Generating leads, in high quantity and quality, is your most important objective if you have been tasked with this job. A successful lead generation engine is what keeps the funnel full of sales prospects while you sleep. Not surprisingly, 58% of businesses see lead generation as major challenge, and over 40% describe their current lead generation tactics as outdated. So, what gives?
There can be a lot of moving parts in any lead generation campaign and oftentimes it’s difficult to know which parts need fine tuning. In this guide, we will expose the top 5 lead generation techniques you should utilize to increase leads and revenue. These tactics have been tested by countless marketers and software companies, like Hubspot and Marketo, over the past 10-15 years.
So what goes into a best-in-class lead generation engine? First, lets take a look into the mechanics of high performing lead generation campaigns.
What is lead generation? The best lead generation campaigns contain these 5 components. From a tactical perspective, you need these crucial elements to make inbound lead generation happen. They include:
|An offer is a piece of content that is perceived to be high in value. Offers include eBooks, whitepapers, free consultations, coupons and product demonstrations.||
A call-to-action (CTA) is either text, an image or a button that links directly to a landing page, so people can find and download your offer.
|A landing page, unlike normal website pages, is a specialized page that contains information about one particular offer and a form to download that offer.|
|You can’t capture leads without forms. Forms collect contact information from a visitor in exchange for an offer.||
|Business owners and marketers must utilize many marketing channels in order to maximize their lead generation efforts.|
We will cover each of these elements so that each component is fully optimized to help you learn how to generate leads for your business.
Brian Halligan, HubSpot CEO and co-founder, once said that “you can have a great offer with a bad title and no one will download it. But if you have an amazing title, suddenly everyone wants it.” People do judge a book by it’s cover. If your offer is a piece of content, such as a whitepaper, eBook, or presentation, you need to put effort into creating an amazing title.
For example, Hubspot ran an experiment where they changed the title of an eBook and ran an A/B test to see which one would perform better. The original title was, “The Productivity Handbook for Busy Marketers” and they changed it to “7 Apps That Will Change the Way You Do Marketing.”
The revised version outperformed the original by 776% at generating leads (first-time submissions). Not only that, but it resulted in more customers as well. If you’re struggling to come up with the perfect headline, try using a tool like Hubspot's, Blog Ideas Generator.
The most common one you will typically see on most websites is “Contact Us.” Of course, you want all your prospects to talk to sales, but not everyone is ready. As you know, in today's world, buyers are more likely to do their own research before even engaging with a sales rep. And, every prospect is at a different stage of exploration. Some people may need more time to research and educate themselves than others. Which is why it’s important to develop different offers at different stages of the buying cycle.
Someone in the Awareness stage, or Early stage, may be more interested in an informational piece, like a guide or an eBook, whereas someone who is just about ready to buy and get a free trial or demo may be in the Decision or Ready stage. You don’t need to pick and choose; create offers for each phase and include a primary and secondary CTA to these offers on various pages throughout your site.
Some offer “formats” perform better than others at converting leads. For example, what’s more valuable...a whitepaper or an eBook?
Below are the type of offers, in order of performance, that generate the most amount of leads.
• EBooks or Guides
• Templates or Presentations
• Research & Reports (ex: State of Inbound Marketing)
• Live Webinars
• On-demand Videos
• White papers
• Kits (multiple offers packaged together)
• Blog (including offers in the navigation or sidebar)
• Blog posts (if there is a CTA in the post)
• Middle-of-the-funnel offers: Demo Requests, Contact Sales, RFP, etc. (more sales-ready offers)
It’s important to test different types of offers with your audience to determine what works for you. While eBooks score high on our list, you may find that reports, videos or other formats do better
Calls-to-action (CTA) are the secret lead generation tools to drive people to your offers. If your CTAs aren’t effective at capturing people’s attention and persuading them to click, then it makes the offer useless.
CTAs can be used on product pages (non-landing pages), in display ads, emails, social media, direct mail, and pretty much anywhere you can market your offer.
But not all CTAs are created equal. In a world where every brand is fighting for the consumer's attention, it’s critical that prospects choose your offer over your competitors. So, let’s go over some tips for creating CTAs that work.
Calls-to-action do best “above the fold” - that’s the space where your web page is viewable to the user without having to scroll down. According to heat map analysis, anything “below the fold” will only be viewed by 50% of people who visit your page. So, doubling impressions on your CTAs can significantly increase your lead count.
