Some of the best leads come from people who discover your site and reach out to you on their own initiative. Capturing and pursuing those leads usually results in a sale, and some of those customers end up being your most valuable repeat customers. They’re invested, they’re satisfied, and they’re all too happy to spread the word.
The best way to get a hold of these leads is through a contact form on your website. We were able to double our sales using this method. There is important information that can be harvested that the user doesn't necessarily know they're providing, when implementing a contact form. Nothing underhanded, of course; we don’t’ scrape Facebook information or call out private detectives on our leads. We just have a few hidden fields that populate automatically when a user submits their information.
This is in addition to the standard contact information. We ask for the user’s name, their email address, their webpage URL, and their message, along with one other field. With the information we collect, we’re able to pursue valid leads and weed out chaff much easier.
Hidden Field: Country of Origin
The first hidden field, populated automatically upon form submission, is the country of origin. We are a company that can work globally, but we have found that the vast majority of our customers come from English-speaking countries; the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia. When we can see the country of origin of the potential lead, we are able to prioritize service.
It’s a sad fact that, if you’re coming from certain areas of the world, your communication probably isn’t worth our time. If we get two leads, one from a demographic with a 90% conversion rate and one from a demographic with a 5% conversion rate, we’re going to focus our efforts on the first one.
That’s not to say we completely ignore leads from nations outside of the big three. Any potentially promising lead, regardless of origin, is worth following up on. It’s just that, all things being equal, we will focus more energy on the more likely lead. When your country of origin is one of our main sellers, we’re going to dedicate a little more time and energy to the customer service. We’re more willing to hold your hand through the process.
Hidden Field: Originating Page
This field makes sense from a purely analytics standpoint. We have our contact form linked from several pages on our site. When a user fills out the form and clicks to submit the data, this form populates with the URL of the page used to submit it. This way, we can see if a user is contacting us through a landing page, the homepage, the dedicated contact page, a blog post, or wherever the contact submission form comes from.
How does this help us boost our sales? It shows us what pages are doing the work. The sales funnel has an end point on a page that generates a lead for us, and we want to know what pages do that most effectively. We can test attributes for those pages on other pages, to see what has an effect and what doesn’t. When we find something effective – a colored CTA button, a particular image, a specific feature to mention – we can spread it throughout the site and increase lead generation overall.
Hidden Field: IP Tracking
You can learn a lot about someone from their IP address, and that’s why we log the IP of the visitor who submits an entry in our contact form. We can, for example:
- Identify the IP address of a spam bot when it submits garbage into our forms, and use that IP to block the bot and/or a range that includes the bot’s area of origin.
- Identify and flag or filter traffic coming from known proxy addresses, which is rarely valuable and often used to hide illicit activity.
- Identify any potentially interesting sources of traffic. For example, it might color our perspective if we learn that a potential client is coming from a government IP address, a military address, or even an educational address.
Most of the time, the IP address doesn’t give us much. It’s a useful tool for filtering spam, but among legitimate leads, it’s very rarely important enough to alter our behavior. Even so, it’s one aspect among many that help us know who we’re talking to.
Visible Field: “How did you find us?”
This final field is visible to the user, and we encourage users to fill it out. It’s just a simple text form, allowing the user to put in a referral, if they so desire. We like to know where they find us, so we know if any particular ads, guest posts, or third part links are particularly effective.
For example, if we learn that a user found us through an ad we ran on Facebook, we can check into our ads and optimize them a bit more. If we discover a user found us through a guest post we wrote for a high profile industry site, we can look into further guest posts on that site.
Crucially, we can look for gaps in coverage. If we’re running a particular set of ads and no one comes in through those ads, we can reallocate the resources we’re using on those ads. It helps us optimize our conversion funnel.