Does Your Site Generate The Leads You Need? Part 1 of 3

I’m writing a series of three posts to help you figure out if your website is generating the customer leads that you really need. This is Part 1 of 3.

Part 1: Does Your Site Generate the Leads You Need?
Part 2: What is a Sales Lead Worth?
Part 3: How Many Leads Do You Need?

Not only do you need to get visitors to you see your site, you need the right visitors to respond in a positive way to become sales leads. It’s a rare person that visits a website for the very first time and makes a purchase right off the bat. You need to make your site helpful, engaging, and easy to use.

Do most of your sales leads come from your website? Or the Yellow Pages? Or from business cards tacked to the coffee shop wall? Or because you did such a good job for your aunt Josie that she’s still telling folks in line at the grocery store? Let’s find out.

Where Do Your Leads Come From?

So about a year ago, a contractor asked me if he should renew his Yellow Pages ad. His website, while dreadful, came free with the ad, and I was not-so-subtly trying to convince him to let me spruce up his site. This contractor was (and still is) busy and successful in his local market, but always needed new sales leads coming in. He was so busy working, he didn’t know where his leads were coming from. That made it hard to decide where to spend his money.

As I sat down to help him answer his question, we realized that he was having trouble because he didn’t have a lot of data to work with. Fortunately, the Yellow Pages had been sending him emails with some data. The contractor had even kept most of them. Although we couldn’t see the whole picture, we had monthly numbers of calls generated by the YP ad (YP used a tracking phone number), and how many people visited the website.

Frankly, it was surprising, but the number of people calling from the ad was much larger than I anticipated. It seemed like a lot. The contractor renewed the ad.

The trouble is, he still couldn’t tell where most of his leads were coming from. He still didn’t know what the people who visited his website did. And most importantly of all, he didn’t know if it would be cost effective to improve his website.

Step One: ASK!

If you want to find out how your customers came to you, ask them. I’m sure that sounds radical. Because it did to the contractor.

In this day and age of automated email responders, tracking scripts, and texting, talking to a real live customer is scary and weird. For some of my 6 readers, asking via email or a survey could make sense. But at least 4 of you would benefit from a real-time, voice-to-voice conversation.

Luckily, lots of you will actually talk with your leads and customer sometime during the sales process. Really, just ask how that person found you. Here are some great ways to make this automatic in your process:

  1. My favorite is making the ask a part of your telephone answering script. You know you already almost always say the same thing on the phone to everyone. Just add in, “Great, thanks for calling. Tell me, how did you hear about us?” This is genius because it’s easy, it gets you the info you need, and it breaks the ice a bit and makes those first awkward moments of a call flow so much better.
  2. If you really don’t talk on the phone, you can add a question to your intake survey or online purchase process. A simple, “How did you hear about us?” with a few drop down options will give you a ton of information.
  3. You can also condition folks to tell you so you don’t have to ask. You’ve probably seen examples of this without realizing it: “Mention this ad/website/your friend’s name for a 10% discount!”

If you only do this one step as a bare minimum, you will have a great idea of where your leads are coming from.

Step Two: LOG!

A simple hash mark tally sheet will go a long way to help you remember what’s generating those leads. Want more?

You can get really fancy with this, and get a spreadsheet going. Here’s a list of things you may want to track:

  • source (ad/website/referral)
  • name & contact info
  • date & time of initial contact
  • did they become a customer?
  • if yes, date they became a customer
  • product purchased
  • sale amount
  • repeat sales?

If you haven’t done this before, you can see that some of those get into customer resource management, for which there are entire software systems. I’d go with a tally sheet first – your priority is to find out what’s bringing in the leads you have.

Get started on this, and next week, I’ll have some info on how to figure out what a lead is worth to you.