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This week, I present a few thoughts on how lead-generation websites can sometimes let their visitors down. Note the common thread running through these examples: the failure to build relationships with prospects.

Narcissism

You may genuinely believe your company offers the best solutions on the planet. You might even be right. But the fact is, reading a list of accompishments is not terribly interesting and usually comes across as disingenuous marketing hype.

Focus your messaging on your customers, not on yourself. Let them know you understand their pain points. In clear, jargon-free language, demonstrate how you will solve their particular problem.

One simple test: count how many times the words “we” and “our” appear on your website, compared to “you” and “your”. Get that “we count” down!

Slamming the door in your customer’s face

I recently wrote a post on the dangers of asking for a lead too early, of shutting customers out unless they provide contact information. Essentially, you’re slamming the door in their faces.

This is related to the previous point, narcissism. Sometimes we think we’re so important, customers should be lining up to give us their contact information. Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.

Rather than thinking of your lead-generation process as “collecting” or “gathering” leads, think of it as an exchange. Offer something of value in return for your customers’ information. A free consultation, a trial or demo, a white paper… some sort of incentive. You will find visitors much more likely to engage with you.

Your website should be a foot in the door… not a door in the face.

Total reliance on a free trial as your incentive

Free demos work great for broad-based solutions, software add-ons, things people already understand. But if your particular product truly is unique, or if your market is very niche, visitors may not understand exactly what they’ll be getting.

In such a case, if you rely entirely on your free demo to convince visitors of the value of your product, you’re excluding people who aren’t yet ready to take the time and effort to download, install and learn to use your product. Some visitors will need more information, resources, help, confidence builders, etc.

Not providing tools for your advocates

This point applies to free demos (as discussed above), but also reaches wider.

Keep in mind that in many cases, the person currently visiting your site isn’t the sole decision-maker. Often, visitors need to get the purchase approved by others. The actual decision-makers may not have the time to research your product or download a demo. But they might read a white paper, case study, etc.

Consider your visitors as potential advocates. Your goal is not just to win them over, but to provide them with the tools they need to convince their bosses.

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