Are Your Leads High Quality? 8 Key Factors to Determine if Your Leads Will Convert

Sean Lund-Brown

Lead management is a key component of digital marketing, yet so many companies fail to understand the basic factors of generating qualified leads likely to convert into sales. No longer are the days where you throw your name out into the wild and hope something sticks. Digital marketing has evolved enough that there are clear strategies to help small and large businesses target niche audiences and influence conversions.

At Smith.ai, part of our services includes lead screening and intake, so we’ve created a list of eight key factors to help you determine if your leads will convert and are high quality.

1. Conversion strategy: Understand what the lead conversion process is and what it isn’t

Marketing is centered around one major goal: generating business that results in profits. There are different strategies to compel people to visit your website and entice them enough to buy your product or service. However, to build an effective lead conversion strategy, you must understand the different stages that leads go through:

Lead capturing: Strategies to bring visitors to your website

Lead generation: Strategies to turn visitors into interested leads for your business

Lead qualification: Strategies to market toward qualified leads that are likely to convert and bring business

Lead conversion: Strategies to convert leads to produce sales

Lead nurturing: Strategies to maintain a relationship with leads to continue ongoing sales or complete sales

Understanding the lead management process will help you set clear objectives for your marketing so that you know the kind of leads you need to convert. Remember the following:

Lead generation is not the same as lead conversion

Many businesses focus on lead generation initially because this stage involves attracting people to your business. Using advertisements, SEO marketing techniques, word of mouth, and various other marketing strategies, many businesses rely on getting their name out there to generate new leads toward their business.

However, lead generation is just the beginning stage of the business-to-consumer (B2C) relationship, so not every lead you generate will result in a conversion. Some reasons could be:

● The consumer was attracted to your business, but your product or services did not fit their needs, interests, or desires.

● The consumer wants your services or products; however, they do not meet your standards for a qualified lead (e.g., they can’t afford your product/service, they do not live in the area where you do business, etc.).

● The consumer was browsing and had no interest in purchasing your product or service in the first place, and there was no incentive to change this mindset.

Lead generation allows you to understand the visitors who respond to your marketing strategies, but lead conversion involves using direct strategies to convince qualified visitors to engage with your business and complete a sale.

Lead scoring can help measure how effective your conversion strategy is

Lead scoring is a data model that helps businesses determine which leads are qualified and likely to convert as they navigate the sales funnel on a website. The data “scores” leads based on their actions and how far along they go through the sales funnel, including whether a lead ever converts and finishes a sale.

If you are unsure where to begin tweaking your conversion strategy, consider lead scoring as a methodology to ranking which strategies are more effective than others with your target audience. You can also assess whether your strategies to generate leads should be altered as well if you notice significant failures in your sales funnel.

2. Behavior automation: Gather information on your leads to capture the right audience

Behavior automation is another key factor in determining how likely a lead is to convert to a sale. Once you evaluate the efficacy of your conversion strategy, you should then review the data you’ve collected on the leads you’ve generated to improve your strategies.

The following are key steps to improving efforts toward targeting your desired demographics:

Understand what your lead wants

Businesses offer products or services to meet the consumer’s needs, interests, or desires. This is the core of the B2C relationship, so you must establish how your business serves as a solution or a provider in your marketing to compel a lead to complete an order with your company.

Consider the following:

● Does your marketing content address your leads’ problems or concerns?

● Is your website easy to navigate that your lead can easily make a transaction, inquiry, or other prompted action?

● Is your website engaging enough for leads to stay and browse, or are they immediately leaving?

These questions allow you to determine whether you need to create curated content, change your web design, or find a different approach altogether to reach your audience.

Collect data on how they interact with your website and other channels

Follow metrics that monitor your consumers’ behavior on your website, emails, SMS messages, social media pages, and other marketing channels. Look for the following behavioral triggers:

Bounce rates on landing pages: This can help show which landing pages need to be altered to keep visitors on your website. It also helps you eliminate any content that could be damaging your website’s overall SEO ranking.

Click rates for hyperlinks included in emails, SMS, and other messages: This can help you notice patterns on which call-to-action language, headlines, or content encourages interest from subscribers. You can nurture these patterns and influence consistent or higher conversion rates.

Cursor movement: A visitor might come to your website on one landing page, but they might be more interested in other content on your website. You can track when interest shifts on your page, which banners or keywords intrigue new leads, and whether there are certain distractions preventing your leads from converting.

Keyword searches that led to your page: Keep track of your highest-ranking SEO keywords and which keywords bring in the most traffic to your website. This may influence you to change your SEO strategy to appeal to a niche audience.

