Elise Dopson

Lead Capture Strategy: How to Turn Unknown Visitors into Engaged Leads in 2021

Around 98% of people who land on the average website will exit without becoming a customer. But that doesn't mean they're lost altogether.

You can capture these visitors as leads, and nudge them through your sales funnel over time.

There's just one problem:

Most marketers persist with a lead capture strategy from the internet dark ages. Continually trying to collect email addresses in exchange for a generic PDF or boring "snoozeletter" subscription.

To succeed in the modern world, you need to play a modern game. So in this guide, we'll share how to create a persuasive, personalized strategy that converts website visitors into engaged leads you can nurture into paying customers.

Ready? Let's get to it 👇

What is lead capture?

Lead capture is the process of collecting contact data from people in order to guide them further down your marketing funnel or sales pipeline. Closely related to lead generation, the goal is to turn anonymous website visitors (with a potential interest in your product or service) into identifiable contacts.

Most marketers start by collecting an email address, although it’s possible to also ask for all kinds of details. You'll then store this data in a CRM to use in email marketing, retargeting, and other forms of outreach—all with an aim of persuading leads to become customers.

Lead capture methods

The first aspect of lead capture is to think about what methods and tools you can use to actually collect contact data on your website.  

So, let's take a quick look at five common ways to turn website visitors into email subscribers.

Note: We'll be diving into best ways to actually use these methods (including how to use them to capture as many leads as possible) in the next section of this post 😎

Forms

A standard embedded form is one of the most common ways for marketers to collect their audience's information. They can be used to give customers something in return for their contact information—like this example from Hootsuite:

Hootsuite embedded form

The beauty of lead capture forms is that you can have them embedded almost anywhere. Typical places include:

  • Your homepage hero
  • On landing pages
  • On product pages
  • Mid-way through blog posts
  • At the end of blog posts
  • In your sidebar
  • During the signup and/or checkout process

Forms also feed into all the below call-to-action options we're about to discuss, as you'll usually need to embed a form within other CTAs to capture a lead's information. So they're basically an easy way to capture leads across your entire website.

PRO TIP:

Use ConvertFlow’s area snippets to quickly launch embdedded forms across specific, pre-defined sections of your website:

Learn more about embedded CTAs in ConvertFlow

Website popups

If you want to get a visitor's attention straight away, a popup box is the way to do it.

A popup does what it says on the tin—it's a box that appears on a visito's screen when they land on a specific page. You can usually configure them to trigger in a variety of circumstances, such as:

  • When someone shows an intent to leave the page (AKA an "exit intent popup")
  • After they've been on a page for a defined period of time
  • When they scroll to a specific point of the page
  • Or even when someone clicks a button or link 

Here's how CoSchedule does a great job with scroll-point popups on its blog:

CoSchedule scroll-point popup

Notice how the post is about writing headlines? So this scroll-point popup works great by offering a content upgrade super relevant to the topic of the post itself.

Site messages

Site messages are another way to engage your website visitors and (among other things) convince them to hand over their email address.

They're similar to a popup, just less invasive as they don't take over the entire screen. Instead, they tend to appear in the bottom-right or left corner of your website.

The content that's in this message is up to you. It could be:

  • A simple lead capture form
  • A segmentation or feedback survey
  • Booking a sales call
  • Or even just using a tool like Drift to create a full-on chatbot

Here's a great template to use as a jumping-off point for site messages in your lead capture:

You can see a range of other designs in our site message template library 🙌

Quizzes

Did you know that interactive content has much higher conversion rates than other formats?

Quizzes fall into that category because they ask a visitor to do something, rather than passively watch (or read) it.

Buzzfeed literally made their brand off the back of creating these catchy quizzes and sharing them on social media. But, when the answer is gated behind an email form (like the example below from Shopify), it's a superb tool in your lead capture strategy too:

Shopify lead capture quiz

Quizzes don't always need to be quite as "Buzzfeedy" as this, though. They can also be really practical for the user.

