The Lead Generation Path

Selling online is not as simple as it was even just a few years ago. Today, thanks to the growth of the Internet, customers have a huge variety of choice when it comes to product suppliers. This has made it harder for your customers to make a purchasing decision.

Sometimes your customers will have to visit your site several times before they make a purchase. Research has shown that only 44.1% of purchases are made when the customer has visited the website just once.

However, when looking at the purchasing paths of these customers, the numbers can seem to be highly skewed by one lead generation path: affiliate marketing. The biggest reason for this is that most of the hard work has already been completed by a third party. Therefore, while the purchaser may have visited your site only once, they could have visited the other site more than once.

Also, those visiting via pay-per-click are more likely to make a purchase, because most are actively seeking products to buy.

As you can see in the above table, direct visits (which can be from social media, emails or another source that is connected to paid advertising), have a low immediate conversion rate. Yet more than 80% of website traffic can be from direct searches. This doesn’t include visits from email marketing, social media or direct input of the URL into the search bar of a web browser.

Therefore, while pay-per-click and affiliate marketing can have a high conversion rate on the first visit, they generally only resemble a small proportion of your traffic. So you need to ensure you have a sufficient lead generation process that will collect details for potential clients and then push them through an online sales process.

If you can do this effectively, then you can generate a significant stream of potential customers for your business. In this article, we will be looking at how you can generate leads for your business.

There are five stages of the online sales cycle: strategy, platform creation, generating traffic, lead generation and lead nurturing and sales. This article will specifically call deal with the strategy, platform creation and generating traffic. There will also be mentions of how to convert customers into leads.

Developing An Online Sales Strategy

Failing to plan is planning to fail.”

If you want to succeed in the digital marketing realm, you need to ensure your business is using an effective digital marketing plan / strategy. The strategy will be important in attracting the ideal customer and converting them into a lead as you process them down the sales funnel.

Tactics are not the same as strategy. Tactics are how you are going to achieve goals and missions set out in your strategy. Therefore, if you adopt tactics without a clear strategy, you are bound to fail.

The advantages of building a digital marketing plan are endless. Firstly, should something happen to the primary implementer of the plan (i.e. they leave your organisation or are forced onto long term sick) anyone in the business can pick up where they left off. Secondly, a plan allows you to focus your efforts on marketing avenues that will give you the best returns on your investment.

Research has found that businesses that use a digital marketing plan can increase their revenue by 250%.

Here are the steps to creating a good marketing plan for your business.

The First Step: Identify Your Target Audience

Identifying your target audience is one of the most important steps of your digital marketing strategy. Each audience requires a different message, depending on their nominal behaviours and beliefs. Without a clear picture of who you are attempting to communicate with; there will be limited success in crafting an effective message.

Many businesses approach this step inappropriately and attempt to reach a wider audience than they should. While the size of a generalised population may be larger, it does mean your message has to appeal to various opinions and problems. This often means marketing materials don’t convey the right message or correct solution and are unappealing to their audience.

For example, if you were a board game seller you could aim to target families. This targeting fails to consider how many children, their ages, the family dynamics or their income. These could all be major contributors as to whether the message has any relevance to those viewing the marketing materials.

Instead, a better option would be to target parents, with 2-3 children between the ages of 8 and 11, who have an annual income between $30,000 and $40,000 and enjoy ‘family time’. However, this is not a perfect example of targeting your audience.

The best targeting focuses on a single person (or pair) and builds the ideal customer around that individual. So moving the targeting further we can state:

Jim (35) and Tracey (33) are professionals working stressful jobs in London. They have two children Richard (10) and Emma (8) who are star pupils at their local school and achieve good grades. The family is very close and the highlight of the week is the family game they play together on a Sunday afternoon.

This is a very specific targeting and it highlights several features of the target audience to concentrate on. For instance, marketing materials could be created around the Sunday afternoon family time, rewarding the children for their good grades or as a way for the parents to de-stress at the end of their working week.

Depending on your audience (business or customer) there are other questions you might want to ask in your audience profiling.

  • What is their company size, type, previous performance, available funds, model?
  • What are their buying habits (online, offline, direct, indirect)?
  • Do they have political motivation and alignment?
  • What problems do they have and what can you offer to solve them?
  • What other products have they bought recently?
  • What do they read?
  • What do they do in their spare time?
  • What will interest them in your product?
  • Why would they not want to buy your product?

With the correct targeting, the value of your proposition increases. Therefore, you are able to charge more for your product and achieve better revenues. This will give you a better return on your marketing investment.

Once you have created your paragraph on your ideal customer you can start to focus your strategy better.

Step Two: Branding

Branding isn’t about your logo, although it forms part of it. Instead it is about how you interact with (or communicate with) the market. There are many different elements of this you have control of, although often, you don’t realise the image you are projecting is becoming part of your brand image.

For instance, every message you send online becomes part of your brand identity, whether you are trying to tempt people to your storefront with the latest offers or engage them in conversation about the latest fashions.

