In Ecommerce businesses, a sale is the primary call to action. The end goal is to get someone to purchase a product and, for the most part, that’s likely the conversion action you’re driving in your PPC campaigns.
Lead generation is different.
In lead gen, we’re offering our potential customers something now in exchange for information with the goal that they will stay in contact and eventually decide to work with us whether it’s using our service, purchasing a product, etc.
The challenge here is to come up with an appealing offer so your customers are willing to give you their information and become part of your funnel. And that’s where most lead gen companies are failing.
More than likely, your calls to action are terrible.
So many offers are solely focused on the business’s priorities, not the customers. There are a very few number of people who want to watch your demo and those folks are already through most of their buying process.
What about those further up the funnel in the interest stage or those just starting their research? Odds are a demo is a waste of their time.
Whenever I give this little scphiel of mine, I always get the same question:
What are good calls to action?
And since I answer it all the time, I figured it would be best to write them all down and share rather than giving the list out in a one-to-one manner.
So without further ado, here’s my list of calls to action/offers you can use to improve your lead generation performance.
A Whole Bunch of Lead Gen Calls to Action:
Pick a meaningful topic and put together either a presentation, panel of experts, or life Q&A session with folks. These can be either live events or on-demand to get the most of their worth.
Pick a topic and put together a short guide to it. Keep the topic focused on something your target audience finds meaningful either in their lives or jobs and give them information they can’t get elsewhere or that they would have to find in multiple different places.
Industry Reports/State of the Industry:
Pretty much all industries have their own quirks. Use your expertise and write a report about where yours is and offer it as a gated asset to others in that industry.
Access to a Calendar:
Did you know you can create a public calendar on Google and then share it only to those who provide their email addresses? I did. Compile a list of important dates that folks should be aware of (industry events, product launches, scheduled announcements, etc.) then offer it in exchange for a little personal info.
Quizzes can be a great way to help your audience understand more about themselves by just asking a few questions. Just make sure whatever you give them is meaningful. None of this “pick a breakfast food and we’ll tell you which Disney character you are” kind of stuff.
This one is pretty similar to a quiz, but “calculator” has a numbers focus. Think mortgage calculators or what your car payment would be. As a hint, this doesn’t have to be perfect either. Make a tool that provides a pretty good estimate and then have folks get in touch with you to get their actual, customized estimate. You’ll likely have lots of folks using this tool with lower numbers of form submissions, but the ones who do submit should be very qualified.
Staying in the loop is a big deal. Put together a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly newsletter with relevant content that your customers will find valuable and send it to them, you guessed it, via email, which you’ll need to gather before they’re included.
Ticket to an Event:
Seeing as 2020 has been a dumpster fire, this is likely best for a virtual event, but gaining access to an exclusive event could be a great lead magnet. Highlight both the value of the event and the exclusivity for best results.
Who doesn’t love winning stuff? Put together a great gift or giveaway and require information to enter.
Maybe the functionality will be close to a quiz, but an eligibility finder can be a good qualifying tool for you and your customers. They’ll know if you’re the right solution and you can then create audiences to improve your retargeting accordingly.
No one loves giving their product away for free, but some industries are perfect for this. If your solution is something users need for a long time (not just a couple of days and they’re done), something they’ll need to get used to and work through integrations, a free trial with customer support can be a great convincer.
Remind Me Later:
Potentially a lead gen ad with the proper nurture sequence. Here’s a cool thing coming up. Sign up here to get a reminder/notification when something goes on sale.
Watch a Video:
This does not have to be a demo. It can be a recording of a discussion, a presentation, a curated day-in-the-life piece, anything. Include information that’s valuable to your audience and make it worth their information and time to view it.
What types of processes do your potential customers go through? Are they common or uncommon? Typically, a checklist for highly irregular or uncommon processes can be a great way to help someone achieve a goal and gain a specifically qualified list of users.
