How to Generate Leads like these 75 Marketing Wizards Part 3

How to Generate Leads Like I Done This

IDoneThis is a productivity and team management app which offers daily check-ins and progress reports.

Their blog focuses on productivity, team leadership, project management and “working better.”

Here’s how IDoneThis generates leads:

Timed Gated Content Popup

Sidebar Subscription Scroll Form

Sidebar Subscription Form

Inline Subscription CTA

The top lead generation strategy from iDoneThis

IDoneThis’ article-relevant timed popup is an excellent strategy for lead generation. Rather than a click popup (which we use), they put the content upgrade or relevant ebook right in the path of the reader. Sure this might turn some readers off, but they’re also going to get at least 10x the impressions on their popup. Worth testing!

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

We’re big on doing lead generation efficiently and de-risking the process. The best way I’ve found to do that is combining lead magnets with targeted Facebook ads.

Lead magnets are great because you can create them from material from your company’s own blog. An eBook can take weeks to write, revise, and design, but a sequence of posts that you’ve already written, each touching on one theme, can be quickly re-purposed into a piece of packaged content.

We can take a years’ worth of popular posts on remote working and remote culture and bundle them into an eBook—which we know is valuable from the analytics on the posts themselves—then set up a landing page for it, upload our PDF to AdEspresso, and create our ad campaign.

The ad targeting is where the magic happens. Because we’ve done these kinds of ads before, we can target a Custom Audience composed specifically of people like those who have already come to the landing page and downloaded our eBooks, or a Lookalike Audience. Facebook will basically analyze our list (of leads) and find other users who are in the same industries/have similar buying habits/have other similarities.

We can also exclude everyone who has already subscribed, as we generally don’t want to spend money advertising to people who are already our customers.

After a campaign is over, we’ve got a fresh batch of leads who are essentially cloned from our existing customers, which means they convert at a much higher rate than the leads we get elsewhere. Later, we can use them as a template for another Lookalike Audience, and rinse and repeat.

Walter Chen, Founder of IDoneThis

How to Generate Leads Like James Clear

James Clear’s blog covers “behavioral psychology, habit formation and performance improvement.” James and his insight into what makes you “the best at what you do” has been featured in TIME, Entrepreneur, Forbes, and more. Over 700,000 people read his articles each month and more than 350,000 subscribe to his email newsletter.

Here’s how James Clear generates leads:

Homepage Subscription Form

Inline Content Upgrade CTA

Content Upgrade Click Popup

Inline Subscription CTA

Inline Subscription Form

The top lead generation strategy from James Clear

When you subscribe to James Clear’s site and blog, everything is opened. Sure, you get the ebook you wanted to download, but (really) you subscribed. Every one of his CTAs except content upgrades is phrased that way – so there’s no confusion. His homepage headline is a subscription CTA. The side of that homepage has a subscription prompt and that subscription prompt drives you to a landing page with a subscription form.

He’s all about the newsletter and it’s clearly a good call.

How to Generate Leads Like BuzzBlogger

BuzzBlogger was founded by internet marketing expert Kim Roach, a self-described “Social Media Addict…Blogger…Bookworm…. and Running Nut.” The blog was created to help small business-owners and internet marketers reach their goals and build a successful business online.

Here’s how BuzzBlogger generates leads:

Timed Gated Content Overlay

Inline Content Upgrade CTA

Content Upgrade Click Popup

The top lead generation strategy from BuzzBlogger

The full-screen blog overlay has proven extremely successful for many blogs (not least the Wishpond blog). Kim Roach, however, has amped it up by creating several overlays which promote relevant (though not article-specific) gated content, likely based on a “regular expression” keyword.

How to Generate Leads Like ConversionXL

Gated Content Blog Overlay

Header Image Scrollover Gated Content CTA

Slide-in Popup Gated Content Form

Sidebar Gated Content Form

Top of Homepage Subscription CTA

The top lead generation strategy from ConversionXL

I absolutely love the side-opening landing page, which pushes the blog article to the right. While there’s no reason, technically, that this would perform any better than an overlay popup, I bet it does simply because it’s cool. Anyone who’s a digital marketer (ConversionXL’s target audience) would be impressed with this functionality, and therefore impressed with ConversionXL.

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

There are a lot of “best practices” and straight up myths out there about lead gen forms.

