Here at Bridges we live and work with the values of transparency and bottom-line accountability: we want our customers to always know what’s going on, and a big part of our transparency goes into showing how our efforts are directly influencing and enhancing our customers’ bottom line, supported by hard facts, data and numbers.
We don’t just work on “creating awareness” - we generate actual leads for our customers, and here we will explain our 20 favorite strategies for doing so.
1. What kind of [interactive offer] are you?
Most people can’t resist a good quiz, like “Which Disney Princess are you?” or “What is your Hogwarts’ House?”. We all love talking about ourselves and learning about ourselves, and a well-crafted quiz will often be shared to others with similar interests, the very definition of a target audience.
Consider creating a quiz that not only drives traffic and gathers leads, but also delivers valuable information to your prospects, so you build trust in the process. A recent example was a quiz we built for one of our clients, who offers legal services. The quiz was “Do you qualify for an expungement?”, and besides giving valuable information to everyone who took it, it also brought in a good number of qualified leads.
2. Use psychology to attract leads
While every person is unique as an individual, most of our brains work the same way, and you can use that to generate leads and garner interest in your products and services. These are just three of many psychological “tricks” you can use as lead magnets as part of your marketing strategy.
Jump on the bandwagon
What is everyone talking about? What meme is going viral? What’s the buzz? Find a way to ride the wave of public attention, whether it be creating content along the same lines, grabbing inspiration from the artist making headlines, or espousing a movement that is going viral (remember the ice bucket challenge?) Don’t forget to use the relevant hashtags so you get all the views.
Find strength in numbers
If you can honestly say that hundreds (or thousands) of people have used and enjoyed your products and services, do it! People buy more confidently if they know many others have already purchased. Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd! Don’t be shy to mention your hundreds of happy customers, or the thousands of people who have downloaded your ebook - it will only motivate others to do the same.
Exclusive, unique, limited edition
Scarcity is a great attractor. How many times have you purchased something online because there were “only 3 unites left”? Or hurried to buy a service because the offer or discount was about to end? Everyone feels the urgency brought on by a limited edition, or time running out, and for many it may be the last little push they need to click.
3. You can have it all - offers for everyone!
As you know well, there are different stages in a buyer’s journey. Yet most websites only have CTAs saying “Contact us” or “Buy now!”, which only cater to buyers at the bottom of the funnel who are ready for contact.
But what about those potential customers who are in the very early stages, starting to seek information but not yet ready to contact you? Will you just ignore them?
Here’s a golden lead generation idea for you: you don’t have to choose one single stage of the buyer’s journey for your offers. Instead, you should create offers for each stage, and include CTAs to those offers in various different places all over your website.
Top of funnel
The very early stages of the buyer’s journey start with a “what” question - you want to create awareness and educate without pushing for a sale right now. Offer ebooks, quizzes and long-form educational blogs in a helpful and easy way.
This is a great chance to gather contact information and email addresses from potential customers, so you can later send them emails, with a CTA like “Click here to get a free ebook”.
Middle of funnel
At the evaluation stage, your customer knows what you offer, and possibly also what others offer. Here you continue to educate, while starting to position your offering as the best choice.
This is a great moment to start email marketing or share expert guides and comparison white papers. CTAs should be extremely focused, ideally with dedicated landing pages, so you can really motivate the customer. Offer more specific information, such as a relevant case study.
Bottom of funnel
A client at this stage is well educated, and hopefully you have nurtured the lead with emails and a carefully planned process to increase conversion rates. This is the moment to offer contact, free trials or demos, with CTAs such as “Contact us to schedule a free consultation.”
4. You will never write titles the same way again
A title can make a huge difference in your lead gen results, and Buzzfeed practically wrote the book on catchy titles that get clicks. Let’s use some good “clickbait” practices to ensure your content is getting all the clicks it deserves:
Use a number. “Tips for house hunting” is an OK title, but “Top 12 tips for house hunting” will garner more clicks.
Use emotional language: amazing, successful, unbelievable, ultimate, easiest. “15 tricks to help you get healthy” is off to a good start, but “15 tricks to make you feel amazing” is way more attractive. Don’t make false promises, but sell your content emotionally.
Taking a page from Buzzfeed’s success, use the title format that works so well for them:
When you learn about X, you will never Y the same way again.
# basic errors you’re probably making, and how to stop
These # tips will change the way you see X
5. Recycle, reuse, and share everywhere
Content creation is hard, and expensive, but good content can be an excellent lead generation tool. The trick to getting the most out of your content is to COPE: create once, publish everywhere.
