Always sweat the small stuff
Lead generation optimisation is the difference between a campaign that flies and a campaign that fizzles out.
It’s entirely possible to create a lead magnet, host it on a landing page, build a multi-channel campaign to support it and still get zero leads for your efforts.
In fact, I see this happen all the time. It happens because while you are, technically, ticking all the boxes, they’re being ticked wrong.
Your lead magnet is generic and unappealing. Your landing page is a wall of copy full of links to other parts of your site. The launch campaign runs out of steam too early.
This guide will show you how to optimise every part of the process. From the lead magnet idea, to the landing page, to the campaign launch and post-launch optimisation.
I hope you find it useful. If you have any questions at any point, feel free to drop me a line.
This is important.
You can’t build a high-converting campaign without a solid strategy underpinning everything you do.
Whether you’re optimising an existing campaign or planning a new one, make sure you have answered the five crucial B2B lead generation strategy questions before you go any further.
The lead magnet you create will be determined by your sector, target audience and your target audience’s goals. But there are proven tactics you can employ to increase your chances of success.
1 – Solve an actual problem your audience has
This is content marketing 101, but it’s worth repeating. People are more likely to engage with something that helps them to do something they already want to do.
Reports, whitepapers or original research often get used as lead magnets. But they don’t always perform well because they’re not very user-centric. They’re focused on you and what you know, instead of your audience and what they’re trying to do.
If in doubt, start with the target audience and their goal. Then bridge the gap between where they are at the moment and where they want to be.
2 – Focus on just one topic or challenge
It’s much better to pick one topic or challenge and nail it than gloss over a number of areas in one go. If you have a lot of expertise to share, create multiple lead magnets and landing pages.
The reason for this is that when people are looking for advice they’re usually trying to solve a specific problem, not a general one. If you have a flat tire you Google ‘how to fix a flat tire’ not ‘bicycle maintenance’.
Being specific reassures your audience that you’re definitely going to solve a problem they have.
3 – Pick a goal with a tangible ROI
Getting someone to submit their contact details isn’t easy. So it’s a good idea to pick a challenge or a goal which is suitably important.
For instance, I could have focussed this document on generating traffic, but that doesn’t carry a tangible ROI. Lead generation does. A good way of determining whether a goal will be seen as important is whether or not it will impact the bottom line.
4 – Make it sound short and easy-to-consume
OK, I know this lead magnet features 63 different ways to optimise your campaign. Which does sound pretty long. But an effective lead magnet doesn’t have to be long. The length is irrelevant. The important thing is the content.
In fact, if the selling point of your lead magnet is that it’s long then you might need to come up with a better idea. Offering a time constraint can make your lead magnet more appealing to a busy audience. The format of the lead magnet can achieve this. By calling your lead magnet a ‘checklist’ you imply that it is short. According to OptinMonster checklists are the highest converting lead magnet format. Or you can reference the length in the title, as per the below.
5 – Deliver results within a timeframe
Everyone loves a quick win. And while it is usually long term strategies that deliver the serious results, promising to deliver at least something within a week is more of a draw than promising the earth within a year.
6 – Use social proof
Humans are pack animals. We find it reassuring to know that others like us have done something before. This is why you often see CTAs such as ‘Join the 40,000 marketing experts who receive daily tips from our team’ or ‘2,000 people have signed up for our webinar – get your place now.’
Placing a testimonial on the cover or the landing page can tap into this quirk of human nature. Or use your own success as social proof, as illustrated below.
7 – Create a sense of scarcity
This may seem a little crass but it does work. According to the laws of supply and demand, the scarcer something seems, the more appealing it is.
As a result, if you limit your lead generation campaign to a certain timeframe or number of downloads, the odds of it converting will be higher. And if you include a countdown timer (such as the one offered by OptinMonster) the effectiveness of this approach will go up again.
8 – Make your title clear and compelling
The success of your lead magnet will be determined, in large part, by its name. Even if the content inside is amazing, if the title doesn’t sell it, no one will be interested.
Creating a high-performing title requires a delicate balance. It has to be equal parts clear and compelling – two things which can feel mutually exclusive. Clear because if someone can’t figure out what your lead magnet is about they will dismiss it right away. Compelling because if it doesn’t sound exciting or valuable they won’t want to get their hands on it.
If in doubt, especially if you’re not a copywriter by trade, focus on clarity. If the lead magnet idea is a good one and there’s genuine value there for the reader, a clear description of what it is, who it’s for and how it will help can’t go wrong.
