What Lead Gen Conversion is Right for You? The Pros and Cons

Lead Gen Calls to ActionEcommerce accounts are focused almost solely on online sales of products. Although there are certainly secondary actions that are desirable for these companies (shares, reviews, etc.), they’re focused on the sale itself.

In the world of lead generation, on the other hand, there are numerous different conversion types that can be the primary call to action on any given landing page. The challenge is being able to take inventory of the resources you have, then utilize the one that lends you the highest conversion rate while also helping to generate only high quality leads. Below are a number of different calls to action I’ve advertised over the years and the pros and cons I’ve found for each.

Contact Us Form

As basic as they come, right? With this call to action, the user is only given the chance to fill out a form in the promise of being contacted by the company.


  • Since there’s no promise of anything free, these leads should be relatively high quality. Only those folks who are genuinely interested in a product/service would be willing to volunteer themselves to be contacted by a sales department nowadays.
  • Great option for folks who have been tagged as utilizing your free CTA options. If someone has already downloaded a whitepapter, gone through a free trial period, and is still visiting the site…they get no more freebies. Shoot them to a basic Contact Us form and let your sales team take the reigns.
  • This is a great option to use on site while you’re developing the collateral for additional conversion actions on site. Even though you might not find it ideal, this is certainly better than nothing.


  • Contact Us forms can scare away folks in a research phase. These users may be interested in your company, but want to get some preliminary research done on their own before talking to sales.
  • It can be difficult to segment audience based on buyer readiness from a simple Contact Us form. Depending on how you set up your form, you can be getting contacted by someone who’s ready to sign a contract today on the same form as someone who would like to request a brochure. There may be a section for free flow comments in the form at the bottom, but even those can be hard to sift through. Specifically if folks leave it blank altogether.

Phone Call

On nearly every lead generation landing page I advertise, I usually push for a phone number. This allows the user to take a big step forward very quickly. Inbound calls tend to be higher quality for the same reason a Contact Us form generates high quality leads.


  • A phone call can act as a free pass to cut to the front of the line. No matter what the other conversion action is on the page, an inbound phone call is always music to a sales person’s ears.
  • Phone calls can be used for folks at any stage of the sales funnel, so no need for segmentation.


  • Segmenting out “converting users” based on a phone call, like you would do with someone who filled out your form, can be difficult both technically and in terms of your sales funnel. Did they call because they’re ready to move forward or because they just had a question? Did they leave the call more or less interested in your product?
  • As the counter piece to the “cut to the front of the line” benefit, calls can make attribution difficult since the contact was done outside of a world where everything is measurable, like form fills, etc.

Third Party Industry Report

Think something like a Gartner report for big data technology. These reports are run by a third party and somehow mention your company or solution in them. Basically, offering a download of this content in return for their contact information.


  • Industry reports can provide great legitimacy to your company/service when mentioned by some of these types of reports.
  • These can help to convince the user of the solution or service as a whole, regardless of which provider they decide to go with. This can be a major hurdle for some companies if they choose to only advertise their own internal content.
  • Utilizing third party reports also takes a smaller toll on company resources as you’re simply piggy-backing off of someone else’s research.
  • Typically, best used for on an audience that is trying to identify a supplier rather than identify a solution to their problem.


  • These products usually have to be licensed and compliant with the company that put them together. Depending on how flexible your creative and legal departments are, these rules can sometimes be too big of a burden to overcome.
  • Many times these types of reports come with an expiration date. An industry report for 2014 isn’t going to do anyone any good in 2016. It would simply leave them thinking…why are they pointing out how good they were 2 years ago? What has changed that they don’t want me to know?
  • If you’re not ranking well in your industry and the report basically calls out how much better your competitors are, this might be an option for you to skip.

Internal Whitepaper or Guide

This CTA would be designed to do something similar to the report above, but would be created internally at the company. Here, the content is put together for the goal of convincing the user that your service/solution is the answer to their problem, no matter how salesy the content ends up getting.


  • Many of the same statements can be made in your whitepaper or guide that can be made in the Third Party Industry Report, but without the need to mention any of your competitors.
  • You’re at the helm on what information is included in these guides, so you can spend more time emphasizing your solution’s differentiators and less time talking about other facets that your competitors might also offer.
  • Whether folks are just getting started on their journey or if they’re looking to lock down a supplier, whitepapers and guides can be crafted to speak to any/all of the different levels of your sales funnel.
  • The content, if designed well, can tie the overall solutions as an idea directly to your brand name, making you synonymous with the solution itself. If someone downloads your guide, likes your solution, then shares it internally with their company, you’ve got a leg up over your competitors because your brand has been associated with this great solution from the start.


