Looking for some lead generation ideas? There are lots of strategies you can use to grow your email list. In this guide, we will share 31 clever lead generation ideas that you can implement right away.
Before we dive in to the list of ideas, let’s briefly cover the basics. Once you understand these foundational principles, you’ll have no shortage of lead generation ideas.
Ready to get started? Let’s go…
Lead Generation Definition
First things first, what is lead generation?
Lead generation is the process of collecting the contact information for potential customers, and getting their permission to contact them with offers.
Because email marketing is the most effective way to sell anything online, smart marketers focus on collecting email addresses above any other contact information.
If you are currently focused on getting fans on social media, and you aren’t growing your email list yet, check out our report on Email Marketing vs Social Media Performance (2016-2019 Statistics). I think you’ll find it to be eye-opening.
OK, now that you know what lead generation is, let’s go over the foundational lead generation strategy that every business should be using to capture more leads online.
Lead Generation Techniques & Best Practices
As we mentioned, email marketing is the best way to make sales online. That’s why true lead generation always involves collecting the prospect’s email address.
Now, anytime you ask someone for their email address, you should always offer something valuable in return. Think about it: would you just give away your email for nothing?
Email is a very personal form of communication, and getting someone’s permission to email them should never be taken lightly. If you want to get serious about generating leads, you’ll need to have something valuable that you offer to a prospect for free, in exchange for their email address.
This “something valuable” is known as a lead magnet.
Your lead magnet can be a free eBook, course, checklist, or another resource that your potential customers are looking for.
For example, if you have written blog posts around similar topics — such as “Kitchen Renovation Tips” — then you can compile all of those blog posts into an e-book, and offer it in exchange for an email address.
Here’s an example of a lead magnet we offer here at OptinMonster.
Once the user gives you their email address, you can follow up with them by giving them even more valuable resources until you win them over as a customer.
This “value first” strategy has been proven to work time and time again, which is why it is the foundation for all of the lead generation ideas listed below.
Let’s go ahead and take a look at the 31 lead generation ideas, so you can see how lead magnets can be implemented on your site (and on all your various platforms) to drive email signups every single day…
1. Blog Consistently
You may have heard already that the best thing for inbound marketing is to blog regularly.
You should create a wide variety of content such as special blog series, educational how-to’s, and round-ups that educate your customers. By consistently adding value, you can easily earn the trust of your users and convert them into buyers.
The biggest advantage of having a blog is that it allows you to convert one-time visitor into repeating users specially if they subscribe to your newsletter.
2. Add Social Buttons to your Email Newsletter
Want to leverage your network of subscribers? Give them the option to share your newsletters.
This will encourage your email subscribers to follow you, but if they share your message, then it can also get you new email subscribers.
You don’t have to add button. It can be a simple call-to-action that says:
“Will you help us spread the word about the importance of privacy laws for Americans? If so, click here.”
You can always pair the text with a button like this:
“Click here to spread the word about people’s right to privacy!”
As always, split-test everything from button shape, to wording, to color. There is always room for improvement!
3. Create a Promo Video
Not everyone learns by reading. Some are more visual and audible learners.
By creating a promo video, you can quickly educate your visitors on your product or service. Not only that, you can use a technology like Wistia to add a call-to-action in the middle of the video to capture an email address.
Videos also allow you to leverage third-party platforms like YouTube (world’s second largest search engine) and the social network Facebook which is poised to give video extra reach in their newsfeed.
A couple things to consider:
- Keep the video short, but not too short. For the first promotional video, try to keep it under a minute and a half.
- Consider having more in-depth videos available to describe various features of your product or service.
- Know your strengths and weaknesses. If you are not great at both creating videos or public speaking, then you should hire someone. Always better to have a good first impression than a cheap bad impression.
4. Add Content Upgrades
One of the best types of lead-magnets is content-upgrades.
A content upgrade is an additional value that the user can get related to the blog post they read.
