It’s well known in internet marketing circles that an email list is an amazing way to make money and combat the ever volatile search engines.

The thing is, getting leads to see your optin form and then getting them to sign up is often harder than it sounds.

A sign up rate of 1-3% is common, but to be honest, not very good.

There are numerous ways that you can increase the number of leads you get as well as the number that will sign up.

Here are my top 18 tips and ideas to boost your lead generation.

1. Split Test Your CTA’s & Forms

I cannot stress how important it is to test things, and your CTA’s and optin forms are no different. Every aspect should be tested, from the wording through to the color scheme and even the size.

Thankfully, modern technology makes this sort of thing very easy, especially if you use software such as OptinMonster, or services such as Aweber which both provide built in ways to split test your forms.

2. Use Specific Language

Not only should you split test, but you should make sure that the language you use is suitable.

For example, if you offer some free incentive to sign up, make sure you use the word free, and make it prominent.

Keep the language simple, and clear. It should direct the user without causing any confusion.

Avoid using negative words, as people tend to skip read but negative words are more likely to be read than positive words.

3. Offers (Lead Magnets)

While the term Lead Magnets is a new buzzword, it really is just another way to say “offer something”.

A Lead Magnet can be almost anything, but it should provide 2 things: value to the person signing up, and enough of an incentive so they want to sign up.

  • Example Lead Magnets can be:
  • An e-book or report on an aspect of the niche
  • A cheat sheet or handout
  • A free trial or download
  • A discount or financial incentive such as free shipping
  • An email course about something to do with your niche

4. Content Upgrades

Very similar to Lead Magnets, content upgrades are an incentive that is specific to the content the person is devouring.

For example, you could offer additional PDF handouts and cheat sheets. You could offer alternative media formats, e.g. if the content is a written article, you could offer a podcast of the content.

In general content upgrades should complement and expand upon the original content.

5. Tools & Tests

Not all incentives have to be something the user can take away with them. For example, you could offer access to a custom built tool that allows users to do something in their niche.

These tools must be effective and meet a need that your audience has.

If a tool isn’t possible what about a test? For example, in the dating niche you could create a test that provides them with their “soul mate” profile, and all they need to do to access it is to sign up to your mailing list.

6. Exit Pop Ups

I think these were first designed by OptinMonster, but the idea is that if the users mouse leaves the web page (as it would to click elsewhere) a pop up appears offering the user some incentive to sign up to your mailing list before they go.

These have proven to be highly effective (most things I find annoying usually are!) and can be seen across numerous marketing sites nowadays.

7. Reduce Barriers for Signing Up

The simpler you make the sign up process the more likely people will sign up.

No one wants to have to fill out a lengthy form to just be added to a mailing list, and it’s been proven that simplifying the form as much as possible (often to as little as just the email address) can have dramatic effects on the number of people that sign up.

As always, you will need to test this via Split Testing to find the perfect balance between needed information and signups for your particular site.

8. Create Quality Content, Consistently

I know that this one might seem a little weird, but in the long run creating quality content on a regular basis can lead to more signups to your mailing list.

It happens for several reasons:

  1. The more quality content you have, the more you rank, bringing in more visitors
  2. Quality content indicates that you know your niche, and people are more willing to sign up in order to keep getting quality content from you

If your niche allows it, make sure that your content plan includes creating evergreen content. This is content that never or rarely changes, and is consistently desired by your audience.

9. Create Multiple Landing Pages

Landing pages are specific types of pages that have one focus: to guide your visitor to take a specific action.

In this case you would want them to sign up to your mailing list, but you can also use them to sell products and take other actions such as social sharing.

Having more than one landing page allows you to not only split test them, but also to target different leads in different ways.

For example, you might want to make the leads from Facebook see a page that is more relaxed and has a story telling element to it, while visitors from LinkedIn might see a more professional and to the point landing page.

10. Use a Proper Landing

This needs its own section because too many people just use a normal page for their landing pages rather than something specifically built for it.

A “proper” landing page has no or few links to the main website, and reduces choices down to one or at most two options.

It does this so that the visitors focus is purely on the action that they need to take and so they are not distracted by other things. A lack of options also removes the buyer paralysis effect seen when people face too many or too similar options.

If you use WordPress, there are several themes and plugins that you can use to easily create landing pages:

11. Use Promo Videos

Not everyone likes the written word, and it’s been estimated that 65% of people are visual learners.

As such give them what they want, and provide a promo video that outlines the benefits of signing up (and/or the benefits of the incentive to sign up), so that they know exactly what they are getting.

Promo videos are also more likely to be shared, and can be added to other sites such as YouTube for increased exposure. Just remember to link back to the landing page!

12. Network

The idea here is to generate traffic to your site and your landing pages, and one of the best ways to do so is also one of the oldest: talk to people!

It doesn’t matter if you do this on or offline (both are good), but talking to your peers in the industry and providing them a link to your site or landing page, is a great way to get influencers on board your list.

Make use of places such as:

  • Events & conferences
  • Your local chamber of commerce
  • LinkedIn
  • Social Networks
  • Forums and bulletin boards related to your niche

Being actively involved in your niche community is key here, so you should be answering questions and helping people. It’s always good to provide links back to articles and landing pages on your site that provide the answers people need.

Make use of places like Quora and Yahoo Answers to find potential questions to answer.

13. Guest Blogging

Leverage the power of guest blogging to introduce new people to your site and your email list.

This can be done by both guest blogging on other people’s sites and also allowing guest bloggers on yours.

Of course you need to pick and choose these, to make sure that the other site’s audience fits well with your site and niche, but by writing and allowing guest blogs, you can increase awareness of your site dramatically.

Of course, ideally you want to funnel people back to a landing page where possible.

14. Invoke Trust

It really depends on your particular focus, but if possible your landing pages should include testimonials from other influencers in your niche, as well as any customers or fans you may have.

If you have had any of your articles feature don prominent websites, or if you have been interviewed with them, add their logos on the page under a “Featured On” section.

If you have them, use any “trust seals” from companies such as Better Business Bureau, Verisign, etc. Just make sure they are legitimate, there’s nothing more untrustworthy than a site using the signs without being able to verify them!

15. Share Your Content

Again, this is about getting your content, and thus your optin form, under as many targeted noses as possible.

By sharing your content, people can view and re-share it increasing your reach.

Depending on the content itself, you can link directly back to a landing page to further increase the effectiveness and generate more sign ups.

The best content for direct landing page links are things like:

  • YouTube videos
  • Slideshare Presentations
  • Infographics (both in the image and as supplied code)
  • Memes

16. Give Freebies to Influencers

If you have a product, give it away! The resulting noise from the influencers can result in a spike of traffic.

What if you don’t have a product? Well, there are still things you can give away such as in depth reports that their audience might appreciate.

17. Leverage Your Email Signature

Writing and responding to emails is a huge part of any marketer’s day, so why not make use of the signature?

Most people write their default web address, but instead you can send prospective leads to a custom built landing page!

18. Be Responsive!

Mobile web browsing has the lion’s share of peoples web browsing habits, so make sure that any optin form, CTA or landing page looks good and is usable across all types of devices.

If yours don’t work, you are losing out on leads!

The Bottom Line

As you can see, there are many, many ways to increase the number of leads sent to your email list funnel.

The main thing you need to do though is take action! Most of these ideas and tips take work, especially in regards to split testing and landing page creation, so you must be committed to increasing the size of your email list.

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