9 – Quantify your lead magnet’s value
Which of these is more compelling:
- Increase your leads
- Quadruple your leads
Quantifying the value of something instantly makes the outcome feel more tangible.
10 – Refer back to your best-performing content
If you’re struggling to think of a topic, take a look at the analytics for your site. Find the best-performing articles and ask yourself which of them can be expanded upon to create a lead magnet. If it’s performing well it means it’s resonating the with your audience.
Always follow your audience’s lead.
11 – Use ‘content upgrades’
A content upgrade is when you take a high-performing piece of content and turn it into a lead magnet, often by expanding upon it, bundling it up with other similar content or simply turning it into a PDF.
This should only be done with longer, high-value pieces of content that are performing particularly well on your site. If you take any old content and bundle it up together there’s no guarantee that it will do any better as a lead magnet than it was as a blog post. In fact, it’s likely to do much worse.
12 – Offer a free consultation
Offering a free consultation as part of the download is good for you and for the user. For the marketer, it gives the business a chance to get in front or on the phone with the customer and learn more about them. For the customer it gives them an opportunity to get a second opinion on the challenges they’re facing at that time.
13 – Co-create with a respected partner
This is a good idea if you’re just starting out. People are going to be more likely to convert if they recognise at least one of the names on the front cover.
Co-promotion can also help drive more traffic to your landing page.
Lead magnets don’t have to be long PDFs!
In fact, I’ve always been of the opinion that using PDFs for lead generation is a legacy habit that does no one any favours. They take up hard drive space and they’re difficult to find. Give me a link I can bookmark and easily share any day.
If you’re feeling adventurous, there are plenty of other lead magnet formats you can explore. Here are some alternative options.
1 – Take the legwork out of an otherwise arduous task
A common lead magnet you see on agency websites is a social media calendar, showing you all of the topical moments brands can tap into over the course of the next year.
These types of lead magnet are successful because they take what would otherwise be a time-consuming and dull job (rounding up all the information) and make it as easy as filling out a quick form.
2 – Provide DIY templates or samples (hubspot info template)
Repurposable templates for infographics, slides, proposals or other types of content are a great way to give your target audience a helping hand. You also have the option of branding up the template that you provide, which helps keep your brand front-of-mind each time they use it.
3 – Round up valuable resources
Staying on top of industry news, inspiring work from other brands and important trends can be a time-consuming task. Quarterly or bi-annual roundups of the best stories and content relating to your sector or vertical perform well because they make it easy to keep up-to-date.
A good example of this is my monthly newsletter, in which I round up all the best B2B content that I’ve found and share it with my clients for inspiration. Sign up here!
4 – Offer a free course delivered by email
Turning your one-off PDF into an email course can make the process of submitting data feel less transactional. It also helps your content stay front-of-mind because instead of receiving one follow up email with the content, they receive one-a-week for a set period.
5 – Create a simple web app, calculator or spreadsheet
These are handy if your business does a lot of data analysis or calculation (accountants, sustainability consultancy, management consultancies). You can create a calculator or just a spreadsheet with the formulas filled out and ready for the end-user to punch their data into.
As a follow up, you can offer to review the data that the user has inputted and provide a free consultation, moving the interaction from transactional to more solutions-led.
6 – Cover industry trends (for your specific sector) or predictions
It’s not the most creative route, but it’s certainly one of the most successful. There’s a reason why trends pieces are so common – because they work. If you’re a respected voice in your field, the rest of your industry probably wants to know what you think. Which makes this lead magnet format a real open goal.
Once you’ve created your lead magnet, you need to build the landing page that users will visit in order to download it. Landing pages are the most important pages on your website after the homepage. They’re where conversions happen and without conversions, what’s the point of having a website in the first place?
A landing page which isn’t optimised to convert, however, is pointless. Here are 22 tips to make sure yours are bringing in leads.
1 – One goal, one message, one action
Your landing page should have one core CTA. Usually to fill out and submit the form. The more secondary CTAs you have (such as links to other pages or videos to watch) the less likely you are to achieve your core goal.
Make sure that you have one goal (what the user is trying to achieve), one message (how you will help) and one action (fill out the form).
2 – Focus on the core landing page elements
A landing page doesn’t require much more than:
- A headline
- An optional subheading
- A paragraph or two of explanatory copy
- An image
- A form
You may choose to include other elements such as testimonials or partner logos. This is fine, so long as these elements support the core CTA and encourage downloads.
