20 Online Lead Generation Hooks and Ideas

20 Online Lead Generation Hooks and Ideas

By: Amy Nedoss, Vice President and Co-Founder of OurHelix

Do you need to create more demand online?  Are you looking for ideas to get more leads to your website?  This list may help you do just that.

We’ll focus on actual lead generation ideas or hooks that a brand, business or organization can use to capture an online user’s contact information. The hook is the actual offer that entices the user to want to leave their contact information, on a simple online form before receiving the offer.   This is called gating your content.

Here are some ideas of ways to hook your leads and entice your site visitors to leave their information. 

Downloadable Content
Downloadable content is still a key tool for lead generation and can come in many formats. The most desirable is information that an audience finds relevant to them and helps them solve a problem.  

1. “How To” Guides. Create “how to …” content that your target audience needs to better understand and that positions you as an expert in your field.

2. Research and comparison stats. Provide stats that your target audience needs to conduct their business; and demonstrates your thought leadership with comparisons and your ideas for how to apply them. Charts are an easy way to communicate quickly and are easy for a user to pass along.

3. Slide shows and presentations. Use presentation formats to share your insight and ideas, rather than just another white paper or article. Slide shows are common practice, so add music, animation, and lots of imagery to make yours standout and leave an impression.

4. Webinars. Webinars often are a lot of work and expect a significant time commitment from the attendees. So, make the content relevant for the audience. Tie the engagement for the webinar to a Twitter hashtag and take the questions social.  Then, post the presentation on your website for others to download the presentation by leaving their contact information.  Checkout this Pinterest webinar presentation showing what Pinterest is and how businesses can use it to drive their online traffic.

5. Forms and Templates. Templates or forms that are relevant and well done often see a lot of social sharing and buzz.

6. Packages or Kits. Take a few different content formats that you’ve already created around a similar topic, like a slideshow or a webinar, a research article and a form template and package them together. Offer those 3 items as a single downloadable resource package or kit.

The difference between white papers and eBooks.

7. White papers. White papers vary in length, but are often 4 to 12 pages. They are usually more formal, text focused, researched or data centric and are based on a specific outcome. Some companies like to do white papers that focus on a case study related to a brand or business.

8. eBooks. eBooks can be any length, but typically are 10+ pages and they are more casual in tone, have more graphics, more of a focus on engagement and have a stronger perceived value than a white paper. eBooks have become like the trendy sister to the white paper. They are often designed with their content to be in sections with big headlines for a reader to take a “birds eye view” and scan the sections that interest them. This is an example of a recent eBook you may find helpful, The Social Media Metrics Repertoire You Want, What to Measure and How To Do It.

Use video or podcasts to communicate your message and reinforce your brand personality. For example, with video use a more playful animated look to portray a casual approachable personality. For more information on video checkout this article Video Messaging: The Differences and How To Use It.
Below are a variety of video types to consider.

9. Informative or “How to….” Presentation videos. Informational videos can be about your brand, to demo your product or service, an industry-wide issue or trend relevant to your target audience. Help the viewer solve their problem.

10. Interview videos. Interview others or interview the experts from your team to strengthen the viewer’s connection and sense of relationship to your brand.

11. Offer videos. Make a promotional offers or run a contest and use video to share your message and move your audience toward an action.

12. Testimonial videos. Videos featuring testimonials or accolades from customers or partners lend credibility and advocacy for your brand.

13. Podcasts. A podcast is usually an audio file, but there are video and PDF podcast files also, and the user downloads the file from the Internet. Often, those who are in the car or traveling a lot use podcast downloads in place of traditional radio or music. Podcasts can pertain to any type of topic and can vary in length.


Online sign-ups or registrations for an event, a presentation or other types of activities provide opportunities to capture data and for the brand to reinforce their expertise on a topic.

14. Live Chat. Live chats are mainstream. Today’s consumer is groomed for instant gratification. Live chats are actual discussions typed into an online tool found on a website that connects a site user immediately with a representative from a business or organization. The representative is available to answer any questions immediately.

Live Chats are easy to staff for even small businesses because the questions can auto-flow to a key representative’s mobile device for an immediate response, if that person is multi-taking. Most Live Chats post hours of operation.  Those Live Chats that are well run are consistent in service, quick, helpful, resourceful and available. We love Mail Chimp’s Live Chat for all these reasons!

15. Forums. Forums are online discussions where attendees can have conversations around a specific topic by posting messages. Forums are different from chat rooms or live chats because they often include more of a discussion or longer replies and messages from the participants. Forums also archive their replies for a period of time. Chat rooms or live chats are usually only one or two lines asking or answering a question and are typically not archived. Forums are easy to find for most brands and services.  This is an example of a popular gardening forum by Oh My Bloom.

16. Mini eCourse. An eCourse can be self-paced, structured with a single module or a series of modules and classes. eCoures are attractive because they allow an individual to come-and-go based on their schedule. The topics are typically informative and often focus on a “How to…” approach pertaining to a subject of interest to the audience. Consider a mini eCourses that you could offer. Test performance and if it works well then try a multi-series that requires payment and provides classroom style materials, to position your brand as an expert and provides an additional revenue stream. KimKlassen.com does a good job of offering various “how to…” eCourses.

17. Event registration. Events can require a lot of preparation and planning. Webinars can also be considered events and require attendees to register. Consider creative ways to engage the audience and provide an actual deliverable that can be created during the webinar or event.  List deliverables in the marketing message to differentiate your event from

18. Contest registration. Registering for a contest requires a user to leave their contact information.  It’s an age-old marketing tactic, but when the prize is relevant and desired by the audience, it still works.

Site Optimization

The two very basic lead generation hooks seem so obvious, but they are often buried in sites and overlooked. See what you could do better with the placement and optimization of the SignUp and Contact Us tools.

19. Subscription or signup call-to-actions. Subscriptions are plentiful, but websites often either under-utilize or over-utilize the tool. Clearly communicate the benefits of signing up. The placement of a subscription or signup button is often only on a home page or buried. Ensure these call-to-actions are effectively placed and repeated through the site experience, including at the end of every blog post entry.

20. Contact Us call-to-actions. Although it seems obvious, the Contact Us call-to-action is often buried or not readily available. Repeat this call-to-action throughout the site and test different techniques to see what performs best. For example ask the site visitor to contact your brand for a free consultation, a free trial, a demo, a downloadable offer or enter a reward/recognition program.  Starbucks does a good job by creating a separate landing page full of call to-actions to engage their online visitors with their reward program and brand. 
Although many lead generation tactics may not be anything new to you, many businesses still are not always optimizing them. Review how you are using them, if you are using them, and what you can improve on.

Do you have any unique ways for using these and other lead generation tactics?   What has performed well for your brand?

Amy Nedoss, OurHelix,  Co-Founder & Vice President

OurHelix is a high-touch digital agency that integrates the web, social and mobile with CRM into marketing platform solutions and campaigns that help businesses obtain more leads and convert them into customers.  We get to know our clients’ brands and businesses, their visions and their goals; then formulate a game-plan that architects the right digital environment and tools to get them there. For more information, contact Amy at amy.nedoss@ourhelix.com