Notice the placement of the primary CTA on ECAP's home page. Two buttons for "Apply Now" stand out above the fold
Oftentimes, marketers will put more focus on being clever than clear. Be crystal clear about what the offer is in your CTA. And be specific. If you’re giving away a free guide, say “Download our FREE guide.” If you’re hosting a free webinar or Masterclass, say “Register for FREE.” This is much more effective than “Download Now” or “Get a Free Article.” These simply aren’t specific enough.
Notice that this CTA is to promote a free Masterclass. There is a clear title letting the person know exactly what the Masterclass is about and Two calls to action, “Get Instant Access” & “Register For Free Now.”
I have seen so many websites that link a CTA to a completely unrelated landing page or web page. It’s incredible how often businesses miss this opportunity. Calls-to-action are meant to send visitors to a dedicated landing page where they receive a specific offer that correlates with the CTA they just clicked. Do not use CTAs to drive people to your homepage.
Even if your CTA is about your brand or product, you must still send them to a targeted landing page that is relevant to what they are looking for. If you are going to use a CTA, then send them to a landing page that will convert them into a qualified lead.
This CTA is for an advice and guidance eBook that drives visitors directly to a landing page for that eBook.
Even after someone has converted into a lead from one of your landing pages, don’t stop there. Increasing engagement, which is one of several lead generation strategies, should also be a top priority so that a potential customer can turn into a loyal fan.
Once someone reaches a “thank you page,” that’s the page that a visitor arrives on after completing a form, use that space as an opportunity to promote more offers and content. For example, if a visitor lands on intouch-marketing.com and downloads the guide, “The Top 5 Things Your Website Needs To Make Money,” they will see additional options to increase engagement.
We have two additional calls-to-action here. One to subscribe to the blog and another to download an additional offer further down the buyer’s journey.
According to many marketing research surveys, landing pages are very effective for B2B lead generation and B2C companies. The use of landing pages enables you to direct website visitors to targeted pages and capture leads at a much higher rate.
What makes landing pages different from normal website pages is that they direct your visitors to one particular offer without any distractions. They get access to what they are interested in very quickly.
You want visitors on your landing page for one purpose only...to complete the lead capture form.
Landing pages, sometimes called a “Lead Capture Page,” are used to convert visitors into leads by completing a transaction or by collecting contact information from them. Effective landing pages consist of:
1. A headline and (optional) sub-headline
2,. A brief description of the offer
3. At least one supporting image
4. Snippets of VALUE that the prospect will get from downloading the offer
5. And most importantly, a form to capture their information
Once a visitor arrives on a landing page, you need to keep them there. If there are links on the page to move about your website, it will distract the visitor and significantly decrease the chance of them converting on the page.
One of the best ways to increase your landing page conversion rates is to simply remove the main navigation from the page.
Keep your messaging consistent on both your CTA and the headline of the landing page. If people click on a CTA expecting a free download and then find out there’s a catch on the landing page, you’ll instantly lose their trust.
Similarly, if the headline reads differently than the CTA, it may be confusing to your visitors. They may think they have landed on the wrong page and will most likely just leave.
Keep the title of the CTA and the title of the landing page the same. Don’t confuse the visitor about what they will receive after they click or you will lose their trust.
I’m sure you’re aware of the rule “keep it simple, stupid.” The same applies to landing pages. People think they have to cram as much information as possible onto the page in order for it to convert. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A cluttered page only distracts a visitor. Be brief and to the point. The offer itself is where you give more information. In addition to your headline, include a brief paragraph explaining what the offer is, followed by a few bullet points outlining the benefits of the offer.
You need to make it clear what value or benefits the visitor will get from downloading or signing up for your offer. The bullet points should reflect around 3-5 benefits. More than that and the message can get lost. Make it clear in a brief paragraph and/or bullet points what the benefits of the offer are. You can do something like “Find out how XYZ can increase productivity by 50%.” In other words, convey the value of your offer clearly and effectively.
The landing page copy tells the visitor what they will receive when they register for the masterclass.
Don’t forget to include buttons to enable your prospects to share the content and offers on your landing page. Include multiple social media channels, as well as email. People have different sharing preferences, so you should add those channels that you feel your target audience uses the most. The more your offer is shared, the more people will land on the page, and the more people will fill out your form and become leads!
Social media sharing buttons are prominently displayed on the page.
According to several marketing benchmarks reports, companies see a 55% increase in leads by increasing landing pages from 10 to 15. So the more content, offers, and landing pages you create, the more opportunities you will have for online lead generation.