For example, if you wrote an article about: How to Build a Coffee Table, then you can add a downloadable resource such as a checklist or even 9 common mistakes you should avoid.
You can add the content upgrade at the bottom of the blog post. OptinMonster helps you do that with the MonsterLinks which open a popup form upon click.
5. Network at Conferences
Have you ever attended an industry conference? If not, then find the big cities near you. You will surely find conferences related to your field.
Attending conferences can help you network with influencers who may promote your product as well as potential customers.
You can also apply to speak at conferences as long as you can add value. Speaking can help you get a lot of exposure.
6. Giveaway Licenses to Influencers
The best way to get free promotion and additional leads is by giving away licenses to industry experts.
Sure it may cost you a few $$ but think of this as an advertising cost.
Find bloggers and influencers, contact them, and offer them a free license. If they like your product, there is a very good chance that they will promote it on their social media and even give you a positive review with backlinks.
7. Guest Blog on Other Sites
If you know the sites where your audience goes to, then the best way to reach them is get exposure on that site.
One of the easiest ways to do that is by offering to guest blog.
Remember that your main goal is to add value to the site you are contributing to. The fact that you are getting a backlink and exposure is an additional benefit that you will never get if you don’t meet your main goal.
8. Welcome Guest Bloggers on Your Site
One of the best ways to tap into influencer’s network is to ask them to guest blog on your site (and offer to pay them, either with money or with exposure).
This way you are giving them a backlink, a platform to write on, and possibly monetary benefits. In exchange, you get a quality article and most likely the influencer will share it with their audience.
This is also a great way to build a long-term relationship.
9. Add Exit-Intent Popups
Did you know that over 70% of your abandoning visitors will never return? That means that over 90% of your marketing spend is going to waste.
How do you fix that? Add an exit-intent popup that collects email. You can use this popup to offer your lead-magnet or content upgrades. OptinMonster specializes in the exit-intent popup and our customers have seen as high as 600% increase in signups.
Adding an exit-intent popup takes less than 2 minutes and can help you recover thousands of dollars in lost sales.
10. Leverage Twitter Search
Did you know about Twitter’s Search Feature?
It lets you see what people are talking about on Twitter. This is a great way to interact with your potential customers.
Depending on your field, use advanced Twitter search queries to find people’s questions about your topic.
Next, consider writing a blog post that answers their questions. After you write a blog post, respond to them and link them to your article.
Not only will you likely get one view, but a quality response may make the Twitter follower an advocate of your brand.
Lastly, chances are that one question is something that others will ask for as well, so it’s an evergreen source of content.
11. Create Mobile Specific Campaigns and CTAs
More and more web traffic comes from mobile devices. However, due to screen size limitations, your beautiful desktop design may look drastically different on your iPhone.
Therefore, you have to make sure that your calls to action are optimized for the mobile environment, along with any forms that load.
Even more important than your desktop forms, make sure your mobile forms are as short as possible. Cell phones aren’t great for heavy typing. Requiring too much customer effort may prevent a conversion.
12. Add a Highly Visible Floating Bar
Floating bars stick to the top or the bottom of your visitor’s screen and scroll along with them. This makes them highly visible and very effective.
13. Create Query Driven Content
Google Search is a gold-mine for ideas that help you gain leads. Type in the name of your competitors and see what their top pages are. Find out what keywords are being searched and their extended phrases.
Not only that, you can look through your Google Webmaster tools and see which keywords are driving traffic to your website. Either add similar keywords to that article or create new articles to boost your SEO traffic.
If you want more in-depth research, consider tools like SEMRush that can help you research not only how traffic is being driven to your site but also the traffic of your competitors.
This gives you data on exactly what your customers are searching for, so you can create query-driven content.
14. Create a SlideShare Presentation
SlideShare is a community where you can upload and share your presentations.
Since presentations make for great shareable content, a well designed SlideShare has the potential to go viral, which will provide greater exposure to your website.
