It’s hard work as we know to produce great content and build traffic over time. However, traffic and content means nothing unless we can convert those visitors into performing desired actions, such as becoming a lead.
You may be doing a lot of things right and beating your competitors in rankings, but you need to convert those visitors, shares, and likes into leads and ultimately customers. If you’re not doing your best to get the most out of your website experience and content, then what’s the point of traffic?
In this article, I’m going to share with you 9 creative B2B lead capture growth hacks you can implement today I’ve found to work with clients I’ve advised. These lead capture strategies will help transform your digital marketing campaigns from doing ‘loose’ actions into a result-driven powerhouse that will leave no resource wasted and optimise your traffic. Let's go!
What is a lead capture and how does it work?
"Capturing leads" is a term that describes capturing information about site visitors. Typically when someone submits some information through a website in the world of B2B, we call these leads. Leads are more than just visitors who randomly stumbled upon your site - they are visitors who have shown a certain amount of interest in your company, products, or services.
But how do you separate visitors from leads? One way is through lead capture techniques.
One of the classic lead capture strategies is offering a free ebook in exchange for an email address and/or phone number.
This doesn't have to be a 50-pager - all it takes is a super helpful checklist in PDF form to serve as a lead magnet. To download it, visitors will need to enter their names and a valid email address.
What's the point of getting their contact information? It's about building an email list and nurturing prospects.
The first thing we need to do is capture the lead. Usually, at this point, leads are not yet ready to become customers. However, they are now on your email list and in your sales funnel. You get the chance to familiarise them with your brand, products, and services. Through lead nurturing, you will get to convert some of those initial casual site visitors into actual paying clients.
The best thing yet? Once they sign up, you can send automated, personalised emails which cost $0. So overall, captured leads can result in lower CAC.
Pros and benefits of improving your lead capture strategy
Back in the day, just placing a free PDF checklist was more than enough to stand out from the competition and capture leads by the bucket. That is no longer the case.
The truth is that the internet is littered with the same information and that customers and clients are well-aware of standard lead capture techniques, especially in the B2B world.
That is why you need to work on your lead capture strategy, making it more creative. Developing a unique strategy will help you with:
- Better conversions - by making an effort to tailor your lead capture strategy, you will not only improve the number of captured leads but the quality too. By zeroing in your lead generation and capture efforts, you ensure that the majority of people in your funnel are actually willing to buy and didn't just end up there randomly.
- Better use of resources - with better quality leads and improved conversions, you reduce the amount of wasted resources. You need to focus your effort on results, not just on empty numbers that don't convert into $$$.
- Better ROI - once you pinpoint your efforts, results will start showing, and you will start improving the quality of your leads which will turn into customers. This makes lead generation one of the most cost-effective forms of digital marketing. A captured lead will have a much higher buyer intent than just a random visitor that came to your site from Google or by clicking a banner ad.
As noted, the time of "put a free ebook, sit back and watch your email list grow" is long gone.
You need a more segmented, personal & creative approach. There's just no way to trick visitors into giving you contact information for average content - it comes down to providing real value to them. Better content is required particularly to encourage for more quality leads.
Let's dive into these 9 strategies.
1. Implement exit intent pop-ups
Exit intent pop-ups are an effective way to try and capture leads as they trigger when a visitor plans to leave your website. This makes exit intent email pop-ups basically the last opportunity within the given website session to put that visitor in your sales funnel.
While this might seem trivial or as grasping at straws, that isn't the case. Sure, if someone decided to leave your page, a pop-up won't stop them. However, sometimes, visitors are just casually browsing or simultaneously comparing your page to your competition. If that is the case, a carefully placed exit intent pop-up might just be what it takes to push them into your funnel.
These pop-ups show based on the visitors mouse movement when visitors are about the close the tab. Once that kind of movement is detected, you can show a pop-up message, requesting one last thing from them before they leave. As such, exit intent pop-ups are extremely valuable as a lead generation tactic - without them, the visitor would just press the "X" button. Therefore, make sure your pop-up message is attractive - great design, copy and offer will go a long way.
Whilst we all know what pop-ups looks like, I like this example by CoSchedule's Headline Studio.
