Conversions Matter: Capture Sales Leads Online

Posted on 16 April 2010 by Joel Mark Witt

As my mentor Eben Pagan likes to say, “it’s not about communication, it’s about conversion.” You can communicate your brand all you want, but at the end of the day conversions are what matter.

Conversion should be your new goal

If you’d like to use social media to market your business, then you need to use social media to drive conversions. Yes, using Twitter and Facebook to brand your business can work over the long term. But your goal is to see some results now.

By placing emphasis on website conversions, you will make the right choices about what content you produce for social media sites, how you set up your profiles and even what links to include in your messaging.

A quick overview of conversion

Conversion simply refers to the number of online visitors who take the desired action you want them to take. So it’s important to identify what those “desired actions” are.

First, we have sales. This is a great conversion. Sales of products or services are measurable and always a good thing in business.

Second, we have lead capture. This is the process of capturing someone’s email address and name when they come to your website. Lead capture is not as intuitive for for most business owners – but in reality it can be even more powerful than trying to sell on the first visit.

I’m not suggesting you don’t have something for sale on your site, I’m simply suggesting that many potential customers are not ready to buy something on the first visit. But they would be willing to start a relationship with you.

Let’s look at it this way. If you met an attractive person at a party, would you ask them:  A) to marry you [the sale] or b) for a phone number [lead capture]?

It seems so simple when you are meeting someone in a romantic situation. But in business marketing and social media, common sense goes out the window for a lot of people.

Small business owners see Coke and Nike with billboards in Times Square and think they have to compete on that level.

Bull crap.

Change your mindset to focus on conversions first. There is a place for branding, but don’t start there.

How leads are captured

If lead capture is important, how do we do it?

There are three steps to capturing leads online using social media.

First, set up your website so it’s ready to capture leads.

Sounds simple right – but stay with me here.

I recommend capturing email addresses and names. For some industries (like real estate, insurance, or restaurants) it might make sense to get a physical address and phone number. But in most cases you will start by getting prospects and visitors to opt-in to an email list.

You will need to place an email capture form on your site and make it appealing to join your list.

I like to offer a valuable free product on my sites. It doesn’t have to cost you anything in materials. It could be an online training video or free PDF report packed with useful information.

Second – be sure all your social media sites point back to your website where you capture leads.

Again – obvious right? But wouldn’t you know it – most people don’t do this.

On your Twitter profile, place a link that routes back to your website. On LinkedIn include a link that drives traffic to your website. You get the idea.

Third – make a clear call to action in your social media profiles.

If you are a real estate agent, go ahead and say something like “to learn how I can sell your house in 30 days – download my free report [website address]”

Action step: Place a lead capture form on your business website

Start with your own site. Ninety-nine percent of people reading this article don’t have a lead capture form on their website. Take care of that today first.

Now go take action.

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Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.

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