It’s clear from my travels around the Web, that many business owners do not know the #1 purpose of their website.

Hint: it’s not to establish your brand presence.  It’s not to wow and impress with the latest fancy-pants technology (remember, Flash was once considered a cool must-have).  It’s not even for selling your stuff (yet).

The #1 purpose of your website is to convert visitors into leads.

It never ceases to amaze me as I visit websites under a huge variety of topics and interests, how many of them have placed functional barriers to visitors opting in.

While pure e-commerce sites, like Amazon for example, or big biz brand awareness sites, such as Coca-Cola, don’t need to “capture the lead,” as a direct response, engagement marketer, you do.  In fact, you must.

Here’s a list of the most common barriers to capturing the lead, and how to fix them.

1) No opt-in offer, or one that is woefully dull and tragically ineffective such as “Sign Up for My Free Newsletter.”

We live in the age of TMI, and no one wants another newsletter.  Instead, identify what the most common problem or challenge your audience is experiencing, and provide the solution to that problem – free.

2) Poor opt-in form positioning.   Common mistakes in the positioning of the opt-in form include:

  • Hiding it – the lower-left corner, for example, is the perfect option if you want to hide your opt-in form.   Best choices include upper right and full width above the fold.
  • Making your visitor go fetch your opt-in form.  For example a text link on the home page that says: Click to Sign up for My Newsletter. Not too good!

3) Boring graphics.  Depending upon what source is sited:  the average website visitor makes the decision to stay or go in a scant 2 and 5 seconds.  Decision made in just 2 – 5 seconds.  Count that out in your head.  It’s not long.

Your opt-in form must capture the visitor’s eye immediately, clearly state the problem/benefit and give an effective call to action.   Eye-catching graphics are a must!

4) Not repeating the opt offer in other places on your site.  Recommended locations include: the footer, the sidebar for pages that use the WordPress 2/3-1/3 layout, on a stand-alone squeeze page, etc.

Once you have an opt-in offer that converts, you want to create many opportunities for people to engage it!

5) Too many options to navigate away from your home page.  Your above the fold navigation, in particular, should be skinny.  Your specific choices will depend on factors unique to your business, but options such as Contact, Recommended Resources, Products and Services, Terms of Use, and similar can be effectively placed in a footer navigation.

Good options for Above the Fold navigation include: About You or Your Business, Sub-Niche Specific Info (especially if they provide a unique opt-in for the sub-niche), and Blog (unless your home page is a blog page).

Take Action and Raise Your Marketing Genius: Scan your site and in particular your home page.  Do you need a lead generation tune-up?  If so, follow the guidelines above and watch your opt-in rate soar.

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