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A constant flow of leads is essential for the health of your business.
They’re the ones who visit your product pages, answer your surveys, help you optimize your pricing, and spread the news about you all over the internet.
Without new leads there’s no way to increase your revenue and achieve your business goals.
The problem – especially online – is that every lead generation tactic seems to have a short lifespan.
What worked last year won’t work next year.
What worked last month is saturated this month.
Why do you think that is?
Most lead generation tactics aren’t grounded in timeless insights and human psychology.
Sure, Ebooks work, but people aren’t bothered to download them because they’re usually irrelevant.
The same thing applies to most other lead generation tactics. Sure, they can work, but they’re losing their effectiveness. Half the time, they make the business pushing them come off as salesy, disingenuous, and out of touch.
In this post, we’re going to look at lead generation tactics that work not because they’re hot but because they tap into timeless principles of human behavior and psychology.
If you’ve ever filled out the Sunday crossword puzzle in the back of the paper then you’ve experienced interactive content.
The majority of the internet is passive. This article is passive. All you have to do to get through it is click your mouse a few times. There’s nothing you can do to change the outcome.
YouTube and Facebook are passive experiences. The content will progress whether you interact with it or not.
This infographic called Sea of Plastic from Dumpark is interactive.
The only way to unlock the information is to interact with the globe. If you don’t then you only get part of the story.
For the most part, these infographics are for entertainment purposes. For lead generation, interactive content typically achieves conversion rates as high as 55%.
Enter interactive quizzes, polls/surveys, and calculators.
Each one of these devices allows you to engage your audience as well as capture important contact information from them. They work through two psychological principles.
These are small actions that dispose an individual towards making a larger commitment.
In sales, that may be getting them to say yes three times to something else before they agree to your demo or sign up for your product. Through email marketing that may be getting them to download a cheat sheet, then sign up for a webinar, attend the webinar, and finally buy your product.
Each small commitment makes them more likely to follow through with the next one.
This is the human tendency to stick with something because we’ve already invested time and energy in it. We do this because we believe in the future value of the object or experience.
Have you ever gone out to the movies, bought a ticket, and realized the movie is horrible?
What do you do?
Most people will stay and hope the movie has a few redeeming scenes. They don’t want to lose out on their investment of time, energy, and money so they stick it out.
Every time someone answers a question in your quiz, survey, or interacts with your calculator, they’re a little more invested in the outcome. They’re less likely to abandon it which makes this a powerful lead generation tactic.
Let’s look at a few examples so you have a good idea of how it’s done.
The stats shown in the image above are from a website dedicated to quizzes. The most popular of which have millions of shares and help the user find out more about themselves.
Whether you’re marketing to consumers or other businesses, they want to make better decisions. You can recommend specific products with quizzes, increase engagement, and convert a huge number of browsers to subscribers.
With the quiz above, we convert 25% of the people who visit our homepage to email subscribers which we can nurture over time. We have quizzes that are converting over 60% of the people who see them into leads.
One of the fringe benefits of quizzes is the fact that your users fill out a lot of information. You can easily incorporate this into your messaging to get better results.
Symantec uses the above calculator to educate potential buyers about the dangers and advantages of their product. When you go through the process, it takes you to a personalized page that sheds light on your specific situation.
It’s highly targeted to the buyers because if you don’t need what they’re selling then it’s gibberish. I didn’t need what they were selling so it didn’t move me as much as something relevant would have.
This particular example doesn’t have an opt-in gate. If there was one, they’d have a strong profile about the potential buyer and what they stood to gain from the solution.
This beautifully designed survey from Castlight asks questions you may not have even considered. It takes you through behavioral health problems in the workplace and gives you pertinent information about how it can affect your organization.
At the end of the survey, they ask for your contact information so they can deliver a personalized report based on your answers.
We all love tools that make our lives easier. In many instances we’re willing to pay for them as evidenced by the multibillion dollar SaaS industry.
SaaS tools are there to make money for the owners. Why not go a different route and use your engineering chops to create solutions you can give away for free?
I say engineering but you don’t have to get a programmer involved. It can be something as simple as a spreadsheet your target market finds useful or a series of webpages that helps them generate word of mouth.
That’s exactly what Bryan Harris did with SmartBribe.
The simple tool could be a feature of a SaaS app. Instead, he gave it away for free and it has turned into an effective lead generation tactic for him.
When you go the engineering route, people tend to be more willing to part with their contact information.
When you’re brainstorming or building out small focused tools, there are a number of things to keep in mind:
This should go without saying. Your ideal buyer should care about the tool in some way. The headline analyzer from Coschedule is a good example of this. It’s relevant to their buyers and is indirectly tied to their product.
Just because something is relevant doesn’t mean it solves a pressing problem for your audience. Unsplash was a side project that exploded and saved a startup in the process. It was relevant and helped them drive traffic and leads back to their main website and offers.
