You want to double your income, but you’ve already got a sky-high conversion rate. That means your best option is to find a way to double your leads. High-quality leads are worth their weight in gold.
So it’s no surprise 79% of respondents to SEMrush’s State of Content Marketing survey named “generating quality leads” as their number one priority.
Unfortunately, leads don’t grow on trees, and you can’t afford to wait for them to drop all on their own. You need to be proactive by adopting one (or more) of these tried-and-trusted lead gen strategies:
Strategy #1: Create Lead Magnets
A potential customer visits your site, but they’re not quite ready to buy.
Do you let them leave and simply hope they’ll come back when the time’s right?
No — you offer them something they can commit to right now. Something that requires little or no effort on their part, but that helps you gather important information about them.
That “something” is a lead magnet.
Also referred to as gated content because it appears behind a lead capture form, a lead magnet is any type of content that’s appealing enough to persuade prospects to hand over personal details such as their name and email address or phone number.
Popular lead magnet formats include:
- Checklists. A list of actions or steps designed to help readers solve a common problem or achieve a goal.
- eBooks. A pdf document containing in-depth content on a broad topic.
- Guides. Similar to a checklist, except the advice is explained in greater detail through copy, audio, or video (which you can easily make using an online video maker).
- Original research. A survey or study on a topic that’s relevant to your audience can be highly effective because it’s totally unique.
- Webinars. A live or pre-recorded video session covering a specific topic is often followed by a Q&A.
Once you’ve created your lead magnet, be sure to add it to a prominent location on your website to maximize downloads (and leads).
For instance, LawRank — a marketing agency specializing in local SEO for lawyers and PPC for lawyers — promotes its “SEO for Lawyers Guide” via a short lead capture form on its homepage:
Strategy #2: Answer Questions On Quora
Quora might not be the biggest social platform, but with 300 million monthly active users, it still has a huge, captive audience. And that audience is perfect for your lead generation campaigns.
Why? Because the platform allows you to research the types of challenges your target audience is facing and the questions they’re asking — and it gives you the opportunity to answer those questions.
For instance, let’s say you’re a golf brand. A quick search for “golf clubs” on Quora brings up a bunch of potential questions, such as:
- What are the 14 clubs in a golf bag?
- What golf club in a set is least important?
- With all the different lie angles, lofts, and bounce, how does one choose golf wedges?
- What is the difference between a driver and a fairway wood?
- Are hybrid golf clubs worth it?
Answering those questions — on Quora, on your website, and on other social media platforms — will position you as an expert in your field.
Once people see you as an expert, your lead generation potential goes through the roof.
Any business can benefit from this practice, whether you’re selling insurance to a B2B audience, an online product like an employee recognition program, or just trying to market your free offers – like free social media calendar tools.
Indeed, a Hinge Marketing survey discovered that subject matter expertise is the top way for B2B buyers to evaluate professional services firms.
Strategy #3: Build a Free Tool
If you have the in-house technical expertise (or the budget to hire a freelancer), creating a free tool can be a fantastic mechanism for generating leads.
This strategy works because:
- Like a lead magnet, it requires little or no commitment from your audience
- If it’s truly helpful, it’ll also be highly shareable, enabling you to reach new audiences
- Every time someone uses the tool, they’ll naturally end up thinking about your brand
Your goal here is to build something that’s highly useful to your target audience and helps them solve a problem or complete a task they encounter on a regular basis — the more often they do it, the better.
This tactic is especially popular in the SaaS market.
For example, SEO platform Ahrefs offers a free keyword generator that allows users to search for keyword ideas relevant to their niche:
But it’s not just an opportunity for SaaS brands. For instance, an e-commerce business could create a free tool that uses augmented reality to show customers how they’d look wearing a certain outfit.
If you do not want to create a completely separate tool, you could simply offer visitors a free trial for a certain period of time (normally a week or a month) like Nectar does for their software.