  • These can take a large amount of internal resources to put together from your content, design, and web dev teams.
  • Unless you call out specific points of comparison to other solutions, these reports can sometimes come off as myopic.
  • Some folks can/will be pure information seekers. They’ll download your guide, will take the information for their benefit, but will still have zero interest in working with your company.

Case Study

A write up of a specific instance where your service or solutions was used to better a client. They can usually take the same form as an internal whitepaper, but the content is designed around a single use case rather than catering to any situation.


  • Case studies are a good opportunity to show off what you’re capable of in a longer format than simply a ignorable blurb like “Company X increased ROI by 34% while using our solution”. These allow you to get in the weeds and flex your muscles a bit.
  • They can also be a powerful tool if the audience you’re reaching is the same industry/vertical as the case study you’re offering.
  • Case studies can provide “proof” that you’re capable of doing what you say you can.
  • They’re also a great tool for speaking to those audiences you feel are most likely toward the later stages of the buying process and are ready to identify the right supplier.


  • Like an internal whitepaper, these can take a large amount of resources to put together.
  • Depending on how you represent your client in the study, case studies can require legal contracts for information disclosure.
  • If you’re speaking to a broad audience, case studies can sometimes miss the mark if the user isn’t able to see how the solution relates to their specific problem.

Free Trial

If your product lends itself to a free trial, this allows the user to basically test drive your solution before committing to a paid contract. These are usually most effective for software solutions that aren’t extremely complicated. The user needs to be able to navigate them own their own or else the opportunity is lost.


  • Depending on the complexity of your software, a free trial can be a good option for users at nearly every point of the buying process.
  • Free trials take minimal effort from your creative and sales teams while still working to convince the user of your solution.
  • Users can be see Free Trials as low barriers to entry. They can allow some skeptical users to find their way into your funnel that might not get there through other calls to action that have a higher perceived price.


  • The same with information seekers and whitepapers, folks could sign up for a free trial knowing they’re only going to use it for a couple weeks then ditch with no intent to buy.
  • Depending on your tracking sophistication, some free trial offers can be gamed with multiple user names, profiles, etc., so someone can keep using your solution without paying.
  • Free Trials take your sales team out of the equation. It’s not nearly as easy for your sales team to follow up on specific questions/struggles or show off uses that might not be wholly apparent to someone using a free trial.

Demo Request

If your product is a bit more complex or if you feel a free trial isn’t a good option for your audience, a demo request is another option you could explore. Demos can come in many forms, whether it’s a sales guided walk through of a solution or if it’s a video that a user watches on their own time.


  • Demo Requests allow you and/or your sales team to guide the conversation. You’re able to showcase certain parts of the solution that might be missed if the user is doing a self-guided free trial.
  • These tend to be best used for folks nearing the end of the buying process. Leads from Demo Requests are generally of higher quality than someone simply downloading a whitepaper simply because of the nature of the content found in one vs the other.


  • Demos require a large amount of resources. These can be from the the sales team that guides individuals through the system or from a creative/video team that puts together the demo video for folks to watch on their own.
  • Additionally, guided demos usually require a future time/date for the actual demo to take place. This requires follow ups as well as the chance that the user is a no show.
  • Demos can also scare away users looking to conduct research on their own that might not be ready for a demo, whether guided or not.

Interactive Calculator, Builder, Quote Engine

Mortgage Rate CalculatorWhen you think of these tools, think of being able to build your dream car online, getting a quote for a car loan based on your financials, or seeing the refinance rate you can qualify for on your mortgage. These tools require the user to add in their information, then more often than not, the tool requires a basic form fill before giving the desired outcome.


  • Companies can learn a lot about their potential customer before they every come in contact with them through these tools. This allows the users to be easily reviewed for quality and fit with the company.
  • These tools allow for minimal effort from sales teams for the initial information gathering beyond name and contact info.
  • These tools can also be used at any stage of the buying process.


  • These tools can require a large amount of developer time to put them together and make them functional.
  • They can also require a decent amount of upkeep depending on fluctuating markets, new features or models of cars, etc.
  • Users may be simply window shopping or are curious and fill out the form just to gain info while not being interested in buying, so leads can vary widely in quality.
  • These tools are really only a good fit for a certain subset of lead generation businesses, so make sure you’re one of them before getting started down this road.

This certainly isn’t a comprehensive list of all the types of conversions you can utilize for lead generation campaigns, but it’s a good start.

What do you think? Do these pros and cons match up with what you’ve seen in your campaigns? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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