This article is part two of a five-part series on online lead generation. The information used in this series is the result of many conversations with a mentor of mine, Andrew Pawlak, who is an industry authority and CEO of leadPops, a cutting-edge landing page solution. Click here for part one.

What I mean by “going for the jugular”

This is a rather aggressive phrase given the nature of the article and undoubtedly stirs up images of National Geographic safari documentaries with lions and wildebeests. Those vivid images are a stretch, but aren’t far from how quickly asking for personal information without preliminary questions or building trust from a prospect can kill the chance of them becoming a lead.

As a generalization, let’s assume that most landing pages are seeking to acquire some kind of information from you in order to qualify you as a lead. This information will vary by industry but will usually consist of one or all of the following:

  • First/last name
  • Email
  • Phone number
  • Home Address
  • Name of work place
  • Work phone number
  • Salary
  • Social security number
  • And more

Many web surfers have become comfortable providing personal information online. They won’t even bat an eye when offering their name or email address via a strangers website. Other individuals have a problem with this concept and won’t provide you with any information. However, it is safe to say that when asking for more personal information (i.e. home address, salary, social security number, etc.) most people will be very, very reluctant unless they trust whomever is responsible for the landing page.

Examples of going for the jugular

As stated above, each industry is different and some fall victim to going for the jugular lead generation practices more than others. With the below examples, think to yourself whether or not you would actually fill out these lead generation forms:

Example #1: A subtle attack (the claw scratch)

In the example, you will notice the landing page is asking for first name, last name, zip, email and phone. Most of this information wouldn’t be considered too personal, but asking for zip and phone will most likely make people a bit more weary to fill out the form.


Example #2: A slightly more aggressive attack (the non-deadly bite)

This example is a bit more aggressive than the previous one because it asks for type of policy, policy amount, first name, last name, address and two different types of phone number. The policy information being asked for makes this form much more personal to those who are considering filling it out.


Example #3: An aggressive attack (the kill)

This is a full-fledged attack on the landing page visitor. In order to get the life quote being offered they have to enter a ton of personal information. Most notably, height, weight, date of birth, gender and nicotine use.


How to overcome going for the jugular

As I pointed out earlier, each industry is unique and requires different information to qualify a lead so there is no set formula. However, there are two main solutions that can help you avoid going for the jugular:

Solution #1: Building trust

Trust is one of the most important factors when trying to convert a website visitor into a lead. So much so that another leading authority in landing pages, Tim Ash, claims that adding trust symbols to your landing page can increase conversions by anywhere from 20-40 percent. Trust can be built in a number of ways:

  • Testimonials from satisfied individuals who used your service (and assumingly filled out the form on your landing page)
  • Badges of membership and security labels
  • Privacy policy stating that you won’t use their information for anything other than what is being intended when filling out the form
  • Logos from larger companies you have worked with or who use your product/service
  • Video of yourself or about your company that shows legitimacy

Solution #2: The preliminary details

In each example above, you will notice that the forms ask for all of the required information at once. A website visitor is directed to your landing page, knows very little about you (AKA doesn’t trust you) and then is asked to provide personal information. This will naturally make people reluctant to fill out the form. However, there are two ways you can attempt to avoid going for the jugular aside from the trust symbols:

Qualifying upon arrival

This can be difficult at times for some people with limited resources, but if you are able to monitor and dictate how the traffic is going to your landing page it will enable you to ask a fewer number of personal questions. For example, you are offering free mortgage consultations and are running pay-per-click ads on Google Adwords. The ads are being triggered when someone searches for “Adjustable-rate mortgage”. When someone clicks that ad they are being directed to a specific page where they are presented with a form. This form doesn’t need to ask for a bunch of personal information to qualify them because you can already assume the type of mortgage loan they are looking for is an adjustable rate mortgage.

Asking preliminary questions

This is more technical, but if you have an in-house or a reliable developer you can easily make the form on your landing page have multiple steps that are triggered based on a series of preliminary questions. For example, you have a landing page that is offering home loan quotes. Instead of overwhelming your potential lead with personal questions right off the bat, you ease into it with questions like, what type of loan are you looking for? or what type of home do you own? Then from there, the next step in the form could be something like what is your zip code? You are basically holding their hand, building there trust one question at a time while walking them down your lead generation pipeline.

As mentioned previously, there is no defined rule on what is the right type of information to ask a potential lead. It depends entirely on your industry and personal preference. I always recommend doing A/B testing if you have the resources to determine what will work best. But as a rule of thumb, less personal information is always better. The goal is to do the best job qualifying a lead on the fewest number of questions of personal questions possible. The reason being, eliminating one unnecessary field from your lead capture form can increase conversions by 50 percent (this will be discussed in its own post in the coming weeks).

In the next post, Landing Page Flaw #3: Fill In The Blanks, I will be looking at the difference between using fill in the blanks on your landing page forms vs. other methods available.

AvatarMichael George Keating

Michael is an entrepreneur and Internet marketing mentor who specializes in search engine optimization (SEO), social media, web development, paid advertising and other areas of Internet marketing. He's had the pleasure of working with everything from start-ups to Fortune 100 companies in Southern California. Check out his tweets at @michaelgkeating and Internet marketing tips.