Your messages don’t even need to be verbal or written. Images can portray just as much meaning as text. The colour of your website can have a major impact on what your audience thinks of your brand. Every colour has a different meaning and tone which customers subconsciously use to rate your business.

When creating your brand, you need to differentiate it from others. By aligning your identity too closely to another you risk being ignored and overlooked. So examine your closest competitors and see what their identity is. Then write down what the three main brand concepts you want to be associated with are. For example, are you:

  • Energetic or relaxed?
  • Fun or serious?
  • Build relationships or stand apart?

Match these to your brand’s colour and the tone of your voice and you’ll be able to see a brand starting to develop. You should also look at your customer profiling. You’ll want to match your brand with what they are looking for. For instance, you won’t attract a fun loving socialite with a serious brand that likes to keep its distance from its customers.

Once this has been completed ensure all your communications match that branding identity. If a message seems off-key then your audience will notice and could turn away from your business.

Step Three: Competitor Analysis

You need to know what your competitors are doing at the same time. Look at what messages they are putting out and how these are being reacted to by the market. You want to stay away from copying the messages and if you have similar campaigns starting soon it might be time to change tactics.

Competitor analysis also allows you to see how the market is shifting. This allows you to strategise for the long term and be prepared for future changes.

Step Four: Visitor Sources And Messaging Tactics

Next, you need to identify where you are going to attract the audience. For this you need to go back to your customer profiling and see where your customers are spending their time. If they are social media users then you can use that as a platform. Alternatively, they might read a lot of blogs in specific niches, or be heavy email users.

Using this information you can identify where you will want to be placing your marketing communications. Concentrating your efforts in the right place will increase the relevant traffic to your website and also increase the uptake of your offers, giving you better rates of return.

Try to stick to the top three locations where you are likely to find your customers and try to mix up the platform styles. For instance, if they are reading several different niche blogs, choose just one blog niche to start with and use other avenues they regularly visit.

Where possible, it can also be useful to stay away from channels your competitors are using, so you are not allowing target audiences to directly compare your two brands.

You’ll then start to develop messages that will speak directly to your target audience. Try to keep the message very precise and convey only one topic at the time. Trying to achieve too much in any one message can overload your customers, confuse them and turn them away.

It is also important to consider the negative aspects of any message you might try to create. McDonald’s failed to consider this when they created their #McDStories campaign which has led to continuous negative publicity for the brand. On the other hand, Oreo’s repeatedly have success in digital marketing by knowing exactly what their audience will enjoy reading about on Twitter and other social media channels.

Step Five: See The Potential Results

The next step is to test your campaigns on your target audience. Set up focus groups and show them your campaigns and get their opinions on what they believe your campaigns mean. This can be a very important action point as you do not want to portray a very negative image of your brand.

Be sure not to have too few a people in your focus group and that they represent a good cross section of your target audiences. You’ll also want to ensure that you host several focus groups instead of just one as this will sharpen the results and give you more focus on what improvements need to be made.

Maintain A Lead Generation And Sales Platform

Your next step is to ensure that you have an effective online platform. Many businesses assume this is just a website; however, there are other platforms such as social media and online sales platforms. If you use these platforms, the message contained within this proportion is just as relevant.

Your brand’s platform is the single most useful element of the process. Without it, there is no way that your potential customers can make a purchase or show interest in your products.

A good website is one that has a strong design and structure. An attractive website is something that users want and will support your search engine rank. However, both users and search engines want to be able to navigate around your site freely. The more pages they visit, the higher the chance they will want to buy from you.

The exception to this is by selling on third party websites, where you want them to make a purchase from their first visit. However, if you are using these sites, then generally your product page is not the first one they have visited. Therefore, a certain degree of trust has already been established thanks to the sales platform. Yet even on these pages, there are still some best practices to ensure that your audience will buy from your page.

So what is needed for your platform to highly effective?


Your website needs to have content that will generate interest for your product. Most of your pages should have a minimum of 300-400 words.

Start with a strong headline that tells the reader exactly what the page is about. Next you need a small one- to two-sentence sub-heading that will describe in more detail what you are going to tell the audience.

Then you need to write a couple of paragraphs about the product / service. Try to focus on the benefits of what you have to offer rather than the features of your product or services. Customers do not care what the features the product has but they will commit if they see the benefit in what you are writing.

For example, if you are selling washing powder that can reliably clean at low temperatures, you don’t write what chemicals you have in your product that gives it that ability. You state that using your product customers can cut their energy bills and still provides clean, fresh smelling clothes.

Call To Action

Afterwards, you need to have a strong call to action, something that will direct the customer to do something on your website. For instance, you could create an ebook or a whitepaper for them to download or offer a free review of some kind.

As long as there is a perception of value around your offer, you will get a significant number of clicks of people completing the action. When visitors are completing the action, have them provide their email details so you can add them to your mailing list.