Strategy #4: Update Old Content
Don’t treat content creation as a one-and-done exercise.
Fact is, Google loves fresh content. So if you’ve taken the time to produce something brilliant, it’s in your best interests to keep sprucing it up, because it’ll help you bring in more traffic.
And more traffic means more leads.
So how often should you be freshening up old content?
Well, as with everything in marketing, it depends. The key thing is to ensure your content stays relevant.
Let’s take product recommendation-style content as an example.
Sendinblue’s roundup of the best email marketing services and platforms has been updated multiple times since it was first published in August 2020, adding elements like:
- A numbered list of its top recommendations
- Comparison tables showing the prices of each tool
- An explainer on why businesses might need an email marketing service
However, many of the recommended tools are the same today as they were in the original article. That makes sense — if an email marketing platform was good two years ago, it’s probably still good now.
But if you’re in a faster-moving industry — like fashion or tech e-commerce — in which new products are launched every week (or even every day), a similar piece of content might need to be freshened up once a month.
Strategy #5: Optimize Your Lead Forms
You need some type of lead form to capture key information about potential customers, allowing you to target them via your newsletter or reach them through social ads. Don’t have a newsletter yet?
Given their importance, it makes sense to optimize your lead forms to give you the best balance between gathering lots of information and capturing lots of leads.
Problem is, a lot of marketers sacrifice the latter by focusing on the former.
In other words, they ask for a ton of personal info upfront, which puts off a lot of potential leads.
According to HubSpot, form completion rates drop significantly when more than three fields are included on a form:
So it’s better to err on the side of caution and ask for less information upfront, like digital marketing certification company Reliablesoft does in this simple lead capture popup:
Strategy #6: Add a Live Chat Service
Indeed, according to research from Kayako, four in five businesses say that introducing a live chat service had a positive effect on customer loyalty, revenue, and sales.
Live chat works because it’s immediate.
If your customers can’t find the information they’re looking for on your website straight away, there’s a good chance they’ll leave and never return. They might end up buying from one of your rivals instead.
But if you’ve got a live chat function, they can simply ask when they need assistance, helping you turn website visitors into leads — and hopefully, eventually, into paying customers.
Take the Law Offices of Jay Knipsel for example, which uses a live chat function on its website:
Strategy #7: Leverage Reviews & Case Studies
You probably think your product or service is pretty good.
You might even think it’s the best on the market.
But potential customers aren’t just going to take your word for it — they want a second opinion.
That’s why it makes sense to highlight how much real people love your product by gathering reviews and turning the best ones into case studies.
According to Trustpilot, 89% of consumers read reviews before making a purchase, while research from B2B Marketing found that 98% of B2B buyers rate case studies as either “quite effective” or “very effective”.
Get into the habit of emailing recently acquired customers and asking them to review your product or service.
And don’t forget to make it easy for them by including a link to your review platform of choice, and perhaps offering a few helpful reminders about the main features and benefits.
Bringing It Together
That’s a lot of ways to bring in leads.
So which inbound marketing strategy is right for you?
In reality, for most companies, the best approach is to combine multiple complementary strategies.
For instance, you might use gated content with optimized lead generation forms to capture leads, offer them access to a free tool to keep your brand at front of mind, then use case studies to convert bottom-of-funnel leads.
What’s more, the “right” approach will naturally vary based on your product or industry.
If you sell a low-price, low-margin product, you likely can’t afford to spend weeks or months nurturing individual leads until they’re ready to buy, so you need a strategy focused on generating warm leads and converting them fast.
Whatever the case, your best bet is to try multiple strategies to figure out which produces the best results, then optimize to bring in even more leads.
Freya Laskowski is a personal finance expert and founder of the CollectingCents website that teaches readers how to grow their passive income, save money, improve their credit score, and manage debt. She has been featured in publications like Business Insider, Fox Business, the Huffington Post, and GoBankingRates.