If you’ve got a business, are running a business marketing campaign, or simply spend time on the internet, then you already know that lead generation is the new name of the game. While leads were always important, even back before the internet when you had to call them on the phone, today it’s all about racking up huge mailing lists of potentially interested customers for future targeted conversions. The current most popular tactic for building these mailing lists is incredibly formulaic. It starts with inbound marketing, an article or video that potential customers might be interested in. Then, once you’ve got the customers on your site, you hit them with some good new-fashioned lead generation widgets. Perhaps you’ve got a pop-up offering a services discount, a side-sliding panel offering a free-ebook, or a live chat window that offers immediate assistance.

These techniques are useful, engaging, and definitely have the potential to generate qualified leads, but only if you use them correctly. As with every web design tool or technique, there are right ways to do it that add value and experience to your website and there are wrong ways that will drive visitors away as quickly as you drew them in. Unfortunately, a growing number of business websites are clearly displaying all the wrong ways to use lead generation widgets. Today we’re here to talk about what not to do.

Standard Lead Generation Widgets

Let’s start with our cast of players, the four most used lead generation widgets that business are incorporating into their websites whether they fit into the content and design or not.

Full-Page Pop-Up

The full-page pop up is a widget we’re all familiar with. What it does is lock the scroll bar, put an opaque or translucent film over the website content, and then present a pop up that offers one of two options. Essentially, you have to click on the pop-up or leave the site.  Guess which one annoyed visitors choose?

Sliding Side-Panels

The sliding side-panel is one of the cooler lead generation techniques put into place and is easily integrated into most UI designs. Essentially, it sits as a tab on the side of the screen and when triggered by timing, activity, or a mouse-hover, the panel slides out over the page content to offer information, a download, a pop-up, or an opportunity to make an account.

Scroll-Locking Top-Up

Recently a new trend has begun in which web pages use the first entire page-worth of website space at the top of their page to hold some kind of promotion, ad, or lead-generating question. This often locks the scroll-bar to the top of the screen until the question is answered. Then, when the lead does respond, it automatically scrolls the website down to the true start of the content.

Live Chat Bubble

Finally, there’s the live chat bubble which grew wildly in popularity and implementation in 2017. This is some kind of icon or floating UI asset that sits in the lower right-hand corner of a web page to offer instant customer service at any time. Often, companies will have this window automatically open itself so that their chatbot can offer assistance.

While some methods are better friendlier than others, there is nothing inherently wrong with any of the four major website lead generation methods or the dozens of lesser-used methods in place. The problem is how they are used and how well the web designer who put them into place understands the user experience and conversion funnel. The last thing you want to do is lose conversions to casual annoyance but it’s happening to businesses with badly designed features every day. Let’s take a look at some of the mistakes to avoid when implementing your lead generation website features.

Bad Spacing Blocks Content – Can’t Read, Can’t Stay

Customers come to you for content. That’s how inbound marketing works. They search for a subject or service they’d like to learn more about. Your well-SEO’d blog article catches their attention, the title sparks their curiosity and reassures them the information they seek is inside. They open the page, start reading… only to realize that your slide-out tabs block the first three letters of every content line in the center of the page. Or perhaps your live’chat blocks the last five words for an entire paragraph at the bottom of the page. This is even worse when scroll-bars are no help and the assets floating on top cannot be escaped.

Now, rather than enticing readers with compelling content and readily-available lead qualification resources, the content has been made unreadable by the widgets. Visitors will become non-leads and close out your website in annoyance at your web designer’s incompetence.

Too Much In Sequence – Pestering the Lead to Death

A customer navigates to one of your blog articles hoping to learn something about your company or industry. They’re interested, ready to be engaged, and have are ready to like your brand. Then they get the full-screen pop-up offering a 15% discount on your services. They are barely familiar with you or your company and haven’t had a chance to read the content yet, so they click ‘No Thank You’.

The Pop-up closes, they scroll down to the first paragraph of the article… and your chat box opens offering chatbot assistance. They’re just here to read this article, so they hit the little ‘X’ and scroll maybe two more clicks before your slide-out menu slithers out over their screen offering a free e-book.

At this point, they realize you will never let them read the article, close the page and resolve never to visit your website again.

Too Much All At Once – When Ambition Looks Like Adware

The other way to use all your tools in the wrong way is to slam a customer with everything all at once. Let’s say this time a customer followed a link from another site to one of your better informative industry articles. They’re already engaged and followed the link because they wanted to know the details about why the other article linked to yours. The page opens, they scroll down two clicks, and then the browser takes control of their scroll-bar and sends it to the top, offering a free business consultation.

It’s the first qualification step, so they decline and the scroll-bar lets them return to the content only to reveal that there was a pop-up underneat. They close the pop-up but under that was the chat box, already ready to start conversing, and under that is the slide-panel. This is starting to feel to much like an adware attack so the now non-lead closes out of the page and wonders why their reputable blog site sent them somewhere so spammy.

This has only been the first half of our special two-part article. Join us next time for the second half where we’ll finish talking about the ways website lead generation can go wrong. Then we’ll cover how to successfully use each website widget and meet your lead generation goals. See you there?

For more tips, tricks, and business thought leadership on website design for your business needs, contact us today!