The 4 Components of Successful Lead Generation CTAs

by Sid Bharath

Last updated on May 28th, 2018

Here’s something you need to accept. You can’t convert every visitor to your site into a customer. At least not the first time. Even if you have targeted traffic coming in, some people are bound to leave your site without purchasing anything.

You see, some of the people who leave probably find your product or service interesting. That’s why they came to your site in the first place. They’re just not motivated enough at that moment, for whatever reason, to open up their wallets. In conversion rate optimization lingo, they might be at the interest stage.

So instead of letting them go, why not try to convert them into leads? Most businesses focus so much on converting visitors directly into customers that they don’t pay attention to the steps in between.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t sell. You just need a fall-back plan if someone doesn’t buy, namely, capturing their e-mails.

It all starts with a lead generation form and a Call-To-Action. Many businesses just have a little e-mail entry form tucked somewhere. They treat it as a formality, something to add to their site because other people are doing it.

Successful businesses, on the other hand, know the value of a good CTA. They know that it’s the only way for them to convert visitors into leads, and so they put more effort into optimizing it for conversions.

It’s time you started taking your CTA seriously too. A successful, high-converting CTA has 4 important components. Making sure your CTA covers each of these components will drastically increase the number of leads you collect.


The hook catches the leads. Visitors who come to your site, and aren’t buying anything, have no real reason to hang around anymore. So why should they leave their e-mail address behind? No one wants yet another newsletter from a company that hasn’t grabbed their attention yet.

That means you need to give them something enticing. Something that’s valuable to them, valuable enough that they’ll give you their e-mail IDs. That’s the hook.

The hook forms the core of your lead generation CTA. Without the hook, you’re CTA is essentially impotent. It’s like walking up to strangers on the street and saying, “Hey! You there! Give me your e-mail address. Trust me, you won’t regret it!”

A hook can be simple. A free trial of your product, or free blog updates if your blog is really, really good. A pdf with resources is a popular option. More complex ones are informative e-books and even e-mail courses.

Take this example on Social Triggers. Derek, the author of the site, has two hooks. The first is a simple free newsletter. If you really like Derek’s content, enter your e-mail ID and you’ll get notified of new posts as they come out.

Right below that is a more potent hook. It’s a free e-book on how to get 5000 subscribers. To download the e-book, you only need to enter your e-mail ID.

Lead Generation form on Social Triggers

The end result is the same. Derek gets more subscribers. But notice the difference between the two hooks. You need to do the same. A simple newsletter might be ok but, to get more subscribers, give them something for free that can help their business or life.


Think of your hook as a product. Every product needs good copy. A description that urges people to buy, in this case by submitting their e-mail IDs.

Good copy starts with a catchy title. The title draws a visitor’s attention and gets him or her curious. Once piqued, the reader looks through the rest of your lead generation CTA.

Take this example from Quick Sprout by Neil Patel. The title is – Free Course: “Double your traffic in 30 days” + Secret bonus (valued at $300).

Quick Sprout's Lead Generation form

To anyone who’s been trying to get traffic (so pretty much everyone!), this is a big deal. First, the title tells you it’s free. Then it says that you’ll double your traffic in 30 days! If that wasn’t enough, Neil is also throwing in some secret bonus for free though it actually costs $300. If this title doesn’t make you read on, I don’t know what will.

Next up is the actual product description. What is your hook about? What value can people get out of it when they read it? What results will they see and how will it benefit them?

Again, Neil does a great job with his description. He tells you it’s a step-by-step course that will show you what you need to do to double or triple your traffic. Just follow the steps and, BOOM, you have more traffic in a month.

The final part is the real call to action. This is akin to the buy now button. Instead of selecting the number of products you want and clicking ‘Buy Now,’ you’re entering your e-mail and clicking ‘Download Now.’

Neil only asks for an e-mail ID, but you can add in a name field too if you want to personalise your e-mails. Try not to add more fields than that unless you have to. You can nail your title and description, but if people have to enter telephone numbers and home addresses, that will just turn them off.

The button copy matters too. A simple ‘subscribe’ or ‘download’ won’t work. Even after entering their e-mails, some people might still have reservations about going through with it. Something like cart abandonment, if we take our e-commerce analogy forward.

The button copy is what overcomes those final reservations. Make it action oriented to get that click. Neil does this by first inducing positive thoughts in the visitor’s mind, by starting with ‘Yes’, and then reiterating that it’s FREE. You can’t really have reservations against free can you?

Just in case your answer to that last question was spam, Neil seals the deal with a promise that you’ll get 100% privacy and no spam.

It’s all about preempting reservations and using psychology to address exactly what your visitors need.


Ok, with the hook and copy in place, you need to make your lead generation form look good. People do judge books by their covers. A good design also makes your CTA stand out. Once it attracts attention, the copy and hook take over.

Take a look at Bidsketch. Their hook is a free trial of their proposal software, and they’ve designed their CTA around that. The entire form looks like a paper proposal.

An attention grabbing lead generation form on Bidsketch

Notice how clean the design is. There’s a lot of whitespace, and that actually helps highlight the important parts, the copy and the form.

Also notice the button color. Now, there’s a lot on the psychology of colors out there, but what’s important is that the actual button stands out. In the Quick Sprout example, the button is yellow in a sea of green. In this example the button is red in a sea of blue. It’s hard not to notice that immediately.


