It was meant to be so easy, huh?
You heard about the importance of building an email list. How it helps build an audience. Nurture leads. And develop relationships with them too.
And they said it’s so simple. Just put up a form on a site and watch signups rolling in.
It’s just that a month later you still haven’t had even a single subscriber.
You see, lead generation isn’t that simple. For one, most visitors need an incentive that will compel them to sign up.
In this post, I’ll show you exactly how to use incentives to generate more leads.
The easiest way to define an incentive is as something that motivates a person to take action. Study after study has proven that we respond predictably to positive or negative incentives.
But why do incentives work? It’s quite simple – they make taking the decision to perform a certain action easier.
When it comes to online marketing, an incentive is typically some attractive element like a bonus, offer or promise designed to stimulate a desired action.
And it works.
Marketing Week, for instance, reports that 40% of web visitors are willing to sign up to a mailing list in return for something of value.
But what incentives should you offer?
Typically, incentives (otherwise known as lead magnets) can come in a variety of forms, including:
I know what you’re thinking – who has time to write an eBook?! But your blog is bursting full of articles that can be combined and repurposed into an attractive eBook.
A checklist is a brilliant opportunity to turn your content into actionable advice. Combine a how-to article with between 5 and 10 steps for putting your suggestions into practice.
A content upgrade is one of the quickest incentives to create since they should enhance a piece of content that already exists. So if you have a blog post that you had to edit down because it was too long then offer the full, unabridged version at the end of the article. Your readers will already be primed for this type of content so they are more likely to opt-in to read more detail. Some marketers have been able to increase opt-in rates by 785% with a simple content upgrade.
Most marketers underestimate the amount of knowledge that they have amassed over their careers. Email courses are a great way to showcase your knowledge about your industry to people who be new to your space. Because a course occurs over a longer period of time you don’t have to write all your content at the start – just plan the general topic and write as you go.
Why do these work?
The examples listed above could all be considered educational incentives. They generally work because:
- They offer knowledge the person lacks.
- Promise to solve a particular problem.
- Are easy to consume almost right away, providing an instant gratification after signing up.
How should you present these incentives?
Once you’ve selected the type of incentive that suits your content best, it’s time to serve it to visitors and convert at least some of them into subscribers.
To successfully generate leads with incentives you’d need a data capture form to get a visitor’s contact details. There’s a number of ways you can do this, including:
Displaying a static ad in the sidebar
This is the most common way to offer an incentive and because of this, many people have become blind to this method.
Using a scrolling ad
The problem with a static ad is that once the reader scrolls down the page, it disappears from their sight. To overcome it, you could use a scrolling ad, one that moves as readers goes deeper into the content.
Display a HelloBar
HelloBar allows you to place a colored bar across the top of the browser’s window to communicate whatever incentive you offer.
Using a Pop-Up
This is another highly common method. Use a pop-up that will display after a visitor has spent a certain amount of time on a page or performed a specific action.
Banner Under the Post
Finally, many sites also display banners under the post – this is the perfect position for a content upgrade. Some of these include signup form right away, others link to the landing page.
If you offer your readers something of value before asking for anything in return you’ll be doing more than a good deed – you’ll watch your opt-in rates rise and your lead generation accelerate.
What sort of incentives have you had the best results with? Tell us in the comments so we can add them to our list.
Kevin McGrath is a co-founder at Beacon, an online tool that helps small business owners to quickly create content incentives like eBooks, checklists and upgrades without hiring a designer. When not working, you’ll find Kevin either playing or watching football.