6 Ways To Generate Effective Leads For Your Business

Designing an effective lead magnet graphic.

Here’s the truth that we learned the hard way:

“Build it and they will come” is a lie.

Having a great product is important but it’s not enough in and of itself.

You also need to consistently generate high-quality leads if you want to stay in business.

Today we are going to share six strategies that can help you do that…

Lead Generation Strategy #1: Create a Super Valuable Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is something that you give away for free in exchange for the potential customer’s email address.

It can be anything that they can either download to their device or access online:

  • An ebook.
  • A report.
  • A cheat sheet.
  • An email course.
  • An exclusive video.
  • A video course. 
  • An app.


What’s important is that:

  1. Your lead magnet offers a solution to a problem that the potential customer is struggling with.
  2. That problem is either the same or related to the one that your paid products solve.

That way, not only will it serve as an incentive to subscribe to your email list but it will also give them a taste of the value that your paid products provide, which will make the potential customer more open to the idea of buying them.

However, it’s important to understand that if you want your lead magnet to work, it has to be super valuable.

An easy way to determine whether your lead magnet is valuable enough is to ask yourself this question:

“Would people pay for this?”

Ideally, you want your lead magnet to be so valuable that you could charge for it, you just choose not to.

Lead Generation Strategy #2: Optimize Your Website

Your website is probably already getting traffic. But are you making the most of it?

Now that you have your lead magnet, it’s time to get proactive about lead generation.

Let’s take a look at three conversion rate optimization strategies that you can learn from the online marketing expert Derek Halpern who runs the popular Social Triggers blog:

Display a Feature Box

A feature box is an opt-in form that is displayed at the top of your homepage.

For example:

Here’s a feature box that Derek Halpern uses on his homepage:

Feature box opt-in form example.

Add Opt-In Forms to Your About Page

Your About page shouldn’t be about you, it should be about how you can help the potential customer. And you should add at least one opt-in form to it.

In fact, you may even want to add three, following this template that Derek Halpern borrowed from CopyBlogger:

  1. Prime people for your website’s content and why it’s important
  2. Opt-in form
  3. Show social proof
  4. Opt-in form
  5. Show personal back story
  6. Opt-in form

Derek doesn’t use this particular template anymore but it might be worth experimenting with.

Use Exit-Intent Pop-Up

There’s no doubt that pop-ups are annoying. But you know what? They work!

An exit-intent pop-up is shown to the visitor as they are about to leave your website. It’s your last attempt to get them to download your lead magnet.

For example:

Here’s an exit-intent pop-up that Derek Halpern uses:

Exit intent opt-in pop up example.

When applied correctly, these three conversion rate optimization techniques should boost your conversion rate immediately, allowing you to get more email subscribers without increasing your traffic.

Want to learn more about optimizing your website for lead generation?

Check out our guide on this topic which includes a variety of helpful tips:

“How To Generate Leads From A Website In 2021 – Full Guide”

Lead Generation Strategy #3: Build a Popular YouTube Channel

In May 2019 YouTube reached 2 billion monthly logged-in users. That’s more than 25% of the total population of our planet!

Here’s what this means:

No matter who your ideal customers are, you can probably find them on YouTube.

However, the competition for attention on this platform is fierce, so if you want to build a popular YouTube channel, you need to do it the right way.

Have a Professional Channel Homepage

You should make sure that your channel homepage looks professional.

You want your channel art to:

  1. Immediately convey what it is that you do.
  2. Look aesthetically pleasing.

For example:

Here’s our co-founder Russel Brunson’s YouTube channel homepage:

ClickFunnels Youtube homepage.

Don’t have graphic design skills yourself?

Hire a graphic designer to create channel art for you.  You can find one by posting a job ad on UpWork.

Target Most Popular Keywords

Want to get traffic on YouTube?

Then you need to target keywords that people are searching for. But how can you find them?

Here’s what you need to do:

Type in a keyword into the search bar…

Youtube keywords search bar example

…and Youtube will show you a bunch of suggestions related to that keyword:

Suggested keywords Youtube search bar list example.

These suggestions feature keywords that people are searching for so you can’t go wrong by targeting them. At least you know that someone, somewhere is interested in the topic.

Invest In Thumbnail Design

It’s important to remember that you are competing for the viewer’s attention against other videos that YouTube is showing them at that time:

  • If the viewer is looking at their homepage, then you are competing against the other videos on their homepage. 
  • If the viewer is looking at their subscription feed, then you are competing against the other videos in their subscription feed.
  • If the viewer is looking at suggested videos, then you are competing against the other suggested videos.

…and so on.

You know how the saying goes “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover”, yet we all judge books by their covers?

Well, when it comes to YouTube, you could say that you shouldn’t judge a video by its thumbnail but everyone does just that.

That’s why investing in thumbnail design can help you catch the viewer’s attention.

