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non payers & lead creation

I run a website which has a lot of content provided by other companies. The concept is that I sell them space on my website (a full page) for a text and image article. A lot of the site content was provided on the basis of a free promotion for a limited period.

My questions are around which product to sell (selling leads or click through) and dealing with customers that want and even use the service but not keen to pay for it.

When this period expired I've had poor take up on orders. While they recognised the site was busy, they weren't convinced of the benefit of their promotion & I can't demonstrate it either. This forms part of my procrastination problem. Their pages may get viewed a lot, but the link back to their website wasn't generating significant click through and click through traffic is very difficult to track/value. Click through traffic is cheap as chips and by removing the outbound link I also keep people on the site.

As a result I've tried removing the link to their website and replaced it with a form where site visitors can enter their name and contact details. When a site reader completes the form these details are then provided to the advertiser. This gives the advertiser a far more solid and track-able lead. But it also drastically reduces the quantity of referrals. Some pages on the site don't generate any leads while others are sporadic but it's still pretty low numbers.

I feel it's one or other decision as if you offer form and link they'll probably use the link (so form results will be poor), but by not linking they don't get click through traffic which some want/expect (even if it's not worth much).

Content is king on the internet, and each promotion helps bring in traffic and feeds existing traffic. I incur no maintenance/ongoing costs for continuing any promotion. The only direct cost is my time to set the advert up. While they may not be generating cash, removing non payer promotions is actually detrimental. Net result, I've got a lot of non payers having a free ride.

I'd really welcome your sales knowledge and thoughts as to how I should handle this situation. Essentially I think a sales lead from a prospect that provides Name & Contact details holds far superior value than click through, ie. it better that they receive 1 good sales lead than 100 link click throughs. I'm also stuck on what to do/how to handle those that do not wish to place an order as I feel I've got no lever or bargaining against them as I don't wish to remove their content.

It all sounds so dumb, it probably is, but hey, the site is doing well and I intend to make it go much better in the future. Minor hurdles. ;sm

Thank you for any replies - by PRO-Crastinator
Form results and click through rates are both easy to track. Click throughs would put the burden of conversion back on the advertiser. - by SpeedRacer
This is one aspect of sales that I haven’t had much contact with, but I believe that some basic principles could better your chances of keeping clients.

The main thing that I pick up is the fact that companies are willing to create copy and use your service….. this is huge… obviously the original pitch works and works well.

When pitching your product look for buying signals, find out what it is about your product that appeals to the buyers. Take a ‘real’ interest in your clients, find out how else these companies are marketing are have continued contact with your clients and talk about how your product is benefiting and will continue to be of benefit.

Build promotions within your site tailored to your clients need. Remain proactive and future based in all correspondence.

Ensure that the price is relative to the service.

In other words sell the pants off it J good luck - by salesman
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