Forms are the key component to any landing page. Without them, there is no way to “convert” a visitor into a lead. Forms are used when people want to sign-up, subscribe to your site or download an offer.
The following tips will uncover how to build great landing page forms.
How much or how little information should you ask for with a form? While there is no magic answer on how much information you should collect on your forms, a good rule of thumb is to ask for as much information that is commensurate to the value of the offer your are providing.
The fewer fields you have in a form, the more likely you are to receive more conversions. This is because the barrier to entry is much smaller. The value of the offer and the required fields you ask for makes the visitor feel the trade off is worth it. If you create too many fields on your form, it creates friction (more work for the visitor) and fewer conversions are likely. If you think like your customer, is the amount of information you are asking for worth the offer you are providing?
Typically, top of the funnel offer forms should only ask for minimal information. Middle and bottom of the funnel offers will ask for more information because they will be better quality leads.
Most people don’t even think about what the CTA button should say. They just put the default “Submit” text and think that should work. However, one of the best ways to increase your form conversion rates is to simply NOT use the default word "SUBMIT" on your button.
If you think about it, no one wants to “submit” to anything. Instead, turn the statement into a benefit that relates to what they are getting in return.
For example, if the form is to download a free eBook, the submit button should say, “Download Your Free EBook.” Other examples include “Download Checklist Now,” “Request Your Quote,” or “Join Our Newsletter.”
Here’s another helpful tip, make the button big, bold and colorful. Make sure it looks like a button and appears “clickable”.
Don't Do This!
Your website isn’t the only location to maximize your lead generation efforts. You need to look to other channels like your retail store, social media platforms, emails, or text messaging. The objective is to make it easy for buyers to research, evaluate and purchase products in any way that is most appropriate for them. It’s all about having the right marketing mix.
In this section, we will briefly cover a few channels that help businesses generate the most amount of leads.
Blogging is a highly effective channel for lead generation. According to HubSpot’s recent benchmark report, companies that blog 6-8 times per month double their lead volume. You need to take advantage of those blog articles by placing offer CTAs in them that are relevant to the blog article.
For example, if you create an article on the benefits of Stem Cell Treatment for Knee Injuries, you wouldn't put an offer CTA on the page that offers a free consultation for Spinal Decompression.
|An example of a CTA at the bottom of an InTouch Marketing blog post. The offer matches the content of the post for relevance.|
|In every blog post, include hyperlinks to landing pages within the copy of the post, as well as a prominent call-to-action.|
Many businesses may think that email marketing is only best used when communicating with existing prospects and customers. Not so! Email can be a great channel for new lead generation, as well as lead nurturing. Here are some ways you can use email to generate more new prospects:
Simple email promoting a valuable offer that includes social media sharing buttons.
Whether you like it or not, social media is a channel that many businesses need to take advantage of. You may think your audience is not on social media, but I’ve got news for you...they are! Here are some tips for generating leads on social networks.
When people download your offers, especially in the Awareness (Early) or Consideration (Middle) stages of the buyer's journey, including additional offers to resources that will help them is a great way to continually nurture prospects.
For example, in one of our eBooks, we have included a link to get a Free Assessment. It could have also been a case study or whitepaper, or Masterclass to help them make a decision on the right course of action for them.
A link that provides a bottom-of-the-funnel offer.
While this isn’t a channel per se, A/B testing can be used in calls-to-action, landing pages, email marketing, advertising, and more to help generate more leads. According to HubSpot research, A/B testing your landing pages and other assets can help you generate up to 40% more leads for your business. When done correctly, A/B testing can provide a huge competitive advantage for your company.
Online lead generation, or lead generation marketing, has the power to transform your marketing and your business. Using great offers, calls-to-action, landing pages, and forms - while promoting them in multi-channel environments - can reduce your cost-per-lead while delivering higher quality prospects to your sales team.
We have provided the basics of what lead generation should contain at a minimum. But this is just the beginning. Lead nurturing is also an essential part of the lead generation process.
We hope the information provided will help you get started in generating leads and some lead generation best practices to help bolster your conversion rates. Continue to tweak and test each step of your inbound lead generation process in an effort to improve lead quality and increase revenue.
To determine if lead generation services or how lead generation software can make your life a whole lot easier, just chat with us to learn more. You can also learn how lead generation companies can help you, especially if you are thinking of a DIY approach.