The truth is that optimizing lead gen forms is just like optimizing anything else…

1. Conduct conversion research to find the friction.

2. Come up with some hypotheses.

3. Prioritize those based on anticipated impact.

4. Run the tests.

5. Analyze and report the results.

If your goal is lead quantity, focus on reducing friction. For example, you might…

1. Use as-it-happens error messages.

2. Avoid placing labels inside the fields.

3. Protect your call to action from words like “spam”.

4. Don’t use “Submit” as your button copy and be sure your button clearly indicates what will happen next.

5. Don’t use CAPTCHA unless you absolutely need to. Even then, look into more accessible alternatives.

6. Don’t be picky about data format and avoid asking for the same data twice (i.e. remember and store whatever you can).

7. If you have 2-6 list options, use radio buttons. 7-15, use a dropdown list. 16+, use an auto-fill field.

Or, if your goal is lead quality, it might even make sense to increase friction.

Whatever you do, don’t jump to conclusions based on best practices.

Shanelle Mullin, Content and Growth at ConversionXL

How to Generate Leads Like The Sales Lion

The Sales Lion, Marcus Sheridan, is a speaker, blogger and marketing coach. In 2008 Marcus’ swimming pool company was struggling and he tapped into inbound and content marketing to try to save it. It worked, and he decided to take what he was learning and create a website for other small business owners. He’s now an international digital marketing coach.

Here’s The Sales Lion generates leads:

Email Gated Ebooks

Training Courses

Sidebar Scroll Questionnaire

Top Scroll Subscription Form

Subscription Landing Page

The top lead generation strategy from The Sales Lion

Marcus Sheridan is a bit old-school. I don’t mean necessarily with the lead gen tools he’s using, but the way he’s using them. His market is small-business sales-oriented – not digital marketing professionals. He recognizes how that target market thinks, thus the emphasis on training courses over a million gated ebooks. Thus the emphasis on a questionnaire over a content upgrade. Lead generation is as much about knowing your target market as it is using the newest, fanciest tools.

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

As a company, write down the top 7 reasons why someone would not buy from you. (be honest)

This list should include the questions, fears, issues and worries that prospects have.

Once you’ve come up with this list, the next part is critical:

How many of these 7 have you addressed well on your website already?

On average, the majority of companies have addressed 2-3 of these issues well on their website.

If you truly want to stand apart from the competition, find a way to address each of them, as well as possible, on your website.

This will make you an outlier, a trusted voice, and dramatically improve user experience as well.

Marcus Sheridan, founder of The Sales Lion

How to Generate Leads Like Jeff Bullas

Jeff Bullas is one of the leading digital marketing influencers (if not the leading digital marketing influencer). He is a self-described “entrepreneur, blogger, author, marketer and speaker [who works with] personal brands and business to optimize their online personal and company brands with emerging technologies, content, social media technologies and digital marketing.”

Here’s how Jeff Bullas generates leads:

Entry Overlay for Ebook

Bottom Nav Bar Subscription Form

Exit Popup for Ebook

Sidebar Form for Ebook

The top lead generation strategy from Jeff Bullas

I’m a big fan of Jeff’s entry overlay. It’s aggressive, but you have to remember that Jeff Bullas is an incredibly well-known individual. The majority of people coming to his site are likely to know exactly who he is before they arrive. As a result, entry overlays are more accepted – the site and host already has a reputation. They’re not building it from 0 when the person gets there.

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

Digital marketing is a complex and many faced beast. So marketing automation is becoming a necessity. Combining some apps, content and using marketing automation driven by social media can be a powerful lead generation strategy. It will allow you to scale while minimizing your time and drag on resources once it is setup. To help you do this I created a post “How to Grow Your Email List Fast With Simple Marketing Automation

How to Generate Leads Like Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin is a leading social marketing strategist, keynote speaker, brand evangelist and acting CMO of Brand Innovators. He is the most-followed CMO on Twitter (with over 700,00 followers) and the origin of the “return on relationship” digital marketing concept.

Here’s how Ted Rubin generates leads:

Gated Content Exit Popup

Gated Content Scroll Bar

The top lead generation strategy from Ted Rubin

Ted Rubin has one of the nicest exit popups I’ve seen so far (and we’re at #37 now). It’s super clean and features all the best practice elements, from the directional cue (arrow) to the negative CTA close option and a question subheader. I also like that the page’s scrolling hello bar is actually retained when the exit popup appears, giving readers two options to convert.

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

Digital tools like social give us infinitely better ways to understand where our customers are coming from. However, there are still those lazy marketers out there who use social as a blast advertising medium, and lazy salespeople who don’t use social to get to know their customer before they pitch them. In fact, the term Social Selling bothers me because many people just want to know how to use social platforms to “sell.”

