60 Lead Generation Tips, Ideas, and Examples
The growth team here at Wishpond is always on the hunt for new lead generation tips and tricks.
To help ourselves out, we collected every lead generation tip and trick we rely on and organized it into one handy web resource.
Learnleadgeneration.com is 1,000 lead generation strategies, ideas, best practices, and examples.
Here is a snippet of the first 60 tips to get you started.
1. Countdown Timers on Webinar Registration Pages
Countdown timers create a sense of urgency in your visitors, which gives them the impetus they need to convert. Often, conversion rate optimization (and lead generation) isn’t so much about giving your visitors a reason to convert, but rather giving your visitors a reason to convert now.
2. Co-Created Gated Content
No matter how specific your target market, there are probably 100 companies out there with the same one. And so long as they’re not direct competitors, creating a relationship with them is always a great idea.
And co-creating gated content is an even better one. When promoted, you get access (even for a second) to another business’ email list. If the gated content you’ve created is appealing and valuable, you’ll often get at least a few hundred downloads — or a few hundred new leads.
3. Peer Pressure
No one wants to be the first one in a club. You want to know that other people have trusted this organization and not been messed around. You want to know that other people have found value before investing anything (even if it’s just your email address).
Peer Pressure works most frequently and most successfully with newsletter subscription, as with the example below from Social Media Examiner — the most popular social media blog in the world:
4. Use Visual Directional Cues
We’re evolutionarily predisposed to follow the eye direction of those around us (it helped us identify threats a few million years ago). It works the same with arrows and lines. We naturally follow them to their origin or destination.
For marketers, directional cues (e.g. a big bright arrow) guide your users in a certain direction.
See how social guru Amy Porterfield does it by looking right at the CTA:
5. “Get the Tools/Strategy I Used” Content Upgrade
Brian Dean of Backlinko, is the king of these. So much of his content is built around case studies of himself: “Here’s how I rank #1 for the keyword “SEO Strategies” followed by a massive, step-by-step guide with screenshots and links. Simply awesome content.
6. Checklist/Framework Content Upgrade
Content upgrades are an increasingly ubiquitous lead generation strategy, and for good reason. They’ve proven to convert individual blog visitors at least 1000% better than a non-specific ebook.
The article-specific checklist, framework or process is a leading strategy for content upgrades. It works by giving readers a broken-down version of the article which allows them to act on whatever complicated strategy it details.
7. PDF of the Blog Post Content Upgrade
The simplest and fastest content upgrade option, “Download a PDF of this article” is actually super valuable.
For those articles which are comprehensive, long-form or simply complicated as hell, give your readers an option to download. This enables them to refer back to your resource without having to bookmark it or have an internet connection.
Good lead generation marketing is about making your prospective lead’s lives easier.
8. An Audio Version Content Upgrade
This is actually something we’ve been meaning to try, but it doesn’t work with every article (some of them are too visually-oriented) but it’s a really cool idea. With the increasing popularity of podcasts, it’s entirely possible that your readers may want to download an audio version of your educational content to listen to on their commute.
9. ‘Bonus Strategies’ Content Upgrade
Offering “Bonus strategies not included in this article” is a great way to generate leads because it’s hyper-focused on the content. If you’re giving “13 Research-Backed Ways to Create Shareable Content” and holding back two as a gated bonus, you’re exclusively getting people genuinely interested in the content. If your article is good, they’ll believe the bonus strategies will be equally good and give them the whole picture.
10. ‘Worksheet to take action’ Content Upgrade
Oftentimes the worksheet is actually the content upgrade type which requires the most energy, but it’s also the one people love the most. In this lead generation strategy, you create an entirely separate piece of content related to a long-form or comprehensive guide.
11. Blueprint Content Upgrade
The “Blueprint” gives your readers a complete, actionable breakdown of the process behind your article’s recommended strategy. More than the checklist, it gives you the before and after and, in my ways, more closely resembles an ebook than any other content upgrade.
But remember, the primary difference between a content upgrade and an ebook is that you’re creating them (or at least it appears you’re creating them) to be specific to an individual article. The subjective value of your gated content drops drastically if it’s perceived to be a generic guide to the subject.
