Online Lead Gen Not Working? Here Are 29 Common Mistakes
Are you frustrated because the recent lead generation tactics you’ve implemented aren’t getting you anywhere?
You’ve updated your website. You’ve been sending out email to potential leads. You’ve been posting on social media every day.
Still, nothing. Crickets!
You should be seeing more results, right? So what’s keeping leads away?
There are so many points of contact online these days.You really have to consider every single medium and channel. There may be tactics and types of sales funnels that you aren’t aware of or are failing to explore.
And you have to know your audience inside and out.
Questions you should think about might be:
- What does your demographic care about?
- What do they tend to click on or show the most interest in?
- What tactics will better cater your content toward this audience?
These are all important questions to ask yourself when considering your target audience.
Without the right basic knowledge, your sales funnels won’t bring you the leads you want. Period.
I know what works and what doesn’t in my own sales funnels, and my business is growing as a direct result of my team’s continued attention to lead generation.
Here are 29 possible reasons that your online lead generation isn’t working, and easy fixes for each of them.
Let’s dive in.
Foundation: The Core of Your Sales Funnel
1. Website isn’t user-friendly
Maybe you’re getting a lot of traffic to your site, but you’re wondering why no one is biting.
Are the options easily viewed and selected? Are your main points of contact visible? Does your CTA stand out in some way on your home page?
These are all important questions to ask when assessing if your website is optimized for lead generation.
Make sure your landing pages are easy to read and CTAs are clear and eye-catching. View your website as a user would, and place your most important CTAs or points of contact in the places where your vision naturally takes you.
Don’t send your users on a wild goose chase of clicking through different pages to get them to subscribe or to figure out who your company really is. Make everything clear and easy to navigate through.
2. Inconsistency with your message or mission
Always be sure that your message and mission are both clearly stated and aligned on all your outlets.
You don’t want your mission statement on social media to be different than your statement on your website. Even reusing copy from your website on Facebook is better than having two different messages out there.
You want your mission to be accessible, clear, and consistent. Because as Forbes points out, consistency is key to successful branding–it sets you apart from other companies and creates trust with your audience.
This is often the first point of contact you have to your potential leads. You never want them to be confused about who you are or the products that your company provides.
3. No originality in website or sales funnel
Using a common template or basing your sales funnels on those that already exist could be detrimental to your lead generation.
Even if you have to pay a little extra for an experienced designer to create your website, it’s worth it. You’ll end up with something original and eye-catching instead of a cliche template or stock photo (see above).
People appreciate creativity and a unique design. Don’t always assume that you can use a basic, mediocre template and that your content will speak for itself.
4. No testimonials
Have you received a lot of positive feedback from customers, whether in a survey or review setting? If so, consider adding quotes to your website or social media pages.
Testimonials shows potential leads that you’re dependable, you’re real, and you’ve satisfied customers in the past. What better way to showcase your successes?
If you have not yet implemented a way for customers to review you or provide feedback to you, take that first step. Offer a survey after a customer checks out on your site, or send a link to your email followers.
(Be sure that you’re clear that their quotes or feedback could be used online as testimonials. Always be transparent about your intentions or get permission.)
Eventually you’ll be able to incorporate these positive messages into your website or other outlets.
5. Not identifying yourself or your team members
People respond to people. Real human beings.
If potential leads feel like they’re talking to a robot, they’re not likely to engage.
Make sure that who you are and the actual people behind the company are revealed on your website and sales funnels. When sending emails or newsletters, sign them with your actual name and title, rather than your company name alone. Campaign monitor reported that 68% of Americans say that they base their decision to open an email on the “From” name.
Create website or social media copy that is conversational. Provide photographs of you and your team to add a human touch to your online presence.
These are all important ways to connect with your audience on a human level
6. Pricing is too complicated or is not disclosed
Lack of transparency could be a major reason your online lead generation isn’t working.
When leads look through your product offerings and they don’t see a pricing page, they’re going to think you’re too expensive.
Back in 2016 and 2017 when we launched and relaunched out productized sales funnel service, part of the reason we grew so fast was because we made the pricing public. We also used a ten-minute demo video to present it so as to better frame the value.
Think about your own online experiences. When you are looking to schedule a haircut, for example, isn’t it annoying when prices and services aren’t displayed on the company’s website? How are you supposed to compare one business to another to see what you can afford?
You’re likely to move on to the next barber shop—one that is upfront about their prices.
