The definition of demand generation is to attract online visitors who are interested in your product or service. Based on that, the goal of a demand generation website is to attract those online visitors and convert them into leads.
What does CONVERT Mean?
Does it mean, “get them to buy something right then and there”? What about, “get them to leave contact information, particularly email”? What about, “pick up the phone or chat online”? The answer is, “yes” – all 3 of those fit the definition of convert. My definition of conversion is: get someone to give you a way to continue marketing to them. Put another way, when an unknown website visitor gives you their contact information.
A “conversion” is done a number of ways:
- valid email address
- Twitter follow
- Facebook like
- phone number
- business card
Once you have a one of these pieces of information, you have the opportunity to dictate the next communication with that person. In my opinion, a valid email address is the most valuable piece of contact information. Email addresses allow for personalized, mass communications.
I Want Customers Not Leads! (right?)
I used the word “lead” instead of “customer” deliberately in my definition of conversion. Let’s take an example.
If you were speaking on a soapbox on a busy street corner and 100 people walked by and heard you – how many of those people would be ready to buy your product or service right then and there? 2? 5? 10? Now how many of those people do you think would be ready to buy within the next two years? Substantially more than are ready to buy today! Thus, your website needs to generate leads so that you are their choice when they are finally ready to purchase.
How Does a Website Convert Leads?
A combination of good design and appropriate functionality is all you need. In simple terms, your website needs to guide people to the information they are looking for and, when they arrive, make it easy for them to convert (leave their contact information, buy something, call you, etc.). If you have a well-targeted page that attracts a market segment to a particular offer, product or service of yours then THAT is the place to convert them!
That’s easy to say but might be challenging to apply to your business. An important consideration is your business model and buying cycle. Do people typically purchase online and during their first few visits to your website? Or do people first ask you questions or go for a test drive. Understanding your model should dictate how your website guides people and when it tries to convert.
Some of you are fidgeting right now… yes, there are other goals of a website but I consider those table stakes which are necessary for converting. The list includes:
- Provide sufficient information
- Don’t use any tricks or deceptive practices
- Reinforce your brand image
- Position yourself in the marketplace
The list goes on. They are important items but they need to support the demand generation goals rather than outweigh them.
There are tons of demand/lead generation tips for website design such as Improving Your Website’s Lead Generation. Finally, here’s a succinct video containing good website design tips. Check out their final message (at the 2:30 mark):