3 – Make it clear from the heading what you want the user to do and why they want to do it
The heading and subheading are the first thing that users will see. For this reason, it’s crucial that you make it obvious what the landing page is for and why they should pay attention. If the user has to figure it out for themselves, they will leave.
4 – Have a clear visual hierarchy
Visual hierarchy will ensure that the most important elements on your page catch the eye above the less important elements. This can be achieved by making them larger, more colourful or using call out boxes. The key things to focus on here are the headline, the CTA and the form.
5 – Lose the header navigation
A good way of limiting the users’ options is to hide your website’s header navigation bar. This removes the option to navigate to another page of the website and focuses their attention on the only remaining action – the form.
6 – Bring the form up the page
Forms don’t have to be at the bottom of the page, you can right-align them so that they appear above the fold. Some brands even embed them into the header banner.
7 – Limit the form to essential information
While it’s tempting to capture as much data as possible, the more fields you include the less likely people are to complete it. Every company has different data requirements, but try and keep your fields sensible.
8 – Reassure the user their data is safe
Data security is more important than ever. Include links to your privacy and data security policy. You can also include badges of any data security partners that you work with. And always make sure that your forms are compliant with GDPR.
Don’t include a note underneath your form saying ‘your email will not be used for spam’. This has been proven to reduce conversions by up to 18%.
9 – Segment and target by vertical or sector
If your campaign is targeting multiple different audiences, segment your traffic and target your landing pages to specific verticals. The more relevant you can make your landing page seem, the more likely they are to convert.
10 – Make your buttons stand out
Don’t be shy with buttons and call-to-actions. Make sure they leap off the page and make them large and bright enough to catch the eye. Also, avoid using the word ‘Submit’ on your button. Use the button to remind the user what they stand to gain. For instance, for this campaign, my button said: ‘Optimise my campaigns now’.
11 – Use visual cues to guide the eye towards the form
Design elements such as arrows or pathways that lead the eye toward the form or the core CTA are a good way of keeping the user focussed on the task at hand.
12 – Optimise for mobile
It should go without saying but make sure your landing page looks good on mobile. This is beneficial for UX but also for SEO, as Google punishes site’s which aren’t optimised for mobile.
13 – Optimise for search
If your landing page is ‘evergreen’ – meaning it won’t be taken down anytime soon – then make sure you search-optimise for relevant keywords. If the topic of your lead magnet is closely related to your core business (as it should be) you should already have a list of relevant keywords to draw upon for this.
Don’t make the mistake of search optimising your page for the title of your lead magnet. You need to search optimise it for the user’s goal. For instance, the keyword for this campaign is ‘lead generation optimisation’, not ‘51 ways to optimise every aspect of your lead generation campaign’.
14 – Pre-test your designs
Before you take the landing page live test it on some will guinea pigs. This can be done on-screen or printed off. Put it in front of them for five seconds then take it away. Ask them to tell you what the landing page was about and any key messages they can remember. If they can’t remember the headline and CTA, revisit your messaging, banner and layout.
15 – A/B test core features
Once your campaign is live, A/B test key features such as form position, banners and headlines. But remember, you can only A/B test one feature at a time, otherwise it’s impossible to tell which element was responsible for the change.
16 – Have a testimonial from a satisfied reader
If you’ve received positive feedback from a previous reader, ask if you can feature it on the landing page as a testimonial. This will help to reassure the user that the lead magnet is worth downloading and enhance their trust in you.
17 – Show a (smiling) face
Smiling faces have been proven to increase engagement rates across pretty much all types of CTAs. For some reason, women have been proven to have a greater impact than men.
18 – Address the user directly
Address the reader directly by using the words ‘you’, ‘your’ and ‘you’re’ in the copy. For example, instead of saying ‘guaranteed to triple conversion rates’, say ‘guaranteed to triple your conversion rates’.
It’s a small change, but it helps the user feel like you’re speaking directly to them, which makes the copy more engaging.
19 – Include social share buttons
Social share buttons make it as easy as possible for visitors to share the landing page on their own social channels if they think their followers will benefit. This is good for usability but also good for SEO, as Google prioritises pages which are highly-shared on social.
20 – Use statistics
In the previous section chapter I mentioned how it can be helpful to quantify the lead magnet’s value in the title. You can do the same on the landing page.