12. Entry Overlay for Article-Specific Gated Content
My favorite thing we’ve done recently (where we used to have a signup overlay) is determined which blog titles aren’t driving signups, and replaced the overlays on those articles with overlays promoting relevant gated content.
13. Product Demo/Webinar Exit Popup on Pricing Page
Wishpond A/B tested a VIP demo prompt exit popup on our Pricing Page (see below) and tracked the rate at which the visitors who saw it upgrades vs those who didn’t.
The pitch was simply, “Need help deciding if Wishpond is the right fit for you?” — no aggressive sales prompt, just “let’s have a chat and talk it out.” It improved Free Trial signups by 22% and upgrades by 57.6%.
14. Free Tool/Calculator
If you have a complicated piece of software, one of the coolest ways to generate leads is to give a small portion of it away (or use it to generate leads) in the form of a free tool.
There are many sites around the web which do this very successfully: CoSchedule’s headline grader, CrazyEgg’s site analysis, and BuzzSumo to name a few.
15. Influencer Giveaway
There’s no need for me to harp on about the value of influencer marketing. Running a giveaway with an influencer (I recommend a one-on-one consultation, copy of their book and free subscription to your tool or service) is a great way to increase your brand awareness (through their influence) and also generate leads.
16. Video Cliffhanger (Wistia Turnstile)
YouTube is great, don’t get me wrong. But it ain’t got nothing on the lead generation capabilities of Wistia. Sure, YouTube allows you to add little, annoying overlays which direct people to another video. But does it allow you to stop the video at any point and email gate the rest?
Didn’t think so.
My recommendation for this would be to create a 5-part video course and leave the first one free and awesome. Gate the rest.
Wistia allows you to customize your gate message as well as how much information you ask for. All leads are exportable as a CSV or automatically exported through one of Wistia’s email marketing integrations.
17. Gated Questionnaire Results
The questionnaire itself isn’t gated of course, but the results are. And once you’ve invested time into answering 5–10 questions on “What kind of content marketer are you?” you damn well want to know the answer.
Another great benefit of this lead generation strategy is that, if you play your cards right, the answers to your questionnaire can be stored as lead information — allowing you to segment and inform your lead nurturing strategy.
18. Add an Inline Blog CTA for a Demo
Let me give you some context with this one, because a “Book a Demo!” CTA in the middle of your article won’t fly, and your readers will hate you. Inline CTA’s have been shown to convert far better than anything else because they provide context.
19. High-Contrast CTAs
This is conversion rate optimization 101, but we see it ignored so frequently that we have to mention it nonetheless.
The goal of your landing page needs to be clear to the visitor the moment they arrive. If you haven’t made it obvious, what can you expect from them except a bounce?
Check out this popup on AdEspresso’s blog:
20. Two-Step Lead-Generation Funnels
Once someone’s clicked on your lead generation form or CTA, they’re committed. Not completely, of course, but more than 50%. So a two-step lead gen funnel just makes sense.
Entice your landing page or website visitors with a simple form or button and then, once they click, show them the rest of the funnel or form.
21. Source, Referral or Traffic-Specific Popup Offers
Many marketing automation platforms can track the behavior and activity of your site visitors, whether they’re leads, customers or visiting for the first time.
That means you can cater specifically to types of traffic — delivering them lead generation offers based on who they are, even before they become leads.
22. Utilize the Punishment vs Reward Ratio
Several years ago, researchers sent Ph.D students a reminder about an upcoming economics conference. Half of the emails sent offered a discount for early registration while the other half phrased it as a penalty fee for late registration.
93% of students registered early when they heard about the penalty fee while only 67% did so when presented with a discount.
Tests like these have been repeated time and again, showing that people respond far more strongly to loss than they do to gain.
To use this within your lead generation strategy, consider a countdown timer or “Lose Access to this Giveaway at Midnight on Saturday.”
23. Use Images to help people visualize the results (relationship, happiness, money, etc.)
We’re all visual learners. Sure, some people need it more than others. But ultimately, we understand concepts far more quickly when we see them than when they’re described to us.
For instance, if I describe to you a line that is curved such that its ends coalesce and every point on said line is equidistant from the center, I would be describing a circle. However, if I simply show you an image of a circle, you understand what I am referring to far more quickly.