Like helping someone:

  • Build a personalized workout plan
  • Find their next travel destination
  • Decipher which product in your store is best for them

See all our quiz templates here.

The key is to start with a problem your visitors face, then build a quiz to help them solve it.

Landing pages

Landing pages are usually created with a specific campaign in mind—like ranking in search engines or PPC traffic.

Either way:

Once you get those visitors on your website, the aim is simple: Capture them as a lead. A good landing page is designed with this specific conversion goal in mind, which is why they're sometimes literally referred to as lead capture pages.

For example, take a look at how Guideline uses this landing page on 401(k) plans to capture leads:

Guideline 401(k) plan page

You land on the page and it's instantly obvious what they offer, who it's for, the headline benefits, and how to get started.

How to create a lead capture strategy

We've covered the fundamental methods that can be used to capture leads. Now, it's time to start thinking about how to actually use these methods as part of a broader lead capture strategy.

Here are six steps to turn website visitors into leads for your sales team to convert.

1. Use a selection of formats

We've already touched on the different methods you can use to capture leads. The first step in creating a strategy is to figure out which type your visitors are most likely to engage with.

You can do this through A/B testing. Select a handful of formats, such as:

  • A website form 
  • A quiz
  • A popup box

Sprinkle them around your website (like at the end of each blog post), and see which format generates the highest number of new leads. There’s often a clear winner: that’s the one you should double-down on going forwards.

2. Offer something valuable in exchange

You can have the best, most persuasive messaging in the world (which we touch on next). But, if your audience doesn't want or need the thing you're giving in return for their email address, it's unlikely you'll generate many leads from your website. 

You might see this called a lead magnet—a (usually free) offering that attracts leads and convinces them to give you their email address.

Some examples include:

  • Webinars
  • Templates
  • Ebooks or white papers
  • Free checklists
  • Strategy sessions
Types of lead magnet graphic

A good starting point for crafting a great offer is to think about the problems your audience faces.

Your lead magnet (or “offer”) should act as a solution. That way, you're collecting the information of visitors who would likely have an interest in buying your product.

We can see that in action with CoSchedule's lead magnets. Its core product is a marketing calendar, so the lead magnets focus around a similar theme:

CoSchedule social media calendar

You could also look at historical data to judge what your lead magnet should offer. What kinds of content did people hand over their email address for in the past? Was it a template, coupon code, or a promise of exclusive content?

If you're brand new to lead capturing though, don't panic.

You can either keep trying and testing until something works. Or even use surveys to ask existing visitors what kind of problems they face that you can create a solution for đŸ”„

3. Craft persuasive copy

It's not enough to simply have a lead magnet and hope your website visitors see its value. You need to be convincing and persuasive when it comes to the copy that describes your lead magnets.

Here are some techniques to try: 

  • Highlight a problem. Write a headline that aggravates the problem's pain point, then promise your lead magnet as the solution.
  • Sell the benefits. Push the benefit your solution will bring, rather than reeling off its features.
  • Use testimonials. Use 1-2 sentences from your happy customers to explain why someone else should get this offer, too.
  • Focus on them. Shift the focus to your visitor—always be thinking about them and what they want to get out of it.

The team at Falcon does a great job when plugging their lead magnet report:

Falcon report lead magnet

It promises to solve a big problem (how to measure my social media ROI). It's also focused on what the reader gets out of it, not simply listing off what's inside 😎

(There's much more to copywriting than what we mention here. For further reading, we recommend starting with The Ultimate Sales Letter by Dan Kennedy, Made to Stick by Chip & Dan Heath, and Building a StoryBrand by Donald Miller)

4. Segment visitors to personalize your lead magnets

The points above are all well and good. But in practice, every website visitor is different—all with varying needs and problems.

So why expect everyone to respond well to a single offer?

If you want to offer something truly useful, segment and personalize your lead magnets.