Instead, we should be learning how to use social for the essential work of getting to know our prospects and customers. We need to use these fabulous new tools to listen—and listen closely—to who buyers are, and what buyers want. There is so much we can learn if we just shut up and listen!

What used to take us weeks of pouring through research now takes us a fraction of the time studying profiles, sifting through conversations and reaching out to ask questions and add value. The modern buyer doesn’t want to hear your pitch—she’s done her own research online, and will ask the advice of colleagues, friends and connections before she’s ready to buy. What she wants from you is value and information she can trust when making that decision. She wants you to know where she’s coming from so you can solve her problems, create opportunities and help her business grow.

Social selling isn’t really about selling at all. It’s about being social, connecting, interacting, engaging, building relationships… and generating contextual leads. So yes, social has turned the marketing and lead gen world upside down, but not because we can get in front of more people. It has revolutionized marketing and sales because it allows us to find out more…. and know the right time/place to be and the best information/solution to provide.

Ted Rubin

How to Generate Leads Like Velocity Partners

Velocity Partners is the brainchild of well-known content guru Doug Kessler. They’re a content marketing agency for B2B which “combines thinking, doing, measuring and ramping up what works.”

Their content (and this makes sense) is at the forefront of the industry and marketing world.

Here’s how Velocity Partners generates leads:

Inline Subscription CTA

Subscription Opt in Form

The top lead generation strategy from Velocity Partners

Velocity Partners lead gen strategy is super understated. No popups, no email gated content (as far as I could tell) and definitely no whole-page subscription overlays. Instead, you get a consistent but quiet push towards a list they themselves refer to as “our crap.”

That said, they’re an agency. Is it a coincidence that their opt-in form asks for company name when almost every other subscription form just asks for a name and email address?

Cheeky Brits.

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

Don’t be seduced by an ability to generate low-quality leads.

Quality leads convert. Low-quality leads waste everybody’s time.

If yours aren’t converting, don’t call them leads!

Instead, work out why they’re not converting, re-define your ideal prospects, and go back to square one.

It’s really easy to blame the salespeople if your leads aren’t converting.

The truth is probably that they’re not really leads at all — just people.

Doug Kessler, Creative Director at Velocity Partners

How to Generate Leads Like Content Marketing Institute

The Content Marketing Institute is, in Doug Kessler’s words “the Vatican of our discipline.” And he’s not wrong. CMI’s founder, Joe Pulizzi, first started using the term “content marketing” in 2001. CMI is the “leading content marketing educational resource for enterprise brands, [and] is responsible for producing Content Marketing World, the largest content marketing event in the world.

Here’s how Content Marketing Institute generates leads:

Bottom-of-Blog Subscription Form

Sidebar Subscription Form

Timed Subscription Popup

The top lead generation strategy from Content Marketing Institute

CMI’s timed popup gives a one-two punch, offering both “daily articles and news delivered to your inbox” but also their “Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program” workbook. If you remember, both Eric Siu and Brent Jones offer a package deal in exchange for an email address – and I like this strategy. Packaging prizes is actually a best practice when running an online promotion, so there’s no reason it wouldn’t work just as well with newsletter opt-in.

How to Generate Leads Like Marketing Insider Group

The Marketing Insider Group is a content marketing agency founded by Michael Brenner. Michael is a frequent keynoter, and, with his team, runs valuable content workshops around the world, teaching businesses and brands how they can get the most out of content.

Here’s how Marketing Insider Group generates leads:

Bottom-of-Blog Subscription Form

Sidebar Subscription Form

Scrolling Bar Subscription Form

The top lead generation strategy from Marketing Insider Group

There’s nothing particularly exciting here, but what they’ve done they’ve done well. Each of their lead generation strategies is branded, color-matches, and utilizes best practices. They use peer pressure “join thousands of your peers,” have a color-contrasting CTA button, and are offering a content bonus upon subscription.

Nothing fancy, but all done well.

Advice from the Marketing Wizard

71% of marketing-generated inquiries are wasted and 36% are never followed up on. Part of the reason for this is that many marketers pass inquiries along to sales as leads. But someone who fills out a lead form is not a lead. Marketers need to take on the task of doing an initial qualification before passing to sales.

How to Generate Leads Like LemonStand

Lemonstand is a cloud-based eCommerce platform which helps developers, agencies and brands create beautiful online stores that stand out from the crowd. They allow you to “own your own checkout” and completely customize your design, down to mobile optimization.

