Right, in the previous two articles I've made the fairly obvious point that in industry, we need to capture the name-and-address details of people visiting our websites who are after a specific product or service. If we don't, it's exactly the same as having an exhibition stand, and just sitting there in a chair smiling politely at everyone who browses our display. Some potential customers may choose to introduce themselves and talk about their requirements, but the majority won't. And if you don't get talking to them, you'll never be able to tell them that you can provide what they need.
Today I want to discuss the people who've found your website, usually via Google, as they click around the web hopefully looking for something which can sort out their unique application. Unless you're a huge advertiser, the chances are that these people – flailing around and hoping to stumble on a solution – will be the largest single category of prospects visiting your website.
It's almost certain that these visitors will arrive at your website directly on some product page. Even if they know your company, they won't have read your "About Us" or news pages, and not even your home page. Take a look at one of your product pages now. To a first-time visitor, does this get over everything about what the product might be capable of and why your company will be so great to have as a supplier?
I was serious, by the way. Take a look at one of your product pages. Does it?
What the page needs to get over is the following: this product might well be able to do what you want; the quickest way to find out is to get in touch with us, because we're knowledgeable people; and here's an easy way to do so.
The mistake most companies make is to assume that because all that information is somewhere on the website, that'll do. It won't.
What we invariably find is that the product page just finishes with no call to action whatsoever. Sure, if the visitor wants to get in touch, there's a "contact us" tab somewhere up in the top corner, but even if the visitor can be bothered to go that far, there's no indication on that all-purpose contact page about what they'll get if they type in all their details. Worse, the one-size-fits-all form probably says "what product are you interested in?" and requires them to go back to the product page to copy out the model number etc.
It's amazing how many people drop out of the enquiry process at every additional task they're required to perform. On your exhibition stand, you offer to talk to them, you don't wait for them to initiate the conversation. You thrust a brochure into their hand, you don't wait to be asked. Above all, you request their business card, rather than hoping they might offer it as they leave and shrugging your shoulders if they don't.
And guess what? They're happy to give you their details, because you're giving them something in return. The same applies to the web page. After the product description, there must be a call to action. Don't leave it to the visitor. At the very least, your call to action should offer a data sheet or brochure (in the post, if you want them to give up their address details).
Preferably, the form should be right there on the page, although take the visitor to a separate form if you must. Whatever the case, don't ask them what product they're interested in (you know what page they've been looking at) and don't ask them for anything other than the minimum information. You can get the rest later. People start dropping out when they're asked for information not related to the task in hand – why are you insisting on their email address or telephone number if they're requesting a brochure in the post? Don't lose a lead just to save yourself looking something up later.