Some kinds of content perform better than others. In our experience, this is a list of what performs best down to what performs the least in terms of lead gen.
Ebooks and guides
Reports based on research
Videos available on demand
Demo requests, “contact us”
For example, if you write a long, thorough guide to Container Gardening, with many chapters and sections, you could make the most of it by:
- Offering a free ebook download in exchange for an email address
- Plan a live webinar focusing on one of the chapters of your book
- Film several short videos addressing some of the points in the ebook
- Choose a chapter, make it shorter and lighter, and publish it as a blog
Each of the smaller offerings will have links and a CTA to the first, biggest one. This way you get the most mileage out of your high-value offering.
6. Experiment with ungating your content
Here’s something you might want to consider: instead of gating your ebook behind a request for an email address, publish them as a longform post on your site. It might be the SEO push you need to increase your trust rank!
An ungated piece can still get you emails: add a pop-up saying “Hey, this is a very long piece of content, would you like us to email you a copy?” You might be surprised at how many people will willingly give you their email once they’ve been exposed to your high quality content.
7. Now, experiment with gating your content
And now, for the opposite side: consider gating content that you usually leave open. Do you have a great explainer video on your website? Experiment by allowing visitors to watch the first 3 minutes, then adding a CTA or form that allows them to view the rest of the video.
The key here is testing, testing, testing so you have information to make decisions.
8. Make your CTAs irresistible
Depending on your age, you may be familiar with the Robert Palmer song “Simply Irresistible”, which in a way outlines some of the principles for making your CTAs a click magnet: “Her loving is so powerful / It's simply unavoidable / The trend is irreversible / The woman is invincible!”
A powerful CTA is highly visible, both in terms of placement and design. Make sure it is clear that it’s clickable, and explain what it does in no uncertain terms: “Click to download ebook” is OK, “Download our FREE guide about Container Gardening” is powerful!
Put CTAs everywhere: on product pages, on the Thank You page after filling a survey, and especially in offers - when your client gets their email with their free downloadable, use the opportunity to interest them in another offer, like a checklist or a webinar.
Once someone clicks on a CTA, they’re yours to lose. Make sure every CTA leads to a dedicated landing page created especially for it - don’t waste CTAs sending people to your homepage. You have their attention, and you know what they are interested in: use this chance to convert, convert, convert! More about this in the next post.
If your CTAs are written clearly, with a highly visible and attractive design, spread all over your website and offers, and lead to a carefully crafted landing page designed to nurture, your CTAs will convert.
9. Don’t stick your landing pages
The landing page is the other half of the CTA, and you should put as much care into it as you do into everything else. For the love of all that is holy, do not use a CTA to send people to your homepage or just any page!
According to MarketingSherpa, using landing pages works for 94% of B2B and B2C companies, helping them capture leads at a significantly higher rate.
The perfect landing page should:
Remove distractions so your visitor completes whatever you want them to do - fill a form, give their email address, set an appointment. Some suggest removing navigation altogether, while others recommend a mini-site landing page where visitors only see the pages you want them to. Test both out and find what works best in terms of conversion and time spent on your site.
Consistency is key: the landing page must look and feel like the CTA that brought the visitor, with similar colors, fonts and language. Otherwise your visitor may think they clicked on a bad link and close your landing page.
Remind the visitor of the benefits you are offering, to retain interest while they complete the task. A preview of the offer (a few minutes of video or a few pages of the ebook) are always a good idea
10. Get your forms in shape
Completing a form will turn a website visitor into a lead you can nurture - what can be more important? You already created a landing page with minimal distractions and a reminder of what’s in it for the visitor if they just fill in a form. Now let’s make it even easier:
Keep it short. The longer a form is, the more “work” it seems to require, the less likely a visitor is to complete it. On the other hand, you might get more qualified leads if you asked a few more questions. You may guess what we’re going to tell you next: yes, A/B test it!
A good tip is to make the form look shorter than it is by using spacing, font size, and design tricks. If it takes less space on the page, it will seem easier and less like “work.”
Never say “submit” - most people don’t want to do that. Instead, remind the visitor once more what’s in it for them “Download your free ebook” or “Get your checklist now.”
11. Trust me, I’m a professional
Visitors are very reluctant to give their information online - we’re no strangers to spam, scams, and frequent news about online data breaches. There are three ways in which you can make them feel more secure, so they click the button that will turn them from visitor to lead.
