Top 7 Essential Small Business Lead Generation Checklist Items

Is your website a lead-generation machine?

Your website can be your most powerful marketing tool, delivering a steady stream of new business leads and filling your sales pipeline.

Unfortunately, most companies do not optimize their websites for lead generation—offering, instead, nothing more than passive online brochures.

What about your website? Find out your website’s lead-generation potential by giving it a lead-generation checkup.

Review the following 7 questions, and give yourself one point for each Yes answer. Good luck!

Does your homepage clearly communicate what your company does and the audiences you serve? [Yes] [No]

First impressions count, and more people will see your home page than any other page on your website. So, make sure your home page is as welcoming and useful as possible.

It should clearly communicate your capabilities and the solutions your company provides. Moreover, it should provide a timely digest of the latest and greatest information you offer deeper within the site.

Search engines such as Google are your best source for targeted, motivated leads. Your prospects are searching for you. Make it easy for them to find you by boosting your rank in the search engines.

To turn your website into a search-engine magnet, fill your website’s copy and coding with the keyword phrases your customers use most often. In addition, build a network of quality inbound links to your website from reputable and industry-relevant external websites.

Are you updating your website’s content on a regular basis? [Yes] [No]

Is your latest press release from 2008? Does your copyright notice still say 2009 or earlier? People want to do business with dynamic companies. And, to project your dynamism, you need to have a fresh and relevant website.

Make it a point to take a critical look at your website at least monthly, and add or remove information to improve its value to your customers and prospects.

Does every page of your website include a compelling call to action? [Yes] [No]

Don’t make the mistake of relying on your Contact Us page as the sole method for prospects to take action. To turn your website into a lead-generation machine, pepper your website with a variety of relevant calls to action inviting prospects to reach out and take the next step.

Do your calls to action address prospective customers at each stage of the buying cycle? [Yes] [No]

Not everyone is ready to buy from you today. Some people are kicking tires; others may have a basic early-stage question. [Yes] [No]

Look for ways to compel all prospects to reach out to you by offering tailored calls to action that appeal to prospects at each stage of the buying process. Examples include Ask the Experts forms, complimentary consultations, downloadable best-practice guides, free trials, etc.

Is your phone number prominently displayed on every page of your website? [Yes] [No]

Don’t forget to prominently display your phone number on every page of your website.

In our experience, people are at least as likely if not two to three times more likely to pick up the phone when they are browsing a company’s website. And there is no better time to be talking with a prospect because you can use your website as a presentation tool.

Are your online forms short, asking only for basic contact information (e.g., name, company, phone, and email address) [Yes] [No]

Are your online lead-generation forms as long and daunting as a tax return? If so, shorten them. The more fields your forms include, the less likely prospects will be to fill them out.

Ask only for basic contact information that your salespeople will need to make an intelligent follow-up. You can program those forms to identify the page the person was on, so your salesperson can prepare for the call.

Do you have a process in place to ensure your website inquiries receive immediate follow-up? [Yes] [No]

How long does it take for your salespeople to follow up on online lead inquiries? If the follow-up is not immediate, you are leaving money on the table.

Assign salespeople to follow up on online leads, and make sure the inquiries get to them as soon as possible. To streamline your lead-management and follow-up process, tie your website forms into a customer-relationship-management (CRM) system such as SalesForce.com or SugarCRM.

So how did you do? If you scored a 5 or higher, you’re doing well, and your website is a powerful lead-generation tool. However, if you scored a 6 or below, you have some work to do. I hope this checkup got you thinking about ways to improve your website.

Written by Bob DeStefano is president of SVM E-Business Solutions (http://www.svmsolutions.com), a B2B online marketing agency that helps manufacturers and distributors leverage the Web.

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Tem is the CEO of BuildYourSite.com, a web agency providing web & digital marketing solutions to small businesses. When he's not producing great results for clients, he's spending time with his boys.
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