10 Steps for Generating Terrific Website Leads

If you have a lead generation website, you have much less time than you think to turn a visitor into a sales lead. Learn why and what to do about it.

Website lead generation tips

After analyzing more than 300,000 sales leads from a wide cross section of lead generation websites, we uncovered an extremely important (and surprising) piece of data:

A whopping 84 percent of the sales leads were generated by first-time website visitors.

Why So Many First-Visit Conversions?

Conventional wisdom in lead generation marketing embraces patience—visitors aren’t converted into prospects overnight. Instead, they come back to the company website, and back and back, until they overcome their initial skepticism or indifference, and phone in or submit an inquiry form.

  • This behavior seems natural enough, especially for B2B, but in fact occurs only about 15 percent of the time. Why do so many visitors convert on the first visit? Possible answers:
  • The risk/reward calculation is more comfortable on a lead generation website than on an eCommerce website. An eCommerce conversion means opening your wallet, whereas a lead generation conversion means—worst case—talking to or exchanging emails with a salesman.
  • Visitors to a lead generation website often have needs that are complicated, urgent, or both. Determining whether a company can fill their need requires dialog.
  • In B2B particularly, buying decisions are strongly influenced by relationship factors. If visitors see website content that seems to fit their needs, their logical next step is to get a personal feel for that company.
  • Business people are too busy to spend (and/or not all that interested in spending) hours online searching for suppliers. When they arrive at a website that seems to meet their needs, they are more eager to reach out and confirm it than go back to square one and identify another possible source of supply.

The Need for a Quick Converting Website

With all of these visitor behavior scenarios in mind—and I’m sure you can think of plenty more—it becomes pretty obvious that a lead generation website must be built for rapid conversions. This is why we created the detailed white paper “10 Ways to Make Your Lead Generation Website Convert on the First Visit… And Why You Are Doomed if You Don’t.

In the white paper, we identify 10 attributes of a quick-converting website that are essential for making that website irresistible to first-time visitors. Most lead generation websites excel in a few areas (assuming they are really serious about lead generation), but unfortunately, without excelling in all 10, sales leads are not likely to be plentiful.

The 10 Essential Attributes of a Lead Generation Website

The areas discussed in the white paper are as follows:

  1. Content: Message matters. For lead generation, content must be persuasive, informative, relevant, engaging, accurate, and brief enough to be scanned and yet thorough enough to convey the value proposition. Easy? No. Necessary? Yes.
  2. Navigation: As with content, website navigation must excel in many ways. It must be simple yet redundant and give users the ability to find exactly what they need in a matter of seconds. This is no easy task on a 20-page site, and is an enormous project for a 200-pager.
  3. Imagery: Today’s typical website visitor is an imagery snob. He or she will not be impressed with bland stock images, contradictory brand image representations and images that are distracting or confusing. Companies must invest in high-quality images to produce website ROI.
  4. Credibility: Skepticism is the number one killer of online leads. Every website visitor wonders — Is this company for real? Can I trust them? Adept handling of credibility elements such as customer testimonials and logos of well-known customers has an impact on conversions that many companies overlook.
  5. Personal Touch: Remember the earlier point about business relationships. A cold, sterile website brand cannot not build rapport with first-time visitors. Smart companies add a personal touch to their website, by using an informal writing style, displaying photos of employees, and much more.
  6. Calls to Action: “Call for more information.” Yawn. “Learn more.” Double yawn. Calls to action must be creative, relevant, meaningful and exciting. The best way to earn a sales lead is to give website visitors a great reason to inquire.
  7. Contact Forms: It's easy (and tempting) to go wrong here by adding a ton of required fields — don’t do it. Sure, it’s great to get marketing intelligence and data, but every required field is another nail in the no-lead coffin. Forms must be simple, user-friendly and non-intrusive.
  8. Phone Number: Displaying the phone number properly and prominently is web development blocking and tackling, but an amazing number of lead generation websites fumble the phone ball badly, and give away leads they would otherwise score.
  9. Testing: Smart companies know their websites can always be better — and will only get better — through ongoing, methodical testing based on data and using industry best practice testing methodologies. Companies that engage in testing haphazardly, and/or by using gut instincts unsupported by data, stand an excellent chance of making their websites worse with every “improvement”.
  10. Mobile Design: Mobile-friendly web content is getting more important by the day. Internet access through mobile devices has surpassed desktop access, and look for the gap to widen rapidly. And, as of this writing, Google has just announced it is shifting to mobile-first indexing. Thus, if a company wants to be visible on Google for organic search, its website must have super-solid mobile content and design.

Over the past three years, our agency’s design team has put more and more focus on all of these ten items, in both web design projects and also in on-site web page modifications to support SEO and PPC campaigns. We see a direct correlation between this focus and a general increase in conversion rates and total lead production over the same period of time.

Infuse your website with these 10 attributes and your lead pipeline will grow. Furthermore, if your competitors are asleep at the web design wheel, it may grow even faster than you can keep up with. We hope these tips help and feel free to ask me any questions you may have in the comments field below!

About the author


  • Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing agency that provides SEO and PPC services. His articles on marketing and sales have appeared on Forbes, Entrepreneur, Moz and scores of other leading business websites.

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  • Emmerey Rose

    I must say that content, navigation, personal touch and mobile design weighs a lot for me. Especially because customers use mobile devices now more than ever. Anyway, wonderful tips Brad! 🙂