By Paul Parcellin, Staff Writer
July 24, 2014

Your website has the potential to be a powerful lead-generation tool. But you must first create an irresistible landing page that draws in leads and persuades them to convert. This may sound like a steep hill to climb, but you can begin simply enough by doing a bit of comparison shopping. Check out the sites that are most successful in converting visitors. From them you can get an idea how they do it and why their methods work. In the meantime, here are some tips on how you can improve your site's Web-lead-generation performance.

A Phone Call Away

It may seem like a no-brainer, but including a phone number on your site gives your pages greater credibility among visitors and can improve the results of your Web-lead-generation campaigns. That may seem strange to those accustomed to email communication. But visitors will likely see your offers as more reliable if they can pick up the phone and contact you. When you make yourself more accessible visitors may be more likely to convert.

Form Visibility

You may generate leads on your site with a form. Forms are sometimes supplied by the advertiser, and they are used in Web-lead-generation to collect precisely the kind of information that the advertiser wants. In your Web-lead-generation campaigns you'll want your qualified visitors to fill out the form. One way to subtly encourage visitors to complete the form is to place it on each of your pages. Its presence makes it easier for visitors to find the form, and it serves as a constant reminder that they can get more information about the topic they're interested in.

Since you're hoping to get the highest possible response to your form, it's a good idea to remove all hindrances that might dampen visitors' enthusiasm for providing their contact information. A study reported by David Kirkpatrick of Marketing Sherpa, supports this assumption. Kirkpatrick says, "Generally, the less information that you request from visitors the greater the likelihood that they will cooperate and provide the data you need. Clearly, shorter forms are more effective in getting Web visitors to actually complete the registration and in terms of lowering the cost-per-lead."

Words of Praise

There are few more potent factors likely to sway a potential customer toward converting than the recommendation of an ally. You may conclude from personal experience that if a friend tells you that a product is good, you're more likely to buy it. Since you can't arrange a personal recommendation for each of your visitors the next best thing is customer testimonials. Not only will the word of satisfied customers make a positive impression, having a photo of them along with their words of praise will go a long way toward convincing others to convert. Get your best customers to write a few word - many will probably tell you to write the blurb yourself, and then show it to them for their approval. If they'll volunteer a mug shot or even a selfie, you're in business. It may give a boost to your Web-lead-generation efforts.

However, be sure that all endorsements are approved by the endorser. Also, never provide false quotes attributed to imaginary people. It will be embarrassing to you and damaging to your business when you are caught - and most likely, you will be caught.

Time for Testing

You'll likely want to test various versions and placements of your text to find what will most successfully converts your visitors. Page design and typeface can also have an impact on how well your site performs in Web lead generation. One way to find the best look and text for your site is through A/B testing. A/B testing allows you to test two different versions of your Web pages simultaneously. You can then measure the metrics in which you're most interested to see which version of the page performs best.

A well-designed site may help reinforce visitors' confidence in you, and in turn help your Web-lead-generation efforts. In some ways websites are no different from brick and mortar businesses - everyone likes a clean, professional-looking space. A crisp page that is pleasing to the eye shows that the webmaster cares about getting the details right. It also demonstrates that the site owner is willing to invest time and money into making the visitor's experience better. That's the kind of business that most of us will place our trust in.

Know Where You're Going

If you want visitors to convert you first have to decide what you want them to do. This may seem obvious, but it's all too easy to overlook. First, define what a desirable conversion is. Perhaps you want visitors to leave their names, email addresses and other pertinent information on your site. Or, you may want them to fill out a form and click through to an advertiser's website. Others may require that visitors make a purchase either on your own site or on that of an advertiser to whom you are driving traffic . Once you are clear on what you need from visitors you can work on molding your site to elicit the very reactions that you seek. Then test and optimize your content until you begin to see the Web-lead-generation results that you seek. Then test and optimize some more.

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