The statistic can refer to the number of downloads or the impact of the document, or both. For instance, to roll both into one line: “Over 2,000 people have increased their conversion rates by as much as 15% using this document.”
21 – Create different pages for different segments
If you are creating a campaign to target different segments, sectors or verticals, create separate targeted landing pages for your key audiences.
They don’t need to be totally different from one another, but small changes in language used – specifically calling out the sector when possible – and imagery can have a massive impact.
22 – Optimise load time
A slow landing page load time will annoy Google and your users. Pages that load slowly fare worse in Google’s rankings and a user in two minds about the offer may bounce as soon as they have time to think about it. Reduce page loading times by reducing the file size of the imagery on the page.
You’ve got your lead magnet, you’ve got your landing page. Now you need to make sure that the rest of your site is channeling traffic to your landing pages. And also that, at the right moment, users are being invited to convert outside of those landing pages.
1 – Create eye-catching banners for the homepage, blog posts and product pages
Let’s start with the basics. Create a handful of banners, sized for your homepage, blog feed and other prime real-estate on your site. Use these to drive traffic from other sections of your site to your landing page.
2 – Include links in relevant blog posts and product pages
As well as the banner mentioned above, make sure that you’re hyperlinking relevant copy to your landing page as well. Be sure to pick copy that aligns with the keywords you’ve picked for your landing page, as this will benefit the landing page’s SEO.
3 – Use pop-ups or slide-in CTAs
On top of banners and links, you can create eye-catching pop-ups or slide-in windows featuring your CTA to drive traffic to the landing page. These can be very effective at driving traffic, but don’t overload your website with these features as they can hamper UX.
4 – Include pop-up, sidebar, inline, slide-in or after-post forms
Landing pages are great, but displaying your form in other relevant and high-traffic parts of your site can be an effective way of driving more signups.
Platforms such as OptinMonster also allow you to create pop-up or slide-in forms which appear after a set amount of time of scrolling distance. These elements can drive conversions across your entire site, maximising the odds of a user converting.
5 – Use exit intent
Another OptinMonster feature that I love is Exit Intent. Basically, if a user lands on a page and decides to leave, the programme recognises that intent to leave and displays a pop-up with a CTA and form.
It gives you a last ditch attempt to get them over the line and the fact that it actively responds to user behaviour makes people more likely to pay attention.
Now that you’ve got your lead magnet, landing page and site set up to convert, you need to start driving traffic to your campaign pages. Use the tactics below to drive your multi-channel launch strategy.
1 – Create a sales enablement toolkit (and make sure people do it!)
The best email marketers in the world don’t have anywhere near the open and conversion rates that your sales team have with their contacts.
Yes, these are known contacts, which means that the sends won’t generate new leads, but that traffic will be valuable for SEO. And if you’re lead magnet is genuinely of value, you should want to share it with all your known contacts anyway. Also, the more traffic that you drive to the landing page the more statistically significant the performance data will become.
To help this process along, draft emails for your sales team, along with content for LinkedIn and any other social channels they may be on. If you’re struggling to convince sales to support the campaign, get buy-in from senior Sales representatives and get them to pressure their teams into playing along. Sales rarely countermand their own bosses.
2 – Cut up the lead magnet & turn it into search-optimised blog posts
Search-optimising your landing page is important. To get more search traffic, create a series of search-optimised blog posts, each exploring a long tail aspect of the campaign keyword. Link to the landing page throughout the blog post, making sure to hyperlink words which align with your landing page keywords.
Luckily, you already got plenty of content to use. Hack your lead magnet up into sections, repurpose them and publish them as blog posts, one going out every week for the duration of the campaign.
3 – Drive social traffic to the landing page at launch & blog posts for the long tail
Create a suite of social assets (imagery and gifs) to drive traffic from your social channels to your landing page when you launch.
When the launch phase has finished, shift to promoting the blog content that you’re publishing each week for the campaign duration. This helps to give your campaign longevity without becoming repetitive.
4 – Make sure that your CTAs match the landing page headline
When you’re driving traffic to your landing page from other sources, make sure that the CTA aligns with the headline on the landing page. If people think they’re getting one thing and arrive at a page that has nothing to do with that thing, they will bounce right away.
5 – Do targeted email sends to all relevant contacts
As mentioned earlier, you should create separate landing pages for your key verticals. But even if you only have one landing page, you should definitely have separate email campaigns for different database segments. Targeting your email sends is an absolute must.