Use behavioral triggers to influence conversions

Once you understand visitors’ or subscribers’ behavior with your website, emails, or other content, you can then build strategies to manipulate behavioral triggers. For example, some strategies to enhance lead conversion based on behavioral triggers include:

● Using pop-up banners as a quick call-to-action before a user clicks out of your webpage

● Incorporating related keywords to enhance a landing page so that users are more likely to find it while browsing (e.g., using related keywords like “oil change in Baltimore” to accompany the main keyword “auto mechanic services in Baltimore”)

● Changing headlines and subject headers in emails so that they are more eye-grabbing and engaging

Alternatively, if you notice high-interest behavioral triggers, consider ways to replicate what strategies worked in other aspects of your marketing.

3. Content marketing strategy: Create effective and engaging landing pages

According to Gist, 90 percent of marketers in 2019 used content marketing as one of their primary methods to generate leads. However, only 8 percent of marketers were able to effectively measure return on investment (ROI) in their content marketing strategies, which indicates that many businesses rely too much on content generating leads over converting them.

When building your content strategy, you should include landing pages designed to convert leads. Landing pages allow businesses to use keywords to target niche audiences and cater to their interests with key products or services. Consider the following when reviewing your website’s content.

Make sure your content targets your niche audience

Rather than relying on your website’s copy to generate all of your leads, resulting in little conversions, create separate landing pages for different niche audiences that would be interested in your business. It’s important to understand who is searching for your services or products and who is likely to engage with it, which you can discover based on:

Customer history: As your business grows, you will build customer profiles based on who has purchased your products or services. For example, if you are a chiropractic clinic and notice your clientele is mostly men aged 50 and older, you might want to create landing pages for men in that age range to appeal to their interests.

High-ranking keywords: Work with your SEO team to build a list of relevant keywords for your business and build landing pages to target them exclusively. For example, if your business is in Richmond, Virginia, and you own a personal injury law firm, then you might create a landing page that specifically targets “Richmond personal injury lawyer.”

Target audience goals: In some cases, businesses want to broaden their audience and reach out to other demographics. Rather than change your current content, create targeted pages for your new audience that highlights which services or products appeal to them. This allows you to convert new leads without risking lowering conversion rates for regular leads.

Subscription forms should be catered to high interest leads

Subscription forms are a staple of many landing pages because it allows readers to put in their information, which you can then use to send them catered content or follow up with a consultation. However, how you set up a subscription form is key to influencing a lead to engage with your business and convert.

Remember the following when building subscription forms for your landing pages:

● Do not require too many fields for the lead to fill out, as this could scare them off or become too tedious for them to follow through with their interest.

● Make sure the subscription forms require the lead to fill out key information that can help you retarget and influence a conversion, such as reason for subscribing/inquiring and contact information.

● Make the call-to-action (CTA) clear on the subscription form so that leads understand what they are requesting when filling out the form.

Pages with high bounce rates need to be reworked or eliminated entirely

Finally, take a good look at the content pages already existing on your website. If you notice high bounce rates (70 percent or higher) on several of your landing pages, consider reworking those pages to better target keywords or eliminating those pages altogether to create better ones.

Ask yourself:

● Does the page target the keyword appropriately?

● Is the content relevant to the reader’s interest?

● Does the content establish how my business’s product or service can fulfill the lead’s needs?

● Is there a clear CTA to encourage a conversion?

● Is the page written well or does it have too many grammar mistakes, confusing language, and missing information?

Remember, with content marketing, you should value quality over quantity. By having well-written content on your website that establishes your business as an authoritative source, leads are more likely to trust your information and convert toward your goals.

4. Direct initiative: Communicate with your leads immediately

Now that we’ve established some key factors to consider for the foundation of your conversion strategy, we can start focusing on factors that help you guide leads toward conversion.

Decrease your lead response time

When you generate leads, it is not enough to provide information and hope a sale gets made. You need to initiate direct communication with the lead as soon as possible.

According to a Drift survey, only seven percent of companies responded to leads within the first five minutes of generating them, often because they utilized website chat services. Other companies weren’t even able to respond within five business days, which reduced their conversion rates.

At Smith.ai, we can help your business decrease your lead response time by handling this service for you. Our virtual receptionists work 24/7 to screen and take in leads, then forward qualified leads to your company for further communication. We can communicate with leads through various channels, such as:

● Phone calls

● Website chat messages

● Social media messages, such as Facebook messages

● SMS text messages

● Emails

Our virtual receptionists can also conduct outbound call-backs for leads that filled out subscription forms on your website. This avoids having any leads get backlogged in form data and can encourage leads to convert due to quick response and follow-up.

