Lead Generation Marketing: Core Principles

Generally speaking, as an internet business, you either want: 1) online customers, 2) online readers, or 3) online leads. This blog deals with the latter- online lead generation and how to get more leads via your website. Below are several lead generation marketing principles that are fairly universal, regardless of business model, industry etc. and as a bonus, are not all that difficult to implement and optimize.

Shorten Your Forms

Fairly self-evident, the fewer fields on your forms, the more form-submits one will receive. A good place to start is by asking “What do I really need to present value to the customer?” Many websites make the mistake by asking for 5+ individual points of customer information when the first way they contact their customers is by email. Chances are, if you’re emailing your customers first, email is really the only piece of information you need. Name is fine, phone is fine if you have an active sales team, but address, industry, size of company, and free-form content entry are really a bit much if you’re just trying to induce a lead. 

Change Up Your CTAs

While stressing brevity on forms is great, when it comes to choosing a call-to-action for submitting your forms, brevity is not always best. One-word CTAs such as “contact” or “download” tend to give signals of ambiguity and can actually cause the user to think twice before giving up their information (“What am I actually downloading?” “Who am I contacting?”). Users value honesty and if you call them after they submit a lead before downloading a whitepaper, results may vary. Some example CTAs that you may want to test are:

  • Contact me please!
  • Request more information
  • I’m Interested, Tell Me More!

Break Stuff

No, don’t listen to the 1999 Limp Bizkit song, try and break your forms because you may be missing out on leads because users are having problems submitting them. There’s really no point in having error handling on contact forms; making your forms’ sensitive to character input is only another road-block to getting leads. Yes, you may get your fair share of “J9ohn Smith” and “AndrewSmithgmail.com” but both of these lead types can easily be scrubbed and formatted into proper contact information. Chances are, if you can break one of your own website forms on purpose, your customers may be breaking it by accident.

Modals, Interstitials, and Lightboxes (Oh My!)

Often referred to as one of the aforementioned monikers, the post-2010 version of the classic internet “pop up” has been rebranded and repurposed. Using modals (as we’ll call them here for the sake of brevity) can be a really great way to induce a customer to provide their information and thereby become a lead. This does not mean it is practical or recommended to throw a modal up on every page of your site. As much as they are useful tools for businesses, they can be an even stronger aversion and annoyance to casual web users if implemented incorrectly. Like all things, balance is key. Showing a modal is a great lead generation tactic when displayed at a point in the user-journey where asking for contact information is relatively non-intrusive and the user feels as if the request will net them tangible benefit. Several effective examples include:

  • On a site-search results page, greying or blurring the results and promoting the modal
  • On pages with a high percentage of total traffic, coupled with high exit rates
  • On shareable content pieces that are often primary landing pages

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