Lead captures can turn prospects into paying customers
It's your lucky day - someone made it to your website, a prospect who is interested in your products and services. Now don't get too excited, because this prospect is not "totally hot." This potential customer is not ready to whip out a wallet and make a purchase, call you to order or arrange a meeting.The reality is this prospect is still not sure if he or she wants to do business with you. Your prospect is still gathering information.Before we get back to your fictional prospect, we have to cover something that's so important it can make the difference between success and failure - between steady movement toward your business goals and being stuck on a treadmill.In my day-to-day adventures, I come across a lot of websites. Business owners often reach out because they know there's some untapped potential buried in their website.There are two very common mistakes that doom a company's website to mediocrity.• Mistake #1: The first and very common mistake made on most small-business websites is the total absence of any form of lead capture. We'll talk about lead capture in a second.• Mistake #2: If there is a lead capture mechanism present, it's usually boring, lame, has no urgency and gives no compelling reasons why someone should exchange his or her name, e-mail and other information for it.This is the mistake of offering your newsletter as a lead capture mechanism. Here's a news flash: Nobody wants your newsletter. Get over it!Do you see where this is going?First, you need a lead capture mechanism to fill your funnel with prospects. Second, the lead capture mechanism needs to be exciting, fun, interesting and have a little sense of urgency.Delivering the goodsSo where to begin?When your prospect is in "information gathering mode," like in our opening scenario, the place to start is with information.The question to ask at your next marketing meeting is simple: "What sort of information can we package up for our prospects and give them in exchange for their contact information?" Take it a step even further by making sure the information you are packaging up has real value.You've decided on the valuable information, but that's not enough. To get your prospect to act, you must offer some sort of immediate gratification. You do this by making sure your information will deliver an immediate benefit. Give them something to look forward to - in some cases, sending your prospects information in the mail works great - or help them begin to solve a problem they have.After you've helped your prospect take one step closer to becoming a client or customer, then you can introduce your newsletter as an added benefit and way to stay in touch.Mike Dolpies, a business owner, author, speaker and Internet marketing consultant, can be reached at 603-286-4864 or askmiked.com.