The last component is placement. It’s no use having a catchy and beautiful CTA if no one sees it. Here are some of the more popular placement areas:

Above the fold – Technically, above the fold doesn’t mean what it used to, what with the variable screen sizes and dimensions of all the devices on the market. Still, the basic concept remains: Get your lead generation CTA up there so people see it first and don’t miss it.

Now, it might not work in all cases. For example, if the visitor doesn’t know what your site is about, or who you are and why you should be trusted, then no matter how good your CTA is, you might not get leads right away.

Still, if the content on the rest of your page helps visitors learn more, they can always scroll back up or you can add another CTA below like Bidsketch does.

Top-Right – The top right corner is a favorite amongst blogs. While the above-the-fold strategy might work for SaaS apps, blogs need a different approach. No one actively searches out lead generation forms on blogs, so keeping one on the top-right where you know the eye will go after reading a line is a good option.

End of content – This is another effective spot for blogs. If someone has read your entire blog post, there’s clearly some interest there, so tap into that and get them while they’re hot.

Footer – Bidsketch has another CTA at the bottom of their page, right above the footer proper. It’s really the same deal as the lead generation form up top, but it’s been redesigned to fit the footer area. The reasoning here is that visitors who have come that far have most likely read through all the content on the page so they have a better idea about the service and whether they’d like a free trial.

Bottom-right – Buffer uses a bottom right CTA. A static lead generation form here would just look like part of the sidebar. However, if you look at Buffer’s blog, they have it slide up as you scroll down so that the motion draws your eyes to it. It’s not necessarily the placement that counts here but the movement.

Header – With apps like hello bar, you can add a CTA right at the top of your page, above your main header. Along with the obvious location benefits, you can also make it appear after a few seconds, again drawing attention to it with movement.

Pop-up – Pop-ups can be tricky. A lot of people say they hate pop-ups, but they’re mostly talking about the really spammy ones. You know the ones that go, “Wait! We have a better offer for you!” as you move your mouse to close the tab?

At the other end of the scale are the pop-ups that appear as soon as you land on a site. When I encounter one of these it doesn’t drive me away, but I also don’t feel inclined to fill them in because I don’t know if I care enough about the site yet.

The effectiveness of pop-ups on your particular site will need to be tested. Try triggering the pop-up after a certain amount of time has lapsed. Say a minute or two. This way, you know people are interested in your site because they’ve stayed long enough. A pop-up with an enticing hook at this stage might just convince them to take action.

Your Take-away

Take a good look at your CTAs and see if they satisfy all four components. Pay some attention to them and implement the suggestions here to start converting non-purchasers into leads.

The best way to really increase conversions is to test each component of your CTA. Try different hooks, designs, copy, and placements to see which works best. Once you’ve done that, come back here and tell us if it helped you generate more leads.



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Sid Bharath

Sid is an entrepreneur, growth hacker and writer. To find out more about him or get in touch, check out his personal site.


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  1. Anonymous says:
    May 5, 2016 at 6:10 am

    Thank you for your cool post. call to action is very important on landing pages to let user buy more from you.

  2. Don Sevcik says:
    November 15, 2014 at 11:17 am

    Awesome article. This really helps to cut out any additional fluff a person may have when setting up a page for leads.

  3. Dan says:
    June 11, 2014 at 10:00 am

    My website does terrible is the Organic search results. As a gardener you can imagine… I have no idea. Would be so kind as to give me some kind of ideas to improve my ranking?

    • Neil Patel says:
      June 11, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      Dan, are you focusing on content? That’s the most important question I always ask.

  4. Lucy Barber says:
    June 10, 2014 at 11:12 am

    Thanks for this post, Sid! We’re planning to launch our site this summer so I’m busily writing copy and planning out CTAs to test. One of the things I struggle with (and would be interested if you have any resources for) is coming up with that free resource for leads. Do you have any suggestions on or know of any articles that outline how to develop topics for what we can promote as free downloads?

    • Sid says:
      June 10, 2014 at 1:36 pm

      Hi Lucy,
      Great question! This sounds like a good idea for a follow up post.
      The ‘hook’ would depend on a bunch of things – what type of product you sell, who your audience is, how much info you want to collect from your leads.

      I had a look at your site (I assume it’s Time Tap) and I’ve come up with a few ideas for your ‘hook’.
      Resource List – A list of tools to maximise productivity for every aspect of a consulting business. So, a time tracking tool, a planning tool, a scheduling tool (Time Tap) and so on. Add your own commentary as to why you think each tool is useful.
      Cheat Sheet – Kind of an extension of a resource list, the cheat sheet is a step-by-step list of things to do and tools to use to, in this case, maximise productivity of your consulting business.
      Course – Extension of a cheat sheet. Either in the form of an e-book, e-mail series or a video course with tips, tricks, tools and tutorials teaching consulting businesses to maximise productivity.
      Case Studies – Case studies of other businesses using appointment scheduling to maximise productivity. Go into the details – stats, numbers, revenue increases and so on. You can include this in your course or create a standalone PDF.

      Now I’m assuming you’re targeting consulting businesses, but if you have other audiences you’ll need to tweak the above suggestions. I’ve also assumed that maximising productivity is your USP. Again, tweak as necessary.

      Hope this helps. Feel free to ask me anything if you need more help. To anyone else reading this, if you’d like personalised recommendations about what your hook can be, please comment here and I’ll try to help out.


      • Lucy Barber says:
        June 10, 2014 at 1:57 pm

        Hey Sid!

        Ahhh — so helpful! Thanks for your detailed response on this. I love that your suggestions all build on/are extensions of one another. That’s definitely something I’ll aim to do as I develop these resources.


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