Seven ways; actually, six and a suggestion.
After many years building enterprise websites I feel qualified to offer a few suggestions around attracting new business using a web form. At FuseIT we have experience with large Sitecore websites but most of these points also apply to smaller websites using other technologies.
Think back to the excitement of finding a product (or service) you have been trying to find (for hours, days, weeks, even months). The enthusiasm you experience is in the middle of a much larger process:
- Needs awareness
- Information search
- Evaluation of alternatives
- Resolution of concerns
- Purchase decision
- Post-purchase behavior
You can see your website plays a key role in this process so here are a few ideas to focus on:
Clarity in Three Seconds
Imagine visitors were on your website for only three seconds. Would they understand your offering in three seconds, because three seconds is all you have before they get bored and leave. If they go to another page on your website, restart the counter, three seconds.
Visitors want their expectations met. Whatever thought enticed them to click on your link and patiently wait while your page loaded MUST be obvious and understandable when the page has loaded. But don’t worry, you have three seconds.
Obvious you say, but once you stop your visitor leaving, you then need to compel them to stay. Jumping into the detail is not ideal. First, provide a clear introduction of the product, then support this with a list of important features in order of popularity (which may not be the glamorous features). Finish with a conclusion that encourages your visitor to fill in the web form for more information.
Focus on delivering a logical flow of solid information with no hype. Be careful with introducing novelty and intrigue as is commonly suggested. Yes, it does make interesting reading but it may also discredit your product or service. It is a fine line between genius and insanity and you need your message to be the former.
If you can offer your visitor complete, relevant, accurate, and timely information in a way that progressively builds their understanding, then you can begin to relax the three-second rule.
Ideally, we want the visitor, who is now evaluating alternatives, to choose between your products and not be lured elsewhere by a more proactive website.
If you have multiple offerings that are similar, list them separately and use comparison charts to keep the visitor's level of interest high. Visitors love to compare, and deciding which of your products to buy is a good thing.
Visitors who venture into the detail pages need to see examples of what can be done with your product or service and see customer references or feedback, from those who are using your products or services.
When it comes to communication, people are complicated – just look at your friends. Some like to pick up the phone, some like email, other people like social media, and some prefer the anonymity of chat. They all have their reasons - accommodating them all is important.
Live chat is one of the easiest ways for your visitor to resolve concerns without making a commitment or disclosing information.
Use an Enterprise Web Content Management System
Your website is the front door to your business, and millions of visitors may potentially walk by this door. Modern hosting technologies such as Sitecore CMS have powerful tools to keep visitors on your site, glued to your pages.
An exciting jump in web technology is dynamic personalization, where the website continuously adjusts what it shows the visitor based on where they have just been on the site. This means visitors get an ever-increasing focus on their interests rather than generic or irrelevant content.
There is so much to discuss on this topic it deserves its own post.
Keep Your Form Short
You don’t want to skillfully attract prospects to your web form, then frighten them away with a long list of fields asking about every detail of their lives.
Web forms need to be simple, mobile-friendly (single column) and address concerns such as email address harvesting, or hidden costs.
The customer is on your website, asking for help. Other than taking delivery, it is hard to imagine a time when a visitor is more interested in your product or service. After form submittal, ensure they are reassured with a friendly note. Thank you! We’ll be back with you within 24 hours. But don’t say it if you can’t do it.
Similarly, consider popping up a live chat window if your organization can support it.
Use a CRM
CRM software offers powerful tools to collect your web form data. Your sales team can track and add information as your prospect progresses through the sales cycle to become a valued customer. The CRM will have also workflow capabilities, tasks, and reminders to help you better communicate.
We go much further with our S4S and G4S connectors, capturing website behavior and pushing this data to the CRM lead record when a visitor submits the web form – great for qualifying leads. Operators can even make changes to the lead record and drive website personalization from the CRM.