After that, they launched a series of tools for their audience such as “how much to make an app.”
With each tool or application they launched, the cost to generate leads, as well as the quality of those leads, improved.
The most upvoted submission in Product Hunt history is Startupstash.com. It’s simply a collection of resources for startups organized by category.
The founder capitalized on the success and offers consulting services through the website. In all, it may take a few hours a month to audit the collection.
The same applies to your side project. Anything you build will need to be maintained over time. The key is to make sure it doesn’t distract from your core business.
Look long and hard at any tool you create to ensure it won’t have hidden costs associated with maintenance.
I mentioned your tool should be relevant to your audience. At the same time it should complement your core offer.
A productivity app would be relevant to an audience of busy millennials. It doesn’t complement your core offer if you’re selling clothes and accessories. Your side project, in some way, must tie back to your core offer.
If it doesn’t then you’ll be wasting resources attracting the right audience for the wrong reasons. Think about issues relevant to your product that it doesn’t immediately solve.
Landing page software doesn’t solve the problem of creating great headlines.
A content marketing course doesn’t solve the problem of adding social share buttons.
Great watches don’t solve the problem of what to wear them with.
The last lead generation tactic is a content upgrade. If you’ve not heard the term, they’re simple ways to expand the usefulness of a specific piece of content.
On most websites, there’s a single pervasive way they collect leads. That may be a site wide pop up or a sidebar opt-in. They’re relevant to the website but they’re usually not relevant to the piece of content a visitor is interacting with.
On average, they have a lead conversion rate of 2-4% depending on the industry. Content upgrades have conversion rates ranging from 7%-50%. There’s no accepted average but it’s not uncommon to see triple digit increases in their email opt-in rates.
Think of a content upgrade as bonus content relevant to what someone is consuming right now. It allows them to take action more quickly, execute more easily, or expand their understanding of the topic.
Great content upgrades include but aren’t limited to:
If I were to make a content upgrade for this post, it could take many different forms.
The possibilities are endless. The problem is quality content upgrades can be time intensive to create and most businesses are strapped for time.
If you’re like us, you’re busy with the “business of business.” You know; turnover, balancing accounts, keeping customers happy, marketing, etc. etc. Instead of making one for every post, there are two routes you can take.
Let’s look at each in turn.
If you’re following best practices for SEO and UX, then you’ve already optimized your pages and site architecture.
Relevant content is grouped together so a content upgrade for the topic would be relevant to all current and future articles.
How to implement:
I know you have all your content in a specific category. If you don’t, it may be time to rethink your UX.
In case you don’t, head into the backend of your CMS and create rough groupings of your posts. Put the ones on cake together and the ones about pastries together.
If you’re the one creating the content or work within a small team then this should be fairly straightforward.
This is how our categorized posts look.
Note: Most lead capture software allows you to choose the URL path you’d like to show your popups, sidebars, slide ins, etc.
The whole point of this exercise is so you don’t have to create another content upgrade every time you publish a piece of content. This will cover you for a long time coming.
There’s a single caveat. The content upgrade needs to be relevant to every post in the category and of high quality.
If you were running a health and fitness lifestyle blog like A Cup of Jo with the categories:
You’d have many options for the types of content upgrades to create.
For Style you could make a category wide Ebook about wardrobe essentials. For the food category, you could make a cheat sheet with ten healthy snacks. For design, you could make a pocket guide to interior design (or whatever it is you focus on).
Motherhood would lend itself well to an Ebook targeting people at a specific stage of raising children. Travel could be a cheat sheet to get cheaper hotels or a packing checklist.
The possibilities are endless, but never think you have to create 20 Ebooks.
Now for the moment of truth. Release it to the wild and let your audience enjoy it. Don’t think you have to get it right on the first go around.
Let people download it then ask for feedback. Over the next few weeks, keep tweaking it until it’s a work of art.
Update it ever quarter and watch as your leads double or triple.
If you’ve got a large library of content on your site, it’s daunting to even think about where to begin with content upgrades.
Luckily, you don’t have to make one for every post, video, and podcast (unless you want to). If your website is like most websites out there, a handful of content gets the majority of your traffic. It’s the eighty twenty rule in action.
Got to your analytics account (the following screenshots are from Google analytics):
Click on behavior
Set the view to see pages with the most pageviews:
Adjust the timeframe to the last six months:
These are your most trafficked pages and are a great place to start. Again, don’t think you need to make a twenty thousand word Ebook for each content upgrade (Kill me now). There are two ways you can go about this.
With either route, the content upgrades shouldn’t take you more than an hour to create.
You don’t need a thousand and one lead generation tactics. That will do more harm than good.
Instead, focus on the few that will work best for your business.
We’ve touched on three high impact lead generation tactics you can implement fairly quickly.
Start with content upgrades then move on to quizzes. Once you have those engines running, consider making tools that’ll benefit your audience.
Let me know about any other lead generation tactics you’re using and don’t forget to share.