact page.

Some webmasters prefer to include only the contact form on the contact page. I feel this is a big mistake. We recommend putting your contact information first – phone, email, fax, and address – and then add the contact form at the bottom of the page.

Be sure you periodically test your own contact form and know what the results look like when you get one. These emails often go into spam, and it would be a shame if you missed out on a great lead because your spam filter was set too high or your spam folder was hidden or not reviewed on a timely basis. This happens more often than you might think.

These five ideas will keep your marketing costs lower and save you time as well. Let us know your favorite ideas for increasing online leads by posting them on our blog.