If you are asking for sensitive information, be sure to show your security seals or certifications that prove this data will be transferred safely.
Social proof means a lot, but it’s not only the logos of the big companies you’ve worked with - honest, articulate testimonials from regular customers will also help build trust.
12. Email newsletters done right (or not at all)
Many think that emails are for communicating with customers, and they miss out on the lead nurturing potential of a good email campaign. These are the practices that have given us amazing results over the years:
An email campaign should be opt-in. Don’t spam! Offer valuable content, and make sure you are sending it to people who are interested in it. Bought email lists can be hit-or-miss, tread carefully.
Value, value, value. Don’t just send a monthly newsletter full of platitudes and motivational quotes - make sure there is information, advice, offers or discounts that make it worthwhile to read and share.
Since your content is so good, make it easy for your subscribers to share, with buttons and links to social media. Encourage them to spread the word among their friends and family.
13. A/B test everything
If we told you there is an easy way to generate up to 40% more leads, would you do it?
Well, HubSpot research has shown that A/B testing assets (such as landing pages) can increase lead generation by up to 40%. It’s worth it. Believe us.
14. Paid social media with an ABM approach
Account Based marketing (ABM) takes into account all the different teams within a business with whom you will have to interact to close a deal. They all have different priorities and concerns and speak different languages - however, you have to address all of them in order to make this sale.
Target and segment your paid strategy, and make sure you approach the IT team in the right way and assuage the fears of management, while selling HR on the benefits. Divide and conquer.
15. Segment your leads with a microscope
One of the greatest beauties of digital marketing is how personal you can go. Targeting and segmenting can be as detailed as you want to make them - and you should want to go very, very deeply here. Segment by role, by company type, by lead score… then use this to inform every part of your strategy - landing pages, forms, offers, emails.
Persona based marketing is an especially effective approach, since it describes the persona you are trying to sell to, making it easier to imagine them and talk to them in the right voice.
16. Retrofit older content
Content marketing takes time and investment. Got no money and no time, but still want to see results? Update your existing content to make it work for the keywords you want to rank for.
Retrofitting existing content for SEO is a quick and easy way to improve your rankings: add and improve titles, meta and slug, make sure all relevant semantic keywords are added to the text, and release your new and improved blog into the world, knowing it will perform so much better after those tweaks.
17. Automate everything you can!
The future is now: so many menial, repetitive tasks can be automated, it’s a wonder we still do any of them at all. Use the technology to cut the manual work, and ensure no leads are lost to human error.
Some things you can automate:
Segmented mailing lists
Taking actions after a certain customer behavior
Lead qualification and scoring
Assigning leads to sale reps
Interest targeting and tagging
18. Good customers bring good customers
Make your customers work for you by encouraging referrals - these tend to be some of the best leads you will get, and they already have someone they trust recommending you. The whole thing can be automated, so you set it up once and let the leads keep coming in two steps:
- Send an NPS survey to gauge the satisfaction and advocacy level of your customers - this should be done 7-30 days after their purchase.
- If the results are good enough, they can trigger a referral campaign, in which new leads are vetted and started on their own email nurturing journey.
The customer data in your CRM is still valuable post-sale - use it to target ads with a laser focus, using all the information you have already collected about these customers. This will help you stay top of mind, which can bring the customer back for another purchase or encourage referral.
19. Speed up your website
We cannot stress this enough - loading speed and page responsiveness have a massive effect in your Google ranking, and in the time a visitor spends at your site.
Use Google Page Speed Insights and check for every type of device your persona is likely to be using. Our own internal experiments suggest that you can rank #1 on desktop connection, #3 on an iphone, and nowhere on the first page on a Fire Tablet. Content is king, but page speed has the power behind the throne.
20. Push it real good
This is relatively new territory for marketers, but push drip notifications are showing great promise and good results if done correctly. A few tips to keep in mind if you want to try push notifications to generate leads:
Ask a visitor’s permission to show notifications. If they allow, take them to a landing page and get all the appropriate permissions from them to send mobile-based notifications too.
Segment users depending on their browsing patterns, source, etc - this should be done and updated automatically as per #17.
Start sending segmented and targeted push alerts according to the visitor’s interest. The fewer the better - send no more than 3-5 per week.
If the visitor takes the desired action, move them to the next campaign level and keep nurturing that potential sale.
Although this is not an exhaustive list, it is a very good starting point to increase your digital lead generation and start automating workflows. Let us know how it worked for you, and which one is your favorite tip!