Slideshare can feature your content on their homepage bringing you more exposure. They also have premium tools that allow you to embed email optin forms within your presentation.
15. Create a Quiz or Survey
Interaction by definition helps people engage with your website. Higher engagement cultivates an environment where you have a better chance for collecting emails for leads.
You may create a fun quiz regarding your industry to see how much your visitors know and let them compare how they rank against their peers. (Then you may follow up the quiz with a lead magnet on how they can improve their score next time!)
A survey can work a little different. Perhaps you are considering adding new features, expanding into new segments of the market, or something else. A survey is a great way to receive feedback and get direct involvement from your visitors.
Even better — you can collect emails directly from the survey because you can ask for their email to follow up if you have any questions about their idea.
16. Add a Full-Screen Call to Action
Just be careful not to use traditional welcome gates and interstitials that redirect users to a new page. While these are great for growing your email list, they are terrible for your website SEO, and you could get penalized by Google.
With OptinMonster, we use smart script overlays on your existing page to ensure maximum conversions and SEO benefits.
17. Set up an Affiliate Program
Want the marketing power of a sales team, but don’t want to pay the salary of a sales agent? Then you need an affiliate program.
Affiliate programs can be an easy way to recruit partners in your success. When you succeed, they succeed. That means that by offering the right incentives in your affiliate program, you can begin gaining extra advocates from across the world, all advertising and promoting your product or service.
The best part is that you only pay them when they bring you a sale. So you have nothing to lose!
18. Create Twitter Lead Cards
Twitter is a huge social network. Did you know they have special features for lead generation? Yup, it’s called Lead Cards.
Twitter Lead Cards allow you to collect user’s email in exchange for an offer. This one-click signup can definitely boost your conversions.
19. Add a Slide-In Scroll Box
Want to generate more leads without being too pushy? Slide-in scroll boxes are a polite way of capturing email addresses on your site.
They appear at the bottom right-hand corner as the user scrolls down the page, so they are highly visible without being too “in your face”.
With OptinMonster, you can also show highly targeted messages with your scroll boxes by displaying a different one depending on which blog post or page the visitor is viewing.
20. Split-Test your Call to Action
The first thing to ask is “Do you have a call to action (CTA) that prompts users to give you their name and email address?” If not, then you need to create a button and optin form that clearly identifies what you want your visitors to do.
While you may have a few different CTAs on a page, you need to know which one works best. The only way to find out is by running split-test on your CTA and your optin.
Sometimes the smallest change can end up with staggering results.
For instance, “Have you split-test with different button colors yet?” While most people encourage red buttons, perhaps your website will convert better with a green button. The color that converts best is the one that stands out!
Another way to split-test is to add different locations of your call to action buttons. It is perfectly fine to have a call to action at the bottom of the page, but sometimes your readers may not make it to the bottom of the page.
Follow the basic principle of ABT (Always Be Testing), and you will continue to see improvement.
21. Add “Safe” Language to Boost Trust
The biggest concern when subscribing to a product or service is will I be charged? and will they share my data?
By adding safe language, you can boost your trust.
For example, if you have a free newsletter, then make sure to communicate that it’s free because it adds confidence.
Consider using phrases such as “You can be 100% confident that your information will not be shared.”
Adding safe language often boosts your signups due to increased confidence.
22. Add Security Seals
Security is becoming a huge trust factor in today’s society. This is why adding trust symbols can go a long way for your conversions.
This includes having an SSL certificate and trust seals such as Verisign and Better Business Bureau.
Blue Fountain Media experiment showed that adding the trust seals increased conversion and sales by 42%.
23. Reduce White Space to Help your Form Appear Smaller
Depending on your business or product, you may require more information than Name and Email. However, it’s known that the shorter a form is, the better your conversions will be.
Therefore, consider changing the spacing however you can to minimize the overall length of the form by reducing the white space.