And remember to remove any contacts that sales will be reaching out to from the list of contacts you’ll be sending to. You don’t want to double up.
6 – Create a footer banner for all staff email signatures
Your business sends a lot of emails. Ask relevant client-facing staff to include a banner to the campaign landing page in their email signature that links to the landing page.
7 – Use LI and FB lead gen form ads
Rather than buying social ads that drive traffic to the landing page, take advantage of FB and LinkedIn’s lead gen form ads. These display the signup form in the newsfeed and allow users to submit their account data in just one click (the platforms already have the user’s data and fill out the form on their behalf).
8 – Write opinion pieces for trade media with backlinks to the landing page
Reach out to relevant trade media and pitch articles that explore the themes in your lead magnet.
When writing the article, include links to your company website and the landing page (being sure to hyperlink copy that aligns with the keywords for each page). These backlinks are good for driving traffic and also good for SEO. Especially if the publication you’re writing for is widely-read and respected.
9 – Share the results back with the business to encourage continued participation
The support of the wider business can make or break any marketing campaign. Especially sales. After the campaign has launched, feed results back into the business to show the impact that their participation has had and encourage them to do more of the same.
You’re nearly there. You’ve launched your campaign and the leads are rolling in. But you want more . To do this you’ll need to review the analytics and see what improvements or tweaks can be made. Here are the key metrics to review in order to do this.
1 – Conversion rate (visits / conversions)
This is a good place to start because it tells you whether the landing page is performing well or not. Benchmarks are tricky because every campaign and sector is unique, but here are a few basic rules:
- Under 2.4% – something is very wrong. Refer to chapter three in this guide and follow the recommendations
- Between 2.5% and 5.9% – this is average but not great. Refer to chapter three in this guide and look for improvements
- Between 6% and 11.9% – this is good, there may be some small improvements you can make in chapter three, but don’t massively upend what you have because it’s working
- Over 12% – woohoo, keep it up!
2 – Visits
A landing page won’t do anything without a solid stream of traffic. First, you need to make sure that you’re getting at least enough to traffic to meet your objectives. You’ll need to take into consideration your landing page’s conversion rate. For instance, if you have a conversion rate of 10% and you want 250 leads, you’re going to need 25,000 visits to that page to make that happen.
Next, look at any trends you can take away from the data. Are their days or times of day when the landing page seems to get more traffic or convert better? Make note of these trends and do more of what appears to be working.
3 – Traffic sources
Look at all the traffic sources that make up your launch strategy. Determine which tactics are working best and do more of what you can see is working. Next determine which ones are under-performing. You can either decide to try and fix them or ditch them altogether.
Sometimes, especially if you have limited resources, it’s best to ditch the weak elements of a campaign and double-down on what you know can deliver.
4 – Return lead vs new lead
If you’re running a lead generation campaign you should be more interested in new leads than existing contacts downloading your asset. If the vast majority of your downloads are existing contacts, revisit your launch strategy (it’s probably too reliant on email).
5 – Bounce rate
Not all bounce rates are the same. Different page types have different bounce rates. Homepage bounce rates are low (40% – 60%) because there are lots of links for users to follow deeper into the site. Blog post bounce rates are high (70%-98%) because people tend to leave after they’ve got the info they came for.
Typically, we think lower bounce rate is better. But a low landing page bounce rate can be a bad thing. If lots of people are visiting your landing page then clicking a link and navigating away from the page, that’s a problem.
If you’ve followed the tips earlier in this guide and limited the navigation options, a high bounce rate is an indicator of a problem with your landing page.
However, if you have other links on the page or the header navigation visible, bounce rate can’t really tell you much. Which is another reason for you to limit all those unnecessary links.
6 – Form abandonment
Average form abandonment rates are impossible to give because it’s determined by the number of fields and that changes by company. However, if you’re seeing a higher rate of form abandonment compared to your other campaigns, review the number of fields and lose anything that isn’t absolutely essential.
7 – Lead-to-customer rate
A good final metric to consider is leads to sales. To get this data you’ll need to align with sales and review which leads are closing.
It’s tempting to see this as sales’ problem, but this is the wrong mentality. If the leads that you’re generating are consistently failing to turn into sales, they’re probably not the right leads for your business.
Congratulations on making it all the way to the end. You now know everything you need to know to create optimised lead generation campaigns.
If you have any questions on anything covered in this document or you’re interested in working together, drop me a line using the button below.