Lead Generation Marketing: 100 Strategies, Ideas and Examples

Strategies & Ideas

1. Countdown Timers on Webinar Registration Pages

Countdown timers create a sense of urgency in your webinar registration page visitors, which gives them the impetus they need to convert. Often, conversion rate optimization (and lead generation) isn’t so much about giving your visitors a reason to convert, but rather giving your visitors a reason to convert now.

The example below, from Marcus Taylor of VentureHarbour, tests a countdown timer and improved conversion rates by 127%:

countdown a/b test

To learn more, check out “The Data-Driven Guide to Landing Page Design.”

2. Co-Created Gated Content

No matter how specific your target market, there are probably 100 companies out there with the same one. And so long as they’re not direct competitors, creating a relationship with them is always a great idea.

And co-creating gated content is an even better one. When promoted, you get access (even for a second) to another business’ email list. If the gated content you’ve created is appealing and valuable, you’ll often get at least a few hundred downloads – or a few hundred new leads.

Not bad for half an ebook….

To learn more, check out my ebook, co-created with ContentTools, “The Modern Marketer’s Guide to Holistic Content Marketing.”

3. Peer Pressure

No one wants to be the first one in a club. You want to know that other people have trusted this organization and not been messed around. You want to know that other people have found value before investing anything (even if it’s just your email address).

Peer Pressure works most frequently and most successfully with newsletter subscription, as with the example below from Social Media Examiner – the most popular social media blog in the world:

peer pressure subscription form

To learn more, check out “Top Tips & Tricks to Optimize Landing Page Conversion.”

4. Use Visual Directional Cues

We’re evolutionarily predisposed to follow the eye direction of those around us (it helped us identify threats a few million years ago). It works the same with arrows and lines. We naturally follow them to their origin or destination.

For marketers, directional cues guide your users in a certain direction. This is a strategy the homepage has used brilliantly for years: home page

You’ll also see it on Amy Porterfield’s webinar landing pages:

webinar registration page

To learn more, check out Chapter 8 (Designing for Conversion) in my “Ultimate Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization.”

5. “Get the Tools/Strategy I Used” Content Upgrade

Brian Dean is the king of these. So much of his content is built around case studies of himself: “Here’s how I rank #1 for the keyword “SEO Strategies” followed by a massive, step-by-step guide with screenshots and links. Just awesome content.

But the coolest part of Brian’s content is always the upgrade you get at the top or bottom. Or, in this case, as a scroll-popup overlay directly related to the article you’re reading:

brian dean upgrade

6. Checklist/Framework Content Upgrade

Content upgrades are an increasingly ubiquitous lead generation strategy, and for good reason. They’ve proven to convert individual blog visitors at least 1000% better than a non-specific ebook.

The article-specific checklist, framework or process is a leading strategy for content upgrades. It works by giving readers a broken-down version of the article which allows them to act on whatever complicated strategy it details.

Here’s an example from my “Guide to Conversion Rate Optimization“:

content upgrade

To learn more, check out “7 Content Upgrade Ideas and Examples that Helped Build 100k Subscriber Lists.”

7. PDF of the Blog Post Content Upgrade

The simplest and fastest content upgrade option, “Download a PDF of this article” is actually super valuable.

For those articles which are comprehensive, long-form or simply complicated as hell, give your readers an option to download. This enables them to refer back to your resource without having to bookmark it or remember the exact title.

Good lead generation marketing is about making your prospective lead’s lives easier.

Check out this example of a simple click popup promoting a PDF copy of one of my articles:

download as pdf content upgrade

To learn more, check out “The Complete Guide to Gating Your Content.”

8. An Audio Version Content Upgrade

This is actually something we’ve been meaning to try, but it doesn’t work with every article (some of them are too visually-oriented) but it’s a really cool idea. With the increasing popularity of podcasts, it’s entirely possible that your readers may want to download an audio version of your educational content to listen on their commute to and from work or in the gym.

Here’s a (non-gated) example from Jon Loomer:

jon loomer recording example

To learn more, check out “7 Content Upgrade Ideas and Examples that Helped Build 100k Subscriber Lists.”

