What is Lead Capture?
Before we dive into exactly how you can maximize the lead capture on your website, let's make sure we're all on the same page.
Depending on where you look, you'll find similar but different definitions of lead capture, so let's outline one here that will be good for most purposes.
Lead Capture: A web interaction designed to capture a prospects contact information. Plain and simple.
This is a technically accurate definition. However, lead capture forms come in all shapes and sizes - everything from simple contact forms to free e-book downloads to fully-blown landing pages (and a variety of other creative things).
Whether you've encountered the phrase "lead capture" before or not, you probably have lead capture tools on your website.
Now that we've talked through the definition, let's dive into 13 ways you can capture more leads.
1. Know that Copy is King
How much time should you spend designing and customizing landing pages and opt-in forms?
Have you ever landed on one of those old-school, direct-response offer letters? The ones that go on and on forever but somehow keep you captivated and wanting to buy whatever they are selling.
Have you ever noticed how ugly some of those are?
It doesn't matter. They convert.
I'm not suggesting that design isn't important, but it's not the king. If your message is strong and persuasive, the most important thing about your design is that it doesn't get in the way.
Basecamp goes so far as to say that you should write first and design second.
The design exists to support your message, not the other way around. You will get much higher conversions from your landing pages and opt-in forms if you go with great messaging and straightforward, clean design than if you spend hours tweaking every little design detail. Most of the time, that doesn't have much real impact.
2. Use the Word "My"
This one is a simple, quick win that will work on most CTAs.
Instead of saying "Download the E-Book", say "Download My E-Book".
As with all things, test it. But you should really test this one.
3. Reduce Friction
What's the worst part about going on routine medical and dental visits? For me, it's filling out five pages of forms that I've already filled out 12 times.
In user experience terms, that's called friction.
If you reduce friction, you'll get more conversions - plain and simple.
Practically speaking, that means asking for as little information as possible. For example, if you have a form which asks for first name, last name, email, phone number, company name, and etc., ask yourself if you really need all of those fields.
If you can get by with just first name, email, and company name, you'll get more leads.
If you can't, and in particular if you need a lot more information, you can reduce friction with progressive profiling (which we'll discuss next).
Other ways to reduce friction involve things like making sure your page is fast and that your form is easy to use - essentially just having a great user experience.
4. Use Progressive Profiling
Simply put, progressive profiling is asking for small chunks of information from someone in a step-by-step manner. So, instead of asking people to fill out a long form up front, you ask them a simple question and then build on it. (See the above graphic.)
Here's an example.
Suppose that you offer a free download of an e-book or whitepaper on your website, and you ask the person to give you their first name and email address before you send it to them (a.k.a. a "lead magnet", which we'll discuss in a minute).
Most sites just redirect you to a thank you page and then add you to their email list.
With progressive profiling, you can add a series of questions to the back-end. For example, you might ask, "What industry do you work in?", "How many people are on your team?", and "How long have you been in business?".
Leadjetty was originally built to power exactly this kind of interaction. Our data suggests that the subsequent steps often have conversion rates as high as 85 to 95%. And that's going 6 to 8 steps deep.
In other words, progressive profiling helps you increase your initial conversions by reducing friction, and it helps you gather dramatically more information about your leads.
You can use this data to do all sorts of powerful things.
For a simple example, you can use the answers to the questions to add tags to leads in your email marketing system and make sure they get the most relevant content and offers.
If I were one of your leads, and you know in your email marketing tool that I run a startup SaaS company, you can make a more compelling pitch to me than if you just know that I'm generally interested in technology.
That's the power of segmentation.
5. Use Lead Magnets
If you have a website with traffic, one sure-fire way to capture more leads is to offer them something in exchange for their contact information. This could be an e-book, a whitepaper, some kind of checklist, and etc.
💡Many service businesses in particular are missing out on this as an opportunity.
With lead magnets, you will end up with a lot of people that are not currently interested in your core service, but now you have their contact info and can put them into long term nurturing campaigns.
Lead magnets are an investment in your future growth.
6. KISS - Keep it Simple (Stupid)
KISS is the first thing they teach you in most engineering classes. We all have a tendency to overcomplicate things, and this tendency has a habit of showing up in the copy and design of our landing pages and opt-in forms.
Overly clever, complex messaging and layouts tend to convert much worse than clear, concise messaging on a straightforward design.
I know. I've tested it.
People decide in an instant whether or not they are interested in what you are offering. In the vast majority of cases, you have two priorities with the copy surrounding your lead capture forms:
- Get the prospect to understand what you are offering
- Make the offer compelling
According to an article by Buffer, the ideal headline length for any kind of online content is six words.