Here’s what you need to focus on:

  • Branding. You want all your thumbnails to have a similar look so that the viewer would recognize your videos immediately.
  • Images. You want to use images that convey what the video is about without the viewer needing to read the title. 
  • Text. You want to use large text so that the viewer could easily understand it. This is especially important for people who watch Youtube on their mobile phones. Your video thumbnail text should be easy to read even on a smartphone screen.

For example:

Brian Dean, a world-renowned SEO expert who has 418k YouTube subscribers at the time of writing, has great video thumbnails.

Note how the thumbnails are different but they all have a similar look:

Youtube thumbnail designs.

No graphic design skills?

You may want to consider subscribing to a service like Design Pickle ($499/month for unlimited requests and revisions).

Promote Your Lead Magnet

You need to proactively promote your lead magnet if you want to convert YouTube viewers to email subscribers.

Here are three ways to do that:

  • Link to your lead magnet on your YouTube channel homepage.
  • Link to your lead magnet in your YouTube video descriptions. 
  • Mention your lead magnet in your videos when it’s relevant to what you are talking about.

Check out the social media marketing expert Vannessa Lau’s YouTube channel homepage. See the link to her lead magnet?

Youtube channel link to a lead magnet.

Also, check out Vanessa’s videos to see how to promote your lead magnet in a way that adds value. You don’t want to come across as salesy!

Stay On Topic

We live in an age where social media influencers openly share the most private details about their lives on the Internet. And it works for them.

But it’s important to differentiate between:

  • The influencer business model based around their personal brand aka themselves. 
  • The traditional business model based around products or services.

In the former case, (over-)sharing is central to generating revenue since you want the potential customer to feel like you are their friend.

In the latter case, while some sharing might be valuable, you should be careful to not overdo it because it might make you come across as unprofessional and alienate potential customers.

In other words, when it comes to your business Youtube channel, you need to stay focused on your niche.

Avoid the temptation to share random thoughts, videos of your cat playing with a ball of knitting wool, and how you feel about your ex. Stay on topic.

For example:

Brian Dean doesn’t appear to have any personal videos on his channel. They are all focused on his area of expertise – SEO.

This shows that you can build a following on YouTube while keeping your personal and professional lives completely separate.

Another example:

Meanwhile, one of Vanessa Lau’s most recent videos is a Q&A where she answers a wide range of personal questions while doing her makeup.

Youtube Question and Answer video example.

However, it’s important to note that this video appears to be a strategic business move, Vanessa isn’t just randomly rambling into the camera.

A personal video like this helps her connect with her (presumably) female target audience, which makes her ideal customers more likely to trust her and buy her products.

Can Oversharing Be Dangerous?

Tim Ferris, a successful entrepreneur, best-selling author, and the host of “The Tim Ferris Show” podcast has written an insightful article about the potential negative effects of fame.

In it, he uses the “tribe, village, city” metaphor to explain that the larger your audience, the more likely it is to include dangerous people.

At some point, their presence becomes a certainty the same way how you can be certain that there are murderers in New York city.

This is especially relevant to YouTube because the video format allows you to build one-way emotional connections where you don’t know the viewer but they feel like they know you.

On the one hand, this can be helpful from the business perspective, on the other hand, it can lead to unstable people becoming obsessed with you, which can have disastrous consequences.

It’s probably safe to say that this one-way emotional connection effect can be reduced by keeping your content strictly professional.

This is something to consider when you are creating a YouTube content strategy. Remember, you never know who’s watching.

Lead Generation Strategy #4: Build a Following On Instagram

Instagram has reached 1 billion active monthly users back in June 2018. What’s more, not only is this social network huge, it’s also trendy.

It’s where beautiful and wealthy people go to show off their glamorous lives… And where everyone else goes to live vicariously through them.

However, despite being the natural habitat of social media influencers, Instagram is playing an increasingly important role in more traditional online businesses.

After all, just like with YouTube, your ideal customers are probably there. So why not try to reach them?

You can do that by sharing three types of content on your page:

  • Inspirational content that motivates your ideal customers to achieve their goals. 
  • Educational content that teaches your ideal customers how to achieve those goals.
  • Promotional content that directs your ideal customers to your lead magnet landing page.

Just make sure to put a link to your lead magnet in your bio so that people could easily find it if they are interested.

For example:

Our Instagram page features a mix of inspirational, educational, and promotional content:

ClickFunnels Instagram page mixed inspirational, educational and promotional content.

Say, here’s a post that features a man reading one of our co-founder Russel Brunson’s books, “Traffic Secrets”.

See how there’s a call to action encouraging people to visit the link in the bio?

ClickFunnels Instagram post with call to action.

Here’s how that link looks like:

ClickFunnels Instagram post call to action close up.

And when you click it, you are taken to a page with a bunch of links to our lead magnet landing pages:

ClickFunnels Instagram post multi link call to action options buttons.

Finally, when you click on the “Get Your FREE Copy of Traffic Secrets Here” button, you are taking to this landing page:

ClickFunnels Instagram post call to action landing page.

