If you’re a service based business, you need to generate leads. But if you have no means of lead capture on your website, or for other lead generating activities, you’re probably allowing many prospective clients to slip away. Perhaps you’ve come across the term ‘lead capture’ while reading up on content marketing, but aren’t quite sure what sort of difference it would make to your business, or how you would implement it. Let’s take a look at what lead capture is, what the benefits are, and what’s involved in doing it.
What is lead capture?
Lead capture is the practice of inviting website visitors to register their details in order to receive content and/or further communication from you.
In the simplest form, lead capture is that ‘subscribe to our newsletter’ or ‘subscribe for updates’ option you see on many sites. However, unless your content writers are turning out highly unique material and you have droves of people signing up, this doesn’t go far enough.
One reason this isn’t sufficient for most service businesses, is that not all their prospective clients have precisely the same interests, challenges, pain points and buying motivations. Unless you’re able to segment your database into buyer types, and deliver the most relevant content to each, results with a newsletter subscription alone are likely to be mediocre.
Another issue is in the timing.
When someone subscribes to your blog or newsletter, that action doesn’t indicate what they’re interested in right now, or how you might help them. However, if they download an eBook related to a specific challenge, it’s a different story. What you have then is often a genuine lead – someone who has identified themselves as a potential client by virtue of their interest in the topic. If your content is well targeted, then this gives you the opportunity to connect with people who may be about to consider the services you offer.
Yet another advantage is in the numbers. As you might realise from your own online behaviour, it’s more tempting to register for a piece of content that’s highly relevant to your goals right now, than to register for a newsletter that might or might not prove interesting later. With the right content offers on your website, the number of captured leads might surprise you.
Getting serious about lead capture
When you decide to get serious about lead capture, you need to step it up a level:
- Create a tempting content offer. This will most often be one that addresses a buyer challenge;
- Create a specific landing page for that content offer, with a signup form;
- Have a lead nurture process in place, so that downloading the content offer isn’t the last time your lead hears from you;
- Drive relevant visitors to your content offer by promoting it;
- Have a tracking system in place so that you can measure the success of your content offers.
The serious marketer will have more than one content offer on the go at any time, and will continue to promote older offers while they remain relevant. Ideally, there will be content offers for all major buyer personas you want to attract. While the content offers will often be ‘awareness stage’ content, also known as ‘top of the sales funnel’ content, this shouldn’t be the only content you create.
And ideally, your entire approach to publishing content will be informed by a documented content marketing strategy.
Why service based businesses capture leads
Why a service based business should aim to capture leads is simple. For many services, the need of potential buyers isn’t so urgent when they first visit your website, that they’re ready to book your service immediately.
Consider what your own buying process would be if you wanted to identify software to streamline processes in your business, or if you were considering changing accountants. You might do a bit of research online before being distracted by more pressing priorities of the day. You’d go back to it when you had a chance. And you might do this several times over a period of time, but without gathering enough information to make a decision. It could be weeks or months before your need becomes so urgent that you set aside time to assess the options and decide.
A lead capture system can empower you to establish a relationship with prospective clients at an early stage of the buying process. And creating content that offers detailed information on challenges your prospective clients face can help you improve brand awareness and forge a reputation for being the experts.
How well does lead capture really work?
Typically, some 2-10% of site visitors register for a worthwhile content offer. Let’s say you have just 300 site visitors a month and achieve a response at 2% – that’s 6 leads you’ve identified and can stay in touch with. With a conversion rate of even 33%, that’s 2 new clients a month. If you have 1000 or more visitors a month, but no lead capture, you could be missing out on some serious business!
The better your content and its relevance to your prospective clients, the better quality those leads will be.
Would it make a difference to your business growth if you were capturing and nurturing leads?
If it’s on your to-do list but you need to know more about how it works and how to make it happen, you might appreciate our downloadable eBook: Generating Leads by Publishing Content: a guide for business owners. This 16 Chapter eBook takes a detailed look at what’s involved in setting up lead capture, how to go about it, and the type of content you might create. Click below to download!