Disclose your pricing structure, at least on your website or via a contact opt-in form, and consider including it when you introduce new products in a newsletter. This way, your users will feel like they’re able to make informed decisions.
7. Inconsistent design across platforms
Similar to ensuring that your message and mission are consistent across your sales funnels, make sure your design is also accessible and uniform.
Your design or logo will be the first thing a potential lead notices. Ensure that it aligns with your overall message and the impression you want to put out into the world.
TV page (Source)
Don’t just use some standard template or font as a logo. Put a lot of thought into your design and choose elements that represent your business’s foundational beliefs and goals.
And use the same logo or design elements throughout your marketing channels. People like to see a familiar face.
8. Not optimizing for mobile use
Always keep in mind that readers today churn through a lot of content on their smartphones. Most people actually read news this way. Users spend about 69% of their media time on their smartphones.
This means that every piece of content you release should be optimized for mobile use.
Sometimes this means that your content will need to be shorter to allow for a quick read and easily digestible points. Other times you’ll need to ensure that your images or videos are viewable on a mobile device.
Most content management platforms now have a mobile view option. You can use it to see what your content will look like to a user on a smartphone or tablet.
Always utilize that function before publishing and make any corrections as necessary.
Remember: potential leads are likely viewing your website or newsletters on their smartphones. Keeping your content optimized for mobile is a must to generate a following.
9. Not staying up to date with competitors or industry
Always be aware of what’s going on outside of your company. Research competitors and read relevant news articles every day and keep up on any new trends in your field.
Start following news sites that relate to your audience. Sign up for automatic email updates from these places so you’ll see any new information as soon as you check your email in the morning.
Check the blogs of your competitors to see what they’re talking about. Get ideas from what their customers are saying to be ahead of the game with your own users.
And stay up to date on social media. Millions of people post every day. Make sure you’re checking your feeds often to keep up with news and trends in your field.
Keeping a firm grasp on what’s happening in your industry will ensure that you’re not missing out on important information. (And it could lead to greater lead generation and engagement with your audience.)
Follow up: Build Relationships and Drive Leads
10. Not following up on leads
Maybe you’ve been generating a lot of leads, but they never seem to work out in the end. You get new email followers every week but nothing happens with your sales numbers.
Take a step back and assess whether or not you’re actually following up on these leads.
What do you do once a potential lead shows initial interest? Whether they subscribed to your newsletter or asked for more information, do you have a way to track when you’ll follow up with them?
Consider a strategy like automating follow-up emails to leads that will remind them of you and keep their interest fresh.
Don’t assume that once you have a new follower that your sales are going to spike. It still takes work on your end to ensure that leads maintain interest in your product.
11. Difficult to find the contact form
How easy is it for leads to contact you or ask a question?
Make sure that the contact form is always accessible from any landing page on your website. This is an important step to ensuring that leads will feel comfortable reaching out and showing interest.
Also consider adding a chat widget to your website, where people can engage with you right away in real time. They can ask initial questions and connect with you while they’re considering your products.
Users will feel valued if they are able to get immediate customer service.
It’s important to be as accessible as possible. Don’t hide your contact form.
12. Asking for too much contact information
If your goal is to get a lead to fill out a contact form, keep in mind that asking for their entire life story is going to turn them away.
No one wants to fill out a form that’s going to take them fifteen or twenty minutes. Especially when they’re just looking for more information about you and your products.
Keep contact forms simple—ask for a name and email address, and perhaps a company name, as an optional form field.
Users will appreciate how straightforward and short your contact form is and thus will be much more likely to complete it.
Keeping simplicity in mind will bring you additional leads that are already happy with their experience on your website.
13. Not using a 2-step opt-in feature
Say you have a “subscribe here” link or button on your website that, when clicked, sends users to another page on your website in a separate window. There they can view subscription options and join your email list or newsletter.
Instead of taking users to another page, you might consider using a 2-step opt-in feature. A form will appear as a pop-up right when they click the subscription button (see Infusionsoft’s example below).
This strategy can be effective in generating leads because it requires little effort from the user, it provides you their basic contact information, and they’re taking an important, quick action to become a lead and show their interest in your product. It’s an easy win for both of you.
Again, users appreciate the simple. The easier, the better.
14. Not growing an email list
You may have a modest set of email followers who you reach out to here and there. But are you continually trying to grow your email list?
Don’t settle for a few followers and leave it at that. You need to actively invite users to join your mailing list.
