With all the PPC spending going on one must assume there’s a lot of websites getting hits. Where do all those web leads end up? It’s one thing to generate a hit, another to keep them from bouncing off your site, and another to bring them into your organization’s house-file.
In a perfect world our website would handle our visitors from the point when they land on our site through to an ecommerce transaction, and even give them the self service they need down the road. Also, in a perfect world, every time that original prospect or future customer needs something they would return to our site, and sometimes even just to check out our new offerings. Yeah right …. You know it’s not a perfect world!
This brings me back to the point of this article. Where do your web leads go and how do they get there? A lot of firms I know receive an email with the information from forms that their visitors fill out. The email is directed to a person who is responsible for entering the information into their house-file and then telling a salesperson to follow it up. I believe there’s a better way – here’s how we handle it:
- Encourage visitors to fill out “contact forms” – offer downloads, newsletters, special access to hidden information, etc.
- Automatically upload the information captured on these forms into our customer relationship management (CRM) database. In my case, we use the “web import” features of GoldMine software. This saves time and eliminates data entry errors.
- Automate distribution and follow-up of new leads according to the nature of the request – in the design of web forms and scripts, you can pass hidden field information to your database so that your leads are categorized as they come into the database. This enables your marketing and sales efforts to be tied to the lead immediately. Your CRM system should do this.
- Use Automated Email Responses to speed up follow-up and to engage prospects in a dialogue. This also helps to further qualify the lead, while providing more personalized attention. Your CRM system should do this.
- Work new leads into the regular marketing stream so that if they’re not ready to do business at this time, they don’t fall through the cracks. (Naturally, you must provide a means for, and honor opt-out requests.) Future marketing can direct prospects back to your website for information on future offerings.
- Catch repeat visitors and dup-check them using their email address – if your customers put in the same email address into future forms on your site, your CRM system should automatically match them up with their existing record in your database. This way, rather than creating a duplicate record, you can append the additional information or inquiry to their current database record. It’s also nice for your customer to not have to “log in” to your site, which some visitors find inconvenient.
- The same process can begin with an incoming email as well. Your CRM should be able to create the record and link it to the email, although if there’s no V-card you will have to manually enter their contact information. Even “Chat” conversations on your website can be saved in a CRM record.
Getting a visitor to your site is hard enough. Keeping them on your site is equally difficult. But the last thing you want to do is lose track of them once they do express interest. Your CRM system, combined with intelligent marketing and sales activities will increase the ROI of your site, and your overall business!