Ryan's experience ranges from higher education to SMBs and tech startups. When not doing digital marketing, he's sure to be enjoying some kind of nerdy pastime.
What happens when website traffic is great, but sales opportunities are lacking?
We recently released a case study about building traffic for Atlantech Online, Inc., a Washington D.C. area provider of phone, fiber, and data center services. Over the last 12-18 months, traffic had exploded thanks to a systematic approach to content marketing. However, a large amount of traffic does not directly translate to business impact.
If that traffic is not turning into sales, it’s nothing but a vanity metric.
How We Increased Sales Qualified Leads by 355%
While we had large amounts of traffic, and a good number of leads flowing through their website, there was a noticeable lack of qualified leads we could put into the capable hands of Atlantech’s sales team.
We Were Either:
- Not attracting qualified leads at all.
- Not properly identifying qualified leads.
It turns out, it was a combination of both.
With all the traffic we were driving, we had leads from multiple countries. However, Atlantech only services the Washington D.C. metro area - so leads from Pakistan and India aren’t typically worth anything to the company. We generated leads from all over the USA as well, which couldn’t translate to customers either.
Let’s take a look at our traffic chart vs. our traffic goals for 2016:
Now let's look at our lead generation for that same time period:
Neither of these charts are horrible. The blue lines indicate our metric for success. The red line indicates the metric for "crushing it."
Traffic, as said before, more than crushed it. Leads were not following the same trajectory, but we were getting close to "crushing it."
So far, we're feeling pretty good.
Now, let’s look at sales qualified leads (SQLs) for that same period:
Not as exciting as the other charts, to say the least.
There's something about this chart a few people miss when they see it the first time. There's no blue or red lines!
Up to now, we were treating all leads as equals, handing every lead invididually over to the Atlantech sales department. But, that's not measurable... and it's not scalable.
So, we decided to make a concerted, focused effort to identify and score leads to determine which leads were SQL's, which were unqualified, and which ones needed more nurturing.
While a lot of marketing companies tout a magic, silver bullet to solve all problems, we knew we were going to have to experiment with different approaches to both attract, convert, and identify the right leads.
Here are some of the things we implemented to drive more qualified leads:
1. Added Pricing Pages
There is a lot that experience has taught us, and one of those things is that website visitors want to find pricing information. Some companies shy away from putting their pricing on the website because they are afraid of their competitors. Bottom line, competitors already know your pricing. The only ones who don’t are your potential customers.
Luckily, the folks at Atlantech don’t shy away from anything, and were more than happy to be transparent about their pricing. So we built pricing pages for all of their core service offerings, combined with quick “get a quote” forms.
2. Launched a Unified Communications Offering Page
Unified Communications as a Service (UCaaS) is the next wave of business communications technology. As the business world moves to the cloud, old communications technologies will converge into a single system. The cloud is driving a massive demand for UCaaS providers.
Atlantech is one of the leading UCaaS providers in the Washington D.C. metro. So, along with content marketing efforts, we built a page to drive awareness and lead generation for UCaaS.
3. Added Ugly CTA's To Blogs
Yes, these are ugly - but they consistently outperform CTA's with a fancy design, across all our clients. We still keep our pretty CTA's for the bottom of the blog post, to keep everything looking clean. But, we sprinkle these into the body of the post, and they get a pretty nice click-through rate.
Since our landing pages convert 40-50%, getting the high click-through rate is an easy win to increase leads.
4. Added Dynamic CTA's to Blogs and Pages
Getting things to catch your eye is important, so we built a pretty CTA to go inside blogs and pages - only this one has moving parts. As you scroll down, the book cover slides down the grey box to the bottom, grabbing the attention of the visitor in the process.
5. Implemented Big "Exit Buster" CTA's
As I said, most of our landing pages are converting near 50%, which is pretty great. The point is to maximize the number of website visitors who visit those pages. Hence, the next CTA we implemented.
This one is big, beautiful, and definitely catches the eye. These are placed at the bottom of key pages, which is where we get the name "Exit Buster" CTAs. The bottom of a page is usually where an exit event happens - we want to give one last effort to convert a lead before they exit into cyberspace.
6. Added a "Check Availability" Feature
As we said before, Atlantech is a local provider, which means a lead is only qualified if they are within certain zip codes in the Washington D.C. metro. We decided to build a system of which we could instantly determine whether or not Atlantech could service a location.
This accomplished a few things:
- Website visitors are more likely to convert on an instant result than a "contact us" proposition.
- We could instantly disqualify out-of-area contacts without spending man-hours filtering leads.
- We could instantly identify a hot lead - someone in the service area, looking for service, who has browsed through our web site.
7. Added a Get Started Interactive Widget
This widget is great because we can expand it to multiple steps as needed to onboard a new customer. The steps are smart, so if a lead completes step 1, the second step becomes the focus, and step one goes dark.
This gave us the ability to walk website visitors through the onboarding process from whichever stage of the buyer journey they are currently in. As they complete the steps, their lead score is increased, and a qualified lead can become a hot SQL really quickly.
8. Built an SQL Identification Machine
The last thing we did was to put in place a method of culling unqualified leads, and identifying the true Marketing qualified and Sales qualified leads coming through the website.
Every month, we review the leads identified as possible SQL's and manually update those who are engaged as a pure SQL, and those who are MQLs - and we can cull the rest of the list of contacts who are not able to ever become a customer.
Once again looking at the chart, let's look closely at the last six months of 2016. In those six months, we converted only 12 true SQLs.
While it's true, each Atlantech customer is worth a lot more than e-commerce customers, for example, twelve SQL's in six months was not something we were happy about.
In February, we took action on the eight tactics above, and these are the results so far:
Note: At the time of writing, June/July leads are still going through the vetting process.
- February-May of 2017(4 months): 41 SQL's
- The Previous 4 Months: 9 SQL's
After focusing on the goal, we took the monthly average of SQL's from 2 per month, to a little over 10 per month. That's an increase of 355% in monthly SQL generation.
Of course, the more SQL's we can generate and nurture, the more opportunities to close new customers. In the chart below, you can see website customers beginning to move up and to the right - a direct result of the eight strategies we implemented above.
One lesson we've learned is, it's important to measure all aspects of the funnel. Atlantech's sales team had us spoiled. We were passing leads to them rather than building a proven system of generating, nurturing, and qualifying the leads before they took possession.
While that was how they preferred to work, in the beginning, the unintended consequence for us was the failure to set and track those goals.
- We set goals for traffic, and beat them.
- We set goals for lead generation, and beat them.
- We didn't set goals for SQL's, and we didn't do very well.
What get's measured gets improved.
- Peter Drucker
Mr. Drucker was right. We proved it.
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