We’re big fans of the cartoons that HelpScout uses (they make us feel all warm and fuzzy inside):
24. Use Bullet Point Lists
Whenever you’re writing landing page or popup (any lead generation tool, really) and have a benefit you want to communicate, do so in bullet-point form.
When Unionen (a Swedish company) A/B tested a bullet-point list of “reasons to become a member” against a control paragraph, they found that the list had a 5.3% conversion rate, a 15.9% improvement over the control.
25. Use Colored Icons in your Bullet-Points
You want to grab the attention of your landing page or website visitors, and a simple bullet-point won’t do it.
Whenever you’re listing out the benefits of downloading your ebook or registering for a free trial, make those benefits stand out and appeal visually with colored or icon bullets (Try FontAwesome icons, they’re free).
26. Add Testimonials
Testimonials are the new word-of-mouth. It’s equivalent to having someone stand in front of your (clearly biased) brand and say, “You can trust them. I’ve worked with them before and gotten excellent results.”
Testimonials feature real people relatable to your website traffic, which increases the chance of that traffic relating to your brand as well as trusting what’s said.
Testimonials can showcase specific value points, metrics and KPI’s in real-world and concrete terms. Something it can be difficult to do in a benefit list or headline.
27. Use the AIDA framework
You’re probably more familiar with AIDA as a framework for best practice in advertising. It’s been around forever and is But it’s easy adaptable for lead generation marketing as well.
Joanna Weibe, marketing thought-leader and copywriting guru, defines AIDA for lead generation like this:
Attention — Jar the reader out of their boring ol’ lives
Interest — Engage their mind with unusual, counter-intuitive or fresh info
Desire — Engage their heart so they want what you’re offering
Action — Ask them to take the next step
28. Inverted Pyramid Method
Vero, the successful email marketing platform, recommends their users consider the “Inverted Pyramid Method” for creating emails:
Basically, the inverted pyramid method recommends you create messaging which grabs the attention of your visitors (in lead gen that’d be the headline), builds excitement (urgency, a countdown timer, a customer testimonial or a value/benefit list) and closes with a call-to-action.
29. Publishing Industry Report
Industry reports are original content (or at least originally collated content). This means that you’ll be the citation everyone uses for that statistic or quote. And that, in the world where we’re all constantly searching for the most recent statistic to use in our content, is a valuable place to be.
And every time your industry report is cited, your website goes up that little bit in the search rankings and anyone who clicks on the link might just become a lead.
30. Academy #1: Create educational, TOFU courses
Setting up an academy is far simpler than you might think. There are many platforms out there (Wishpond uses and recommends local Vancouver startup Thinkific) that make it easy. And, when you consider your academy as simply an extension of your blog, it’s not all that intimidating. We simply created slidedecks of our educational, Top-of-Funnel content and uploaded them as a PDF.
31. Academy #2: Create lead-nurturing courses
An academy is also an excellent lead-nurturing tool. Let your new leads know about your courses and give them free access (as they’ve already provided you with their lead information). Alternatively, ask for more valuable lead information in exchange for accessing the whole academy.
32. Academy #3: Create onboarding and platform-educational courses
Once your leads have been generated and nurtured into users, your academy is still incredibly useful for onboarding and educating them about the platform.
33. Slideshare #1
Slideshare is an awesome platform for both driving new traffic and generating leads. With an audience of 70 million active users, it’s an opportunity waiting to be grabbed.
My first strategy for Slideshare lead generation is, plain and simply, Slideshare’s Lead Generation Tool. Slideshare charges $8.50 (USD) for each lead generated using the lead form embedded in your presentations.
For some of you, that might sound steep, but what if your lead gen form reads “Interested in learning more about Wishpond’s lead generation software and how we can help your business do more with your traffic? Register for a VIP demo!”
And, given that you can set that embedded lead form to appear at any point within your slideshare as well as upon download and when people click “Learn More,” a successful slide deck might yield a few good leads.
34. Slideshare #2
Another lead generation strategy within Slideshare is a simple CTA at the end of your slidedeck. If your presentation has been valuable and the content awesome, recommend a related ebook or newsletter subscription and then link to the landing page within your website.
35. Slideshare #3
Give 50–75% of your content away on Slideshare. Retain the rest in gated format on your blog.
36. Facebook Lead-Gen Ad #1
Facebook released its lead generation tool last June, and they’re super successful.
