5 Simple Techniques to Improve Lead Generation

Note: This is a guest post written by Herbert Lui. Herbert Lui does marketing for clients such as Pivotal LabsBusy Building Things, and Renegades. He is the author of a free guide to building credibility online.

As digital marketers, we all know the crucial role of lead generation in digital marketing. Yet despite its importance, lead generation often falls victim to routine: create a free webinar for this campaign, write a free eBook for that one. It’s easy to forget that in this attention economy, originality is rewarded.

In case you’re out of ideas, or are just looking for some inspiration, here’s the magic behind some of the internet’s most forward thinking lead generation campaigns. Whether you’re just starting off or looking for fresh ideas, these tried-and-true techniques are simple methods to improve your lead generation:

1. Twitter Cards

Along with the recent introduction of photo and video previews into its main feed, Twitter is ushering in the new expanded Tweets called “Lead Generation Cards”. Instead of forcing consumers to click through another website to opt-in, marketers can now directly generate leads through Twitter.

In order to increase inbound leads from Twitter and accelerate long sales cycles by turning followers into nurtured prospects, digital analytics company Webtrends experimented with Twitter Lead Generation Cards and Promoted Tweets. they received astonishing results: a 996% acceleration in lead acquisition, 500% improvement in cost per lead, and 300% improvement in cost per engagement.

Using their Twitter profile information, Twitter automatically fills in users’ First Name and E-mail fields (since it’s connected to Twitter, it is is highly likely one of their active inboxes) if they’re considering opting in. Lead Generation Cards also enable marketers to use images to get attention. (And if anyone is involved in retail, check out Product Cards as well!)

2. Resource Libraries

Giving away eBooks is a tried-and-true method of gaining subscribers. As this post on Think Traffic describes, Danny Iny generated over 7,500 subscribers (nearly 1,000% growth) in less than six months.

Staying competitive requires a slightly more comprehensive set of offerings; in order to cater to your different segments of readers, it will be important to have something for everyone. For example, Hubspot has an entire marketing library stocked with a diverse range of eBooks, templates, marketing kits, and many other specific types of resources. There’s The Science of Facebook Marketing for the social media teams, free blog post templates for content marketers, and 10 Quick SEO Tips for Nonprofits for SEO specialists.

Alternatively, you can share tools that compliment each other or that accompany advice you’d previously shared. Internet marketer and lifestyle designer Jonathan Mead frames his free offer as a Backpack for his Paid to Exist program: In actuality, it’s simply 7 PDF’s that feature exercises, case studies, and the Paid to Exist creed, amongst a few other pieces of writing.

3. Tailored Bonuses

Internet marketer and financial guru Ramit Sethi’s free resources are even more comprehensive than just a library. He cleverly leverages George Loewenstein’s information gap theory, the gap between what we know and what we want to know, in order to compel readers to opt-in for free material.

For example, he shares a case study of how one of his students quit her job, and had extreme success with referrals, in a blog post. However, he withholds her referral script and requires an opt-in in order for the reader to get a free download. He crafted an entire narrative based on one e-mail template.

He does this with all resources inside his vault, a microsite that hosts all free bonus content. Anyone that has opted-in to his list can access many other goodies, such as a webcast featuring Tim Ferriss, an interview with a pickup artist, or his Idea Generator Tool.

4. Contact High with a Strong Personal Brand

Independent musician Ryan Leslie has a membership club, called Renegades, that’s 8,000 members strong. He started the list without an extravagant public launch; rather, he grew it gradually by offering fans a phone number to contact him (where he personally explains the concept behind the membership club). This is the aha-moment, the point where fans are so compelled they consider taking action. Why do they hesitate?

That’s because Leslie highly qualifies anyone who was thinking of joining. In order to sign-up, members must pay $12 for his latest album, Black Mozart. Naturally, he spends more time on calls with his paying members. He even proactively calls some of them to thank them for making purchases on his site.

Because one of the main benefits to members is based on how much time he has to answer these phone calls, he has to ensure he’s spending it with the most crucial customers. As a result, however, his fans are extremely engaged: according to Hypebot, whenever he sends an e-mail blast to their inbox, he receives a 100% delivery rate, 85% open rate, and 65 to 75% clickthrough rate for links. His free offer, a few minutes with a celebrity, is all the lead nurturing he needs.

5. Membership Only Areas

Similar to Ryan Leslie’s membership club, UBM Techweb worked with Dell to create Enterprise Efficiency, a publication that appeals to the IT community and CIOs. While anyone can read most articles, readers have the option of registering as members to gain access to the extra exclusive research and analytics, invites to online webinars, and qualification for free giveaways. They also get to post on the message boards.

Enterprise Efficiency’s membership is free, and has grown from less than 1,000 members per month in April 2010 to over 40,000 by December 2011. Similar to Mead’s Backpack, these membership-only perks are essentially bundles designed to reframe the opt-in to the consumer.

Closing Thoughts

Whether it’s increasing convenience, offering a wide range of freebies that will target each reader segment, wrapping a story around an opt-in offer, making the offer more compelling to decrease lead nurturing, or bundling them into a membership, there are many ways to improve lead generation. If you intend to create another webinar or eBook, grab readers’ attention by changing the presentation like Sethi does, or partnering up with someone who has a large platform. Change up the routine, and experiment.


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