24. Use Animations to Catch the Eye
To really grab your visitor’s attention, add animations to your popups.
With OptinMonster, you can choose from one of our 26 built-in CSS3 animation effects to draw attention to your optin forms and generate more email subscribers.
25. Match your CTA Wording to the Title of your Landing Page
Have you ever searched for something on Google, clicked a link, only to find that what you are looking for isn’t there.
What did you do? You likely left the page and never returned.
Due to our short attention span, we don’t really look through everything on the website which causes an increase in bounce rate if your information isn’t highlighted.
To help lower your bounce rate, make sure that your primary call to action on your page matches your page title.
This gives the visitor confidence that the information or item they are getting from you matches their search query.
26. Simplify your Landing Page
An effective landing page is one where you have a clear call to action. There is one goal, one reason why a visitor is on that page.
Because of the focused goal, it is clear to your page’s visitor what it is they should do while there.
This focused goal helps to achieve your desired result, which in this case is gaining a lead or making a sell. Review your page, determine how many CTAs you have, and eliminate the lower priority CTAs.
Look at your landing page. How many different links are there? If possible, reduce them.
27. Display Testimonials and Reviews
Nothing adds more trust then positive testimonials from existing customers and industry experts.
Once you have customers, you should reach out to them and ask for a short testimonial that you can post on your website.
The best way to go about it is to search through your customer support tickets or recent praises on Twitter. Next, ask those customers if you could make their responses a testimonial on your site.
28. Remove your Navigation Menu on your Landing Page
Similar to a previous tip around simplifying your landing page is also the importance of removing one’s navigation menu.
This is a separate point because so often people consider the menu a “must have” for every single webpage on the site. But that’s not always true.
When your goal is conversion, having multiple distractions away from your call to action will reduce your chances of conversion (i.e.: there are more thing to click!)
If you must, provide a link to your homepage via a company logo. The fewer the distractions from your CTA, the higher chance of a successful conversion.
29. Use the Element of Scarcity
Scarcity is when something appears (or actually is) limited. The limitation can be time, quantity, or other.
How you implement scarcity depends on your product or service. Often people use this for discount codes during holidays, but you can use this tactic to advertise the number of items left in stock, items ready for shipping, etc.
The idea that something a customer desires could be gone immediately may encourage them to act rather than wait. The urge to act before the offer expires can encourage a conversion where other tactics may fail.
30. Encourage your Visitors to “Join the Bandwagon!”
No one likes being the first to take the risk. However if you can add social proof that other’s are doing the same thing, then it can boost your conversions.
Use your current statistics and list them on your landing page, including something like, “Over 50,000 people have already downloaded!”
This helps build trust and will help with your signups.
31. Use Interest-Based Targeting
Want to present your visitors with an interest-based offer you know they’ll love? You can target campaigns to people viewing specific pages or blog posts on your site, and offer them something based on the interest they’ve expressed by browsing those pages.
For example, a home improvement website might have a category on their blog for “Gardening Tips”. They could create a campaign specifically for visitors who are interested in gardening by showing it only on blog posts containing the URL slug, “garden-tips”.
With OptinMonster, you can create an interest-based optin with our intuitive Display Rules Engine. Just set a rule condition to show your optin if current URL path matches/doesn’t match/contains/doesn’t contain the specific blog post, page or category that you want to target.
That’s it! We shared 31 lead generation ideas that you can implement right now. We also shared the foundational lead magnet strategy that all smart marketers use to drive email signups on a daily basis.
Now it’s your turn. Go ahead and create a lead magnet that your target customer will love. Feel free to use our resource, 69 Highly Effective Lead Magnet Ideas to Grow Your Email List.
Once you have your lead magnet, then start using one or more of the 31 ideas above to drive leads and increase your conversions.
You may also want to check out our Definitive Guide to Email Marketing. This guide will teach you what to do with your email subscribers once you have them, so you can convert those leads into paying customers.