Audience segmentation works by dividing your website visitors into particular groups of people. Each segment will then get a more personalized offer to capture them as a lead.

You could divide your new, unknown visitors based on:

  • Referral source. People visiting from organic search can get a different CTA than someone arriving from a Facebook Ad.
  • Their location. Visitors browsing your site in the UK can get a popup box with GBP pricing, whereas American visitors are shown USD prices.
  • Type of content. Someone viewing a case study could get a more product-focused lead magnet than a visitor reading a top-of-funnel blog post.
  • Buyer persona. Run a segmentation survey getting visitors to bucket themselves into a pre-defined buyer persona, then offer something more relevant to that buyer persona as a lead magnet.

Let's put this last point into practice.

Imagine you're a marketer at a B2B SaaS company selling software that can benefit both early-stage startups and more established mid-market businesses.

These two potential customers are going to have very different needs. So as soon as a new visitor lands on your site, you can engage them with a survey asking what bracket they fall into–enabling you to then offer a lead magnet that's much more enticing and relevant to that buyer persona.

Here's a template you can use to start segmenting website visitors like this:

Check out more of our customizable survey templates here.

5. Remove friction from your forms

People do things that are easy. Filling in a lead capture form is no different.

The key is to make your forms as easy as possible for people to opt-in and hand over their contact information. So, ditch the long and complex forms asking for information that's unnecessary at this stage.

Stick to the fields you really need, which at the lead capture stage is basically just someone's email address.

However:

You can experiment by asking for other data on top of this. Cuddle Clones, for example, did a great job collecting phone numbers to use in their SMS marketing using this popup:

Cuddle Clones SMS popup

SEE MORE: How Cuddle Clones Captured 150,000+ SMS Ecommerce Leads With A Triggered Popup

There are two key things to remember here:

  1. This is a multi-step popup. The lead's email address was collected in the first step, before they were asked for a phone number in the step seen above.
  2. There's a strategy behind it. Asking for the phone number has an actual strategic purpose (to use in SMS marketing).

You can ask for whatever information you want when capturing leads. Just remember to minimize it to only what you need at that particular stage in order to remove as much friction as possible—and increase the likelihood of conversion.

PRO TIP:

Like Cuddle Clones, you can use ConvertFlow to create popups that capture lead data over multiple steps—helping you get the info you need, without overwhelming visitors with large forms:

ConvertFlow add CTA step

Learn more about popups with this help guide

6. Personalize the follow-up

Even after someone enters their email address, your lead generation strategy is far from over. 

You'll need to create an email sequence and follow up campaign designed to nudge them towards the next step in your funnel and, ultimately, become paying customers.

This might be a personalized series of emails containing:

  • FAQs that previous customers had before purchasing
  • Links to book a product demonstration with your team
  • Stories and testimonials from current customers
  • Products they've viewed on the website 

When one of these leads returns to your website, you can also personalize the calls-to-action we talked about earlier (site messages, popups, etc.).

So, rather than your popup no longer showing (or simply showing the same offer they've already signed up to), it can push something else. Like a free trial, product on your store, or demo form.

Final thoughts

As you can see, there are tons of ways marketers can capture high-quality leads on their website.

It all boils down to offering a solid lead magnet that solves enough of a problem to convince website visitors it's worth handing over their email address. It's then up to you to make sure the follow up is done to nudge that lead down your funnel and toward becoming a fully-fledged customer.

The good news? ConvertFlow has all the tools needed to make your lead capture strategy happen—without coding or waiting on developers.

Create your free account today, then browse the range of fully customizable templates inside to get started.

About the author

Elise Dopson

Contributor, ConvertFlow
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Elise is a writer at ConvertFlow, and expert in B2B marketing. She's been featured in publications like ConversionXL, HubSpot, CoSchedule, Content Marketing Institute, Databox, and more. You'll usually find her cooking up some high-quality content for the ConvertFlow blog or campaign library.