9. ‘Bonus Strategies’ Content Upgrade

Offering “Bonus strategies not included in this article” is a great way to generate leads because it’s hyper-focused on the content. If you’re giving “13 Research-Backed Ways to Create Shareable Content13 Research-Backed Ways to Create Shareable Content” and holding back two as a gated bonus, you’re exclusively getting people genuinely interested in the content. If your article is good, they’ll believe the bonus strategies will be equally good and give them the whole picture.

Check out this example from my article on Marketing Automation Use-Cases:

bonus content upgrade

To learn more, check out “How We Doubled Blog Lead Generation with Click Popups and Content Upgrades.”

10. ‘Worksheet to take action’ Content Upgrade

Oftentimes the worksheet is actually the content upgrade type which requires the most energy, but it’s also the one people love the most. In this lead generation strategy, you create an entirely separate piece of content related to a long-form or comprehensive guide.

It’s almost easiest if I give you an example:

I wrote an article about how and why content marketers should be using content upgrades, but (in the article) I didn’t actually share how you could make one visually appealing and professional. That walkthrough I saved for a content upgrade:

get a how to guide

To learn more, check out “7 Content Upgrade Ideas and Examples that Helped Build 100k Subscriber Lists.”

11. Blueprint Content Upgrade

The “Blueprint” gives your readers a complete, actionable breakdown of the process behind your article’s recommended strategy. More than the checklist, it gives you the before and after and, in my ways, more closely resembles an ebook than any other content upgrade.

But remember, the primary difference between a content upgrade and an ebook is that you’re creating them (or at least it appears you’re creating them) to be specific to an individual article. The subjective value of your gated content drops drastically if it’s perceived to be a generic guide to the subject.

Here’s an example of a content upgrade promoting a “Free Webinar Funnel Course” from a case study about a client who used webinars to launch products:

workflow content upgrade

To learn more, check out the content upgrade in action here.

12. Entry Overlay for Article-Specific Gated Content

My favorite thing we’ve done recently (where we used to have a signup overlay) is determined which blog titles aren’t driving signups, and replaced the overlays on those articles with overlays promoting relevant gated content.

wishpond overlay

For instance, the screenshot above shows a blog overlay which exclusively shows to first-time visitors to blog URLs containing “Instagram.” It promotes Instagram-relevant gated content, and won’t appear the next time that browser comes to an Instagram-related article.

And we’ve exclusively done this on those articles where the blog overlay was signing up users at a low rate. Those articles/keywords which were driving signups have kept a Wishpond-centric headline and CTA.

To learn more, check out “How to Generate Leads Like These 75 Marketing Wizards.”

13. Product Demo/Webinar Exit Popup on Pricing Page

Wishpond A/B tested a VIP demo prompt exit popup on our Pricing Page (see below) and tracked the rate at which the visitors who saw it upgrades vs those who didn’t.

The pitch was simply, “Need help deciding if Wishpond is the right fit for you?” – no aggressive sales prompt, just “let’s have a chat and talk it out.”

It improved Free Trial signups by 22% and upgrades by 57.6%.

Here’s the exit popup (still active):

vip demo exit popup

To learn more, check out “Wait! Stop! Using Exit Popups to Generate Leads on Your Blog.”

14. Free Tool/Calculator

If you have a complicated piece of software, one of the coolest ways to generate leads is to give a small portion of it away (or use it to generate leads) in the form of a free tool.

There are many sites around the web which do this very successfully: CoSchedule’s headline grader, CrazyEgg’s site analysis and Quicksprout’s content breakdown to name just a few.

If you head to Quicksprout’s site, it’ll prompt you to enter your details (I put in one of the totally unfinished websites I happen to own) and, after some processing got this:

analyze tool page

To learn more, check out CoSchedule’s headline analyzer for an excellent example.

15. Influencer Giveaway

There’s no need for me to harp on about the value of influencer marketing (though here’s an awesome slidedeck on the subject if you want to know everything there is to know).

Running a giveaway with an influencer (I recommend a one-on-one consultation, copy of their book and free subscription to your tool or service) is a great way to increase your brand awareness (through their influence) and also generate leads.

Here’s an example of a promotion we ran with influencer Sujan Patel:

sujan patel giveaway

To learn more, check out “How to Partner With Influencers for Social Media Giveaways” by Jim Belosic on Social Media Examiner.


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