In the last article we spoke about what your New Year’s resolution should be, which is to track, measure and manage your sales leads. In this and the next few articles, I’m going to focus on some “outside the box” strategies that can help you generate more qualified leads throughout the year.

Expand your lead capabilities on the Web

In my previous article I mentioned how Internet leads will become an increasingly large part of your overall lead generation. Most HVAC contractors are recognizing the need for a website that is promotional and captures visiting prospects, but your website doesn’t have to be your only online lead-capturing tool. For example, imagine that a prospect is searching online for “heating system tax credits,” and is served up with a specific web page that outlines the credits available, the systems you offer, and the specials you’re currently running. Using landing pages is one of the best strategies to expand your lead capture online.

A landing page is any page on your website (or separate from it) where visitors arrive after clicking an external link. These links could be from their organic search, or traffic could be driven with a paid ad, banner ad, blog posting, etc. Landing pages should provide a customized sales pitch for that individual visitor, which is what makes them significantly more effective from a conversion standpoint than many pages on a typical HVAC contractor website.

The best landing pages perfectly marry the specific issue/product/topic a prospect is looking for with the delivery of content directly related to the prospect's search. You stand a much greater chance to convert that person into a lead than if they simply went to the home page of your website.

So here are some tips to help you develop successful landing pages this year.

Landing page writing tips

1. Make sure your headline refers directly to (a) the place where your visitor started before arriving at your page and (b) the ad copy that drove the click. The entire goal of the landing page is to deliver exactly the kind of information your prospect is looking for. When you do this, conversions go up.

2. Write about the customer, not your company. No one cares about you, your company or even your product or service, except to answer the question “What’s in it for me?”. So keep the landing page prospect focused.

3. Stay on track to make the sale. They say the fastest way between two points is a straight line, and the same holds true when you are trying to turn a prospect into a lead online. Keep your body copy on point with a logical progression from your headline to your offer. Don’t add tangential thoughts, ancillary services and generic information. Remember that every digression by a visitor is a conversion lost.

Landing page design tips

1. Put your critical elements at the top of the landing page. More than half of your visitors will not scroll “below the fold” (the part of the page not visible until you scroll down). And forget the warm-up copy. Get right to the point and keep your value proposition prominent and noticeable in an instant.

2. Remove extraneous matter. The landing page should serve one purpose for you—to generate leads for a product or service. So keep all of your efforts centered around that one purpose. Get rid of navigation bars, visual clutter and links to other sections. You want the reader focused on your copy, your supportive visuals and your offer—without any temptation to wander around aimlessly.

3. Keep it simple. Unnecessary details get in the way of conversion. Use a one-column format with ample margins and white space. Break up big paragraphs so they are no longer than five lines. Dense-looking copy just doesn’t get read.

For the complete PowerPoint presentation with additional tips and landing page conversion techniques, visit http://rpyhb.com/internetstrategy.php.

Blaine Fox, Vice President of Warm Thoughts Communications, is a recognized expert on the residential mechanical services industry. He is currently working with some of the nation’s leading HVAC contractors to improve their marketing, fine-tune their operations and grow bottom-line profits. Previously, Blaine was general manager of ServiceMark, a $32 million HVAC contractor with more than 25,000 service agreement customers. Blaine oversaw 160 field employees, 30 install crews, 12 sales people and a call center that handled 140,000 calls per year. Blaine is a sought-after speaker, and presented at Comfortech 2009. He is also a frequent contributor to HVAC industry trade publications. He can be reached at bfox@warmthoughts.com.