Lead generation – the way we capture consumer interest in a product or service in order to build out a sales pipeline – is a common challenge for many businesses.

The way people buy is constantly changing and we’re already starting to see a shift in how people request information and interact with our websites.

The easiest way to capture consumer interest is with a form, usually on a dedicated landing page. The form should only contain fields that reflect the value of the offer.

For example, if you’re asking people to sign up to a newsletter, you should only be asking for a name and an email address. If what you’re offering is really bespoke, you might need a few more fields to be able to accurately capture your visitor’s details.

I can’t recall the number of forms I’ve seen (and not completed) because they’re asking for my whole life story in exchange for one three-page pdf!

Consumer behaviour has shifted and many have quickly realised that if they fill out a form in exchange for a whitepaper or guide, it’s very likely that someone from the company’s sales department will call them almost immediately.

If these consumers aren’t ready to buy, this will be a huge turn-off and there’s every chance that their journey with you will stop at this early stage.

So, if consumers are wising up to the way we capture their information, how can we retain their trust and encourage them to sign up for offers on our websites?

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Pop-Ups: Disruptive or Productive?

Many marketers are now turning to pop-ups instead of static forms to capture consumer interest.

Now I know what you’re thinking – putting pop-ups on a website is a big marketing no-no. They’re disruptive, irritating and sometimes downright rude, always butting in when you’ve finally found the information you’re looking for.

Actually, I agree.

But they can be really effective for capturing lead data….I know! Just hear me out.

Recently I’ve seen a lot of companies using what we HubSpot marketers call ‘Lead Flows’.

And they really work.

Yes, it’s still a pop-up, but it isn’t going to jump right in your prospect’s face as soon as they land on a new webpage.

Instead, you can customise them to ‘slide-in’ at the bottom of the screen, or drop down from the top.

These different styles are less obtrusive, and if the pop-up sits at the bottom of the screen, you can still continue to read your article unobstructed, choose to ignore it, or close it down without having to shift your attention too much.

Of course you can still create a traditional looking pop-up if that’s what you want, but you also have the opportunity to play around with the different options and find out which ones your prospects interact with the most.

But just how effective are these lead flows for encouraging new sign-ups?

Well, according to social media guru Dan Zarrella, the answer is – very effective.

Dan conducted an experiment on his website to see if removing email subscription pop-ups had any effect on his bounce rate and number of new sign-ups.

The results are surprising. He found that removing the pop-ups completely had absolutely no effect on his bounce rates – but the number of new sign-ups dropped significantly. You can read the full report here.

So they do work. But just be mindful that what works for one business, might not necessarily work for another.

Let’s talk a bit more about how to set up lead flows, what makes them effective and what happens next…

There are many software companies that offer this kind of technology, so do your research thoroughly and find the one that is the best fit for your company.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at HubSpot’s Lead Flow tool.

Setting up your first lead flow

First you’ll need to choose the style of pop-up to display on your page. There are three options to choose from:

  1. The Pop-Up box – these are great for catching your visitor’s attention, but be aware that they are disruptive, so should only be used to highlight your most valuable offer.
  2. The Dropdown Banner – these banners appear at the top of the screen, and can be used to promote time-sensitive offers.
  3. The Slide-in Box – these boxes are highly effective and are my preferred style of pop-up. They’re unobtrusive and can be used to promote content or generate new sign-ups to a blog or newsletter.

Next, choose a catchy headline to attract your visitor’s attention. I find that questions work pretty well, and if your offer directly relates to the page or blog (which it should!) you could try out different variations to see which one generates the best engagement.
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Remember that your offer and headline must have some relevance to your visitors, whether it addresses their challenges by offering a solution, or prompts them to think more about their specific problem, and what their next steps should be.

Partner your headline with a strong call to action. Use actionable language, but try to stay away from the generic ‘Sign-up’ or ‘Submit’. Get creative, but don’t stray too far from your company’s usual tone of voice.

You’ll also need to think about which colour the pop-up should be. I find that orange and green work best, but again, try it out! Find out which colour performs best for your business.

Neil Patel’s article on the psychology of colour explains just how important different colours are for increasing conversions and ultimately generating new leads.

Building a form is the next step. Earlier in this post, I mentioned that your form fields should reflect the value of your offer.
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Think about what information you’ll need to collect. In most cases, this will just be a name and email address.

Lead flows are supposed to be relatively small, so make sure that you don’t add in too many options and make it a chore for your visitors to fill out.

That said, generally speaking, lead flows are designed to capture as many new leads as possible. If you’re looking to generate higher quality leads that are more likely to convert to customers, it’d probably be worth using a static form on a landing page instead.

This article looks at form length in more detail.

Finish up your lead flow with a little message to say thank you. You can also use this space to set out expectations for what will happen next. If your offer is to subscribe to a newsletter, perhaps let your visitors know when they’ll be receiving their first email.

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My colleague, Gem has created a really useful screen-share recording explaining how to create a lead flow, which you can view here.

So… what happens now?

Once you’ve put a couple of lead flows in place and are starting to capture your consumers’ interest in your product or service, think about how you can help them progress to the next stage of their buying journey.

Sending a follow-up email thanking your visitors for signing up or submitting their details is a great way to build rapport with your new contacts. Perhaps send them some relevant content, in the form of articles or guides, or tell them about the different ways they can interact with your business if you’re active on social media.

What are your thoughts on using pop-ups for lead generation? Do you find that they are too disruptive or are they really working for your business?