The Traffic Trap: Why Companies Fail to Convert Visitors Into Leads (& Revenue)

/ marketing
Stephen Altrogge

Back in the good old days of the internet, you had to get creative in order to get traffic to your website or online forms. Entire books were written on the subject, explaining how to use sneaky “guerilla marketing” techniques like handing out bumper stickers, creating public spectacles, or strategically using your MySpace page.

During the 2000 Super Bowl, E-Trade showed a 30-second ad of a monkey dancing on top of a bucket. They then showed some text which said, “We just wasted $2 million.”

Like I said, you had to get “creative” (if you can call it that) to get people to come to your website.

These days, getting traffic is a piece of cake.

And yes, I do realize I sound like that old guy who talks about how back in his day, he had to walk uphill to school, through blizzards and forest fires, while carrying a bag of bricks on his back.

But seriously, getting traffic is easy. Throw an ad up on Facebook, inject it with a couple hundred dollars, and watch the traffic come rolling in.


To quote Admiral Ackbar from Return of the Jedi...

More traffic doesn’t equal more leads or revenue. Traffic is just that: traffic.

If you want to perform digital alchemy and transform your traffic into leads and revenue, you need to know why visitors fail to convert, as well as how to fix the problem.

Why Traffic Doesn’t Equal Conversions

There are dozens of possible reasons why your website visitors don’t become leads, but we’ll focus on four of the most common.

#1 - Your Site Doesn’t Appear Trustworthy

Generating leads is all about trust. If you want a potential customer to hand over their precious contact information, they need to be able to trust you. But if your site looks like the Livejournal into which you poured your teenage angst, no one will trust you.

So how can you make your site appear trustworthy?

  • Make sure the design is clean, professional looking, and easy to navigate
    Ensure your page loads fast, since every 1-second delay can reduce conversions by 7%
  • Show that there’s a real company or person behind the site by using photos, bios, stories, etc. 37Signals (now Basecamp) added an image of a person to their landing pages and saw a 102.5% increase in conversions.
  • Increase your credibility by including testimonials, publications in which you’ve been featured, etc.
  • Highlight your expertise by listing any certifications, affiliations, or additional credentials

#2 - Your Value Proposition Isn’t Clear

A potential lead wants to know what’s in it for them. Why should they bother downloading a free report or attending a webinar or signing up for a free trial?

This is where your value proposition comes in. It’s a crystal clear statement of why a visitor should do business with you rather than someone else. What do you have to offer that no one else does? What’s your secret sauce?

You can think of it your value proposition like an elevator pitch. You’ve got just a few seconds to explain the benefits you bring to the table.

If your value proposition isn’t immediately clear to visitors, they’ll go somewhere else.

#3 - You’re Not A/B Testing

Do you know what percentage of your landing page visitors convert to leads? If so, have you tested variations of your landing page (aka A/B testing) to see which one converts most effectively?

If you’re not A/B testing, there’s no way to know why your page isn’t converting. Maybe your call-to-action isn’t specific enough. Maybe your layout or form design is confusing. Or maybe your headline is simply boring.

A/B testing allows you to test one item at a time and then determine what leads to the most conversions.

During the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, Barack Obama’s team recognized the value of A/B testing and used it to raise $60 million more than in his previous campaign.

#4 - You’re Focused On Features Instead Of Benefits

When creating your landing page, it’s easy to become fixated on the features of your product or service, on all the different things your product can do or all the amazing information included in the whitepaper or the fact that 9 out of 10 dentists recommend your catering company.

But here’s the thing. People don’t care about features, they care about benefits. They want to know how your product will change their life. How your whitepaper will give them industry insights that will enable them to make more revenue. How signing up for your newsletter will save them ten hours per week.

If you want to turn traffic into leads, you need to be ultra-specific about the benefits of what you offer. Paint a picture of the good life. Of how you’ll solve all their pain points.

Don’t go on and on about features. It’s all about those benefits. Turning Traffic Into Leads

So how do you address the above problems and turn your website into a lead generating machine? Here are four simple solutions.

#1 - Optimize Your Site Design

Few things are more important to lead generation than having a website that looks professional (see: trust issues), loads quickly, and is optimized for lead generation.

Practically speaking, this looks like:

  • Using beautiful, engaging imagery that draws the visitor in (but doesn’t take forever to load)
  • Designing landing pages that match your brand (colors, photos, fonts, etc.) rather than conflict with it
  • Minimizing the number of fields required (the optimal number for conversions is three)
  • Including social proof like testimonials and customer reviews (88% of consumers trust reviews)

#2 - Clarify Your Messaging

When designing a landing page, you need to answer the big, “Why?” Why should a visitor do business with you and not someone else? What do they get out of the relationship?

From the moment someone lands on your page, your value proposition needs to be loud and clear. Your headline needs to grab the visitor immediately, explaining the big problem that you’re going to solve, and the body text and call-to-action need to support and further reinforce your value prop.

You may also want to consider using video on your landing page, as that provides yet another opportunity to clarify your message. Plus, adding videos to landing pages can increase the conversion rate by as much as 86%.

#3 - Test, Test, Test

Once you’ve created your initial landing page or a form, sent traffic to it, and evaluated your conversion stats, it’s time to start strategic A/B testing. The key word here is “strategic”. Test one variable at a time so that you’re clear on what changes result in improvements.

After you’ve identified the winner in each test, implement it and then test the next variable. A/B testing is an iterative process that builds upon itself.

Some primary elements to test include:

  • The headline
  • Page layout and navigation
  • The way you describe your offer
  • Different media, like photos and video

Don’t stop at just one or two tests. The more you test and tweak and optimize, the more you can increase your overall conversion rates.

#4 - Speak The Language Of Your Audience

The reason that so many companies focus on features rather than benefits is that they don’t really know how to speak the language of their audience. They’ve spent so much time developing their product or service that they end up speaking in jargon. Few things turn people away more than convoluted phrases like, “Creating Internet of Things synergy between the cloud and blockchain.”

Speak directly to the pain points of your customers. When talking about your offer, clearly explain how it will dramatically improve their lives. Ultimately, selling isn’t as much about the product itself as about how it will add value to people.

To state the obvious, if you’re going to speak the language of your audience, you need to take the time to define that audience. Who are your primary customers? What do they want out of life and how do you help them get it?

Define your audience, determine what makes them tick, and then speak directly to those things in your landing pages.

Don’t Fall For The Traffic Trap

Getting traffic to your site is great, but it’s not enough. You need to thoughtfully, carefully, and strategically optimize your site so that it converts traffic to leads. If you don’t, you’re the case and point of E-Trade’s Super Bowl ad; you’re just wasting a lot of money.

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