When you launch a website or a blog, the most important consideration is creating amazing content. As a writer, you’re most concerned with crafting fantastic posts and pages to inform or entertain your readers.
But what good is that great content if no one ever sees it? And if someone stumbles upon your site once, how do you make sure they stick around?
When I started out in business, I had no idea what lead generation was, but it’s now one of my biggest focuses. A “lead” is a reader who is interested in you and what you have to offer; generating or capturing leads means earning that reader’s contact information, whether it’s their email address or social media profile.
You want to know who these people are: since they already read your content and visit your site, they’re more likely to eventually become paying customers. Even if you don’t plan on selling a product or service in the near future, capturing leads is a good practice to get into for the future — when you do decide to sell something, you’ll have a following that trusts you and the quality you provide.
[bctt tweet=”Get to know your readers: they could become paying customers, says @screwthe9tofive”]
So how do you generate leads? Here’s your handy guide to the fundamentals.
Use landing pages to welcome and entice visitors
A landing page has one main focus: to turn that visitor into a lead. It’s a basic page that offers no distractions: usually, landing pages include just a perfectly worded heading, an eye-catching image, a call to action and a hassle-free opt-in form.
Here’s an example on The Write Life: the newsletter sign-up page. It’s simple, straightforward and succinct: the brief explanation of the free ebook leads into a simple, one-step email submission.
5 places to link to a landing page instead of your homepage
Linking to your homepage is great, but up your game by linking to a landing page that specifically targets visitors from each of these sources.
1. Social media profiles
Many of us link to our homepage on our Twitter and Facebook profiles, but what if you tried linking to a landing page instead?
This strategy is effective because you can target each landing page to your readers that hang out on that platform. Send your Twitter-obsessed audience to a landing page with only 140 characters of content — then ask for their email addresses. Think about your fans on Facebook and their interests, then design a landing page that will resonate with them.
For example, if your Facebook page is about teaching others to use social media to build their businesses, create a custom landing page like the one below from Amy Porterfield:
Not only does this landing page explain exactly which services Amy offers, but it’s custom-branded around her niche and allows her to easily collect emails to build her list.
2. Calls to action
If you have never heard of a call to action, you’ve been missing out on some serious list-building and conversion opportunities. Simply put, a call to action (CTA) is that little sentence at the bottom of the post that asks your reader to do something.
It could be as simple as “Leave a comment if you agree,” or “Click here to share this post on Facebook.” To aim higher, try a CTA that entices the reader with more information and asks them to take action, like “Click here to learn how to build your brand and escape the 9-to-5.”
If someone has read through to the end of your post and clicked on your CTA, you want to make the most out of that link. Here’s an example of one of our end-of-post-CTA’s and the subsequent custom landing page:
To incorporate a CTA and landing page into your site, you need to think about what you want your reader to do. Do you want to take them to your “How to Write Guide” or another product? Captivate their attention with a large CTA at the bottom of your post and send them to a landing page that highlights the key points of your product or service and includes a box for them to add their email address.
3. 404 pages
As much as you want to avoid broken links on your website, a few are inevitable — so you might as well use them to your advantage. Rather than a standard “Oops, there’s no such page” message, why not point your readers toward some of your most popular posts or even a product or service?
For example, we send our misguided guests to our Free 7 Day Escape Plan:
Targeting broken links with a creative 404 landing page keeps readers on your site and converts them into a lead.
4. Guest post bios and bylines
Part of the power of guest blogging is the link you can often include in your bio or byline. After all, this post will introduce you and your message to a whole new audience — a large number of potential leads.
My favorite way to do this is to tease the reader with an opt-in offer smack dab in the middle of my author bio. For example, if you check out my bio below, you’ll see “you can find her helping people Screw the Nine to Five” — a fun way to point people toward a custom landing page that offers tips on how to escape their nine to five jobs.
Ensure your offer speaks directly to that particular audience, and link to a customized landing page that highlights its appeal to those readers.
Posting videos on YouTube or Vimeo can be an incredibly effective way to dig up new leads and network with other bloggers. Use the description section wisely by linking to a custom landing page that targets your channel’s viewers — or viewers of a specific video, if you want to get fancy. For example, if your video is a book trailer, link to a landing page where your audience can learn more about the story and purchase the book.
To make the most of your videos, add custom links that “float” over the video. Called “annotations,” these links entice your viewer to explore more of your content. Try placing annotations at the end of your videos and linking to a landing page that directs readers toward posts related to the video’s topic.
Whether you consider writing a business or a hobby, building your following by securing new leads is essential if you ever want to take your passion to the next level.
Here’s an example of the difference great lead generation can make as you build your business: after adding custom landing pages on our Facebook page, we saw a 16% conversion rate for our latest product, Lifestyle Affiliate. Furthermore, we used similar strategies when launching a recent webinar and had a whopping 22% conversion rate on sales for it!
Do you use landing pages on your blog? If not, have I convinced you to try them?