Make it easy to join on your website or social media outlets. Provide incentives for current followers to invite their friends to follow as well.
Include a subscription button on your website that is clearly visible and appears on every page.
Make it sound like if users don’t join your email or newsletter list, they’re missing out on very important information. Because they will be!
If you’re confident in your content and your product, you should feel confident marketing it as important and relevant to potential leads.
15. Only using one landing page vs. multiple landing pages
If you’re always sending out the same landing page link to potential leads, try reaching out with a variety of landing pages on your website instead.
This can be a great way to point leads to the information you want them to view first. Don’t just send them to your home page, where they’ll then have to navigate to your pricing page or product listing page.
This will also make the process simpler for them, as the information that is most relevant to them will be right there when they click the first link. And don’t forget to match the anchor text to the page you’re linking to.
Adding multiple landing pages to your strategy will give you more control over what leads are seeing and will diversify your page views.
16. Not tracking analytics
In order to fully understand what’s happening with your content—page views, likes, comments, clicks, etc.—you need to start tracking analytics.
There are several ways to easily implement analytics tracking into your daily routine. Use the stats feature of a content management system, like WordPress. Or, try Google Analytics, which is even more detailed and thorough.
This one step will ensure that you are monitoring your site’s statistics and using that data in the way that will help you connect with people.
You’ll have to actively engage with this data to see what’s working and what isn’t. Think of it as a trial and error period.
Continue to pay close attention to these tools while you find the best ways to drive traffic to your content and generate genuine interest.
Only then will you be able to increase lead generation.
17. Buying leads vs. generating them organically
Many people think that buying leads is a good idea. You want more leads, and maybe you have extra funds, so why not try it?
Here’s why: those leads aren’t going to be genuine leads.
You will have very little information about what motivates purchased leads. Your product, outreach strategy or message didn’t bring them to you. They’re way more random than genuine leads.
Purchased leads probably have no outside interest in your content. Just mull that over for a minute.
Instead of buying these unqualified leads, put your energy into utilizing the fixes in this article to generate organic leads. They’re what you and your business need for the long run.
Don’t waste your time and energy on pointless strategies that will not help you in the long run. And buying leads is one of those pointless strategies.
18. Not offering incentives or referrals
If you haven’t utilized incentives or referrals yet, it could be a reason you’re not getting the lead generation results you want.
An example of an incentive could be that if a customer signs up for your email newsletter, they’ll get a discount on your ebook. Or, if they buy a course within the next twenty-four hours, they’ll get free access to something else on your site.
A referral is when a customer invites other people to become a follower or buy a product and they get some kind of benefit for it. This is a great tactic for an existing customer right after they buy something.
Offering a tempting referral discount or a big incentive are two great tactics. They could inspire a visitor to make the extra click to become a new lead or to bring in additional leads from their network.
Fuel: Generate More Traffic
19. Not using content marketing at all (newsletters, blogs, ebooks)
Perhaps your business is new, and you just launched your first website. That is no small feat.
While a website is a necessary first step, it’s not all you need.
To get leads you’ll need to use content marketing strategies to reach people and bring them to your website.
Start an email newsletter, even if it’s just to friends and family at the beginning. You have to start somewhere, and there is no doubt that you know at least a few people to email who will be interested in your updates.
Start a blog section on your website with the latest news, either your own business’s news or news in your industry. Post about topics that your audience cares about and searches for.
Eventually, you can even create an ebook that delves into your specialty or services. One day, maybe you’ll create a full online course that users can buy.
These are all great ways to connect with your audience and ensure that you’re generating the most leads possible.
20. Only relying on one traffic source
Are you only using one tactic to reach people with your content? Remember that while it’s great you’re doing that one thing, there are so many other avenues you should be exploring.
- email newsletters
- a dedicated blog/news section of your website
- social media outlets like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram
One easy way to incorporate social media? When you post something on your blog, summarize the topic into a digestible Facebook post to drive additional users to your website.
You’ll build up a following on social media sites that will give you even more opportunities for leads.
Try expanding your content to fit into each of these channels. You’ll see a significant increase in your lead generation.
21. Failure to utilize SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) is one of the most important concepts to grasp in the realm of lead generation.
Your target audience is searching for specific terms. You need to incorporate them into your content, plain and simple.
Start by utilizing keywords in your content that your audience would search for in Google. Use the Google Adwords tool, Keyword Planner. It tells you the average searches for specific keywords, among other important details.