This is all part of your lead capture form. At most, you want to collect the name of the individual, email address, their company and their position. Remember this is often the first interaction you will have with your prospect: don’t ask for too much information. The more you ask for on a lead capture form, the less uptake you will generally have from potential clients.


Images are one of the most important elements. There are several types of images that can boost the reception of your product and the efficiency of your website:

  • Professional images of your product or service.
  • Images of your customers happily using the product.
  • Related images to happy people or pets.

The last option sometimes seems far-fetched. However, research conducted on several websites, including Facebook, has found that happy people or pets can increase click through rates.

Social Proof

Another hugely important element of your landing page is ‘social proof’. This is not where you are connecting your content to your social media profiles (although social share buttons should be included where appropriate); this is where you post a series of customer reviews or testimonials on your page. These act as proof of your professionalism and competency and visitors will generally trust them much more than your guarantee (e.g. “Satisfaction or your money back”), though this should also be included.

The best way to include social proof is to use a third party application – such as a widget from a directory or review site. While some people feel this is a bad option, it offers several benefits. Firstly it allows you to double the exposure of positive reviews by having the review in two places without the need of copying it. Secondly, by being hosted on a third party, independent website, you are increasing the trust that visitors may have in your site. Thirdly, it allows search engines to establish the quality of your products and services that will then be reflected in your search engine rank.

Also, don’t always hope for five star reviews. Too many five star reviews can seem suspicious to potential customers. In fact, research has shown that customers are more likely to leave a negative review than they are a positive review. Therefore, having only 5 star reviews can, unfairly, portray that you have faked the reviews.

(Faking reviews isn’t as uncommon as you may think. In fact, in recent years many top authors and businesses have claimed that they have faked reviews on their Amazon listings to gain better ranks. There are even companies set up to sell fake reviews to book authors and businesses. These incidences were big news and since then, customers have been wary of too many reviews, especially with new companies.)

Therefore, you want to try to aim for 4.5 – 4.9 average on your scores. This isn’t as hard as it sounds. Also you want to control the rate in which you generate reviews. Too many reviews posted in a short space of time can also look suspect to customers.

However, you should always be asking your customers for reviews in order to generate fresh perspective on your services and to show potential customers you are active.

Generating Traffic To Your Lead Generation Platform

Now you need to consider how you are going to drive traffic to your new lead generation platform! The most common practices are: social media, organic searching and paid advertisement. Many of these are particularly good for drawing in new visitors to your website. Let’s look at each of those areas individually and how they can help you to grow your traffic.

Organic Search

This is the process where someone finds you online through a search engine like Google or Bing. Many small businesses can find that over 80% of their traffic can be generated from search engines and this can lead to a significant increase in lead generation. Organic searching is also one of the top purchasing paths of customers with 16% of all online purchases initiated with an organic search.

Direct visits contribute 20% and paid advertising generates 11% of all online transactions.

To get noticed on search engines you need to optimise your site for search engines. This is otherwise known as SEO.

Search engines use several factors in order to determine the rankings for their sites and most of these are kept secret to prevent illegitimate companies from taking advantage and ranking highly.

Despite this, Google are not against advising businesses how they can rank well. They will support and give hints on what is important, but they will not tell you exactly what to do. Therefore, much of your time with SEO will be spent experimenting to find the best solution via trial and error.

While every search engine and SEO website will provide you with advice, you need to concentrate on Google’s suggestions rather than any other search engines because they have the majority of the share by far. In the UK they have over 90% of the search market while in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand they have a 65+% share in the market.

The reason for the UK share being so high is unknown but considering their biggest rival in the US has an 18.7% share (November 2014), their dominance is still established elsewhere.

Some of the key SEO elements you will need to have implemented on your site include:


Keywords are an important element of the search engine optimisation process and are one of the primary ranking factors. However, since the inception of search engines, the role and priority of keywords has changed. Previously, using the same keyword several times in a piece would almost guarantee you a high rank.

Now there are several algorithms that take into long-tailed keywords (take, taking, taken) into consideration. There is also the release of latent semantic indexing. This is where words that have similar meanings can help the ranking of the other; for example, ‘online’ and ‘internet’ can support each other in the rankings if they are combined with other words like ‘shopping’ or ‘social groups’. This is controlled by a mathematical algorithm which compares the terms in relation to other words within the sentence structure.

This new process has several benefits:

  • You can write more naturally which is easier and more enjoyable for your reader.
  • You don’t have to worry so much about keyword density.
  • You have more creative freedom to create something that you know will describe exactly what you mean.

To choose your keywords, go to the Google Keyword Planner (You will need to create an Adwords account) and fill in the table under the “Search for new keywords and ad group ideas” tab.

Then enter in the details of your product / service, your homepage and product category. You can also narrow down the options using the “Targeting” section below. Once you’ve added in your details click on the “Get Ideas” button.

Next, select the “Keyword Ideas” and download the document.

