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How to have the sales leads cake …and eat it

Yesterday I argued that hiding your information behind a registration wall on your website will lose you direct customers, although it will give you more names and addresses for your marketing database. Maybe those people could be turned into customers later, so it might be worth the trade-off; it probably depends on your company setup. Is the job of marketing at your company to create current sales opportunities, or generate a list of future prospects for the sales department?

But what if you could have the best of both worlds? What if you could let every potential immediate customer find their way to you, and still pick up the contact details of the website visitors who didn’t think you were right for them, but who might be in the future?

The answer, of course, is to make a secondary offer to the visitors who decided against your product after seeing full details on your website. The offer? Give up your name and address after all, and we’ll make it worth your while.

Now, the key here is to make the visitors who give up their details self-selecting as future prospects. If you only make red widgets, you don’t want the details of the visitors who only buy blue widgets, but wrongly ended up at your website by searching for just “widgets” in Google. If you offer a holiday in the Bahamas in exchange for subscribing to your company newsletter, you’ll get the unwanted blue widget buyers as well as the real prospects signing up. So your incentive for visitors to reveal their details needs to be related to your actual product.

There are plenty of things you can offer: access to online tools, a snappily-titled White Paper, a reference guide to red widgets, entry to your next free seminar, a special update discussing essential legislation …the list goes on. You should be able to get just as many names and addresses as you would have done by putting “registration” barriers up on your website (more, I’d bet), with the bonus that you’ve given the real customers out there every opportunity to find out that you’re right for them.

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