Even if you need to hire someone who knows more about SEO than you do, it will be worth it.
Invest in SEO and use it wisely so that you are ranking high in online searches. It’s a must for your content and online lead generation success.
22. Not having a clear call to action
Is your CTA buried in your content? If so, leads are probably not going to find it.
Make sure your CTA, one of the most important elements of your content, is clear and easy to find.
Put your CTA either at the top or bottom of your content or both, to ensure that skimmers will find it, too. The top and bottom are where a lot of readers expect to find the most important information.
It’s better to emphasize your CTA more than once than to not emphasize it at all. Don’t assume that your reader will know what to do instinctively.
Never bury your CTA.
23. Tone is too eager or desperate
Don’t email leads ten times a day begging them to buy your product or subscribe to your newsletter. This will look desperate and make your messages look like spam.
Just don’t do it.
Instead, create genuine, thoughtful messages that will engage your readers, even if it means you’ll send messages less often.
Consider what readers will be interested in opening or clicking on, and try to create as personalized messages as possible.
Worry more about what your readers care about seeing, rather than freaking out that they haven’t responded yet.
Don’t overwhelm your potential leads. As with any good relationship, give it space to grow organically.
24. Don’t understand your target market
If you don’t understand your audience, how do you expect to reach and retain them? Who are you catering your content to?
Research the demographic you’re trying to connect with. Funnel your energy toward figuring out what that audience finds interesting.
And don’t try to make your audience too broad—doing so will likely make your message too far-reaching, and thus unapproachable. Hone in on one specific audience that you’d most like to reach.
Your results will change once you learn to cater your content to your specific target market.
25. Not incorporating new technologies on social media
The biggest social media outlets are always updating their apps and appearance to change the ways in which users can interact with them.
A recent example is the “story” feature that Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat have all implemented. This allows you to post photos or videos that will only last for a day and then disappear.
These appear right at the top of the social media interfaces, so users see them right away when they log in or open the app. Instagram stories may now be twice as popular as Snapchat, according to CNN Money.
Knowing that these are popular right now, why not try out a story for your company? Why not create a short video on a how-to or informational topic that your users can relate to and interact with?
This is just one example of a change that social media sites are implementing all the time, so it may change again soon.
Not keeping up with the latest trends in social media can be detrimental to your lead generation. Keep that in mind the next time you’re looking to send out an update.
26. Not producing high-quality, error-free copy
If you’re not investing in quality writers or editors for your digital marketing content, do it. Poor copy could be a big reason that your online lead generation is failing.
Readers won’t trust what you’re saying if your copy is full of typos or just isn’t well written. Why should they care about your message when you haven’t put in the time to create readable copy?
It makes you and your business look bad when you have a lot of errors, and it can cost you.
Invest in talented individuals to help you create engaging, error-free copy, if you can’t do it yourself.
Your message and product are worth it.
27. Not putting out enough content
How often are you releasing content in your sales funnels? Make sure that you’re doing it frequently and that you stay consistent. Entrepreneur.com recommends testing your frequency to see what works best.
Give yourself deadlines, if you have to. Successful blogs produce a lot of posts. Regular email newsletters remind readers of you and keep them engaged.
Otherwise, you could be losing a lot of leads that you could be engaging with every post or newsletter that you’re foregoing.
Keep in mind #24 above, however—never overwhelm readers or sound desperate. Avoid doing so by releasing content in all of your outlets, not just one.
Keeping on top of your content production is crucial for leads and users to show continued interest.
28. Not effectively promoting existing content
Don’t assume that you can only promote your brand-new content when sending posts and emails to your target market.
Once you start using analytics, as mentioned in #8, you’ll see that your older posts and articles are probably still getting page views here and there.
Build on that! Link to your older posts in your new posts or reference previous articles in newsletters.
You spent a lot of effort on those posts, so don’t assume that they can’t do any work for you after they go live.
Keep promoting those important pieces of information.
29. Copy is too wordy or full of industry jargon
A great way to isolate readers is to scare them away with jargon-heavy copy. As Forbes points out, jargon can actually ruin your copy.
While it’s important to cater your content to your specific audience, make your copy readable to around a 6th or 7th grade reading level. This ensures that everyone who comes across your content will be able to get the message.
Avoid using a lot of big words that only industry experts would recognize. And make sure that your copy is simple and to-the-point.
Try using the Hemingway App to reduce down your lengthy sentences. Always ensure you are being as clear and concise as possible.