Open the spreadsheet you have downloaded with Microsoft Excel (Or Apple Pages if you are on a Mac), then sort the keywords based on their average monthly searches (largest to smallest) and the competition (smallest to largest). This will give you a list of keywords that have significant searches conducted per month, while also low competition online, giving you an advantage.

Once you’ve got your list of keywords you can create content based on those keywords. Limit your use of keywords so there is just one phrase targeted on each page (the focus of this article might be ‘lead generation strategy’, or something similar). Also attempt to have it, or one of its variations, appear once in every 100-200 words. This will gain you the most visibility online.

You’ll also want to include the key phrase in the page title, page description and image tags.

Page Speed

Page speed is one of the secret factors that many websites forget about. Google likes to give those sites which load fast on a user’s browser a good rank. Yet website speed is important for other reasons. Statistically, if your site does not load within 4 seconds, 40% of your visitors will abandon your site.

Similarly, for every second that it takes for your site to load, you’ll lose 7% of your income. For a company that earns $100,000 per month means that for a 7 second delay, the company could lose $252,000 per year (approximately 21% of their annual income).

Page speed is based on a number of different factors, some of which can help support your conversion as well. To test your page speed use sites like GT Metrix and Pingdom.

For instance, you can optimise the following page elements.

Images: optimising your images using sites like it to reduce the memory they take up and the time it takes to download the image to the site.

HTML / CSS / JavaScript: reducing these elements can be achieved very quickly and can help minimise the memory it takes to download and manage your site. Minifying these details can also reduce the chance that code will cause errors on your site that you will need to locate and fix. However, if you are finding errors on your site use W3C validator to check for errors.

Simply go to the W3C Validator, enter in your website address and click on “Check”.

You’ll get a report on the same page that will detail the types of errors and the location. However, you will need to do this for every single page on your website. So if you are starting this after your page has been started, it might take a significant amount of time.

Inbound Links: while the number of inbound links is very important, you must still ensure that they are of a high quality. For instance, you don’t want to be linked to from every site that you convince (or pay) to do so. Instead, you want to acquire links from relevant sites that are talking about topics that are related to your business.

One of the best ways to do this is to create a strong campaign of building links through journalism and blog comments. Start by signing up to Help A Reporter Out. These regular email newsletters will inform you when an opportunity is available to provide advice to a journalist in exchange for a link to your site.

Even some of the biggest news outlets (New York Times, Business News Daily, etc) use this system to generate quotes, so you can get a significant amount of high quality links by using HARO. Always check your emails daily and respond to requests quickly. Continuous use of this system will support your link building activities.

Next you want to create links from other sites that are relevant to your own. Do this by reading several blogs and making high quality and relevant comments on their articles. Then link your site to the comment. Don’t do this too often however: some report that Google checks to see if this is your only source of inbound links and can then limit your reach.

Therefore, you could use a rule where 1 out of 10 of your inbound links can be from other blogs, while others have to be organically generated or from HARO leads.

You can check how many inbound links you have through your Google Webmaster account. Simply log into your account and then click on the “Links To Your Site” tab under the “Search Traffic” category.

On this screen you will be presented with several statistics, such as how many inbound links you have in total, how many from each site and what pages they link to. It does take time for links to appear on this page, sometimes up to a month, so check back regularly. Also links from blogs may never appear because they have a Google penalty or because they have a nofollow tag on their site.

If you are offered a service to improve your SEO, be careful about your choice of supplier. While many businesses can provide you with better positioning, there is no guaranteed way to achieve a top position. If a company does promise this, don’t use them. It is likely they will use black hat techniques that might get you banned from Google search results.

Instead, find a company that can prove it has improved the rankings of other customers over an extended period of time (e.g. 12 months). This will provide evidence of their legitimacy and that their techniques are approved by Google and other search engines.

Social Media

Social media is becoming one of main marketing channels: not a surprise considering that 94% of adults in America have at least one social media account. 48% of consumers also believe that it is one of the best ways to discover new brands, conduct product research or get recommendations from their friends and family.

However, only 1% of all online transactions can be traced to social media updates. Therefore, while social media can deliver traffic to your site, don’t expect the visitors to be buying your products. This can be further highlighted by the fact that only 4% of Facebook users like to see products advertised on the network while 0% of LinkedIn users like to see adverts on the site.

Instead you want to be delivering your potential customers to high quality information on your website that convinces them to sign up to your newsletter. Blogs and the promise of free reports (e-books, whitepapers, etc.) are some of the best content to direct them to.

There are a number of different social media platforms out there. The biggest are: Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest. There is no clear way to determine which one is right for your business, though if your company offering is primarily business-to-consumer (B2C), Facebook may be a more logical choice than LinkedIn, for example. Equally, Instagram or Pinterest may be better suited to businesses that need to expose more visual elements in their marketing.

