Converting leads to customers

There are three steps to digital marketing; drive qualified traffic, generate leads and then convert those leads to customers. Find out more about step three; converting your leads into customers.


Most visitors to your website are probably not ready to make a purchase. They will either be at the start of their online research or could be just passing through or landed on your site by mistake (the majority of people online don't buy, they're too busy on Tik Tok). Generating leads and having high website traffic is great, but it isn’t very meaningful if you don't have a robust strategy for converting these leads to profitable customers.

To improve the chance that an online lead will become a customer, follow our five-step checklist.

Step one: Find out what's worked

Fortunately, you already have a lot of the information you need. Previous sales success should paint a picture of what does and doesn't work for your business. Get started by reviewing the common traits of the deals you have closed:

  • What triggered the actual lead, for example, email marketing, social media, live chat, blogs. 
  • Then, what triggers the purchase, such as an offer, lower price, limited time special, free service, guarantee, immediate delivery or you solved a particular need.

Conduct an audit of where most of your online traffic and outreach comes from, as the best way to determine what will work is to look at what has worked. 

Step two. Qualify the lead

Qualifying a lead means assessing if the lead is more or less likely to buy. If 35% of leads who request a demo and 5% who download a free e-book end up buying something, the 'demo' lead is better qualified than the 'download' lead. It would make sense to focus on demos.

Find out which qualifying criteria works for your business (calls, web visits, downloads, webinar registrations etc) and prioritise to spend more time and energy on those best qualified. You won't be closing sales if you reach out to a lead that isn't ready to buy. And even more so, you may even put the lead off by coming on too strong.

To make this easier consider 'scoring' your leads. The higher the score, the more attention you give. You may give a demo registration a score of ten (the number that triggers your attention), and an e-book download a two. A customer would have to download five e-books to equal a demo lead.

Step three:Act fast

The level of interest for leads can drop dramatically after an hour, day or week, depending on their sales cycle. It is therefore important to set up internal routines for the handling of an incoming lead, such as:

  • Following-up any contact immediately. Either with automated replies so the lead gets a response straight away, or a call within an appropriate time frame. 
  • Directing leads to a company mail, where several people have access to ensure quick handling or you can use customer service software.
  • Dividing sales teams into two, with one part handling existing customers and the other handling new business.
  • Keeping the lead warm if they need more information by adding them to a call or email nurturing cycle.

To speed up qualifying, scoring and tracking leads, use reputable lead generation tools that are data-driven and optimise your entire sales pipeline. Some of the best examples of lead gen tools include MarketoHubSpotPipedriveLeadSquared and Myphoner.

Step four: Continually adjust and iterate

The next step is to feedback what you learn about customer behaviour into your tactics. For example, checking your marketing message is clear, reworking your call-to-action message to be compelling, delivering something different for return visitors, web design upgrades, SEO-friendly content and giving away free content or parts of your business for a longer-term reward.

Step five: Close

After providing your prospective lead with plenty of information and support, you need to ask for the sale. For prospects on the fence, a unique, limited-time offer can give them the push they need. On your website, provide call to action button such as 'buy now' or 'add to cart' as an invitation for the customer to convert. For well-qualified and target leads, take it beyond digital and make a phone call or visit them.

To finish, remember that more leads to your website are great, but not if you can't convert them. By looking at your past performance, you can gather insights on what works and what does not. Then, you need to look ahead and identify new opportunities for conversion.

Next Steps

  • Once you have gained a lead, qualify them to check they are ready to buy, or if they need further nurturing. Have a system in place so everyone knows what to do when a qualified lead is triggered.
  • Review the lead generation tools most relevant to your needs and industry to automate how you score and qualify leads. Sign up for their free trials (ironically, they'll probably then score you as a lead!) or ask other business owners you trust what they use or recommend.
  • Don't be afraid to ask leads for the sale. If it's not something you’re used to, delegate to someone else or upskill your sales team.

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