Why conversions are more important than lead generation for service professionalsDec 31, 2022
As a service professional or service business, you know lead generation is essential–but leads don't pay the bills, and not all leads are created equal. The truth is, more leads won't guarantee sales or success; that's where Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) comes into play.
Conversion Rate Optimization focuses on getting leads to take action and can make a huge impact on your business. In this blog post, we'll discuss why conversions are more important than lead generation for service professionals, how focusing on improving conversion rates can help increase your overall revenue, and walk you through a step-by-step guide for conversion rate optimization.
What are leads, what are conversions, and what does this have to do with my service business?
The last thing a service business needs is to pay for more website traffic filled with qualified leads who never buy. What a waste! Instead, you can save time and money by generating more sales with the traffic you already have using conversion rate optimization. To make the most of every site visitor and potential client, let's review important terms related to conversion rate optimization.
A lead is someone you've identified as a prospective client. It's important to know as much as possible about your ideal clients so you can focus your efforts on attracting the highest-value leads instead of growing a large audience of people who you can't help and will never buy. Leads are opportunities, and their awareness of your business and services will vary.
Cold leads are potential clients who have the least awareness of your business; think of the top of your funnel. Cold leads usually don't even know your business exists, and they may not have expressed any interest in your company or services. They are usually a target audience that you have identified as having a high potential to become clients. Cold leads are at the very beginning of your funnel or customer journey, as I like to call it. They require information, nurturing and engagement from your marketing before they can become clients.
Warm leads are potential clients who are aware of your business and may have expressed interest in your company or product by taking some action to engage with you, for example, those who have joined your email list or followed you on social media. Warm leads usually require less information about who you are and more information about how you can help them overcome their problem or achieve their goal. An example of warm leads could be someone who has visited your landing page and decided to read your blog to learn more about your website.
Hot leads are potential or current clients who have shown a high level of interest in your company or product and are the closest to becoming paying clients. Hot leads are considered ready to buy because they may have made repeated contact, requested more information, or even expressed an intention to purchase. Hot leads usually require less information and engagement than cold or warn leads, and instead, they require a reason to buy now. An example of hot leads is past and existing clients–your past and existing clients should be included in your optimization strategy. They usually have a better understanding than anyone about what you do and can be great potential clients for new services and higher profit add-on services.
A conversion is defined as the completion of requests that your company set forth, such as making a purchase, downloading a file, clicking on an ad, filling out a form, or subscribing to a newsletter. Each business will identify the specific actions they want potential clients to take depending on their specific services and offerings. A conversion is a form of proof that a potential client is taking a step in their customer journey to becoming a client. Conversions are incredibly important because they give you feedback about whether your marketing is working.
Imagine a corporate law firm specializing in international business acquisitions. They have just identified a new potential market: tech manufacturing businesses. Leads for this law firm would be anyone they identify in that market that could be a good fit for their business. Conversions would be the specific actions taken by leads.
Types Of Conversions
There are many different types of conversions in marketing, and in an effort to keep things simple, I'll run through a few common categories of conversions.
1. Click-Through Conversions
When a user clicks on a call to action. Calls to action are the specific directions you give, like 'Buy Now' or 'Click Here,' which are usually located on a button. Click-through conversions can happen in ads, emails, website pages, social media posts and more.
2. Lead generation
A lead generation conversion happens when a user gives you their contact information. This can happen by filling out a form, downloading a free resource or subscribing to a list. The most important form of lead generation in marketing today is email and telephone numbers used for email and SMS marketing.
Sales conversions are the king of conversions, and they happen when a user purchases an item or service. Sales conversions equal revenue!
Hopefully, now you can see the difference between leads and conversions, and why both are essential for your business. More leads do not necessarily mean more conversions or revenue, and not all leads are considered equal.
