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Effective Website Sales Funnels – Visitor Contact Information – Does Your Landing Page Collect Any?

It is rare that a first time visitor to a website makes a purchase during that first visit. Even if the sales process is completely successful with that visitor it is still quite likely they will go think it over for a bit. Then, if there is no further contact from your sales process, the demands of their daily life will take over and they will completely forget about their interest in making that purchase. The best way to avoid that scenario, other than getting them to make that purchase on the first visit, is to make sure you continue to communicate with as many interested prospects as possible. Further, since at each stage of your sales process you will lose some of your visitors, it makes sense to put the request for ongoing communication right on that initial landing page of your website.

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Placing your request for contact information on the landing page of your website serves two primary functions. One, of course, is to capture as many as possible before you start losing them to distractions or parts of your sales message that are ineffective. The second function, in many sales funnels, is the exact opposite. This purpose is to filter out visitors who are not interested enough so you are not wasting their time or your resources as they enter the more active portions of the sales process.

There are many ways to collect contact information but when you reduce all the fluff and bells and whistles to the essentials you are left with only two approaches. One approach is to offer something of value on the landing page that they will need to provide some basic contact information to receive. In this approach the visitor is still free to continue exploring your offering deeper into your sales funnel even if they do not take advantage of that early free offer on your landing page. The second approach uses essentially the same tools but they are placed across the path of the visitor and if they do not act they cannot continue to explore your offering. Which method is correct? The general answer is a solid and unwavering, “It depends.” However, I can tell that with the offerings I have and the clients I have had so far, I never use that first option any more (unless the client insists…even then I split test to demonstrate the reasons for that choice). Every single sales funnel I use or that I build for my clients makes it impossible for visitors to continue without taking the action of providing their name and e-mail (and sometimes phone number)…in other words, demonstrating a higher than average level of interest.

The mandatory nature of the landing page contact information requirement means that you need to accomplish three things before that point. One, your sales message so far must be intriguing enough that they truly want to know more and will feel some loss if they stop now. Two, you must assure them that they will be able to cancel the e-mail messages easily and with just a click. Third, you must assure the visitor that their contact information will not be shared or sold. Last, always…always…honor those assurances! Do not even use their contact information to talk to them about something other than the offering in this sales funnel or related knowledge. They will not see that as okay because it is still you and you did not share or sell their contact information. They will only see that they are suddenly getting information and offers that they did not ask for and your credibility will be smeared. Treat them and their inbox with respect. They showed interest in this offering. They provided you with a way to keep talking to them about this offering (or whatever you promised to send them in return for their e-mail). Show them the respect they deserve and keep the part of their inbox clutter that you are responsible for focused on what they wanted to receive from you.

Why have I ceased to use the more open collection approach in both my own and my clients’ sales funnels? Simple. Testing over time revealed that sales were higher as compared to overall resources expended. The testing simply took exactly the same sales funnel and marketing activities and compared them across time. The only difference between the two was whether or not the request for contact information was a sideline request or stood in the way of progressing through the process. Does that mean the other approach is not valid? Of course not. I am sure there are situations and offerings for which this would not work well at all. With whatever you are offering, test both and use the one that works better when comparing the return on investment you make with each approach. Keep in mind that the philosophy driving the sales funnel construction conducted by my company is to make sure that each layer of the sales process is removing the people who are not qualified buyers. Also, each layer is going to have an ever more interested and well defined group of people, making it much easier to put together an awesome and perfectly targeted sales message when it comes time to close the deal. The entire sales funnel was designed to ensure that only one well defined and highly interested group of people will make it that far. Now the sales message can speak directly to them (that is also a little taste of why I use many sales funnels…one for each identified group of potential buyers…not one per offering as is most common…but that is another article…).

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