Hannah Stewart
Hannah Stewart | October 25, 2018
VP Global Marketing

Whether it’s post-GDPR lead generation or simply trying to build a database, good lead capture strategies are a vital part of your website.

When some e-commerce marketers look at the customer journeys on their website, there’s usually a fairly obvious end goal: the conversion. This misses a huge opportunity at the higher end of the funnel – lead capture.

Over the last year, we’ve seen lead generation become a huge priority for many of our clients as privacy laws such as GDPR have seen marketing databases decimated and marketers looking for fast and effective ways to rebuild them.

So what’s the secret to effective lead capture? Well, there are actually seven – and they’re all listed below.

1. Limit your use of CTAs

Less really is more. Some think that using more calls-to-action increases the likelihood of lead capture – the exact opposite is often true.

Pulling visitors in too many different directions can overwhelm them, causing them to stall and take no action at all. Even worse, it could be an annoyance and result in many potential leads exiting your site quickly and without converting.

You might be surprised at how well just one or two optimized and strategically-placed CTAs or overlays can perform. Turnbull and Asser’s double overlay campaign, created with the Yieldify Conversion Platform, is an excellent example of this. It generated more than 100 new leads for the company in just one month!

Turnbull and Asser lead capture example

The first overlay was a subscription form for the company’s email newsletter. The second revealed a free shipping code that could only be seen once an email address had been submitted. It was simple, but effective.

2. Timing is everything

Your success rate in lead capture has a lot to do with WHEN you ask for the lead.

If you introduce it too soon, before visitors have shown an interest in engaging further with your business, you run the risk of losing them before they’ve had the chance to learn about you.

That in mind, it’s amazing how many businesses will still launch a lead capture overlay on entry asking the user to subscribe to their newsletter. At Yieldify, we’ll counsel against this in almost all be the most exceptional cases – why ask someone to subscribe to something they’ve had no time to understand?

A far better option is to target someone who’s exiting the page – after all, what have you got to lose from somebody who was going to abandon anyway? Offer a good incentive (it doesn’t have to be discounting) for them to hand over their email address and stay in touch.

3. Be clear

The rules of engagement for asking for someone’s data have changed a lot recently with the introduction of GDPR – being clear about what you’re asking for and why is no longer just best practice, it’s the law.

Effective lead capture demands complete clarity on three key things:

  1. What data you’re asking for (email address, name, birthday?)
  2. What you’re going to do with it (newsletter, sale announcements?)
  3. What’s in it for the customer (discounts, early access etc. – this is the most important part)

In imitation of Rum21 during its Cyber Week campaign, use headers, bold lettering, and complementary visuals that don’t clash with or distract from the text. If appropriate, you can also use a timer or similar feature to create the sense of urgency that so often contributes to effective lead capture.

4. Keep your forms simple

Classic conversion rate optimization practices also apply to lead capture. Generally, the longer the form, the fewer submissions you’ll receive.

It’s, therefore, best to keep your forms as simple as possible. Remember that when it comes to lead capture, your target audience is high up in the funnel – they’re not at the stage of trust and engagement to give you their life’s story. Ask for simple information now and you’ll be able to nurture that relationship to a stage when you can ask for more data later.

In many cases, as UK card retailer Scribbler demonstrates, an email address is often sufficient to get your foot in the door:

Scribbler lead capture case study

5. Target sparingly

Asking long-time customers or subscribers to sign-up to your newsletter is both pointless and annoying. As well as asking at the right time, you need to be asking the right people: this is where smart targeting comes in.

First of all, avoid asking those who have already subscribed or are existing customers.

Secondly, think about targeting those new visitors somewhere in their customer journey where they’re engaged enough to potentially want to hand over their details but no so engaged that a lead capture message might distract them from the greater conversion of purchasing. For example, you could target someone who’s not yet added anything to cart but has already clicked through to a category page.

6. Offer the right incentive

In the case of lead capture, incentivising doesn’t have to mean offering discounts. Offering discounts such as 10% off a first order can be a great way to answer the question of “what’s in it for me?”, but if it’s not an option that your margins give you, there are other ways.

One option could be to promise early access to sales or to be the first in line to hear about new announcements – creating exclusivity can be just as powerful as a financial incentive if positioned clearly.

7. Be mobile-friendly

The amount of browsing that happens on mobile is growing year by year – but it remains a much harder place to get your visitors to convert than desktop. This goes not just for purchases, but for lead capture too.

Ironically, mobile is also where lead capture is the most important. Mobile visitors are more likely to be browsing on the fly and not in a position to commit to big decisions or purchases (hence a lower conversion rate) – this makes it all the more important to capture their details so that you can continue that conversation with them.

The problem is that on mobile, your visitors are literally all thumbs. Forms are much harder to complete when typing on a mobile, so in addition to the other principles listed above, you need to:

  1. Have a well-tested and responsive site so that forms appear when and how they’re supposed to
  2. Keep data fields as minimal as possible
  3. Enable autofill if you can

Lead capture: in conclusion

Any marketer knows that good leads are worth their weight in gold and that they’re more expensive than ever to come by.

Asking for data is now a conversation that’s as weighted and valuable as asking for money – and viewing it in a similar way to optimizing for purchases can actually be helpful to your lead strategy:

  1. Target carefully. Asking the wrong person at the wrong time is offputting
  2. Deliver value in exchange for data – and be clear about what that is
  3. Make it easy. You wouldn’t want your customer to jump through hoops to spend money, so why make lead capture any harder?

At Yieldify, we’ve run thousands of lead capture campaigns for clients all over the world. If you’d like to see how our experience and tech can help you with your strategy, click here to get a free demo.