By Sweta Patel
One of the best-kept secrets for lead generation is a blog. However, before you begin the blog has to be optimized for it to capture the quality leads you seek for your business. Most business owners miss out on the number one vehicle for activating the most leads. And that is placing the call-to-action on every page.
Here are some list-building tips that have helped most of the people I have worked with.
It All Starts on the Homepage
The best way to use your website and turn it into a lead-generating machine is by turning the home page into a landing page. The simpler that home page is, the better conversion will be. The home page should contain an opt-in box, one or two sentences max, and a picture that best illustrates the company.
Best Practice: Use OkDork.com as an example. The website is chock full of content, but the home page is simple. Less is more. The treasure is not showcased on the home page, so users are enticed to enter an email address. This means add the quality content within the site but leave the homepage a tad mysterious. The homepage should showcase your 10-second pitch.
Does Everyone Really Hate Exit Pops?
Exit pops are proven to double the opt-in rate, especially from social media traffic. Some may dislike exit pops, but the data shows that they actually reduce the bounce rate and double the opt-in rate. The exit pop should be as simple as the home page.
Best Practice: Laser-focus on a single topic or item for the exit pop. If you are all over the place and the audience is confused, then they will not respond. What is the most common problem for your target audience? Address this in the exit pop.
Have you noticed that commercial breaks are always during the most interesting part of TV shows? This is done to keep an audience’s attention. You can use the same method with your Web content. For example, I sent out an email blast with the “20 Most Powerful Email Marketing Methods.” What’s the catch? I only showcased ten of them in the email and the rest were in the bonus area. The bonus area required them to enter their name and email.
Best Practice: Write content on a selected topic. Then, within the post, halfway through the content, ask readers to enter their email address to receive the bonus content.
I am a huge fan of LeadPages.net. I’ve used this next-generation lead-generation platform for almost every aspect of list building. LeadPages enables you to auto-fill your subscribers’ information if they have already signed up to your website. Since your subscriber sees his or her first name and email address already filled in your opt-in box, the next step is simply to click the “okay” button to opt-in.
Best Practice: Use leadpages.net as your source for capturing names and emails in the funnel process. Once a customer has filled in the information it will be easier for you to take them to the next stage.
Video is Still the Way To Go!
Are you not able to capture names and emails from your videos? Guess what? Wistia makes this possible with its turnstile option. You can ask your audience to enter a name and email after you have asked a question in the video. Customers are still waiting for the answer. In order to receive the answer, they must opt-in. This means you will not answer the question until after the video turnstile.
Best Practice: Every piece of content should have an opt-in, and yes, this includes video. Create three videos and use the video turnstile to find out which video receives the most opt-ins. Then use this content and turn it into an automated webinar to use over and over again for different audiences.
How Many Opt-ins Should a Blog Post Have?
If you are really wondering, each blog post should have three opt-ins. This should consist of one mid-way through the blog post with a value-added piece (Learn the 5 biggest mistakes marketers make) and one at the end of the blog post with a downloadable offer (Enter your name and email to receive The Ultimate Marketing Machine eBook.) The one of at the end of blog post is usually an eBook or a report. The last opt-in should go in the byline, right next to the author’s name. For example, it should say the post was by “Sweta Patel” at the top of the article, and next to that could be “Get your most recent updates here.” The mid-post opt-in is usually a value-add offer to have customers receive something complementary to the blog post.
Best Practice: When you write a blog post, use a checklist that reminds you to use keywords in the title, body and tag. In addition, check to make sure the three opt-ins are consistent with the post. One of the biggest mistakes business owners make is to create blog posts that have nothing to do with the opt-ins. This will confuse readers and they will not opt-in.
The Footer and Hello Bar
Hello Bar is one of my favorite plug-ins on WordPress. It allows you to share your latest content pieces on a bar located above your navigation. I use it to share my most current interviews and hangouts. Another way to use Hello Bar is by using it to promote your next event. The term sticky footer was coined for the same idea but within the website’s footer.
Best Practice: Use one of the opt-ins to promote your content and multimedia. Pick two items that have received the least amount of views and engagement in the past month. Then encourage your audience to leave comments on all your content.
When we talk about sidebar options we want to move away from just using plain opt-in email boxes. For example, Quick Sprout has an opt-in with added value. Whenever you can add value to your opt-in and focus on your audience’s core frustration point, you will capture leads every time. The best way to receive opt-ins is to link them to a landing page or use a lead box for the opt-ins.
Best Practice: Decide what content you can give away and its value. Then have people opt-in to receive that exclusive content. Make sure this content is not found anywhere else.
Convert the About into a Newsletter Sign-up
How many people go to the “About” page on a website? Not many! The problem with the about page is that most of the time it is about YOU. The reader does not want to read more information about you but what you will be able to do for them. The best About pages have content that focuses on social proof, aligns with the market’s biggest problems, and addresses the pain points.
Best Practice: Check out Social Triggers, a site that definitely uses the About page like a landing page. The page speaks from the customer’s point of view and then wraps that around what Social Triggers can do for customers. Try this out by creating a landing page for yourself.
The Ultimate Newsletter Sign-up Page
The standalone newsletter page does not work by itself. There needs to be a page that shows all the best accolades of what your newsletter will provide. Also, how will the newsletter help the audience fix its current problem? What is your social proof? How many people have subscribed to your newsletter? Most people want to subscribe to popular feeds. They usually want to get involved with whatever the hype is all about.
Best Practice: On your newsletter page, show exactly what the newsletter features and how many people have already subscribed. Also, state what customers will miss out on if they don’t subscribe.
Surveys and Collecting Emails
Customer development is vital to every business. One of the best ways to find out what your customers really want is through surveying. You can start by using a simple tool like Qualaroo to have them answer simple questions right on your website. This technique will help you generate emails and also build a powerful customer profile.
Best Practice: Create a sidebar poll for your current customers and prospects. This will allow you to collect customer emails and find out what customers need help with in the future. You can enhance this by offering an incentive or a giveaway.
You are on your way to fueling your list building. Do you feel ready? How else can I help you? Comment below!
Sweta Patel is a San Diego-based marketing entrepreneur whose company is Global Marketing Tactics.
>> Subscribe to Times of San Diego’s free daily email newsletter! Click hereFollow Us: