With everyone spending their days (and nights) cooped up at home, internet usage is way up. People are spending more time on social media, and more money shopping online.
That’s why there’s no time like the present for your business to focus on its digital presence. Even if the time isn’t right to push a hard sell for your product or service, the work you do now to engage customers can pay off when life starts to return to normal.
One of the best digital marketing strategies to employ right now is lead generation. What is lead generation? Simply put, it’s getting people to show interest in your brand, with the goal to convert them into customers in the future.
If you focus on building up a database of contacts who are interested in your brand now, you can lead them down the buyer funnel over time.
So how the heck do you lure in the ever-elusive lead? Let’s dive in to the best ways to generate more leads online.
1. Create a Lead Magnet
Just like flies, leads are attracted by honey. And in this case, a lead magnet, or downloadable asset, sure is sweet to new leads.
The most common form of lead magnets are downloadable eBooks, white papers, printable guides, and design templates. But sometimes the simple coupon code can work wonders too, especially if you’re running an online store.
Let’s take the example of an eBook, which can be an effective lead magnet in any industry. The purpose of a downloadable eBook is to deliver in-depth and detailed information to your most interested site visitors. This is a sort of next-level guide that might not serve the average visitor to your site, but will interest visitors who are more likely to convert into a customer.
A simple on-site form will allow you to collect a visitor’s email address in exchange for the eBook, coupon, white paper, whatever.
Here at BKMedia Group, we created an eBook called “Blogging Guide for the Modern Marketer,” giving marketers and small business owners the do’s and don’ts of writing blogs that boost SEO, drive traffic, and lead to sales. Kinda like this blog you’re reading right now ;)
Users can find that eBook at the bottom of our homepage, since any new visitors that make it that far are likely interested in more. That’s when they see this:
For your own audience, think about what kind of information your site visitors are most interested in. What are their biggest questions, challenges, and needs?
If you can provide the answers they’re looking for in one easy-to-download document, you can capture a lead and build brand trust while you’re at it.
But what if you’re not sure what your audience cares about the most? Look at the analytics of your site. Which pages perform the best? Is there a trend in the types of blog posts that get the most traffic or where people spend the most time? The answers lie in the data.
(By the way, this is a good argument for prioritizing your brand’s persona development.)
You might find that while the overall trend shows your site users are interested in Topic X, there could be one standout Topic Y in a specific blog that is driving a lot of traffic. In this case, you may want to create a separate lead magnet that speaks to the audience interested in Topic Y, and just promote that lead magnet on that particular blog and other related pages. You’ll see a higher sign-up rate if your lead magnet is catered to the interest of the people who are likely seeing it.
2. Create Landing Pages
A landing page allows you to do everything an eBook can, but through an interactive online experience. Landing pages are generally less text-heavy than a downloadable asset, and let things like embedded videos, photos, and links to blog posts (or your downloadable asset) do the heavy lifting.
A big benefit to a landing page is that it can rank in search engine results, increasing your brand’s exposure to new people who’ve never heard of you before. And you can advertise links directly to it through search engine marketing and paid social media.
Landing pages typically aren’t linked to within your site’s navigation, so the only way for people to find it is through online search or ads. Since they click their own way to a landing page, you know they’re a higher-quality lead the moment they arrive.
Take our client Roofnest. They make hard shell roof top tents. We found that a lot of their more casual customers have some basic questions around roof top tents — the difference between hard and soft shell, how the tents work, what vehicles they’re compatible with, etc. A lot of ideal customers were Googling for answers to these questions.
We made a series of landing pages to speak to these people, and immediately saw traffic to these pages.
In this case, we send customers directly to Roofnest’s product pages in the Call-To-Actions on these landing pages. But you can offer a lead magnet as the CTA, or use retargeting to advertise to these users in the future.
3. Make the Most Of Your Homepage
While blogs and landing pages can drive a lot of traffic, the main point of entry to your site will likely always be your homepage. Your homepage is where new customers often arrive first, and is likely to see more traffic than any other page on your site.
For that reason, an easily visible lead magnet and email signup form should definitely live on your homepage.
One way to improve the performance of a lead magnet is to use a heat map tool. This will analyze your visitors’ behavior on your site and show you where people are clicking and scrolling.
If only 20% of visitors scroll down on your homepage, then your lead magnet should stay “above the fold,” near the top of the page where people are more likely to see it. Or if a different part of your homepage is attracting more attention, move your lead magnet there.
Finally, don’t forget an exit pop-up. Most new visitors who leave your site shortly after arriving will never come back, so you’ve got nothing to lose by going all out to get them to stay connected.
An exit pop-up is a window that appears when a new visitor moves their cursor to the top of their browser to type in a different search or URL or to close the tab. You can make an especially lucrative offer to these people in exchange for their email.
That way, even if they think they don’t care about your business, you’ll have the chance to convince them otherwise through your email marketing campaigns.
4. Follow the Data
Once your lead magnets and landing pages are up and running, you need to monitor the data to see what’s working and what needs work. If you have one specific page or lead magnet that’s performing better than the rest, look at what makes it unique from the others.
Are there ways to optimize your other lead magnets to get their numbers up to a level similar with your best performers?
You can find out using data analysis tools, like Google Analytics, Moz, and HotJar. These allow you to see where your traffic is coming from, what people are clicking on, how long they’re spending on each page, which keywords are bringing you new visitors, and much, much more.
5. A/B Test
Your landing page with a sign-up form may be performing pretty well, but could it be doing even better? There’s only one way to know: A/B testing.
Create two versions of your landing pages, homepage, or other pages where you place lead magnets and sign-up forms to test with split audiences.
You can try changing the following:
- CTA language (e.g., “Sign Up Now” vs. “Yep, I Want That eBook!”)
- Colors, sizing, and placement of buttons
- Overall page layout and content, including experimenting with:
- Inclusion of testimonials (with photos of the people to build trust)
- Links to positive press
- Mentions of certification and accreditation
By testing which variations perform better with test audiences, you can implement changes that will increase sign-ups, leads, and conversions.
6. Customize CTAs
If it makes sense, use dynamic content to create personalized Calls-to-Action.
For example, you might have a CTA that typically says “Want 20% Off?” A personalized version would say, “Hey, Jake! Want 20% Off?”
These are known as “Smart CTAs,” and they perform 202% better than generic CTAs.
7. Follow Up With Your Leads
Once you get someone’s email address, don’t leave them hanging. Using automated email workflows, send personalized content on a regular basis to their inbox to keep them connected and engaged with your brand.
This also provides numerous opportunities for them to convert and become a customer. If you don’t stay in touch and forget to email them until months later, it’s highly unlikely that they’ll open your email, let alone actually click on anything inside of it. Or even remember who you are. Sad.
Improve Lead Gen Performance By Boosting Traffic
None of the above tactics will work if people aren’t visiting your website in the first place. We can help with that.
We’re not just lead gen experts. We’re also pros at web design, SEO, digital advertising, and email and content marketing.
We’ve tried every possible method of getting people to visit our clients’ websites (including getting down on our hands and knees and begging), and we’ve developed tried-and-true methods that work (the begging thing doesn’t fall into that category, by the way).
When we set to work helping CollegiateParent.com build their email list, our approach of persona development and targeted lead generation led to 187% increase in subscribers.