A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

It was meant to be so easy, huh? You heard about the importance of building an email list. How it helps build an audience. Nurture leads. And develop relationships with them too.

And they said it’s so simple. Just put up a form on a site and watch signups rolling in.

Yeah, right…

It’s just that a month later you still haven’t had even a single subscriber. You see, lead generation isn’t that simple. For one, most visitors need an incentive that’d compel them to sign up.

In this post however I’ll show you exactly how to use incentives to generate more leads.

But first…

Why Incentives?

The easiest way to define an incentive is as something that motivates a person to take action. Study after study has proven that we respond predictably to positive or negative incentives.

For instance, a research by the Society of Incentive & Travel Executives (SITE) found that only 8% of the surveyed workers would have achieved their goals without an incentive program.

A study by the Incentive Research Foundation discovered that incentives can boost an individual’s performance by 22%.

Incentives affect not only our performance but brand loyalty too. A study from the Global Journal of Management and Business Studies for instance revealed that we’re willing to abandon our favorite brands when presented with f irresistible offers.

But why incentives work? It’s actually quite simple, they make taking the decision to perform a certain action easier.

When it comes to online marketing, an incentive is typically some attractive element like a bonus, offer or promise designed to stimulate a desired action.

And it works.

Marketing Week for instance reports that 40% of web visitors are willing to sign up to a mailing list in return for something of value.

But What Incentives to Offer to Generate Leads?

Typically, such incentives (otherwise known as lead magnets) could be split into three distinct categories:

Educational Incentives

These are educational resources you could offer in exchange for a person’s email and other personal details.

Examples of these lead magnets include:


I know what you’re thinking – who has time to write an eBook?! But your blog is bursting full of articles that can be combined  and repurposed into an attractive eBook. Using a tool like Beacon this process can take just 90 seconds from start to finish.


A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives


A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

Email courses

A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

These incentives work because they:

  • They offer knowledge the person lacks.
  • Promise to solve a particular problem.
  • Are easy to consume almost right away, providing an instant gratification after signing up.

Reward Based Incentives

These incentives include competitions or coupons and are the most common in eCommerce. Reward based incentives award certain types of behavior, for instance:

  • They offer a chance to win a prize in exchange for an email signup,
  • Liking a Facebook page,
  • Signing up for a newsletter, or
  • Spreading the word about a brand or competition.

Tool Based Incentives

The last group are tools companies create in order to generate awareness but also, attract potential buyers.

For instance, a while ago Hubspot released their Marketing Grader allowing anyone to grade their website’s marketing effectiveness.

But it’s not only apps that make great tool based incentives.

Templates, checklists, Excel worksheets and many others are other examples of tool based incentives. Whitespark, a local search company for instance created a Review Handout Generator, a template for companies that want to give their customers instructions on how to review them on Google.

Inbound Interactive built a Local SEO generator that outputs a set of local SEO recommendations tailored to the person’s business… in return for their contact details of course.

How to Offer Your Incentive and Generate Leads?

Once you’ve selected your incentive type, it’s time to serve it to visitors and convert at least some of them into subscribers.

To fully understand how lead generation works, let’s examine the actual process a visitor’s going to take from the moment they land on the page to signing up.

A visitor lands on a page and reads the content.

1) They see a call to action offering the incentive. We’re going to discuss how to display it for them shortly in the post.

2) They click on the CTA and get redirected to the incentive’s landing page, like this one. 

3) This page typically includes a form they have to fill in plus additional information on the incentive.

Once done, they get what the incentive’s promised – a resource they could download or inclusion in a draw etc.

And so, to successfully generate leads with incentives you’d need 3 elements:

  • A content that’s going to attract qualified visitors.
  • A Call to Action to let them know about the incentive.
  • A Landing page to convert them.

In this guide we’re going to focus on elements no. 2 & 3 – call to action and landing page.

Communicating the Incentive – Call to Action

There’s a number of ways to communicate your incentive. The most common are:

Displaying a static ad in the sidebar

This is in fact the most common way to do it that you could see on most of the blogs.
A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

Using a scrolling ad

The problem with a static ad is that once the reader scrolls down the page, it disappears from their sight. To overcome it, you could use a scrolling ad, one that moves as readers goes deeper into the content.
A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

Display a HelloBar

HelloBar allows you to place a colored bar across the top of the browser’s window to communicate whatever incentive you offer.
A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

Using a Pop-Up

This is another highly common method. Use a pop up that will display after a visitor has spent certain amount of time on a page or performed a specific action.
A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

Banner Under the Post

Finally, many sites also display banners under the post. Some of these include signup form right away, others link to the landing page.
A Guide to Generating More Leads with Incentives

Landing Page

The second element is a landing page. That’s what your visitor’s going to see when they click on the incentive based Call to Action.

There’s tons of advice on how to design a compelling landing page, from headlines, copy to calls to action.

For the purpose of this post, let me just run through some of the most important elements.

Remove any distractions from the page. Since the goal of the page is to generate conversions, make sure that you remove anything that could distract a visitor from achieving the goal.

Test different form lengths. It can be tempting to ask a visitor to provide all kinds of information for the lead magnet. But in truth, the less field you include on the form, the better it will convert.

Having said that, if your lead magnet has a high perceived value, you could ask for more information.

Keep your page short and form above the fold. Although it’s not a given, when you’re tying to convert users to mailing list, it’s better to keep landing pages short, providing only the most required information.

And, that’s it… the process of generating leads with incentives.

What Do You Think?

Could you see yourself using incentives to generate leads? Or have you tried using incentives in lead generation before?

Share your opinions with us in the comments.