What do you want your website or blog visitors to do? Wait, I bet I know – you want them to contact you, right? You want them to send an email, or fill out a form, or call you to let you know that they want to talk about buying your product or service.

Well, let’s be honest here – that’s what we all want.

But it happens less than 1% of the time – and maybe not even that much.

That’s right, less than 1% of the time. How many visitors has your site had in the last thirty days? How many people have filled out the “contact us” form – people who were serious buyers, that is – not the folks who want to sell you something?

Nowhere near as many as you’d like, right?

You probably have a CTA Mismatch.

Your calls-to-action (or, if your site is like many we see, your singular call to action) is not matching the needs of your site visitor – your potential buyer.

For the purposes of this article, I’m going to assume that you are well-versed in the concept of the Sales Funnel, where curious people come into the top, swirl through various stages of development, and customers come out the bottom. Since marketers have to understand the basics of the sales process in order to be truly successful, I’m betting you know this.

Calls-to-action, or CTAs, have to match up with funnel stages. The problem is that “Contact Us” or “Request a Quote” is a bottom-of-the-funnel activity, when most of your site visitors are still at the top of the funnel. If you don’t have CTAs that match with each funnel stage, you will miss out on capturing 90% of your site visitors.

That’s not the only mismatch, though.

There’s another one – and it’s a biggie.

CTAs have forms that you ask the visitor to fill out, right? Think about your own experiences when you’ve wanted to download a paper, or see a bit of content that is “gated” – that requires that you fill out a form to see it.

Do you always type the truth into that form? I’ll admit it – I don’t. If they are asking for my phone number especially, I’ll just type 555-555-5555. I don’t want to be called by a sales rep if I am just downloading a paper. Do you?

So here’s the second big thing: Forms must match the level of value received by the visitor.

What does that mean?

Lead Capture Forms

An actual form required to download a case study from one popular site. All fields were required, too. A great example of what not to do.

It means that you need more than one form, for starters. It means that your forms, in essence, must match the funnel stages, too.

If you do this, your chances of getting real information increase exponentially.

I know, I know, as marketers, you want to get every single piece of information about a potential buyer, and you want it now. I used to be the same way. Then I saw that I was getting a whole lot of employees of “My Company,” each with their own Gmail account, and I realized that bogus information was worse than no information.

So, I did what I’m encouraging you to do right now. Think about the level of value provided, and the level of commitment required of you (that’s another tip), and adjust your forms to match. Too many fields, especially if they are required fields, create friction – which reduces your chance of actually capturing a lead.

Here are three examples for three different funnel stages:

  • For a short paper, you can likely get a real first name, last name, and email address filled out. Don’t ask for anything more. Your site visitor is merely curious, and at the top of the funnel. Don’t create friction.
  • For an event registration, or a how-to guide, you can also ask for their organization name (if you are a B2B seller). Leave it at that. You’re still not going to get real phone numbers, so don’t even ask. Your visitor has dropped into the funnel, but is still not ready to engage with Sales.
  • For a quote request, or a personal consultation, or a free trial, you can ask everything you want. This visitor is at the bottom of the funnel, and ready to answer a few more questions. Now don’t go crazy and try to do the work of a salesperson here. You can’t fully qualify a lead from a form. Don’t try. The salesperson will have to take your Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) to the fully qualified stage required by Sales.

If you do these two big things, you will convert more site visitors into leads, which you can then nurture through your marketing process until they are ready to engage with Sales.