Most campaigns should endeavor to capture visitors’ contact details. Having contact info (usually email, but could include phone or mailing address) means that you can then communicate direct to a prospect.
This is particularly vital if your sales funnel or lifecycle may take some time, extended over multiple contacts or touch points, and also if you have paid for visits.
Why You Must Capture
The vast majority of transactions are not completed in just one visit. There is no agreement on what the average number of “touch points” is, and it’s bound to vary by sector, but you can bet it’s more than one!
If you capture your prospects’ contact information, that means you own a channel for communicating directly to them, and therefore continuing the conversation under your control.
That means you can deliver a series of follow-up communications, which can help resolve objections or queries, deliver a full range of benefits (even for different segments of prospect), and give all the reasons why the prospect should act now.
Very often, it’s simply a case of providing sufficient weight of positive reasons, enough to counter the negatives (cost, risk, etc.).
Additionally, you also get to keep the prospect’s details for future offers.
The only circumstances in which you should NOT think about capturing your prospects’ contact info are…
- If you already have them (i.e. you’re using direct marketing channels).
- You are presenting a short-term impulse offer, in which case there may not be time to follow up on the offer, and to present a second call to action may negatively impact your primary CTA.
- If the context is sensitive, your prospect puts a high value on their privacy, and they know how to find you (very unlikely scenario).
Capture is a “conversion event”, i.e. a Trade (more about “the Trade”), because you are asking for a commitment from your prospect, which invariably involves some cost or some work on their part.
That means you need to offer value that the prospects perceives as greater than the likely cost to them (of handing over their information).
So you must first come up with a powerful offer or reason why the prospect should enter their details. Don’t just put, “Subscribe to our newsletter,” because nobody really wants any more email. There has to be the promise of clear value that exceeds the cost of having yet more email or phone calls or letters to deal with.
Do not skimp on your offer. Make it overwhelmingly more valuable to your prospect. And, wherever possible, focus it directly at your bullseye target customer, not just the whole “target market”, by using an offer that will only be relevant and appealing to your preferred prospect (see more on “Perfect Topics“).
Planning For Your Capture Objective
The majority of online marketers employ the “ethical bribe” technique, where you’ll offer a free download, video, webinar, product, or even service, to anyone who enters their contact info. There are many variations on this technique.
Don’t assume your “lead magnet” has to be a single product. It could be a series of tips emailed to you, or one video each day for a week that walk you through some process. This could help you build a more complex sales message, as well as keeping your brand present for the prospect.
CRM and email marketing systems are the standard platforms used to store contact info. (We will have in-depth reviews of all the popular platforms in due course.)
But you can also capture contact details from live events or face-to-face meetings using written surveys, or cards that delegates complete. You may also collect business cards.
Before the Internet, mail-in coupons were very common in print media, either cut out of a publication, or using an inserted card.
Competitions and contests are familiar and established ways of getting people to opt in to a list. They can use a variety of channels, including SMS/text message.
Ensure You Get Permission
There are pretty clear laws that apply to direct marketing these days. If you are going to collect someone’s contact info, it’s safe to assume you must ensure they know what you’re going to do with it.
With most email systems, double opt-in is now standard best practice. That’s where you get an email with link that you have to click in order to confirm you want to go onto the mailing list.
Proceed With Confidence
Do not worry that asking people to opt in will lose you potential customers.
- You’re targeting a distinct group of people who share a particular problem (or opportunity).
- You believe you have some knowledge or product that can help them overcome their problem and get to where they really want to be.
- You can offer them something at no cost, which promises to inform them about the reasons why the challenge is there, and what they need to do.
- So why wouldn’t they want to say yes?
- If they aren’t interested enough to accept your initial trade (contact info for free product), then they probably either aren’t in your target market, or would never accept your ultimate trade anyway.
Capture Techniques (guides to follow)
- Opt-in mechanisms
- Email opt-in mechanisms
- “Pre-Sell” (Also known as ethical bribes or lead magnets)
- Squeeze pages
- Virtual summits
- Social platforms (tenuous?)
- Facebook (connect or opt in to group)
- LinkedIn (connect or opt in to group)
- Twitter (follow)
- YouTube (follow)
- Any marketing automation or email platform (like AWeber, MailChimp, etc.)
- Thrive Leads (strongly recommended, if you’re using WordPress)
- Offers multiple creative variations, easy visual editing, and split-testing.
- ClickFunnels (recommended if you want a more complete solution)
- WebinarJam (and other webinar platforms)