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Converting At 28.64% Without Gating Content
  • Publish: May 16, 2021
  • Author: Ognjen Bošković
  • Reading Time:

Google Analytics says we convert 14.51% of our traffic into leads.

That means that out of 2,824 people that visited our site, 809 converted into a lead. So that’s actually a 28.64% conversion rate when you look at conversions/visitors.

(Google Analytics looks at conversions/sessions)

Now, the industry average website conversion rate is 3.83%, so these stats ain’t bad, huh?

Before I show you exactly how I get these crazy conversion rates, let me tell you why that matters.

Marketing really has just two obstacles you need to face.

One is the traffic problem.

Second one is the conversion problem.

You need to solve both if you want to grow your SaaS business.

Here’s what I did to make sure every single conversion on our website fueled our further growth towards $135K ARR:

  • Built an email list
  • Promoted our product inside lead magnets
  • Generated repeat website visits for free
  • Grew our community
  • Converted visitors into paying customers on autopilot

As a SaaS business selling a keyword research tool, it makes sense to rely on content marketing for growing it.

And that’s exactly what we do. Content marketing is our main lever behind revenue growth.

Everything we do is aimed at demonstrating our expertise and product value.

(okay, a few direct response tactics here and there, I can’t escape my direct-response past)

In this case study I’ll show you exactly how we built a lead generation machine that builds our community, brings us huge clients and fuels our SaaS revenue growth.

To Gate or Not to Gate

There’s this ongoing discussion about gated content.

A discussion I almost missed.

Coming from a direct response B2C background, I never had a chance to be brainwashed into we need 1000 more MQLs this month mindset.

For me, it was never about MQLs, not even SQLs. There’s no SDR waiting for Richard from Boston to fill out a form so he can ‘jump on a quick call to help him out’.

Plus, I guess I’m too young to be spoiled by the best corporate practices.

On the other hand, building an email list is something entirely different to me. I view email as a content distribution platform.

A platform you own. A platform you shouldn’t use to squeeze out the last dollar from your audience, but instead share your best content and demonstrate your expertise.

This approach was crucial in making email marketing work for us.

As a result, we convert 12% of free trial users into paid subscribers, relying mostly on email for that.

(although with that conversion rate, saying we need 1000 more MQLs this month actually makes sense)

That’s why converting website traffic into email subscribers is so important to us.

With that in mind, we set out to build the best content marketing funnel out there.

Create Content That Actually Converts

If you just read a totally lame article, would you sign-up when the pop-up flashes in front of your eyes?

No. You wouldn’t even stay long enough for that to happen.

(ok, ok, I know about exit-intent pop-ups)

Conversion needs to happen before the opt-in is served.

It needs to happen as soon as people start consuming your content.

Your content needs to be the best content out there.

It should make people send you DMs like these…

(great content DMs screenshots)

To create the best content in the world, here’s what you need to do:

  • Be as specific as possible (solve one problem for one segment of your audience)
  • Demonstrate your expertise (anyone said case studies?)
  • Provide tactical value (reader can implement your advice immediately)
  • Share all you know for free (don’t ask for anything in return)

You cannot outsource this kind of content to any writer. It really needs to come from the expert.

It does take a lot of work, but just 5 pieces of content like this can turn your business upside down.

View it as an investment, because that’s what it really is.

Here’s what it did for us:

  • Daily can you do seo for us? DMs
  • Dozen job offers
  • Doubled our email list size in a month
  • Huge MRR growth for our SaaS business from day one
  • Strong personal/company brand
  • 50-100 social media posts just by recycling this type of content

This can literally be the foundation of your business and turn you into a thought leader in your market. So get to it.

Lead Magnets That Convert Like Crazy

First, you’ll need lead magnets that you’ll then convert into proper offers.

Initially, we’ve created 3 lead magnets.

(screenshots below)

  • SEO ROI calculator
  • +45 Facebook group to find highest-quality, most affordable writers
  • Writing guidelines we use to create content

These are what we call resources.

Not ebooks. Not more gated content. Resources.

The same resources we use on a daily basis, the same ones we used to take 4 projects from 0 to 100,000 monthly organic visits in less than a year.

The biggest one being 0 to 533,000 monthly organic visits in 17 months. Read the full SEO case study here.

These resources are great on their own, but the issue is that…

At the moment, only we know that.

The Offer: The Only Thing Between You and Conversions

To get those high conversion rates, you really need to understand your audience’s perspective.

Ask yourself:

  • Why would someone give me their precious email address?
  • Why would they even read the copy on my opt-ins?
  • What did they come here for anyway?

If you’re thinking someone’s gonna stop what they’re doing just to click subscribe when you offer them to join your newsletter, think again.

You may convert around 1% of your website traffic.

Instead, you need to create a compelling offer.

Here’s what your opt-in offer has to include:

  • Headline that will attract attention
  • Subheadline that will tell them about the outcome of your offer
  • Call to action that makes it clear on what happens if they click

If you wanted to see the actual examples, today’s your lucky day.

Besides the ones that will trigger as you’re reading this article…

You can take a look at our best performing opt-ins below:

Writing Guidelines: Converts at 9.25%

SEO ROI Calculator: Converts at 9.75%

+45 Facebook Group to Find Writers: Converts at 5.97%

The Highest Converting Opt-ins You’ve Ever Seen

There are a couple different opt-in types:

  • Pop-ups
  • Slide-ins
  • Floating-bars
  • Inline
  • Fullscreen
  • Gamified

Each one works well when used in an appropriate surrounding.

For example, pop-ups, while least favorite, are probably the best thing you can do when someone has already decided to leave your website.

An exit intent pop-up on Hubspot’s website. I bet this one converts under 1%. Hubspot, you can do better.

Gamified (spin to win) pop-ups are great in e-commerce environments, and are absolutely best if you’re selling a physical product on Shopify.

Still, there’s one opt-in type that absolutely dominates in content marketing.

Inline opt-ins.

Our best performing opt-ins you’ve seen above are all inline opt-ins.

The main reason they convert so well is because they don’t interrupt the reading experience.

They complement it. Here’s how that works.

If someone is reading ‘Best Email Marketing Software’ article and a pop-up flashes in front of their eyes saying ‘subscribe to the best content marketing newsletter’, they’re just going to be annoyed.

Why? They may have been enjoying the article, but then you’ve interrupted them with something that doesn’t have anything to do with that piece of content.

Instead of doing that, do the following.

  • Let the reader consume your content (hopefully the content is good)
  • Introduce an offer that will help them implement tactics you talk about in the article
  • Use inline opt-ins so the reader consumes it along with the content

Here’s an example.

The article tells about the #1 lever we use to drive fastest SEO results (publishing velocity).

Then we introduce an offer that helps even more – writing guidelines for your writers so you can achieve publishing velocity while maintaining the highest content quality.

And that is why this opt-in converts at 9.25%.

This case study is just a piece of my marketing strategy which is covered fully in my newsletter, SaaS Marketing Grown Ups.

Head there and sign up for the most actionable growth playbook on the web.

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