There’s a lot of talk online about how companies can use digital marketing to generate new leads. But most of the examples you see online are for local businesses or “online-only” type businesses. So in this post, I want to lay out a simple lead generation funnel that software development companies can use to attract new prospects for your software development services.
The graphic above shows what this type of funnel might look like. First, let’s break up this graphic into 2 distinct sections – Traffic and Conversion – and take a look at these sections one at a time.
Starting from the left, we have “Traffic”…the various traffic sources that you use to get people to your website. Not only can you have various sources of traffic, but the quantity and quality of traffic coming to your site can vary based on where that traffic is coming from.
For example, traffic coming from very specific keyword phrases that you’re bidding on in Google AdWords is probably going to convert better than traffic from banner ads run on random blog found around the Internet. Both can bring you traffic, but not all traffic converts equally well into leads and sales.
Once you have a source of traffic, you need to get some sort of offer in front of them in order to turn some of those folks into new leads or sales. So you need to be driving that traffic someplace where you can make an offer (e.g. your website).
But that’s only part of the story.
You also need to be doing this in a way that allows you to easily track conversions. This is the biggest mistake people make with digital marketing. If you can’t tie things back to a specific marketing campaign, how do you know what parts of your digital marketing are working and what isn’t?
The best way to solve all of these problems is to simply drive traffic to a dedicated landing page, which you’ll see we’ve included in the graphic above. This allows you to send people to a page with a specific offer and allows you to see how well that offer converts traffic into leads.
Creating an effective landing page is a pretty big topic all on it’s own. But there are two key aspects of a successful landing page to keep in mind and that apply to what we’re discussing here:
- Have a good offer: You want to be sure your landing page is presenting people with a good offer. Here are some common offers that are used for software development companies, and some good ideas for other offers that work well in other industries that software shops could use as well:
- Free consultation
- Free planning session
- Access to a Case Study – PDF/Video
- Have at least one good call-to-action (CTA). And for software development companies, we recommend 2 CTAs (a web form and a phone number). You see that shown in the graphic above.
Once we get traffic to our site, we either convert that traffic into new leads or we don’t. To borrow a programming term, I’ve called the different possible outcomes at this point the “Happy” Conversion Path and “Sad” Conversion Path. Let’s dig into each of those next.
The “Happy” Conversion Path
This path is what happens when people take you up on one of your calls-to-action. Using the graphic above as an example, one simple way to do this would be to offer both a web form and call tracking number as your calls-to-action. (Note: You could also have other calls-to-action, but we’re keeping this example super simple).
If someone fills out the form, they’re taken to a thank you page. And once that happens, a whole bunch of other things should happen too.
- First, that lead should be added to your CRM tool.
- Next, they should be added to a welcome email sequence that gets sent to them automatically.
- And finally, an email or text message should go out to the sales team or business development person on your team to let them know about this new lead.
This also gets counted as a conversion in whatever conversion tracking tool(s) you’re using so you can tie that conversion back to the traffic source that brought you the lead in the first place – e.g. Google AdWords, Facebook Ads, etc.
Let’s say they person decides to call that call tracking number instead of filling out the form. There are a few things that should be in place in terms of your call tracking system too.
- The phone number displayed on your landing page should be unique, and be based on the traffic source that brought you the lead. That way, you can still do conversion tracking against incoming phone calls.
- The call should also be recorded, especially if you have team members taking those calls. This is essentially a way for you to mystery shop your own store and be sure those calls are being handled appropriately.
- Finally, the person taking the call should manually add the lead to your CRM and kick off the same welcome email that we mentioned in the last paragraph. Sorry, there’s not really a good way to do this in an automated way, since you’ll need the person’s email address first.
So that covers the “happy” path and now you have a system in place to capture new leads. But keep in mind, most people probably won’t take you up on your call-to-action, no matter how good your landing page is. Otherwise, it would be common to have 51%+ conversion rates, right? So one of the biggest parts of the “conversion” section of the funnel is properly dealing with people who essentially don’t do what we’d like them to at each step. Let’s talk about that next in the “sad” path.
The “Sad” Conversion Path
The path is what happens when people don’t take you up on your call-to-action. Many people might visit your landing page, see your offer, but just won’t convert. It could be the offer, they may not be qualified, they may have gotten distracted with something else…there’s really no way to know for sure.
But what we do know is that you’ve already paid to get them to your site at this point, and they were at least somewhat interested enough that they clicked on your ad to get there. So we may as well do the best we can to stay top-of-mind with them once they leave. This won’t allow us to bring back ALL of those lost leads, but we’ll get some percentage of them, and that’s better than losing them all.
This is where retargeting comes into play. Retargeting is a way to run display ads on various sites online, but only to select groups of people. In this case, you want to show those ads to people who visited your website but didn’t convert.
That way, as people are going about their normal, day to day activities online, they’re likely to see one or more of your ads, remember that they came to your site for some reason, and you’ll be able to drive them back into your funnel again.
So what types of ads do you show these people? Well, it depends on your goals, but some good options are either driving them directly back to your landing page, driving them back to a relevant blog post you’ve written, or driving them to specific sales pages or offers that they’re likely to be interested in.
Driving them back to your landing page is pretty simple. You could create a simple graphic that has the same headline as your landing page and maybe your company logo. That will serve as a good reminder for them and can drive them back to the page they missed out on earlier.
The same is true for driving them to a specific sales page or offer. Your ad could include a graphic that promotes something like “10 free hours of software development services” or “Get a mobile app for your business for only $X”, and takes them directly to that page when they click the ad.
Just be sure the offer matches what you were giving away on your landing page. There’s no need in promoting a mobile app development offer to people who came to your web development services landing page.
So that leave us with the idea of sending people to a blog post. This can be more work, but can be very valuable. You should have several blog posts on your site that answer various common pre-sales questions people typically have. Or posts that highlight case studies from past clients. Your ads can then include a graphic that calls out one of those blog posts and takes people to that post when they click the ad.
The key here is that all of your blog posts should have multiple options for the reader to convert into a lead. Don’t just throw up an article and hope people will connect the dots and reach out to you.
You’ll want to tell them what to do next, either with a simple text link, an image with your call to action (e.g. “Click here for a free consultation”), or a web form in the sidebar of your blog post page.
The beauty of this technique is that you can quickly write up a few of these kind of blog posts, and then have multiple retargeting ads that can run at the same time, all hitting that same group of people – visitors to your landing page who left. This way, you’ll be able to tell which posts do a better job of bringing back those lost prospects.
It also positions your company as an authority and expert in your field.
And it allow you to promote “content” as your ad, which will do a better job of bringing people back than just a direct “pitch” in many cases.
So that’s a fairly simple online lead generation funnel for your software development company. Keep in mind that we only talked about doing this with a single landing page. Ideally, you’d have something like this setup for each core service your company offers – web development, mobile development, database design, devops, or whatever else your company offers.
By scaling this out horizontally across your different services, you’ll be able to segment visitors based on which services they’re interested in and can match your messaging to their specific interests / needs.
If you’d like to talk more about how to setup a system like this for your business or would like our team to help build this for you, the first step to get things started is to schedule a free Digital Marketing Strategy Session.
The Strategy Session is a 45-minute call where you and I walk through where your business is now, where you’re trying to get to, and how you can best use digital marketing strategies to get you there.
They’re 100% free, with no strings attached, and you’ll walk away with more clarity on how to build a system like this for your software development company.
Having worked as a software developer in the past, Kenton now helps educate software development agencies on how to predictably generate more leads and sales through digital marketing.
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