And never make your readers feel inadequate or dumb.
If the above 29 reasons your online lead generation isn’t working aren’t enough, we’re adding 5 bonus reasons, just for you! Consider these additional mistakes you could be making in your lead generation strategy.
Bonus #1: Failing to use images, graphics or videos
Does your content include images, graphics, or videos? If not, potential leads may not be fully engaged.
We are visual creatures. If a social media post is made up of only text and is very long, we’re going to skip it and move on to something visually stimulating.
Like a funny image or short video. Even if it’s something simple you have to create yourself, start including visuals in your posts, emails, and website content.
Pull your readers in with an engaging visual, and then tell them about your business and products.
Bonus #2: Lack of upselling
When you do get a lead to buy a product, then what? Are you offering them more?
A great way to get easy, additional sales is to upsell. If your lead has just purchased a product, why not offer them one more add-on at a slightly higher price?
This tactic has worked for many businesses. While staying transparent with your users and avoiding making them feel like you’re trying to trick them into buying something, offer them something else they might like.
Make them feel like this one step-up will complete their experience. It will add some piece of information or skill that they wouldn’t get otherwise.
Upselling is a great way to build sales and to keep your leads coming back.
Bonus #3: Website is slow or broken
Every website will occasionally need to undergo construction, but make sure that you’re leaving something in its place.
If readers click a link only to be taken to a page that is broken or is extremely slow to load, they are likely going to forget whatever they were interested in and move on to the next option.
As Google noted when they started using site speed as a signal in search ranking algorithms, “when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”
People don’t have time to wait for a really slow site to load or to have to navigate around a site until they find a page that actually works.
Check your pages daily to ensure that everything is working properly. On top of that, make sure the links you’re including in your content are actually taking readers to the correct page.
Staying diligent about your links and website is crucial to engaging and generating actual leads.
Bonus #4: Content is too stale
It can be hard to impress online readers these days. That’s why each and every piece of content you produce needs to be witty, well-written and relevant.
Putting out content just to put out content will not engage your readers. You need to make them feel like what you’re saying is important.
Catch their eye with a humorous headline or an attention-grabbing statement. And in the body of the article, keep an informal tone that will make them feel like you’re speaking just to them about an issue they have experienced.
Make your copy irresistible. Give it personality.
Bonus #5: Failure to use CRM data
Are you using a CRM application to track your leads and manage the pipeline you’ve already built?
If not, this could be another reason that your lead generation isn’t working for you the way you want it to.
Using a CRM allows you to easily manage your pipeline, as Salesforce points out, and create forecasts for the opportunities you really want to focus on.
You can also analyze sales data with a CRM, which will show you which customers are the most active.
Try a CRM application today to keep leads in your pipeline from getting lost.
Here are a few easy reference points from the above information. It’s a lot to digest!
- Know your audience inside and out—and don’t market to an audience that is too broad and way beyond your reach
- Make sure your content is relevant, error-free, and matches the tone of your industry or targeted audience
- Always use multiple sales funnels and online outlets to reach your audience in many different ways, without overwhelming them
- Utilize SEO best practices in all of your content; if you aren’t familiar with it, hire someone who can help
- Your website needs to be easy to navigate, in working order, and clearly written by a human
- Never buy leads—always grow them organically
- Make sure you are tracking your leads and following up with them to seal the deal
- Ensure that your mission, message, and design are all consistent throughout your online sales funnels
- Use your unique mission and eye-catching design to market yourself as an original company and product
- Remember that you’ll need to continue to update your outreach avenues and strategies as trends shift and the industry presents new possibilities and unique sales funnels
If you are guilty of any of these common lead generation mistakes, you are missing out on potential sales, no doubt about it. Luckily, the easy fixes I mentioned for each will help you turn things around right away.
Each and every concept I touched upon is crucial to you generating more leads and obtaining more engaged users.
And that’s always a priority for your business, right? To interest users and drive sales? What are you waiting for?
Base your new approach to bettering your lead generation on the simple suggestions I made above, and you’ll notice the steady results come in.
These concepts will ensure that you are utilizing basic knowledge to engage users with your website and online presence.
Sharing ideas about successful lead generation strategies is a great way to stay connected to your industry and it helps you find new leads.
What strategies have you found to be the most successful to boost lead generation through your sales funnels?
I’d love to hear about your experiences.
Keep hustlin’, stay focused,