Secrets To Generate Leads Effectively Through Content Upgrades and Useful Tools

Do you want to generate (more) leads?

What is your strategy to achieve this goal?

Many (inbound) marketers rely on the production of content for this. Unfortunately, they forget that not every content is suitable for generating leads (keyword: demand generation).

It would also be far too easy, when more content would automatically result in more leads.

The solution is to create specific content to generate leads and then to create that content in the context of individual articles to offer – in the form of so-called Content Upgrades.

Because if users are already interested in an article, there is a high probability that they are also interested in more in-depth content. Ideally, so much so that they reveal personal data such as their name or email address.

But do you already know how content upgrades work, how to create them and where ideally to place them?

In this article you will learn…

The estimated reading time of the entire article is attached about ten minutes. You should plan about three minutes for commenting and another minute for sharing via Twitter & Co. 😉

Simply put, content upgrades are nothing more than “bonus content” that the user can download for free in exchange for personally identifiable information.

For us marketers, it is therefore about lead generation.

Content Upgrades differ from the typical “Lead Magnets” above all because of their contextual reference. There is usually a concrete connection between the content and the upgrade offered in it. Usually this acts as a supplement or deepening. The translation in the sense of “upgrade” or “expand” already expresses this relationship.

Due to the lack of relevance, Lead Magnets rather offered on “neutral ground” – for example globally in the blog sidebar or as general mailbait on a blog’s homepage, such as Tim Soulo:

The target groups are also different: while lead magnets are intended to convert new visitors into leads, they serve Content upgrades to intensify the relationship with regular readers (regular readers).

Additional Benefits of Content Upgrades

They are in the usually smaller and k can thus be produced more frequently, i.e. in larger quantities. This multiplies the total number of contact points and thus your chances of lead generation. However, quality ALWAYS comes before quantity!

They are currently (keyword: micro moment) more relevant for your reader because they are related to the content consumed. This increases the interest of your readers and their willingness to disclose personal data in exchange.

As a result, lead generation can be increased enormously through content upgrades.

Clay Collins, co-founder of LeadPages, has spoken in the past of an increase in the conversion rate by up to to 500%. Brian Harris (VideoFruit), Tim Soulo (BloggerJet) and Brian Dean (backlinko) achieve similarly good results. The latter even reached 785% – although the absolute numbers are not quite as impressive: from 0.54% to 4.82%.

In the end it’s the sum that counts …

Why are content upgrades so rarely used for lead generation?

Good question…

Most publishers probably balk at the extra work involved. After all, they already invest a lot of time and money in the production of the “planned” content.

An upgrade takes less time than you might think If LeadPages’ Will Hoekenga has his way, it shouldn’t take more than an hour anyway.

Maybe there’s also a lack of technology to Use content upgrades effectively and efficiently for lead generation. I could imagine that it often fails due to automation.

Whatever it is, it’s just an excuse.

Because let’s be honest: what leads wants to generate and has written this goal on his agenda, he cannot avoid content upgrades. They’re just too effective. In my opinion, content upgrades are a mandatory part of inbound marketing.

Isn’t it even more effective to produce less “basic content” (for example blog article), but to deliver a suitable upgrade every time? In this way, every single article contributes to your goal of “generate leads”. And directly measurable!

What makes good content upgrades from?

The requirements for content upgrades are varied.

The length or circumference are, contrary to what might be expected, less important. It doesn’t always have to be a lengthy e-book or a page-long guide. The spice is often in the brevity. Especially with regard to checklists and worksheets, one or two pages are sufficient, after all, the user wants to become active as quickly as possible. The added value is decisive.

The optics are also decisive, i.e. the Design of your content upgrade; but also those of your click triggers. There are enough tools for image editing on the web, you can find an overview of the most important ones here. And don’t forget to use attractive images (e.g. from free image databases).

Another success factor of content upgrades is the Divisibility in terms of recommendations (the so-called “shareability”). You can influence this, for example, by integrating click-to-tweets or direct sharing links.

Finally, it is recommended to integrate another call-to-action within the content upgrade. After all, we don’t want to lose the user after they download our upgrade. At best, we redirect them back to our website and offer them further relevant content. In the long run, we guide them through the marketing or sales funnel. And there comes a time when we pitch our products or services instead of a content upgrade.

Where is the best place to integrate content upgrades?

When asked where you should integrate your content upgrades, I have two answers:

Analyze your existing content and focus on those pages that show the greatest potential. These are usually the ones that generate a lot of traffic but have not yet converted – for whatever reason.