Here’s how LemonStand generate leads

Bottom Scroll Subscription Form

Gated Content Timed Popup


The top lead generation strategy from Lemon Stand

The timed (perhaps scroll) popup is great but I’m actually a bigger fan of their bottom-of-blog subscription bar. There’s no exit option, which initially threw me off. But realistically the subscription bar has no impact on my ability to read whatsoever, and if I do find value in the article (at any point within it) subscription is possible.

I also had to mention that we ran a very successful co-promotion with LemonStand (as we have similar target markets) and generated more than 400 leads and, through a 30% discount offer for all of them, several dozen signups.

How to Generate Leads Like InvisionApp

InvisionApp is a leading app prototyping platform, which allows you to manage all of your projects, client and creator feedback from one dashboard. Easily add transitions, design, animations and gestures to your app prototype to create the world’s best wireframe.

Here’s how InvisionApp generates leads:

Subscription Sidebar Popup Form

Gated Content CTA

Gated Content Form

Giveaway Timed Popup

Corresponding Giveaway Email

The top lead generation strategy from InvisionApp

I love the free t-shirt giveaway. You might be surprised at how well merchandise giveaways work – not just to spread the word about your brand by having people see your logo everywhere, but because they’re an excellent way to drive brand memory. I am not currently creating an app, but if I ever do (which is possible) InvisionApp will be at the forefront of my mind. I’ll probably wear that t-shirt to bed, the gym or even work on Fridays. I and everyone who knows me will see it all the time.

I’ve also included the corresponding giveaway email, as it’s excellently done.

How to Generate Leads Like MarketingProfs

MarketingProfs is a leading marketing resource run by industry experts, offering marketing tools, training, strategies, seminars, forums and more. Their 60,000 paid members get access to exclusive seminars, webinars, reports, toolkits and discounts.

Here’s how MarketingProfs generates leads:

Entry Popup

Sidebar Subscription Form

Top-of-Page Display CTA

Gated Content Landing Page

The top lead generation strategy from MarketingProfs

Everything about MarketingProf’s lead generation strategy is based around driving leads to their Pro membership. Each of their landing pages mentions “if you’re a Pro member, just sign in and download this!”

This lead generation strategy is almost like lead-nurturing before generation – you’re making prospective leads hyper aware of what they could be paying for, even before they’re opted in.

How to Generate Leads Like Website Designs

Website Designs is a consulting website headed up by Steve Cartwright. Steve “helps businesses identify realistic online goals and then […] achieve these goals using website design, content marketing and conversion optimization.”

Here’s how Website Designs generates leads:

Entry or Short-timed Subscription Popup

Bottom-of-Blog Gated Content Form

Sidebar Gated Content Form

The top lead generation strategy from Website Designs

While not particularly revolutionary, Steve’s short-timed/entry popup follows best practices convincingly. Contrasting CTA buttons, aspirational headline and subheadline, simple lead info fields and a clean layout make this popup one which likely converts quite well.

How to Generate Leads Like Sprout Social

Founded in 2010, Sprout Social is a social media management dashboard whose platform is “packed with handy features but stays out of the way to let brands easily engage with people and build lasting relationships.”

Their blog is focused on driving engagement – and not just on social media. It’s full of high-quality, long-form posts and beautiful content devoted to building relationships.

Here’s how Sprout Social generates leads:

Bottom-of-Article Gated Content CTA

Gated Content Landing Page

Co-Webinar Landing Page

The top lead generation strategy from Sprout Social

Sprout Social is one of the leading platforms when it comes to taking advantage of the community of marketers. Co-promotions and co-created gated content is a big part of their lead generation strategy, and it’s a winning one. If a business has a similar target market to you (as Wistia and Wishpond do), there’s no reason to not make friends and run webinars, create ebooks, videos and reports. Co-promote, do a mailout each, and you each get the leads. Nice one!

How to Generate Leads Like Bryan Kramer

Bryan Kramer is a digital marketer and founder of the “Human to Human” business movement. He self-describes as a “leader in the art and science of sharing.” He has over 300,000 social fans and followers and writes on social technologies, behaviors, and how your business can take advantage of social media and engage with prospective, and existing, users.

Here’s how Bryan Kramer generates leads:

Sidebar Subscription Form

Top Bar Gated Content Form

Sidebar Quiz CTA Popup

Gated Quiz Results

The top lead generation strategy from Bryan Kramer

The gated quiz results is a great way to generate valuable information about your leads as well as incentivize them to convert. Once you’ve put the time (takes all of 30 seconds, but even so) to complete Bryan’s quiz you’re invested. You place a subjective value on your quiz results and there’s a high likelihood of conversion, even if a minute ago you wouldn’t necessarily have cared about which of the six types of personal brand you are.


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