Make sure there are clear call-to-actions posted on your website

Depending on what your business offers, your CTAs may focus on having leads schedule an appointment for one of your services, purchasing a product on your online store, or subscribing to your email newsletter to get more information. Having clear CTAs allows leads to understand their next steps should be to get what they want from your company.

When creating CTAs:

Avoid confusing or misleading language: Wording is key (why else would everyone be talking about keywords?), so be careful about how you phrase your CTAs. For example, “call now to schedule your appointment today” could imply the user can be immediately serviced within the same day of reading your content. “Call today to schedule your appointment,” however, avoids any misleading information.

Make the next step easy for the lead to convert: If the lead needs to call your business, provide the direct phone number. If they need to provide information for you to determine how you can serve them, offer a subscription form for them to fill out instead of wasting time in a consultation getting basic facts. If they need to schedule an appointment, offer a calendar for them to choose their date. Make the conversion process as streamlined as possible.

Use action words to guide the user: Use words like “buy,” “call,” “reserve,” “order,” “contact,” and other action words so that leads feel a sense of urgency to perform the next step. You can also enhance aspects of your web design to encourage conversions, such as making a separate button to buy, dial a number, or add an item to one’s shopping cart.  

5. Follow-up methods: Nurture your leads through email marketing and other follow-up methods

Lead behavior does not always follow a straight path toward a sale, even when a lead exhibits high-interest behavior. A person might be aware of your brand and voluntarily subscribe to your content to get updates later on without purchasing anything the day they subscribe. Alternatively, a new visitor to your website may read all sorts of information and add items to their shopping cart, then get distracted before completing their order.

Nurturing leads is crucial to lead conversion, as this stage utilizes strategies to retarget qualified leads and prompt them to complete a sale or revisit your website. There are several ways to follow up with a lead, with some major methods involving:

Email marketing

Email marketing remains a strong tool for nurturing leads, especially now when people can access their email on their smartphones. Different from text and social media messages, people have a different mindset when reading emails and can be more willing to read longer content. Use this to your advantage and do the following to nurture your leads:

Create different email campaigns to target behavioral triggers: Nurture your leads by monitoring their behavioral triggers and sending targeted emails that help them reengage with your website. Examples include emails about the lead’s abandoned cart or the latest addition to their favorite items list.

Segregate your email list into different audience categories: When you want to inform your email contact list about new sales, services, products, and general news, that is information that can be spread to a wide audience. However, for strategic outreach, segregate your email subscribers into target categories, such as different age groups, locations, and interests. This can help you create content that caters to that group specifically and increases your chance for conversion.

Enhance the quality of your email content and design: You have a few seconds to catch the reader’s attention when they open your email, so you want the graphic display of your email to be appealing while keeping headlines straightforward and urgent. Keep important information at the top in case readers do not scroll down to read the rest of the email.

SMS marketing

SMS marketing capitalizes on text messages as a direct communication tool with subscribers. The benefit behind this strategy is that SMS messages can feel more personal, like a friend texting you about a sale, and are to-the-point with no fluff to bore the reader. Below are some tips to target leads through SMS:

Use SMS texts as a retargeting strategy: Like emails, SMS text messages can be an effective strategy to retarget leads since they are subscribed to the service. Use this method to promote flash sales, discount codes, product launches, and other exclusive information so that leads feel prompted to take advantage of opportunities.

Send out SMS campaigns to generate new and recurring leads: Create multiple types of SMS campaigns to nurture your leads. Consider sending out messages that welcome new subscribers with an exclusive discount code they can use right away. For current subscribers, stay on top of their behaviors and send text reminders to return to their cart, schedule an appointment, or reorder an item from their shopping history.

Keep messages concise and relevant to the consumers’ interests: Text messages stay below 160 characters and feature relevant information. Long-winded messages may get ignored or interpreted as spam, so you want to be direct about the offer and mention your company’s brand name to immediately establish interest and authority.

Social media marketing

Since Facebook and other social media applications opened their feeds to advertisements and commercial content, marketing has revolutionized with the virality these mediums offer. You can enhance the success of your business through social media by doing the following:

Regularly posting content to your social media channels to encourage engagement: Social media algorithms rely on consistency and engagement. Posting content regularly (about one to three times a day) can boost your outreach to followers and potential followers, so you want to maintain a consistent presence and use popular hashtags on each social media channel you run. Make content that captures the eye, whether that involves making videos about your services/products or showing a catalogue for consumers to browse.

Responding to messages as soon as possible: Social media has conditioned many people to receive immediate responses, so decrease your response time to keep consumers engaged with your business. At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists can respond to your Facebook, Instagram, and other social media messages for you so that you never miss the opportunity of converting a good lead.

