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March 10, 2020

6 Lead Capture Methods That Won’t Annoy Your Audience (With Examples)

You’ve worked hard to get traffic flowing to your website, but how are you turning that traffic into revenue?

You need a way to capture leads’ email opt-in as they visit your site.

Traditionally, this is done using form-gated content: asking visitors to fill out a form in exchange for a piece of content (eBook, video, guide, etc.).

Form-gated content placed globally on your website is no longer effective. It doesn’t offer content at the optimal time in a personalized way. It’s time to get creative and actually provide value to your audience.

Read on to discover 6 proven lead capture methods with real-world examples. Or, skip ahead using the links below.

Method #1: Chatbots

Method #2: Interactive Content

Method #3: Educational Email Series

Method #4: Exit Intent Pop-Ups

Method #5: End-of-Content Pop-Ups

Method #6: Content Upgrades

Method #1: Chatbots

Chatbots are a great way to replace forms. They ask users for details as the conversation progresses, reducing friction and streamlining data collection. They also offer an opportunity to qualify and segment your leads entering your CRM.

The chatbot asks for an email address as a part of the conversation. In the example below, the chatbot is offering to send a brochure related to the user’s question. This is a natural way to ask for an email address.

You can also set-up a series of qualifying questions so that leads automatically get sent to the appropriate sales resource. Alternatively, they can be forwarded to another funnel if the prospect is not a qualified lead.

In the example above, the chatbot determined that the company size was too small to qualify as a good sales lead. The bot referred them to a webpage tailored for companies their size instead of alerting a sales rep unnecessarily.

Most popular chatbots integrate with your CRM and marketing automation platforms to create leads instantly.

I see chatbots as a win-win. Your website visitors get instant customer service in a non-intrusive way, and you convert anonymous visitors into qualified leads, automatically.

Method #2: Interactive Content

Interactive content like quizzes and online tools are some of the most effective lead capture tools.

For example, when you visit marketing blogger Neil Patel’s website, you’re served a full-screen quiz with a compelling title. I particularly love that he includes the time it takes to complete the quiz, making it more compelling to try.

You’re then asked a series of qualifying questions…

The last step of the quiz prompts you to enter your email address in order to receive your results.

Neil Patel produces a lot of content about SEO and it’s safe to say that increasing website traffic is a key concern for his audience. This quiz directly targets that need.

Another tactic is to offer a free tool that is specifically useful to your audience.

ActiveCampaign does a great job of this with their Email Subject Line Generator. Email automation is a big feature of their platform, so this tool is highly relevant.

Click on “Generate subject lines” and fill in your keyword…

If you scroll through the subject line suggestions, you get to a subscription banner asking for your email address.

This is particularly well done because the email capture is relevant to the tool and therefore the lead’s interest. Instead of simply asking for a newsletter subscription, they call out that the reader can expect more advice regarding subject lines.

Hubspot is an expert at this. They have an entire suite of free tools and templates that ultimately ask users for their email address. They also work to rank these tools highly on search engines, meaning that the free tools drive traffic and capture leads.

Method #3: Educational Email Series

This is an alternative to the traditional “sign up for the newsletter” lead capture. An educational email series is a short (3-5 emails) email funnel that teaches the reader about a relevant topic. The information should be highly valuable to your audience.

U.K. plant delivery startup, Patch, sells low-maintenance house plants. Their audience is made up of self-proclaimed “plant killers” who lack a green thumb. Understanding this, Patch created an email series to help people keep their plants alive.

Instead of asking website visitors to sign up for your newsletter, offering an educational email series is a more compelling offer. A newsletter subscription can be ambiguous. An educational email series addresses a specific need and feels personalized.

Method #4: Exit Intent Pop-Ups

We’ve all had this experience before. You arrive at a website only to be greeted by a large pop-up asking you to subscribe to a newsletter. You haven’t had the chance to look at the webpage yet and you haven’t received any value from the brand. Why should you sign up for their newsletter?

A less annoying approach is to use an exit-intent pop-up. This is a pop-up that only appears when a visitor goes to leave (or “bounce”) from your website or landing page.

Here’s a clever example from Wishpond offering their pop-up creation tool to visitors leaving the page.

More commonly, this can be used to ask users to subscribe to your newsletter.

Pro tip: tailor your pop-up’s copy to match the page it displays on. For example, see how GQ’s pop-up displays on a blog post titled “How to Talk to Your Barber and Get the Haircut You Really Want”. Any time you make the effort to personalize an offer, your conversions will benefit.

Method #5: End-of-Content Pop-Ups

In similar thinking, consider presenting a pop-up at the end of your content.

Most visitors want to validate that a brand has quality content before they sign up for more. Let your visitors read your content first and then ask them to sign up for your newsletter at the moment they reach the bottom of your content.

Because the pop-up is presented at the end of your content, it works like a CTA and gives the visitor direction. In this way, it converts well and can even convert visitors who were unwilling to subscribe at the beginning.

Or even more subtly…

This last example works well because the pop-up is presented in the reader’s direct line of sight. It appears right next to the text being read in the article.

Method #6: Content Upgrades

A content upgrade is gated content that is nested inside of a free piece of content. The upgraded content piece should be highly relevant to the specific content that the person is already reading or listening to on your website.

While a website visitor reads your latest blog post, they’ll see an offer embedded into the post offering more relevant information.

Clicking the link brings us to a landing page for HubSpot’s Subject Line eBook.

Clicking Download Now brings you to the lead capture form.

If you want your content upgrade offer to be even more obvious, you can highlight it with a box like this:

A content upgrade in an article about content upgrades… very meta.

Regardless, content upgrades are a relevant way to present your gated content. Simply posting a form-gated eBook on your global website won’t attract the right people at the right time. Incorporating it into a blog post or video on the same topic is a much more targeted approach.


There you have it! 6 lead capture methods that won’t annoy your audience.

It goes without saying that today’s audience expects a high degree of personalization and impeccable timing. Simply asking for an email address for a newsletter subscription or in exchange for free content won’t cut it anymore.

Each of the methods in this article capitalize on presenting a content offer at the right time to the right person in a way that feels helpful rather than intrusive.

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