And it makes sense why. Facebook users don’t like being sent off-platform (just like blog readers prefer to be kept within your blog to convert on gated content). They’re comfortable where they are, and they know their surroundings. Sending them to your website just results in them being uncomfortable and, immediately, aware they’re going to be aggressively sold to.
37. Facebook Lead-Gen Ad #2
My second recommendation for Facebook Lead Generation Ads would be to exclusively run them on mobile and continue to run desktop ad views to your ad’s landing page. Facebook’s lead form is far easier to convert-upon than a landing page, and it’s possible you’ll have higher conversion rates from mobile visitors than you would otherwise.
38. Facebook Lead-Gen Ad #3
A cool way to use Facebook Lead Generation ads would be to run them towards a lookalike audience made up of people similar to those who converted on a single piece of gated content, or on several pieces on the same subject.
A lookalike audience is made from a custom audience, which can be created by importing a CSV of your business’ current leads and then cross-referencing them with Facebook users who are similar demographically, in terms of interests or in terms of behavior.
39. Twitter Lead-Gen Cards #1
Twitter’s Lead-Gen Cards are something to experiment with. Twitter may not be what it once was but there is still room for some gains.
40. Twitter Lead-Gen Cards #2
Twitter, unlike Facebook, actually allows you to target users based on the content of their Tweets (though I’m sure Facebook has thought about this). It’s a cool feature, as it allows you to reach users within minutes of their tweet with content relevant to what they’re thinking about.
41. Twitter Lead-Gen Cards #3
Targeting the Followers of a single Twitter user (or Followers of your Followers) gives you specific access to highly-targeted people as well as adds social proof to your advertisement.
42. Give Popup Viewers a Negative Option
A negative option CTA within your lead generation popups makes viewers choose to disengage, whereas before simply not acting was an action. Now, they have to actively choose to not accept.
In the words of Joann Weibe, “I have to choose to opt-out, meaning that if I decide not to take the freebie offered, I have to choose (or say yes to) a negative consequence.”
43. Personalize Lead Gen Pages Based on Visitor Activity
The more specifically you can target your lead generation strategy, the more success you’ll have with it.
A great example of this is to use merge tags in coordination with a visitor’s traffic source.
For instance, have a single landing page for all guest contributions. So when someone clicks the link in your author bio they’re sent to a blog-specific landing page which, using merge tags, the headline might say “Hi there [Social Media Examiner] reader! Thanks for visiting Wishpond. We create lead generating and marketing automation software. Have a look around!”
44. Slide-in Popups
An overlay popup (both full-screen and smaller) is an interruption. That’s the strength of them: asking visitors to make a choice about converting, subscribing or becoming a lead (because, as we know, the easiest decision to make is no decision at all).
But you don’t necessarily want to get in the way of your awesome blog articles (which is why I’m such a fan of click popups), and, for newsletter subscription particularly, a side-bar slide-in popup works wonders for lead generation.
45. Go Specific with your Lead Magnets
It’s never a bad idea to create more lead magnets (unless your Social Media Examiner, who defy normal best practice with a single industry report per year).
And the more specific you can go with your offer — based on what a visitor is viewing — the better. A pre-filled Excel spreadsheet for example, could be offered in an article referencing PPC optimization.
46. Use Exclusivity
Just as no one wants to be the first to join (Lead Generation Strategy #3), no one wants to be left out either.
Creating an element of exclusivity (primarily within your webinars or conferences) is a crucial element of psychological optimization. Exclusivity is the subjective belief that something which has been limited has more value that something offered free of limitation. You want your landing page visitors to feel (legitimately) that if they don’t convert now, they might miss the chance.
It’s a similar thing to urgency — trying to get your visitors to understand that they need to convert now or never.
47. Use Graphics to Represent Digital Content
Words are ephemeral. They’re difficult to grasp onto and value must be imagined.
Products are concrete — the feel of a T-Shirt or the roar of a new car’s engine.
It’s no wonder, then, that “67% of consumers consider clear, detailed images to carry more weight than product information or customer ratings.”
A mockup book cover for your ebook is something that a reader can visually grasp.
48. Progress Bar in Popups
The endowed progress effect is a psychological element of conversion optimization whereby “people feel they have made some progress towards a goal then they will become more committed towards continued effort towards achieving the goal.”