This doesn't mean that you should go make all of your headlines match this formula (although this one does). In my opinion this is less of a magic formula and more of a pointer. It's pointing us to the fact that we need to follow the three C's as much as possible. Our copy should be clear, concise, and compelling.
7. Implement Multiple Styles
One of the reasons that we offer several different kinds of lead capture tools (and the reason we are building more) is that people subconsciously learn to tune things out. This post from CXL walks through how banner ads have become untrusted and most people have developed "banner blindness".
Have you ever closed a popup reflexively and then immediately thought, "Wait! I wanted that!"?
Over time, methods of advertising become less and less effective. Once some method or tool starts to work, many sites will abuse it, and that causes people to build up defenses to it. They'll automatically tune it out no matter what you're offering.
That's why it's good to present people with options.
Embed offers in your content. Show them a popup. Talk to them via a callout box. So on and so forth.
Just don't overwhelm the user experience.
8. Make Sure You're Adding Value
Some websites will completely bombard you when you click onto them. In an effort to maximize ad revenue from every click, whatever article you wanted to read is buried beneath 3 popups, several videos (with one you can't manage to find and mute), and banner ads to the left, right and bottom.
On the other hand, I've clicked on Google ads for a service I was interested in before and had to spend 10 minutes searching for a contact form.
You can aggravate your prospects by yelling at them and by hiding from them.
Always start by thinking about how you are adding value.
Think to yourself, if someone is reading this page, what are they potentially looking for? What might they actually be interested in? Then make it a priority to make that information clear and readily accessible.
For data-driven marketers, it's easy to see people as stats and charts. It's obviously important to care about those things, but it's also important to have empathy for your audience and let that guide how you build experiences for them.
9. Personalize, but Be Cautious
One of the most powerful things you can do is offer someone highly personalized content.
If you've got chronic back pain that hurts really badly in the morning, an offer to help heal "early morning back pain" is going to resonate significantly more than an offer to help deal with pain generally.
In a perfect world, you'd be able to integrate the data you've already collected about your site visitor and use it to tailor your site for them.
Here's a quick example.
Suppose someone has already downloaded your lead magnet, and now they're back on your site. You know that this lead is warmer than someone who's never been on your website. Why not offer them something that's further down the funnel? Perhaps to book a call or start a free trial...
You'll be able to do this with Leadjetty very soon using our Personalization Pipeline feature.
While all of this is very powerful, it can also go sideways.
There are a lot of services out there doing things like reverse IP lookups to *try* to identify you and then personalize the site. I've not looked at the numbers, so maybe this has a high enough hit rate that it's worth it.
It's a huge turn off when it goes wrong.
For example, for some reason, Drift thinks that I am "Pensionmark Financial".
I don't even know what that company is, but now any site that uses drift says "Hey Pensionmark Financial! Can we ask you a quick question?" That means that any company using Drift is likely to have me bounce.
The moral of this story is that it's much better if the personalization you offer is based on first-hand data and you know that it's reliable.
10. Follow Up Fast
Did you know that if you follow up with a prospect in less than 5 minutes, you increase their chance of converting by 9X?
I'm always surprised when I fill out a form to get more information about a product or service, and it's a day or two before I get an email. And yes, this still happens all the time.
This is why Leadjetty makes it super easy to integrate with all your favorite tools. The second you get a lead, we want you to be able to take action.
We'll be doing some deeper dives on follow-up soon, so stay tuned.
11. Make Your CTAs Context Appropriate
One of Amazon's greatest features is "frequently bought together." They are not-so-subtly suggesting that you should also buy these other things.
Imagine if they just listed some random products at the bottom of the screen. You'd completely ignore them.
Here's how you can be like Amazon.
The blog post you are reading right now falls broadly under the category of how to do more effective lead generation. It's a specific aspect of lead generation, but it's ultimately about that.
💡Wouldn't it be a great idea to offer some kind of lead magnet on this page that has to do with lead generation? (I don't have one yet though!)
On the other hand, when I write a post about how to do more effective email marketing, I could create a different lead magnet that relates to that subject.
It's a lot of work, but if you know the main personas and concerns of your customers, you should be able to target each one effectively like this.
The core idea here is to offer people things that represent the next step in the customer journey based on where they are now.
If I'm reading an article called "5 Tips to Price Your SaaS Product", ideally someone would offer me to download an e-book called "The Ultimate Guide to SaaS Pricing". It could also be more broad - something about launching a SaaS product - but I'm more likely to tune out something like "How to Launch Your Startup" because it's not as directly connected to what's on my mind.
If you implement all of these rules, you will definitely increase the number and quality of leads that are coming through your website.
If you'd like to really take your lead capture to the next level, be sure to head over to Leadjetty and start a free trial. If you've got any questions at all, feel free to reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org.