Different businesses and audiences have different behaviours and requirements. So some businesses find that their best interaction on Twitter is 9pm, however research has shown that on average interaction is best at 11am.

Therefore, the best option is to experiment. Notice trends in interactions between your audience and your brand on the networks, traffic to your site and leads generated. If you notice a particular campaign is providing you with better results; use that as a template.

Still, there are techniques you can use to grow the interactions and visits to your website. Here are some of those techniques.

Use images: every network has the option to add images but it is not compulsory on all of them. Yet research has shown that no matter what network you use; if images are included website visits increase and so does interaction.

Ask questions: asking questions can increase your interactions by up to 33%. Therefore, never state to your audience something, ask a question and see what they say. This is especially true for retail businesses.

Fill in the blanks: If you want a lot of interaction on your site then post updates where your audience has to complete a sentence. For instance: “I love lead generation because…” You could tie this in with a competition where you give away a prize for the best response.

Schedule in your message: although this may not get you more interaction directly, by using automated programs like Hootsuite or Buffer you can schedule updates in advance and then leave the automation to do the rest for you. This is a great time saver and allows you to maintain a presence without being online all the time. In this way messages can go out at peak interaction points while you carry on delivering your product or service to your existing customers.

Share good content: the majority of businesses struggle with what content they should post on social media. Don’t promote yourself too much. Instead use your profile to provide strong evidence of your expertise by posting blog updates, news and advice. Also you’ll want to communicate with your audience by joining in conversations and talking with your audience about their content. The more you interact, the greater the number of followers you will gain and the more chances you will have of attracting customers.

If you are new to social media, one of the best tips is to create one profile at a time and establish that before creating the next one. The reason for this is simply because it takes time and energy to grow an audience on social media and it can seem very frustrating by working hard to achieve traction on too many profiles.

The best platform to start with is either Twitter or Facebook. The majority of social media users, who are decision makers, will have a profile on one these platforms.

You may also want to use Google+ and LinkedIn quickly as both of these will improve your search engine optimisation and both are good for leads. LinkedIn is especially important if you want to sell to the business community.

When you start out on social media you’ll attract the attention of a lot of brands that will attempt to sell you followers or likes. Do not be tempted to do this even if you are short of them to begin with.

While gaining a significant following is important, all these people do is use inactive or fake accounts to follow you. While it may look impressive, a knowledgeable business will realise what is going on and may end their association with you. Also, marketing to thousands of fake accounts is not useful; they are never going to buy from your brand.

Finally, it is against most networks’ terms and conditions and you could be banned from that network. This would mean you would have to start again.

Finally, ensure every page or post you link to on social media has an option to sign up to your newsletter or some other mailing list.

Paid Advertising

Using PPC, paid advertising or display advertising is a highly successful way to develop leads. It is also the third best selling platform for new visitors. Therefore, it is important that your business utilises this method.

There are many different options for using PPC. One of the best is Google AdWords.

To create a Google Adwords campaign, go to your account and click on Campaigns.

Then, click on create your first campaign button. On the next screen, fill in your budget and where you would like your advertisement to appear.

Then start to create your advert copy.

Here is an example:

On the right of the ad creator is a preview. For the example above, the advertisement will appear as:

Then you can start adding the keywords you want your advert to display for. These keywords will be used when someone is entering a search query on Google (or an associated website).

Then all you have to do is to enter in your billing details and wait for the advertisement to be authorised.

To get better results for your PPC campaign, follow these techniques:

Avoid ‘broad match’ keywords – these are keywords that will appear for both relevant and irrelevant searches. A good example of this would someone selling “show ideas”. This keyword would also appear in search results “baby shower ideas”. Therefore, reduce unnecessary expense and have specific industry keywords.

Use low competition, high search volume keywords – these are both less costly and offer you a higher ad placement. Therefore, you can get a better ROI for your campaigns.

Use Images – adverts that have images or videos attached have a higher click through rate and have already engaged the audience, giving you more chance that they will buy your product. On the other hand, these adverts do cost more.

Use negative keywords – these are words that you don’t want your advert to appear with. This stops unnecessary displays of your advert when it isn’t relevant. For instance, you could have “baby”, “gift” and “shower” as negative keywords when using “show ideas”.

Be precise on targeting – many advertisers don’t target their audience specifically. Insist that your adverts are displayed in areas only where you want to sell your product and limit the display times to when your audience is most likely to be online.

Match landing page to advert – this is one of the biggest mistakes for those new to PPC campaigns. Often they will create an advert and link it to their homepage or a page that is irrelevant. Instead, carefully select your page based on what you’re advertising in your advert copy. So if you are advertising resumes, direct them to your resume writing page.

Create more than one advert – different adverts will appeal to different segments of your market. Therefore you will want to create several adverts that have different copy to appeal to the various audiences you want to target or different products you want to sell.

Your advert does not necessary need to lead to a product page. You could direct your new visitors to a blog post, free downloadable content or webinar signup sheet. As long as you have some way to capture their contact information for use in lead nurturing.