In other words, it’s that feeling of having invested in something and wanting to see it through.
49. Use Click Popups Instead of Landing Pages for Content Upgrades
Click popups can be engaged with and converted upon without the need for a new tab or window, and that seriously drops the amount of friction — which increases conversion rates.
We’ve been doing click popups with our content upgrades (and some relevant ebooks) for the past 9 months or so, and we’ve seen double the conversion rates for those click popups than we do for those same content upgrades offered within landing pages.
50. Make your Value Proposition Address a Pain Point
Follow the PAS copywriting formula. Start by addressing a problem the reader has. Agitate that problem; dig deeper into the problem. Be the hero and show how you can solve that exact problem.
51. Curiosity Gap
In 2009, a behavioral study, showed that “subjects spent more scarce resources (either limited tokens or waiting time) to find out answers when they were more curious.”
This is common sense, of course, but when people identify a “gap” between what they know and what they don’t, they’re likely to take action to fill that gap. The study went on to show that when they do fill that gap, pleasure receptors in the brain are triggered.
Consider this for an upcoming webinar or ebook landing page. If your offer intrigues people (perhaps with “never-before-seen” data or insight) you’ll increase the chance of those people committing to find out what information is (fill the gap).
52. State the Dollar Value
Our culture works in dollars and cents. We want to know what things are worth, otherwise we’ll guess (and usually guess low).
If your lead magnet has a dollar value (like a course or academy which previously cost to register) make it central to your value proposition. After all, what is a value proposition except an explanation of the value of an offer?
53. Make your Click Popups Explicit
Just because your popup CTA makes it clear what people are going to get when they click (a click popup) doesn’t mean you should just have a blank form appear.
Best practice for click popups is to repeat exactly what the CTA button or link said — consistency is key in lead generation.
54. 5 Why’s Method
The “5 Whys” method is a strategy to determine the pain point of your target market in order to better address it with your lead generation offer, or at least its title.
It has you, as the content creator or communication head, asking yourself five whys, starting with the surface level (in the same way an eight-year-old might pester you from the back seat of the car).
55. Have Multiples of the Same CTA
That might be a bit confusing. I’m not telling you to have multiple CTAs (that would defy the whole point of a landing page as having a single focus point).
Instead, what I’m telling you is to give your landing page or website visitors multiple options to convert at any time that they’re sold. Your CTA should not just be at the top or the bottom. It should be, in the words of Neil Patel “after each persuasive technique [to increase] the likelihood of a conversion at other points throughout the page.”
56. Speak with Authority
You are an expert in your field, even if you don’t feel like it. If you’re content or lead magnet is at all educational, you’re an expert.
So don’t dance around it. If you’re putting up a guide to Facebook marketing, make it the Most Comprehensive Guide Ever Created on Facebook Advertising.
57. Write for your Audience
There’s no point in creating content that’s not appealing to your business’ target market. But that’s simply common-sense.
So here’s something a little less common-sense: Writing for your audience is as much about how you write as it is about what you write.
For instance, you might be a marketing agency targeting gyms. In your lead nurturing emails, you might write about how you can get them more leads. Except that gyms don’t call them leads. They call them contacts. And they don’t call them sales at the end of the funnel. They call them members.
58. People Will See Through Fake Urgency Tactics
My recommendation is to keep your countdown timers real. If you have an upcoming webinar on Wednesday, have the countdown timer countdown to Wednesday. Promotion? Run it with a countdown until it closes. Webinar? Most GTW accounts genuinely do have a limit on how many people you’re able to host. Make that your stated limit.
59. Price Decoy
Our choices are informed by their context. A good apple looks better next to a rotten one. An alright boyfriend looks heaven-sent after one who refused to leave the couch.
It’s the same for your lead generation offers.
60. White Space
Modern website design is all about clarity — clean lines, white space and well-contrasted text.
And those things aren’t just about the artistry of web design. It’s not just because they look good. It’s also because it’s optimized.
White space (which doesn’t have to be white, by the way) focuses attention on everything that isn’t. It focuses attention on color, on text and, particularly, on contrast.
It’s kind of hard to ignore the things Apple wants you to notice on their Apple Watch landing page:
To see all 1,000 lead generation strategies, ideas, best practices, and examples visit Learnleadgeneration.com.