It is rare that a first time visitor to a website makes a purchase during that first visit. Even if the sales process is completely successful with that visitor it is still quite likely they will go think it over for a bit. Then, if there is no further contact from your sales process, the demands of their daily life will take over and they will completely forget about their interest in making that purchase. The best way to avoid that scenario, other than getting them to make that purchase on the first visit, is to make sure you continue to communicate with as many interested prospects as possible. Further, since at each stage of your sales process you will lose some of your visitors, it makes sense to put the request for ongoing communication right on that initial landing page of your website.
Placing your request for contact information on the landing page of your website serves two primary functions. One, of course, is to capture as many as possible before you start losing them to distractions or parts of your sales message that are ineffective. The second function, in many sales funnels, is the exact opposite. This purpose is to filter out visitors who are not interested enough so you are not wasting their time or your resources as they enter the more active portions of the sales process.
There are many ways to collect contact information but when you reduce all the fluff and bells and whistles to the essentials you are left with only two approaches. One approach is to offer something of value on the landing page that they will need to provide some basic contact information to receive. In this approach the visitor is still free to continue exploring your offering deeper into your sales funnel even if they do not take advantage of that early free offer on your landing page. The second approach uses essentially the same tools but they are placed across the path of the visitor and if they do not act they cannot continue to explore your offering. Which method is correct? The general answer is a solid and unwavering, “It depends.” However, I can tell that with the offerings I have and the clients I have had so far, I never use that first option any more (unless the client insists…even then I split test to demonstrate the reasons for that choice). Every single sales funnel I use or that I build for my clients makes it impossible for visitors to continue without taking the action of providing their name and e-mail (and sometimes phone number)…in other words, demonstrating a higher than average level of interest.
The mandatory nature of the landing page contact information requirement means that you need to accomplish three things before that point. One, your sales message so far must be intriguing enough that they truly want to know more and will feel some loss if they stop now. Two, you must assure them that they will be able to cancel the e-mail messages easily and with just a click. Third, you must assure the visitor that their contact information will not be shared or sold. Last, always…always…honor those assurances! Do not even use their contact information to talk to them about something other than the offering in this sales funnel or related knowledge. They will not see that as okay because it is still you and you did not share or sell their contact information. They will only see that they are suddenly getting information and offers that they did not ask for and your credibility will be smeared. Treat them and their inbox with respect. They showed interest in this offering. They provided you with a way to keep talking to them about this offering (or whatever you promised to send them in return for their e-mail). Show them the respect they deserve and keep the part of their inbox clutter that you are responsible for focused on what they wanted to receive from you.
Why have I ceased to use the more open collection approach in both my own and my clients’ sales funnels? Simple. Testing over time revealed that sales were higher as compared to overall resources expended. The testing simply took exactly the same sales funnel and marketing activities and compared them across time. The only difference between the two was whether or not the request for contact information was a sideline request or stood in the way of progressing through the process. Does that mean the other approach is not valid? Of course not. I am sure there are situations and offerings for which this would not work well at all. With whatever you are offering, test both and use the one that works better when comparing the return on investment you make with each approach. Keep in mind that the philosophy driving the sales funnel construction conducted by my company is to make sure that each layer of the sales process is removing the people who are not qualified buyers. Also, each layer is going to have an ever more interested and well defined group of people, making it much easier to put together an awesome and perfectly targeted sales message when it comes time to close the deal. The entire sales funnel was designed to ensure that only one well defined and highly interested group of people will make it that far https://ecomincomeblueprint.com/funnelsblueprint/clickfunnels-review-vs-leadpage-and-samcart-is-the-pricing-scam/ . Now the sales message can speak directly to them (that is also a little taste of why I use many sales funnels…one for each identified group of potential buyers…not one per offering as is most common…but that is another article…).
Back to the reasons the mandatory approach is, in my opinion, superior for most offerings…
The sales process gets more active the deeper into it the interested visitor goes. There may be video streams that eat up the bandwidth you purchased. There may be live chat features where your visitors can ask their questions. There may be a call center involved to help close deals when they reach a certain point. All of those have the potential to create expenses and use up the valuable resources dedicated to making sales. A well designed sales funnel helps to protect those resources by filtering out anyone who is not going to respond to the sales message, anyone who is not interested enough right now and anyone who is not qualified as a potential buyer. If the website you are using for sales does not have an active component it is far less important to use a strong filtering approach. However, I would recommend you test both approaches. I have found that modifying to a more active sales approach is good for most offerings made by small companies that are not already well known out there in the wild…like yours!
What does that last paragraph have to do with collecting contact information using the mandatory approach? It is part of the reason that supports the choice of whether to use the passive or active approach to collecting contact information. In every part of your sales funnel it is important that you understand exactly what you are doing and why.
Regardless of your chosen approach you will next need to determine a method of enticing the visitor to part with their valuable name and e-mail address (at least). The method you choose also impacts their decision on whether to give you real contact information or fake information. You want the real goods of course. The best way to ensure that each visitor who chooses to take this action also chooses to provide real information is to give them something that will be delivered by e-mail and state that is how it is delivered. You could offer lessons or daily nuggets of knowledge related to what is being offered (even if they are not exactly sure what that is yet…remember…you are still being intriguing at this stage). You could enter them in a drawing of some kind. You can even use my favorite…make sure your sales copy so far is so intriguing it will create a small sense of loss in truly interested visitors if they do not get to find out more. This is, of course, the most difficult to write but works quite well when done correctly. Regardless of which method you use in the actual request…deliver whatever you promise and deliver it well and of high quality. This will leave a permanent impression of both you and your offering that you will not be able to change. It is the sales funnel parallel to the first impression. Sure, they already saw your ad and your landing page message but this is the first time they are trusting you with something and expecting something in return. Deliver!
Capturing contact information right there on your landing page is a powerful approach that gives you a means of continuing to communicate with interested people that you previously had no way of talking to directly. Also, before this interaction you did not know enough about them to know what to say nor did you know if your offering could be of any value to that person. Now, at least with the mandatory contact information approach, you have a great deal of information about what they are looking for from the context of your sales and marketing process. You know what ad or marketing activity brought them here. You know that whatever you said on your landing page intrigued them enough to give you their valuable contact information. You know that they are truly interested in whatever the sales message to this point has been talking about. If all those pieces are well targeted and laser focused you will have a lot of information about what kind of person you are working with. Your entire set of communications from this point can be set up to speak to them directly. Both the e-mails they receive from your communications system and the next layer of this sales process are now much easier to write because the people who get this far are similar enough in some important way that the best message as related to your offering is relatively easy to determine.
If I have not yet convinced you of the importance of collecting contact information right at the beginning of your sales funnel let me try one more point. Many of the people who leave your site before the end of the sales process did not leave because they did not like what they were seeing. Some portion of them were probably truly interested but they got distracted by another window or beep or buzz from some other application on their computer, their power went out, the kids demanded some attention in some way, their boss is coming through the door… Do not lose these people forever just because you did not create a way to continue communication as early in your sales funnel as possible. This is continued communication they want and asked for. There is no advertising campaign in the world that can perform better than a list of people that you know want to hear from you about what you are offering.