Where Do You Put These Details?

Once you have obtained all these details you need a customer database and a way to contact them. The best way is to have an email marketing system do this for you. Email marketing is one of the best ways to contact customers who have already interacted with your brand and nearly 80% of customers expect and like to receive promotional messages through emails.

A good email marketing system will also allow you to monitor the results of your campaigns and receive the best return on your invest.

Therefore, always connect your pages on your site to an email list. Then you can continuously market to your interested audience as you remind them of your products and generate more visits.

Remember that whatever method you use to generate traffic to your site; you need to maintain an honest approach. If you mislead visitors, annoy them too much or go absent for a while; your audience won’t trust you and will abandon your brand.

As such, it’s important to ensure you can commit to your marketing. This way, you can gain a significant number of leads that you can gradually progress through your sales funnel until they are ready to make a purchase. This may take many emails (three or more), but by creating this lead generation scheme you will have a greater chance of gaining visitors, sales and significant profits.

Action steps:

  • Create fifteen or more landing pages. This will increase traffic to your site and improve options for marketing on social media and PPC campaigns. It will also allow you to market different pages to the various segments of your target market.
  • Sign up and start marketing on social media. Direct audiences to your landing pages, blog posts and other content that they will be interested in reading to.
  • Find and communicate with those in your industry and those who will be interested in your website.
  • Sign up to HARO and start to respond to requests for information. Ensure you are responding to relevant requests.
  • Sign up to Google Webmaster Tools.
  • Create a comment on a blog for every ten inbound links you generate.
  • Create your first PPC campaign.
  • Test your website’s speed and make adjustments based on the recommendations provided.

Split Testing Landing Pages

Your landing pages are an important part of the inbound marketing process. They act as an information gathering tool; collecting names, email addresses and other details from your website visitors. These details can then be used in further online marketing campaigns for closing deals with potential customers.

Yet, like many aspects of online marketing, you need to ensure your landing pages are optimised for your target audience. Not optimising these pages can result in lower returns from your marketing efforts. To maximise your landing page’s success, you can run a split test campaign.

This article is about why you should do split testing and how you can manage a campaign.


What Is Split Testing?

Split testing is the process of having two versions of the same landing page that has just a single difference between them. The variation between the two pages can be as slight as the call to action button or as complex as the page’s colour scheme or design.

When a business is conducting a split test campaign, there should be an even distribution of visitors to the two different pages. This allows for proper and accurate analysis of the results and for you to make informed decisions.


Why Should You Be Conducting Split Tests?

Split testing landing pages is an essential aspect of your website’s maintenance. On a basic level, split testing allows you to optimise your landing pages so more people sign up to your email newsletter or buy a product.

Optimising your website’s landing pages can’t be done just by adjusting your website and seeing if anything improves the results. Split testing offers more benefits for your websites that just optimising your site. For instance, just making changes without having a control is not an accurate method for recording results and can slow down the data gathering process. This is because you don’t know if there has been a shift in the audience being directed to your site or whether your audience’s response is dependent on the season / time of the year.

Split testing allows you to speed up the testing process by seeing results over a week; rather than testing the landing page for months. Also, because you are keeping both versions of the landing pages, if the original performs better – you don’t have to re-create that page.


What Can You Test In Split Testing?

There are many different elements which can be changed during a split test campaign. Here are some of the elements on your landing page that you could change and some ideas for tests.


The heading on your landing page is very important. It can signal to the reader what the page is about and what they are being offered. Therefore, ensuring that this is optimised can be very important. It isn’t just the headline copy that can be tested; you can adjust the headline’s colour, position and style.

Sub headline

Just like the headline, there are many changes that can be made to the sub headline. The sub headline is something can develop the interest of your audience further by giving lots of information about what the offer is but without giving away too much detail.

Page copy

The page copy can be changed significantly. Some of the basic changes are similar to how you can change the headline or sub headline. However, you are not limited to the style, colour, position or the actual copy. There is also the option to change the format; you can add in bullet points or shorten paragraphs.


The images on your landing page are very important. The human mind can process images quicker than text and it plays a very crucial role in the purchasing decision process. The different elements of the landing page’s image that can be changed, except for the image itself, include:

  • Image size.
  • Image position.
  • Colour or black and white.
  • Image rotation.
  • Image shape (the same image being in square / circle).
  • Change it from a still image to a video.

Call To Action

The call to action on your landing page is the area of the website that converts the visitors to leads. Therefore, you should be constantly testing this part of the landing page to ensure that the correct design. There are many different tests you can complete with your call to actions. For instance:

  • The text of the image.
  • The button shape.
  • The button colour.
  • The position of the call to action button.
  • The size of the call to action.
  • The text colour.

Social Proof

The professional image of your business and the service it presents can rest upon the social proof you offer on the landing page. Whether this is a client testimonial or a collection of reviews that are aggregated into a star rating; your reviews can convince visitors to convert. Try swapping your testimonials every so often to see if another is more persuasive.