Conversion Rate Optimization And Capacity
Most service businesses don't have the capacity to take on thousands of new customers...or hundreds...or even dozens. Yet so many businesses with little capacity for new clients focus all of their marketing efforts on generating thousands of leads when simply focusing on converting a few high-value clients could completely transform their business. This is the key reason a conversion-first approach to marketing is crucial for service businesses.
Why should you focus on conversions before lead generation
Many businesses begin their marketing efforts focusing on lead generation, which sounds like the logical first step. What they don't realize is that leads without conversions are a waste of time and money, and can result in damaging your brand's reputation.
Think about it; you send a mass of leads to your website in hopes that they will book a free call or buy your offer…but your website sucks, you have no content to nurture the relationship, and the leads feel just like our example character at the networking party getting pitch slapped. No one buys, and you end up with a lot of missed opportunities.
Instead of starting with lead generation, service professionals should prioritize conversion optimization. For example, instead of going to a networking event with the goal of having 100 people learn your business exists, it would be much more effective to go to the networking event with the goal of identifying three to five high-value leads, getting their contact information and working to build a working relationship with them. Here are a few reasons why lead generation without conversion optimization isn't helping your service business.
One of the biggest problems with lead generation is that a lot of the leads that are generated are of low quality. This means that they are not likely to convert into paying clients, no matter how good your conversion strategies are!
High Cost Per Lead
Another problem with lead generation is that it can be quite costly, especially if you're not converting a high percentage of leads into clients. The cost per lead can vary depending on a number of factors, including the method you used to generate and target the leads. If your cost per lead is too high, it will eat into your profits and make it difficult to grow your business.
Lead generation can also be quite time-consuming, especially if you're doing it all yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in generating leads and forget about actually converting them into clients. This is why it's important to have a conversion-first approach to marketing.
Lack of Focus
Many businesses lack focus on lead generation; they generate leads from a variety of sources, including online and offline channels, without having a clear plan for how to convert them into clients. As a result, they end up wasting a lot of time and money on leads that never turn into sales.
Lack of Personalization
Lead generation is that it is usually not personalized, meaning businesses will generate leads using generic methods, such as online ads or cold calling, without taking the time to learn about the specific needs and wants of their target clients. As a result, they are less likely to be able to convert those leads into sales.
Lack of Integration
Another problem with lead generation is that it is often not integrated with other marketing activities. For example, many businesses generate leads through their website but then fail to follow up with them or provide them with information that would be useful in the decision-making process. This can lead to a lot of wasted time and effort on the part of both the business and the customer.
Conversion Optimization Strategies For Service Professionals
Hopefully, I've sold you on the concept of a conversion-first approach to marketing, so now let me walk you through a simple framework for conversion optimization so you can make the most of every lead.
Optimize Your Offer
The easiest way to start optimizing your marketing for conversions is by starting with your offer–how can you improve your offer to increase conversions? The simplest way to improve your offer is with messaging and positioning.
The messaging of your offer is how you describe your offer to potential clients, and this can happen in a few places, including your website, proposals and in conversations. The easiest way to begin optimizing your offer messaging is to examine the most common objections you hear and overcome them in your offer description.
For example, the most common objections for our corporate law firm example are that the acquisition process is complicated, time-consuming and expensive. On the law firm's website, where they describe their services, here's something they could add to overcome those objections and improve their messaging.
Ex. Legal Services for International Acquisitions
Our firm specializes in making the international acquisition process simple. Our expedited services reduce the cost and time of acquisitions, making us the best choice for your international business needs.
Offer positioning is the process of understanding your ideal client's problem and then marketing your service to be the best solution. The goal of offer positioning is to create distinct advantages for your offer over comparable options on the market. To improve the positioning of your offer, you need to clearly describe the problem your client faces. Then describe how your offer is the bridge from where they are to where they want to be.
If we look at our corporate law firm again, their ideal client's biggest problem is that the acquisition process is risky. The solution to this problem is to reduce as many of the risks as possible, and the corporate law firm needs to position its services as the least risky solution to acquisitions.