Not treating all your social media channels the same: How a person navigates Facebook is not the same way they navigate Twitter, YouTube, or Instagram, so don’t treat these marketing mediums the same. Know your audience on each social media page you run and adjust your content to function well on those applications. For example, on Instagram, you might rely on more visual-focused content, whereas with Facebook, you might need to provide more written information to consumers.

6. SEO strategy: Use metrics to follow activity on your website

According to SmartBug, leads obtained through inbound activities (e.g., SEO targeting in organic searches) have a higher conversion rate than outbound activities (e.g., print advertising). Research found that SEO leads led to a 14.6 percent conversion rate compared to 1.7 percent from outbound leads.

Your SEO strategy should constantly evolve to adapt to the behaviors of your leads, target audience, and bounce rates. Take time to follow activity on your website and assess where SEO tactics can be improved, such as whether you need to:

● Use more relevant keywords to optimize a landing page and have it rank on page 1 of Google search results

● Provide more internal links to create a better content map and give users options to navigate to more relevant pages on your website based on their interests

● Use authoritative external sources to support your content so that readers are likely to trust your information and see what you have to offer

● Reword meta data to be more attention-grabbing to users and encourage more website clicks

● Make your content more user-friendly, meaning utilizing more bullet lists, subheaders, and visual content to encourage people to read your content in full

● Using other highly searched keywords based on your industry and optimizing pages to beat competitors’ websites

7. Social proof: Use reviews and testimonials to your advantage to encourage leads to convert

Social proofing involves using reviews and testimonials from other users to promote your products or services. User-generated feedback can be an effective way of establishing authority for your business because you have a history of satisfied customers, and it can also build trust for new visitors who just need a little more reinforcement in converting.

The following are different ways to social proof your website and encourage lead conversion:

Google reviews: When cataloguing your commercial business with Google, allow users to review your company. You can link to these reviews or quote them on your website. Google reviews also have a sense of neutrality, as visitors can immediately understand this is voluntary feedback to Google and not reviews your business picked out.

Testimonials: Longer, more detailed feedback can be featured as testimonials on your website. Testimonials can help leads better understand what kind of customer service and performance to expect from your company. You can also feature testimonials in video format, which can feel more authentic.

Product reviews: If you sell products in catalogue format on your website, opt to have reviews on each product page. You can encourage people who purchased your items to review their experience with your product, which can then influence others to purchase the same item.

Facebook reviews: Facebook features review options, which allows users to rate your business and provide feedback to others before they like your page. Having a good star rating on Facebook can boost your engagement statistics and be another item to promote on your website.

8. Lead separating: Segregate your leads and know how to define a good lead for your business

Finally, as mentioned briefly in other sections, determining whether your leads are high quality involves segregating your lead categories. Every business has separate profiles for what is considered a “good lead,” so this is something you must observe based on your sale history and customer base.

Things to consider are:

● Who is buying your products or services the most?

● Who do you want to buy your products and services?

● What triggers indicate you’re likely to convert a lead?

● Which groups require the most nurturing to convert versus the least nurturing?

At Smith.ai, we can screen through your leads based on quality lead profiles you’re looking for. This includes blocking spam and other automated leads so that the only leads forwarded to your company are ones that are likely to result in an actual transaction or appointment booking. Within our lead response services, we also:

● Answer messages after regular business hours, including weekends

● Follow-up with web leads who filled out forms on your website

● Answer messages through website chat, SMS texts, and Facebook

● Give personalized greetings specified by your company

● Offer bilingual services during lead calls

Through our company, we can take on the menial task of separating your leads for you, which can allow you to focus more on enhancing your conversion strategy and producing inventory or performing services for your clients.

Our virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can identify qualified leads likely to convert

Making sure your leads are high quality can help them convert toward sales and improve your business, but the process to get there can involve having to deal with dead leads. Allow Smith.ai to handle your answering services and screen your leads so that your company only has to deal with good leads ready to engage with your company. When you work with Smith.ai, some of the services we offer include:

24/7 phone answering

Appointment booking

CRM integration

Payment collection

Sales development

Want to learn more about our services? You can schedule a free 30-minute sales consultation to learn how our virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can help improve lead generation and conversion for your company. We also provide pricing information for our services, and we offer a 14-day money back guarantee to let you evaluate if we are a right fit for your business.

If you have further questions, feel free to call us at (650) 727-6484 or email us at hello@smith.ai and we will get back with you shortly.

Sean Lund-Brown

Sean Lund-Brown is a current Marketing Assistant for Smith.ai. A graduate from Metropolitan State University of Denver, Sean graduated with a BA in Music and an individualized degree in Teaching Vocal Pedagogy.

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