- Headline Studio is awesome and compliments the overall product offering of CoSchedule.
- If someone decides not to trial out the product, then they receive this pop-up with the CTA of downloading a free chrome extension.
- The design looks really slick, and I'm a big fan of the illustration. This reinforces the core features of what this product can offer.
- The real estate of the pop-up is also something to take into account.
2. Develop a live chat lead capture strategy
You should have live chat on your site for other purposes, such as customer support, but using it for lead capturing is something you also consider.
First, having an agent online that is ready to answer user inquiries speaks for itself. That will show your visitors and prospects that they can expect excellent customer support if they decide to work with you or sign up to your product.
However, to make sure you are not wasting agent resources, don't engage every single one of your site visitors through chat. For example, a person browsing your pricing page or coming back to the site for the second time is much more likely to buy or leave their email than someone who came to your site directly from Google and wants to read a blog post.
Depending on the number of visitors and chat activity, you can decide to ask for contact information before a person starts the chat. Why not test by asking visitors to download something of value whilst they wait for someone to help them?
If you have staff available, it’s the perfect time to build a relationship with that visitor. Once the chat is about to end, why not get your customer support team to try and capture an email. Training your stuff to also share valuable resources worth downloading for visitors can be effective.
A good example of this in action is from Ironclad.
- Once you visit the website, you get prompted with this pop-up from the live chat button on the bottom right hand side (both desktop and mobile).
- It starts with a compelling statement which instantly gets more attention. Then, I see the CTA's.
- In this case when I pressed "learn more", I was then presented with an automated message about more of the business and why I should learn more about digital contracting.
3. FOMO pop-ups
Social proof is a well-known digital marketing concept, with testimonials being one example. When people read testimonials that praise your products and services, they will be more willing to press the buy button or call your number.
In addition, something also hits directly into human psychology - FOMO, or the fear of missing out. When a visitor sees something they know someone is getting value from, then they’re inclined to find out more and give something a try.
As an example, if someone is browsing your pricing page, showing pop-ups that show that other people have already made purchases similar to the ones they are viewing right now might just be what it takes to get those indecisive leads across the line and turn them into customers.
Another classic way to implement FOMO is scarcity. Not only that you show that someone made a purchase right now, but you should also show that "only # are remaining." That way, you will not combine FOMO/peer pressure/scarcity into one. Of course, this example is not applicable for all types of B2B businesses.
It’s important to make sure you are honest - don't create false scarcity, with countdown timers showing "only 3 hours remaining" every single day. If you do that, you will lose credibility and will damage your reputation.
4. Create several lead magnets by customer journey stage
When it comes to your B2B digital marketing efforts, you need to think through every single step that your customer takes.
A person who just stumbled upon your blog post on Google looking to learn something isn't looking for the same thing as someone already aware that your company exists. The first person will need an introduction from scratch, while the person who already visited your website should see other valuable content, as they already know what they're looking for.
Therefore, the same lead magnet won't work for those two types of leads.
It is your job to map the whole journey, stage by stage. You need to think about the state of mind a potential customer has along the journey in order to develop something attract that results in a desired action at each point. Then, you need to prepare an approach to make them more likely to continue to the next stage than leave the funnel.
Lastly, you need to create different lead magnets depending on how the prospect has engaged. Through a segmented approach, highlighting content that is relevant at the stage of their journey will help give them that little "push" that will put them closer to a closed sale.
5. Build "Side Project" tools
As mentioned, offering ebooks as a lead magnet is good, but everyone does that. Sure, the tactic can work, but as time passes by and as they visit other potential competitors, more and more potential leads tend to ignore magnets like ebooks.
Therefore, it is a much better option to offer something a bit more sophisticated that can really solve a problem potential customers face. For example, if you are a tax consultant, offering a free tax calculator or a spreadsheet in exchange for contact information will work much better than giving a "5 tax tips 2021" ebook.
Other types of great content can be spreadsheets, calculators, or similar side project tools help your potential customers, they will also serve as proof that you really are an expert in your field.