How Long Should You Run A Test?

The length of time that you should run a split test depends on the number of visitors you have. If you have several thousand visitors per day, you could run a campaign each week before analysing the results. If you only have a couple of hundred, you should run the tests for a month.


What Should I Do After I Have Finished Testing A Landing Page?

Once your split testing has been completed, you will need to look at which landing page has performed the best. There are several factors to look at including the sign-up rate but also the number of customers each landing page eventually generated. It may be that one page created more leads but had a lower lead to customer rate.

Once you have decided which landing page has performed best, you take the other landing page off your site and then run another test making a slight change to the landing page that performed best on the previous test.



Testing your landing pages continuously will allow you to improve your landing pages, grow your business and achieve better sales. Split testing is the best way you can adjust your website’s landing pages and is very easy to implement. All you need to do is to decide which element to test, how long to run the tests and how to divide the traffic that lands upon your site.

Conversion Rate Optimisation Myths

Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) is the method of using statistics and analytics to determine how you can optimise your website to encourage desired visitor behaviour. This behaviour can range from clicking through to accept an offer to sharing content with peers.

Often, the recommendations from professionals are very simple; like the changing of the colour or text of the call to action button. Another common recommendation is the CTA’s placement on a page or swapping the image for something that is more appropriate to the offer.

The change to your website is then compared to the previous version by a method known as A/B testing (or split testing). This is the process where half your visitors are sent to the old webpage and the other half are sent to the new version. The behaviours of these two visitor groups is recorded and analysed. The version which returns the best results is kept.

If you effectively introduce a CRO campaign, you can see good business growth and an improved ROI on your online marketing investment. Not implementing it properly and your business will stagnate.

The problem is that there are many sources across the internet that tell you exactly how you can improve your content, landing pages, social updates, etc to gain more ‘desirable behaviours’; yet these articles only tell part of the story. In some cases, you might be misled with common myths about online marketing or your target market.

These myths may help you gain some positive improvements in your landing page conversions; but, they are unlikely to truly optimise your site. Only by understanding the myths, will you truly recognise the work needed for CRO. Then you can take your business to the next level by systematically analysing your site’s current properties and how you can implement improvements.

So what are the myths of Conversion Rate Optimisation?

Myth One: CRO Is About Making Changes On Your Website That Follow Best Practices

As previously mentioned, there are a number of blog articles and white-papers online that will detail exactly how you should create landing pages, design your website, write a piece of content or what colour your call to action needs to be. While these can be useful insights and implementing them can sometimes make a positive difference – CRO is not about following these best practices.

There are other conversion barriers that need to be addressed in addition to page design; for example:

  • Your visitor is not encouraged to trust your brand.
  • You have a lengthy conversion process that seems like too much work for the visitor.
  • Your site is too slow.
  • Your content is confusing the visitors.
  • Your call to action is obscured by other elements on your website.
  • Your adverts, copy or page title makes the visitor believe the offer is something you are not giving and they are disappointed.

The above list is not extensive, but it gives an idea of other factors that you might need to address.

Myth Two: CRO Is A Quick Action Followed By An Optimised Site

CRO is not a quick fix for your website or online marketing campaigns. It takes time to optimise your site and as time goes by, the behaviour of your audience is likely to change. Therefore, it is important to consider website optimisation as a continuous project. As soon as one A/B testing session is finished, you should assess what other changes are needed and start the process again.

While for some people this may seem like a waste of time, especially if you have achieved a positive response with one testing cycle, it is the only way you can truly optimise your site.

Myth Three: CRO Is About Guessing What Your Website Visitors Want

There are a couple of variations to this myth which include: “I know my users, so surveys aren’t necessary” and “testing isn’t necessary because my site is better than anything else on the market”. These variations and the original statement all stem from an opinion that your target audience is clearly defined and their opinions do not change.

The problem is that the internet is constantly evolving and as technology develops, so do the trends and demands of the users. Therefore, what may have been true five years ago is probably not now. For instance, scrolling was not popular a few years ago, but with the rise of mobile technology, it is now considered to be an integral part of good website design.

Likewise, you cannot guess what your users want. You need to ask them. Only by interacting with your target audience can you truly understand what emotions they are experiencing when they are accessing your site. If you can develop a design and create content that taps into their thoughts and emotions: you’ll have a better performing site.

Myth Four: Too Much Content Does Not Work

This is one of the biggest myths. It assumes to know the visitor without asking them for their preferences and forgets that customers who are interested in something tend to want more information. That is why they often visit up to 12 sites before making a purchasing decision.

As long as your content is clear, concise and informative; you’ll probably find it will be persuasive enough for your target audience.

Myth Five: Copying A Successful Website Is The Key To Optimisation

Apart from being morally wrong; copying a successful website is not going to guarantee you success. There are many elements (i.e. trust) that impact the decision of a visitor to comply with a desired behaviour.