Ex. Tech manufacturing companies need to acquire businesses to scale, but the process is risky. International Acquisitions Law Firm helps tech manufacturing businesses acquire the companies they need to scale with the least amount of risk so they can compete and thrive in the market.
Review your offers and service descriptions to look for opportunities to improve your messaging and positioning. Overcome your ideal client's most common objections and clearly describe your ideal client's problem and how your services help them overcome their problem in your service descriptions.
If you asked a 5-year-old to navigate your website and book a call or buy a service from you, could they do it? Probably not. Most websites have too many landing pages and product pages, confusing calls to action, and no clear path for new visitors to buy. Think of your website as the cash register of your business; if a client finds something they want to buy but can't find the cash register, after a few minutes, they will dump their items in an aisle and leave. The same will happen on your website, so it's essential to make the booking and buying process as clear, easy and fast as possible. Your ideal client should be able to land on your homepage and complete the booking or buying process in under 5 seconds.
Find someone who has never been to your website and has little to no awareness of what you do and who you serve. Ask them to go to your website, learn what you do, and who you serve and book a call or buy a service for you 'For Time.' If they can't get all of that information, your call to action, and complete the booking process, that's your cue to make some adjustments. You can start to worry about search engine optimization, split testing and google ads after you've nailed your website content.
Remember our networking example? Don't pitch-slap potential clients! Take the time to nurture a relationship with your leads by providing content in the form of blog articles, videos and social media posts. This ensures that cold leads can easily access the information they need to become warm or even hot leads.
Distribute your content in the places where your ideal client is most likely to be looking for the information; for example, our corporate law firm would likely distribute their content on highly credible business platforms where their ideal customers would be searching for information on acquisitions.
Remember that your content should be related to the service you provide, the problems that you solve, and the customers you serve. Keep your content professional and easy to read, avoid the use of jargon, and create content for cold, warm and hot leads.
The most effective way to turn cold leads warm and hot is to have them subscribe to your email list by providing their contact information in exchange for a valuable asset like an ebook, webinar, video or white paper. Then regularly deliver your content to subscribers to increase their awareness of your business and services, demonstrate your credibility and overcome their potential objections before they are ready to buy. With a list of nurtured leads, you can let them know about specials, discounts, promotions or events.
With a conversion-first approach to your marketing efforts, any leads that you attract will have the best chance of becoming clients. Along with these conversion rate optimization tools, you can create a comprehensive conversion rate optimization strategy by writing out the step-by-step process your clients take from the point of awareness to the point of sale and identifying opportunities to improve conversions at each step. Reverse-engineer the process by optimizing the point of the sale first, and then working your way back towards awareness to create a powerful conversion funnel.
How will you know if your marketing efforts are working if you aren't tracking your marketing metrics or conversion rates? You won't. It's essential to identify the key metrics that help you understand whether your marketing is working.
Metrics For Tracking Leads
Common metrics for tracking whether leads are moving through your customer journey are website traffic, the types of website visitors like organic traffic or paid traffic, and bounce rate.
Metrics For Conversions
The metrics used for tracking conversions will depend on the desired action you want leads to take. If your goal is to grow your email list and nurture subscribers could be opt-ins and email open rates. If your goal is to have leads submit a contact form or book a call, you can measure the number of website clicks on a particular page or use tools like Google Analytics to track your conversion rates.
Website Conversion Metrics
Your website data can help you can identify opportunities to improve your website conversions. Your website's conversion rates will help you understand what actions your site visitors are taking, what web pages need optimization, and whether your site content is effective. These changes are usually quite simple and inexpensive and can lead to increased revenue without more traffic.
A Conversion-First Approach To Marketing
Lead generation is an important part of any successful marketing strategy, but it's only half the equation. Conversion rate optimization (CRO) should also be a priority for service professionals who want to maximize their lead-to-sale ratio and attract high-value customers. With a conversion-first approach to marketing, your business has a greater chance of success!
- Hey Mickey Anderson