B-to-B companies today rely on their websites to generate a steady stream of qualified leads. But too many companies focus on improving their search engine rankings (certainly important!) without following through on critically examining their websites: does it do as much as it can in converting passing visitors into actual sales opportunities?
There are three beginning questions you need to answer as a foundation for website lead generation:
1. What should you pay for a lead? Many companies don’t know what they’re really paying for a lead (it’s important to note that we’re not talking about a sales-ready opportunity, but an initial sales inquiry). So you can’t improve your performance until you’ve first calculated current performance, and then benchmarked it against others. Marketing Sherpa, the b-to-b consulting firm, published data showing the largest portion of marketers are paying under $20 a lead.
From Inbound Marketing report: Source: ©2012 MarketingSherpa Lead Generation Benchmark Survey Methodology: Fielded January 2012, N=1,915
2. What conversion rate should you have? The study went on to calculate the conversion rate of visitors to leads from your site. Is 4% a good rate? Should it be $20%? It’s important for goal-setting to compare your conversion rate to current levels as well as b-to-b benchmarks:
3. What techniques work best for conversion? Pretty simple: now that you know what to pay, and what conversion levels to expect, it’s time to turn your site into a lead machine. The industry has migrated with increasing frequency away from traditional marketing tools to new “inbound marketing” and content generation techniques, mainly because they’re proving to be more effective in today’s busy, email-crushed environment:
Hubspot, one of the larger inbound marketing software companies, points to its own research confirming what MarketingSherpa is showing. Hubspot’s recent data shows that 60 percent of companies will execute inbound marketing strategies in 2013, and that marketers will allocate 34% of their overall budgets to inbound tactics. That’s a massive shift away from traditional marketing of brand advertising. According to Hubspot, 17 percent of marketers say both traditional advertising and direct mail have become less important in the past six months. Traditional advertising and PPC will deliver the least amount of leads for marketers this year, with just 6 percent originating from each of these categories.
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