Look, we all know that generating sales is what counts when all’s said and done. But you can’t expect your visitors to be so easily persuaded that they take one look at your site and think, “Yep, I gotta get me some of that.” While that instant sell isn’t totally outside the realm of possibility, it’s more likely to be a rarity than a universal reaction to your site.
Even though your visitors aren’t all chomping at the bit to fork over their dough right away, that doesn’t mean they won’t eventually. If Salesforce is to be believed, it generally takes between six and eight touches to nurture a lead before they’re ready to commit to a purchase. It just takes time to win them over.
Rather than sit back and hope that you’re creating enough high-value content to draw those leads back to your site six more times, you can take matters into your own hands. By utilizing various lead generation techniques on your site, you’ll empower visitors to opt-in to communications from you.
And it’s through these regular communications (i.e. emails and newsletters) that you’ll be able to build a relationship with them, passively wooing them until they’re ready to buy.
Of course, you don’t want to spend too much time building those lead generation forms or collecting that information yourself. So, obviously, I’m going to talk about the most effective lead generation plugins for WordPress today.
Using Lead Generation Plugins to Woo Your Visitors (and Turn Them Into Paying Customers)
Content marketing reminds me an awful lot like dating.
- Your web design is like the outward façade you work so hard to perfect in order to give off the best first impression.
- Your content is like the dating profile you write in the hopes of attracting mates that fit your personality, lifestyle, and goals well.
- Your contact form is like the first move. “Hey, I’m totally digging this, but want to talk a bit more before we go out. Is that cool?”
Email then becomes the tool you use to express how serious you are about this potential connection. You take a look over his or her profile again, assess whether you really think this will be a good fit, and then you wait three weeks to reach out because, well, you thought it would be best to play hard-to-get. (Doh.)
Don’t wait three weeks to email! Don’t even wait three days! If your visitors actively share their contact information with you, you better do something with it—something meaningful, something valuable, and something that shows them that they’re on the top of your mind… and that you hope you’re still on the top of theirs.
Before I hop into the list of lead generation plugins, I do want to quickly note that you should have either a CRM or an email marketing solution set up first. In the dating world, we have apps that help us collect our “leads” and keep them organized. When it comes to lead generation for your site, you’ll want to automate the collection of this information, too. All these CRM and lead generation tools may cost you extra, but, trust me, they’ll save you money in the long run.
So, with that out of the way, let’s take a look at the most effective lead generation plugins available for WordPress.
When many people think of “lead generation”, they automatically think of slick and exciting popups that can grab the attention of visitors at just the right moment. But lead generation is more than that.
Sometimes the simplest of contact forms—like a newsletter subscription field in the footer of your site—is all visitors need to compel them to sign up. So, before you do anything else, be sure to have a trusty contact form plugin like Ninja Forms to add lead generating capabilities to the content of your site.
Here are just some of the reasons why you’ll want to try this one:
- The form builder tool is super easy to use.
- Every element of the form can be controlled and they’ll even prompt you for fields you might not have considered.
- Integrates with more than just your CRM or email platform. Will integrate with payment gateways, too, if your visitors are ready for that.
- Easy for both non-tech savvy users and developers to use, which means you can customize as little or as much as you want.
Seems very fitting that I should include Hustle on this, what with this plugin being the smooth operator it is.
Seriously, though, if you’re looking for a simple-to-use and smart popup plugin in your lead generation efforts, you can’t get any better than Hustle. Here are just some of the reasons why:
- Awesome customization options, so you can create popups, slide-ins, widgets, or embeds that work with your branded content.
- Targets popups to visitors under the most perfect of circumstances (e.g. exit-intent).
- Targets popups to visitors based on other factors like geography or referral source.
- Integrates with most major email and social platforms, like MailChimp and Campaign Monitor.
- Includes built-in analytics.
While there are a number of high-quality page builder plugins available for WordPress, they weren’t really made with the sole purpose of creating landing pages. When your main goal is to drive traffic to a custom sales page, you should use a plugin that takes the guesswork out of how to design an effective landing page that’s guaranteed to generate leads (if not sales). Thrive Themes’ Landing Pages plugin was built specifically for this reason.
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Here are just some of the reasons why you’ll want to try this one:
- Has an intuitive drag-and-drop builder.
- Includes over 150 conversion-optimized templates.
- The plugin also comes chockful of customization capabilities, so you don’t have to rely on Thrive Themes’ designs, layout, or pre-filled content.
- Integrates with your email marketing service.
- Includes specific elements known to work on landing pages like countdown timers, testimonials, and feature grids.
OptinMonster may perhaps be the most well-known lead generation plugin on this list, but I’m arguing that it belongs here for the A/B testing that comes with it.
Most of the lead gen plugins you find for WordPress won’t really look that far ahead. Instead, they’re focused on the short game: to help you build your lead gen elements and get them on your site quickly. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. We need these plugins to do the heavy lifting for us. However, it’s nice to see that OptinMonster has thought about what you do after those popups, slide-ins, and floating bars are launched.
If you’re not A/B testing the rest of your site, you should at least do it for this part of it. Lead generation can be a tricky bugger and you’ll want to get it right.
Here are some more reasons why OptinMonster is a smart choice:
- Comes with a drag-and-drop builder to ease the process of creating your opt-in forms.
- Like with Hustle, OptinMonster offers a variety of form types.
- Targeting can focus on visitor behavior (like exit-intent), visitor characteristics (like location), or the actual content of the page on which they landed.
- Can create mobile-specific popups.
- Includes the A/B split testing feature as well as its own analytics tool.
There are a number of ways you can go about generating leads on your WordPress website, as you can see from the options above. However, there’s something about Sumo’s multi-pronged approach that doesn’t seem as pre-packaged and vanilla as some of the others. For instance, here are the main solutions currently offered by the plugin:
- Lightbox popups that integrate with most major email service providers.
- A full-page “welcome mat” call-to-action screen.
- Scroll-triggered popups.
- A floating hello bar that can serve a variety of purposes, including lead generation, navigation, social media promotion, and more.
In addition to offering these lead generation elements, Sumo also includes a heat mapping tool and analytics. This way, you can more quickly and effectively assess the performance of your lead gen efforts and tweak them all from within the same tool.
As I mentioned earlier, lead generation is no quick sprint. It takes time to really nurture your leads to conversion, so make sure you have the right tools in place to streamline the process and cut down on any unnecessary work on your end. This means using a lead generation plugin to collect the leads from your site and a CRM to organize the information.
Once you have those in place, it’s up to you to craft engaging email newsletters to foster that relationship up to and after the sale. And if you’re feeling shy about reaching out to your leads, don’t be. They want to hear from you. They wouldn’t have given you their email address in the first place if they didn’t.