I describe how exactly you analyze your pages in my article on historical content optimization. You may remember this graph: 

In the case of Google Analytics, you can find the necessary data under Behaviour » Website Content » Landing Pages.

This is where new visitors get in and this is where you have to get them directly to you tie; ‘Cause who knows if they’ll ever come back.

Test the placement within this content )and design of the element that the user should click to be redirected to the landing page or to open the form popup. This so-called “click trigger” is usually a button, but can also be a descriptive image or simple inline text. Or a mixture, such as KammannRossi use: 

Remember that not all users read to the end. It can make a big difference whether you promote your content upgrade at the beginning of your article or only at the end.

As a second step, a click on your trigger opens the pop-up with the form in which interested parties can register. The advantage of this method is that it looks like giving at first. Directly visible forms, on the other hand, are more likely to be perceived as taking and tend to be ignored.

Tools like SumoMe (especially the List Builder) are particularly effective for lead generation, as they determine the best time to display a popup or slideup. Ideally, this increases the conversion rate of all content upgrades.

Other tools for integrating content upgrades are LeadPages, OptinMonster, various WordPress Plugins as well as larger software suites such as HubSpot.

A content upgrade is only as good as the environment in which it is offered.

6 ideas for your next content upgrade

It doesn’t always have to be new and extraordinary, sometimes “practical” is enough. Two questions play a central role here:

  • How (by what) can I increase the value of the original content?
  • What format is best for this?

The second question is relatively easy to answer as long as you understand aspects or consider the necessary data volume.

For the first question, however, you need more time, because you only get really valid answers when you analyze the market. For example, by polling your own readers or reviewing comments on similar articles. The more opinions you can capture, the better.

And of course even better if you get a certain feedback multiple times.

Once you have decided on an idea and the right format, you can start production.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Create a list of tools or resources that add a practical component to a theoretical contribution, for example. The effort for curating such a list is usually limited for you. However, it is very valuable to your readers. Because they don’t know the individual tools as well as you do and can therefore simply rely on your recommendation.
  2. Support your readers with worksheets, checklists and instructions, for example when entering a new topic. It doesn’t always have to be time-consuming, illustrated instructions with screenshots are often sufficient. For example to set up a new WordPress plugin.
  3. Complete your content, for example by expanding lists with further points in a content upgrade or by scientifically underpinning an article with outsourced case studies, so to speak.
  4. Prepare existing content contextually to expand an article thematically. You certainly have one or the other evergreen content in the archive that your readers don’t know yet, but which is perfect as supplementary reading.
  5. Producing upgrades through content recycling is probably the most efficient method. Kevin McGrath explains in the SumoMe blog how you can generate added value simply by changing formats. For example, long blog articles are summarized on one page, article series bundled into an e-book.

You can probably upgrade to lead generation much easier hardly create, right? 🙂

Make your reader’s work easier by providing them with templates to download. Design templates (e.g. open Photoshop files or Powerpoint templates) are particularly in demand, but these upgrades are also welcome in development (code snippets) and other areas.

Use webinar recordings which are not freely available – unlike most podcasts we can find on Soundcloud or iTunes. This is not a big additional effort for you either, assuming that you are holding the webinars live anyway.

Tools for creating content upgrades

Especially in lead management, those responsible for marketing attach great importance to efficiency. Because without defined processes and (at least partially) automated workflows, the work quickly degenerates and becomes a Sisyphean task.

We always strive for this level of efficiency as a matter of principle also during the actual lead generation. The cost-benefit ratio of content upgrades must be right.

But how much effort is really necessary?

As mentioned at the beginning, not much. But that also depends to a large extent on the tools used.

OptinMonster has put together a very good list, which I would like to share with you at this point recommend: 10 Tools to Help You Create Quality Content Upgrades. In addition, standard software such as Microsoft Office or Google Docs or Presentation is of course also suitable for creating upgrades.

A tool I’m currently testing myself, is beacon. With it you can – according to your own information – convert blog articles into “professional lead magnets” in just a few minutes. The tool is particularly interesting due to the integration with HubSpot and WordPress.

Conclusion: Content upgrades are perfect for generating leads, but…

Finally, I want to emphasize one more important thing:

Content upgrades serve to generate leads from a marketing point of view, but should primarily for the interested party. Upgrades that do not provide real added value harbor a risk of damaging your reputation that should not be underestimated.

Likewise your credibility and the trust of your Reader.

Think carefully about what you offer and observe the reactions.

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