Similar to a checklist, a cheatsheet might be a good way to help someone out of a problem or diagnose a problem. What types of problems do your clients usually have and how can you craft a cheat sheet that helps them get out of the jam?
Whether email templates or sales team scripts, you can help your customers know what to say to either their prospective customers or, my personal favorite, help a lower level employee convey the importance of your solution to their company stakeholders.
Similar to a resource list, compile good tools and share them all together in a group, whether they’re your tools or not.
Web App/Chrome Extension:
Depending on your product/solution, build a custom plug in that can help your customers keep their sanity. For marketers, these could be conversion pixel checkers or the Zest app, but in other industries, it could be something entirely different.
Maybe you’re not the one generating the content, but you know some killer assets out there. Put together a list of the most meaningful information you can find and ask for a little info before giving it away.
Plan/Planner with Guides:
This is best for something that someone needs to use in the real world on a regular basis. Think a guide or outline of a 5 week diet/training plan.
In nearly every industry there’s a planning stage. Put together a blank plan template that someone can print off and use over and over again.
Inspiration or Examples Packet:
Literally show things your target customers can do. Just be sure that it’s a big enough resource so that it’s worth it being gated.
If your product/solution requires lots of numbers, you can tweak the Quiz/Calculator offer and instead gate a spreadsheet with a saved macro included that does the same thing.
As long as it doesn’t give away all of your expertise, put together an asset that shows someone how to do one specific thing. You won’t get people filling out the form who don’t need your solution, and then you’ve provided value that they likely couldn’t get elsewhere.
This might seem like a silly differentiation from an industry report or whitepaper, but eBook’s should be longer and have a different overall format. You know, like a book. Additionally, even if the difference is small, people respond differently based on an asset name type. Don’t believe me? Test is for yourself.
Make the information you’re sharing visual. But like, actually visible. Not one of those infographics that has paragraphs and paragraphs of text. That’s just a well designed poster. Make the data points you’re sharing easily scannable with charts and tables rather than words.
Expert Answers to a Question/Poll/Round Up:
Pick one question or topic and ask renowned experts to answer it. Compile those answers and make a resource. The best part is that those experts usually share those for you so it’s “free” promotion.
Free Coaching Session/1 on 1 Meeting:
Depending on what your end offer is and how much time you have available, test giving away a little bit of your time. Maybe a 15 minute Q&A session or a 30 minute custom coaching call. Either way, if you’ve created an air of expertise in your field, this could be a hot commodity.
Cliff’s Notes of an Asset:
Maybe some of the resources you put together for earlier offers are…really long. Can you shorten them and ask for more/less info (based on value provided) to get more folks through the lead form?
Leverage your expertise on a particular topic and put together predictions for an industry, product, lifestyle.
Find a middle ground between an infographic and an ebook and make a powerpoint presentation. Ideally, this is something you’ve presented and gotten good press for elsewhere and are gating for those users who couldn’t attend the event itself.
If you have a large amount of assets that someone could gain access to, these can be good teasers to get relevant users into a database. Maybe those assets are images, manuals, checklists, case studies, etc.
Access to an Exclusive Group:
Most social platforms and/or productivity software allow for invite-only groups. These can be for collaboration, community, resource sharing, etc. Offering access to these groups can be a great way to build a following and find like minded individuals.
Everyone loves a discount. Offer a coupon code that needs to be emailed to them instead of a public code.
Some customers are weary of new products/solutions actually generating good results. Having some strong case studies on hand to show how you’ve impacted others can be a great tool, and depending on how explicit you are in them, they can be worthy of a form fill before accessing.
Product launches are always exciting, but even more exciting is getting early access to those products. Definitely enough to share a little contact info, right? And now you can retarget that user for future launches.
There are tons of products/solutions that have a literal catalog full of options and customizations. Take the extra step and require the user to give up some contact information for the digital world to send them that catalog.
Although this list is long, it’s certainly not exhaustive. Hopefully I’ve at least inspired you to think outside the demo box when creating calls to action for your higher funnel efforts that your customers will actually like and benefit from.