May 23, 2018 | Sarah Danks
Proper Conversion Tracking
We’ve had many different genres of clients over the years, but the ones we really cater to and do well for are in the professional services realm. You could say our wheelhouse is lead generation — since that’s what those types of clients rely on to keep their businesses successful.
If your professional service business is online, you know every click is trackable. You (should) also know that in order to accurately monitor your website’s performance you need to be able to track your converted visitors.
Think there’s no such thing as online marketing best practices? Well, there is. Here’s a no-brainer for lead generation websites: always use a form to capture leads.
Because your lead generation website has one purpose and one purpose only: TO GENERATE LEADS.
And, sure, if you get your traffic to contact you via email address (*sigh* Yes, people still do this on websites today), they’re still contacting you, right?
Sure, but you’re not able to TRACK those leads (accurately). Plus, let’s be honest: it’s 2018 — nearly mid-way through the year, no less — and you should know better by now. Even if you don’t, that’s fine, but your online marketing company should.
And if they don’t? Wave goodbye to them and hire someone who knows a tad more about Internet marketing.
So, to sum it up: if your current website’s contact page looks like this:
It’s time to switch gears and pick a new marketing partner.
As SEO Andy Crestodina over at Orbit Media says, the contact page is where the magic happens. Ahem. Well, that’s what should happen on that page, at any rate. Andy also points out in his lead gen best practices post:
“Any high-school kid can make an e-mail link. But established, qualified firms do things right. A form is a clear, clean way to establish your professionalism and simplify communication.”
Check out what else Andy has to say about the use of email links versus contact forms. Hey, the post might be from 2007 but is still entirely valid! That tells you how long this best practice has been, well, in practice.
See, the main problem with only using email links as a means for web visitors to get in touch with you, as Andy mentions in his blog post, is that it’s not 100% trackable.
The majority of websites use Google Analytics for their tracking, but regardless of platform used, no analytics tracking code can follow visitors OFFSITE. I.e., when visitors click an email link, analytics can track that click…
…and then the visitor’s email opens up, they write their email and send it. Or maybe they don’t. What if they decide not to? What if, like me, they don’t have their preferred email program set up to launch when they click a mailto: link? Either way, analytics loses “sight” of said visitor as soon as they click the email link.
Poof. Gone. No record of them after the click.
How NOT To Do Contact Forms
There’s a way not to go about an online form: otherwise known as not having one at all.
In addition to the example above, I thought I’d share some examples of how not to construct your contact forms — or, in this case, pages, since there are no forms — on your website. Yes, businesses still do this.
Yes, these are actual websites that rely on lead generation.
What he’s doing correctly is keeping it all kinds of simple on the contact page. However, with the simple addition of a lead gen form, this site (specializing in executive search services) would benefit from not only more leads; it would all be trackable, too.
This company needs a form to capture their leads, instead of trying to siphon them off via email links. Again, this is not an accurate way to track leads on the website since only the CLICK on the email link is trackable; not the actual filling out/sending/receiving of the email.
Okay, so there’s a work-around in Google Analytics (and probably other analytics platforms) but it’s not something your average business owner would be savvy enough to dive into the code and complete.
(Nor the marketing company in charge, to be quite frank.)
Again, this business is streamlining the information on the contact page. That being said, if you rely on leads you shouldn’t be asking your users to email you as the sole form of getting in touch.
Build a simple contact form instead and monitor the activity.
Law firms rely heavily on lead generation — I’d argue they have to weed through the chaff more so than many others in the professional services realm to get to the gems — and yet here there’s no clear way to contact these lawyers.
In fact, when I searched for various legal areas of help within the city of Minneapolis, I kept receiving this message: “Results: There are no results.”
Back button — see ya later!
Examples of How To Include Online Forms
The following are some examples of businesses that use forms in order to capture lead information.
#1: Law Firm
#2: Insurance Agency
#3: Environmental Assessment Firm
#4: Medical Spa
Using lead gen forms on your business website isn’t rocket science — but it IS a best practice you should be adhering to.
And here’s how…
Create a Simple Contact Form
For those of you business owners who don’t use contact forms (yet) currently chewing your fingernails to nubbins, relax. You don’t have to be a web developer in order to have a nice lead gen form on your website.
Here are some other options for you to be able to capture your conversion information:
If your website is built in WordPress (or any other CMS), there’s a plugin for that. In fact, there are many! Yup, never fear — just perform a Google search for contact form plugins or check out this handy-dandy list of good WordPress plugins I’ve compiled for you:
- Gravity Forms
- Contact Form 7
- Fast Secure Contact Form
- Ninja Forms
As always when choosing Wordpress plugins, be sure you do your research and choose wisely. Make sure the plugin is well-supported, updated, has good reviews, etc.
3rd-Party Form Builders
If your website isn’t build in WordPress (or you’re not interested in using plugins), you can always use a third-party form builder software. There are a myriad of options out there, including:
Again, before randomly choosing an online form builder, do your due diligence and learn about it (and how hard it is to implement!) before downloading and/or purchasing it.
HTML5, PHP & Other DIY Forms
If you’re a person who likes to get lost in the matrix — I mean the code — then there are also ways for you to nerd out and build your own lead gen forms.
That being said, I recommend being quite savvy at coding before heading down this path. As in, be sure you’re entirely comfortable working in this view (and know what it all means):
So you see there are many ways to build lead generation forms on your website — enough options that it’s silly not to use them.
Do What Works For You — But Do It With a Form!
Here at ThinkSEM we use Gravity Forms (WordPress plugin) for our website forms; for landing pages our designer/developer builds his own forms in a mix of HTML and PHP.
That’s what works for us. However, you’ve got to find the type of form that works best for you and your business.
In this day and age, it’s not even about having or not having a lead gen form on your website to capture leads anymore; it’s about optimizing your forms to best set your website up for success.
What about you — how do you feel about only using email links vs lead gen forms?