Ep 163: New Research: SMB web lead generation failures & how to fix

SMB web lead generation failures & how to fix: Leadferno Research SMB contact form failures, Google nuking GBP & Business Messaging costs small developers, How small businesses can up their lead game,

Ep 163:  New Research: SMB web lead generation failures & how to fix

Part 1 starts 00:13 - Leadferno: a better tool to capture website leads

Leadferno is a conversion platform designed to transform website visitors into leads through seamless communication tools. Unlike traditional chatbots, Leadferno leverages SMS to facilitate human conversations, which studies show is the preferred communication channel for most people. It’s floating CTAs (Call-to-Actions) on websites encourage visitors to start conversations via text messaging. This approach helps businesses engage more effectively with potential customers by providing a more responsive and preferred communication method.

Leadferno offers various tools, including an embeddable contact form that initiates SMS conversations, request call-back options, and links to other lead forms and scheduling tools. It attempts to make businesses easier to work with by enhancing their ability to convert website visitors into valuable leads through better communication options. 

Recently, they tested a large number of forms on small business websites to understand how effectively these forms were managed and whether they served as effective lead generation tool.

Segment Reference Articles: RESEARCH: Website Contact Forms and Lead Management – Uncovering Costly Mistakes

Part 2 starts 05:00 - Google nuking GBP & Business Messaging costs small developers

Google's recent decision to axe its business messaging tools—Google Business Profile Chat and Business Messenger— hits particularly hard for niche players like Leadferno, a company that had heavily invested in integrating these tools. The discontinuation forces smaller firms to reconsider future integrations with Google, given the considerable time and financial resources wasted—six months and approximately $100K, in Leadferno's case.

While it looks like Google will potentially integrate with WhatsApp or SMS, which could partially mitigate the blow for some businesses. However, for many, the sudden shift means lost opportunities and the need to reallocate development efforts. The most affected were businesses with significant Google Business Profile visibility and multi-location operations, which benefited from centralized messaging and automated replies. These features allowed for quicker customer interactions, a critical factor in Google's ranking algorithms.

Google’s decision, like so many similar ones it has made in the past, leaves smaller, innovative companies grappling with the fallout, forcing them to navigate the challenging landscape of constantly shifting tech ecosystems.

Segment Reference Articles: Google Deprecates GBP Business Messaging

Part 3 starts 12:30 - Leadferno Research: Small Business Contact Form Failures

Leadferno documented the startling inefficiencies of small businesses in responding to online contact forms, a crucial channel for new customer acquisition. The research, encompassing 225 businesses across home services, professional services, and medical sectors, highlights a significant gap between customer inquiries and business responses.

Leadferno's Aaron Weiche and his team "mystery shopped" these businesses, submitting highly detailed and strong buying inquiries via their contact forms. The findings are staggering: almost 5% of forms were broken, failing to deliver customer messages entirely. More shockingly, only 15.6% of forms sent an auto-reply, a basic feature that acknowledges receipt and sets customer expectations.

The average response time to these contact form submissions was a lethargic 17 hours and 49 minutes, with professional services responding slightly faster than average, and healthcare lagging behind at over 19 hours. Yet, the most alarming statistic was that 42% of these forms received no response at all.

While small businesses consistently rank new customer acquisition as their top challenge, they are neglecting warm, ready-to-buy leads that land directly in their inboxes. This neglect is even more baffling given the simplicity of the solution: prompt and efficient responses to online inquiries.

The study underscores a critical disconnect. Small businesses are not leveraging the full potential of their digital contact points, leading to missed opportunities and, ultimately, lost revenue. Leadferno's research calls for a reevaluation of how businesses handle online customer interactions, stressing the need for improved digital practices to enhance customer engagement and drive growth.

Segment Reference Articles:

Dismal SMB Lead Response Times

Part 4 starts 23:10 - How Small Businesses Can Up Their Lead Game

In today's competitive market, small businesses need to sharpen their lead management:

  • Businesses need to systematize their process by having a structured approach to handle leads. Without a clear process, leads often get lost, mishandled, or delayed.
  • Treat all communication channels equally. While many business owners prioritize phone calls, they often overlook direct messages on social media or emails, thinking they're lower quality. 
  • Businesses should strive to initiate as many conversations as possible and leverage these interactions efficiently through a solid process.
  • Email, often cluttered with spam and other distractions, isn’t the best place for new leads. 
  • SMS stands out and garners quick attention. 
  • Diversifying response methods—using calls, texts, and emails—can significantly enhance engagement.
  • Speed is crucial. 
  • Providing choice in communication channels can help businesses align with consumer expectations and enhance lead conversion rates.

Small businesses can greatly improve their lead management by adopting a structured process, diversifying communication channels, responding swiftly, and aligning their methods with customer preferences. This strategic shift can turn more leads into loyal customers, ensuring sustained growth and success.

Segment Reference Articles: Case Study: Law Firm Increases Website Leads By 46.3%