While everyone else is just offering a '3-page PDFs' in exchange for email addresses, you are giving your leads a tool that will help their day-to-day business problems, making you immediately stand out from competitors.
Examples of "side project" marketing
One of the leading companies that does a brilliant job when it comes to building tools for generating leads, and in many ways pioneers in the marketing space, is Hubspot.
Just a prime example that has worked really well for them over the years is the website grader.
They are also famous for creating epic tools such as:
- Email signature
- Blog ideas generator
- Marketing plan generator
- Invoice templates
- Numerous calculators
You can see some of the above as part of their free tools resource.
6. Get creative with chatbots
By reading this article, you've probably noticed a common theme - do things a bit differently than your competitors. The same goes here, as it is time to get creative with chatbots.
Most sites have chatbots installed. It's the 2020's, after all. Yet, most site owners install chatbots for the sake of installing them, without bothering to configure them to their potential.
A chatbot greets the visitor, and whatever the visitor enters in the chat field, the same message will appear. If your chatbot does the same, don't expect it to capture anyone's attention, let alone their contact information.
Instead, roll up your sleeves, get creative, and show some effort. First, replace those generic "how may I help you" messages with something more funky and direct. "Check out our latest ultimate guide" will undoubtedly leave a stronger impression. :)
Don't just end there. Take time to collect frequently asked questions and put answers in your chatbot. This will significantly cut support time and will actually help site visitors solve their issues and answer their inquiries.
If you design your chatbot carefully, you will also have opportunities to share resources with lead magnets. Just make sure to do it discreetly, as chatbots #1 goal should be to answer the question asked and help the visitor.
Examples of B2B SaaS Chatbots
You can't look past than the company who lives and breathes chatbots - Drift.
- When you visit the site, you get prompted with a chat bubble in the right hand corner.
- Then, simply click the key topics or questions you want to find out more about, to get answers as well as links to supporting guides.
- Overall I love the UX of Drift's platform.
Another example of Drift being used is for nurturing and engagement is Salesloft.
7. Up your content game with content upgrades
We have discussed calculators and spreadsheets as a direct lead magnet tool and an alternative to classic PDFs, but you can use them as content upgrades too.
For example, if you have a blog post that explains a topic in-depth, you can put a separate section in it with a link to your calculator. First, explain to the readers how they can benefit from the calculator, and how it will tie the whole story from the article together, and show them how to implement the strategy described in their own business.
That way, the article will break the ice, and as the reader goes through it, they will be much more likely to download or unlock access to the calculator.
Through content upgrades, capturing leads will improve the experience and be seen as an organic approach.
Upguard, a security platform for enterprises, does a great job with including CTA's to content upgrades within their blog posts.
8. Surveys and quizzes
Surveys and quizzes are time-tested marketing tactics that have worked even before the internet. They're provide an awesome way to learn the needs of your potential customers directly, they are also great for collecting useful contact information.
People like filling surveys not only because they want to get free value but also because they want to know what other people just like them had to say and compare opinions. Therefore, if you decide to create surveys and quizzes, make them thought-provoking and entertaining, never generic. One additional benefit is that surveys work great on social media, too, as they are a great spark for discussions.
9. Contests & giveaways
Contests & giveaways are one of the best effective forms of capturing information as everyone loves to be in the chance to get something for free! Most of the time it makes sense for B2C brands, but it certainly works for B2B brands too. :)
They are a great option to promote your products on two levels.
First, the giveaway will serve as a lead gathering opportunity, as people will have to enter their email if they want to participate.
Then secondly, you can use the prizes as another potential way to promote your product or services too. As an example, the first prize can be a lifetime subscription to your tool or one-on-one coaching with the lucky winner. That will be an excellent opportunity to record a testimonial, interviewing the thrilled winner as they explain how you helped their business grow.
Just make sure that the giveaway has something to do with your targeted customer group and is relevant for the customer.
Hopefully, these ideas have provided some value and things to consider implementing. The key takeaway for all readers is that for you to capture awesome leads, it comes through developing creative ideas and providing great value to your audience and visitors.
You need to constantly ask yourself how you’re going to stand out from your competitors. Just do things differently and better.