Note how we have created a long-form “sales page” type of landing page despite the fact that we are giving this book away for free.

Keep in mind that if you want people to download your lead magnet, you need to “sell” it, meaning, you need to put effort into persuading them that it’s worth their time.

Lead Generation Strategy #5: Host Webinars

Webinars can be a great way to tap into the audiences of other people.

Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Create a webinar. It should be a presentation that offers a solution to a problem that your ideal customers are struggling with. You want to make sure that even people who have decided not to purchase your product go away feeling like they have learned something valuable. Remember, a webinar is an online seminar, so treat it like you would treat a live seminar. It shouldn’t be an extended sales pitch. That being said, a webinar should end with a call to action. Otherwise, what’s the point of hosting it?
  2. Reach out to influencers in your niche. Identify people whose audiences consist of your ideal customers. Then reach out to them and offer a partnership: they give you access to their audience, you give them a commission for each sale that you make as a result of that webinar. 
  3. Host the webinar. Once you have worked out the details of your partnership, it’s time to announce the webinar and then host it. Make sure that you have the right equipment, the right software, and your slideshow in place. You might want to do a rehearsal webinar where you get a friend to watch it and give you feedback.

This lead generation strategy is especially helpful when you are just starting out and don’t have an audience of your own.

For example:

Our co-founders, Russel Brunson and Todd Dickerson, launched ClickFunnels in September 2014.

It only took them a year to get to $10 million in annual revenue. How did they grow the company so fast?

Webinars played an important role in ClickFunnels success. That first year Russel Brunson set a target of doing 5-7 webinars per week. Sometimes he would do 2-3 webinars per day. And it paid off!

Lead Generation Strategy #6: Write a Book

Let’s keep it real:

Blog posts, Youtube videos, podcast episodes, etc. don’t have the gravitas of a book.

Anyone can be a blogger, YouTuber, or podcaster but when you are an author people take you more seriously.

That’s why writing a book that offers a solution to a problem that your ideal customers are struggling with can help you attract new leads.

This strategy works especially well if you:

  1. Publish the book on Amazon as a hardcover, a paperback, and a Kindle version. You can also create an audio version.
  2. Give away the digital version of the book as a lead magnet.

The fact that the book is available on Amazon in a physical format makes it a “real book” in the eyes of the potential customer.

Moreover, since there’s a price tag attached to it, the potential customer doesn’t want to miss the opportunity to get it for free.

For example:

Remember our co-founder Russel Brunson’s book “Traffic Secrets” that we use as one of our lead magnets?

It’s available on Amazon in all four formats:

  • Kindle version.
  • Paperback.
  • Hardcover.
  • Audiobook.

But potential customers can download it for free and thus save the money they would have spent on the Kindle version.

ClickFunnels Traffic Secrests book Amazon order page.

As you can see, “Traffic Secrets” is a real book that has sold thousands of copies, with a 4.7 star rating. That’s why it’s so valuable as a lead magnet.

We have to be honest with you, though: writing a book is hard work and marketing that book is even harder work.

You can’t just put it on Amazon and then sit back and wait for sales to start coming in. You need to be proactive about promoting it.

Otherwise, no one except your Mom will buy it. And why would they? They don’t know it exists!

The End Of Jobs book graphic.

Taylor Pearson, who sold over 5,000 copies of his first book “The End of Jobs” in just one month, explained that his approach could be boiled down to these two key ideas:

  • Allocate resources equally between product development and marketing. “As Gabriel Weinberg and Justin Mares point out in ‘Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth‘, almost every failed startup has a product. What failed startups don’t have is traction. Likewise, every author has a book. What most don’t have is marketing traction.”
  • Iterate quickly and publicly.“Startups release products quickly to ever larger groups of customers because it both improves the quality of the product faster (due to tons of feedback) and weaves that feedback into the narrative of the product in a way that makes customers feel a sense of ownership. I tried to do the same with the book.”

In other words, you can’t approach your book like a hobby project, you need to approach it like a business.

You may want to check out Taylor’s article “Jesus Marketing: How I Sold 5000 Books in Four Weeks As a First Time Author (With Less Than 700 Email Subscribers)” to learn what it takes to succeed as an author.

He also shares practical marketing strategies that worked for his book and might work for yours as well.


There’s no doubt that the lead generation strategies that we shared in this article work as long as you are willing to invest the required time, energy, and money.

Of course, you will also need patience, since it takes time to see results. But you will get results if you put in the work.

That being said, generating leads is just the beginning, you need to then convert those leads into customers and those customers into repeat customers.

Our co-founder, Russel Brunson, has created a system for that. It’s called the Value Ladder sales funnel. Want to learn more about it?

Our 5 Day Challenge will show you exactly how to implement it in your business.

You will learn how to:

  • Generate unlimited leads.
  • Create your first lead magnet.
  • Build your first sales funnel.
  • Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
  • And launch your funnel!

…in just five days.

So don’t hesitate.

Join our 5 Day Challenge. It’s completely free!

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