Unless your organisation is exactly the same as your competitors’, you cannot guarantee the same design will achieve the same results. You should also consider your brand image. Not being consistent with your image can confuse customers, resulting in poor sales.


CRO is a powerful tool for improving the performance of your website and ensuring your visitors are taking desired behaviours. However, there are many myths about CRO which limit its effectiveness if people believe them.

By understanding these myths and knowing how to correctly implement CRO, you can improve your business’ website, gain more leads and better revenue while limiting barriers.

Lead Generation Strategy

Your business cannot be successful unless you are actively attempting to generate leads and qualify them for customer acquisition.

There are many different types of online lead generation tactics that you can implement fairly effectively. Here is a list of some of the most effective ways you can generate those leads online.


1. Website

A website is often stated to be an online shop front. It can display your products, take orders and deliver sales content. It can also collect leads if you have the right software installed on your site. Some software packages can detect where and what companies (or whether they are private) the visitor is from.

You can also use other lead generation techniques through your website, such as contact forms and quote generators, to collect information on your visitors. To get the most out of your website, ensure you have good call to actions and your page speed is fast. 25% of your visitors will abandon your site should your site not load within 4 seconds and this figure rises steadily afterwards.


2. Social Media

Social media is probably one of the easiest ways to obtain the names, details and converse with leads as their profiles are stored on the system and very accessible. However, converting casual followers to leads is a long process that can be difficult.

To make it easier, it is best to follow a set of best practices for social media. For instance:

  • Don’t be too promotional. Only 4% of Facebook users appreciate promotional content on their newsfeeds and 0% of LinkedIn customers.
  • Converse with your audience about relevant topics. However, you don’t need to be too strict. For instance, if you manage a shoe shop, you could converse about fashion in general.
  • Remember to thank new followers for their time, those who share your content for their contribution and to reply to any social media questions.
  • Always be polite and never show any aggression.

In addition, you might want to consider when the best times to post on social media are and the design of your content. Each social media network has different requirements and best practices, so it is best to optimise your content on one network at a time, instead of doing them all at the same time.


3. Ebooks / Whitepapers

Visitors love to receive free gifts; that is why you should consider creating an ebook and offering it for free on your website as a way to attract the attention of your target customers. Ensure you aren’t being too generous and ask for their email details (and some others) in exchange for the ebook / whitepaper.

You can make this process even better by creating several ebooks on a number of business areas that you provide services / products for. Then you can use segregated email marketing lists to target potential customers based on what ebook they downloaded and what products / services they relate to.


4. Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing is one of the most successful ways you can generate traffic to your site. Affiliate marketing is where other business owners advertise your products on their site(s) to drive traffics to your site and generate leads. If the visitor converts, then the affiliate earns a commission.

This is one of the best ways to generate leads because the affiliate marketer assumes responsibility for the costs associated with marketing your products. Therefore, you only pay when you make a sale. It also allows you to gain more web space for your products, giving you a greater chance to be discovered online.

Although there are some sites that only occasionally advertised affiliate partner products, there are many small businesses whose only revenue is generated from advertising products from other businesses. Some of these latter businesses can earn thousands of dollars per month this way.


5. Word Of Mouth

Word of mouth marketing is one of the most effective ways to generate leads because consumers trust the recommendations from their peers. There are several options for word of mouth advertising. These include social media shares and review sites.

Reviews are very important because you can share these on your website and through other mediums such as social media, email and in your physical stores. Try to obtain as many reviews as possible by offering rewards such as a free gift for completing a review.

However, do not charge your customers for poor reviews. Firstly, this can cause outrage online and secondly, research has shown that five stars are not always as highly rated as four star reviews.

You can also encourage referrals by offering customers a small gift or payment should they successfully refer their friends to your business.


6. Pay-Per-Click

Pay-per-click is one of the most successful advertising channels online. It is the second most used purchasing avenue for online sales. Therefore, there are significant returns to be made from using pay-per-click to direct traffic to your site. There are many options available for PPC, include Google Adwords.

However, to make the most of this, ensure that you are following PPC best practices and that you have a high quality website as seen by Google.


7. Blogging

Blogging is one of the most commonly used tactics for generating leads. That is because many (81%) consumers trust information published in blogs and 61% will make a purchase based on that information. Blogging has also been proved to increase the number of leads generated with up to 70% more leads generated when more than 15 blog posts are published.

To ensure your blogging is effective, make sure you aren’t being too promotional and you can provide highly useful information to your audience. Blogging can also support your lead generation in other ways as being used as a basis for your content on social media, PPC and email marketing. It will also support your SEO efforts.



Lead generation is one of the most essential tasks for your business. Without leads you will have a highly ineffective sales channel that will result in low revenue and either a loss or not enough profit to maintain your business.

Therefore, use the above lead generation techniques to grow the number of potential customers and use targeted marketing to convert them into paying customers.