Scaring Away Leads

Insulting the Client – “Negging” to Sell

When everyone is lead generating, it’s important to look for ways to be unique and some companies have found that they can get more attention, responses, and a few laughs with quirky answers to standard lead generating questions. The classic is when a pop-up offers leads an e-book download. They have the option of answering “Yes, Make Me Smarter!” or “No, I Already Know Everything”. This is the right way to do it, making the leads smile and feel good about themselves no matter what they say. However, some marketers don’t understand the recent change in marketing attitude toward the clients and go for negging instead.

When the answers are “Yes, Make Me Smarter!” or “No, I Like Being an Idiot”, leads who don’t want the e-book see that the company has no respect for them and quickly un-qualify themselves.

Lock-Out After “No”

Website Lockout

Some companies seem to want qualified leads or nothing at all. This is perhaps the biggest misunderstanding of inbound marketing we have ever seen and the approach is downright baffling for anyone other than high-end manufacturers who don’t do a lot of standard marketing in the first place. This technique appears to mostly be used by companies that want to protect their right to show ads, which is reasonable, but they do it in an unreasonable way. But it can also be used to demand that a customer join your membership club for exclusive access instead.

Consider the lead who has seen some interesting content in their search engine and clicks a link to a business blog article. Right away, the usual full-page pop-up stops them from reading the article and asks for the website to be white-listed. The lead says ‘no thank you’ because they don’t white-list as a personal policy and the website tab outright closes itself. Or perhaps the pop-up simply remains stubbornly in place until the lead clicks the “right” button. This is a clear indication that a business cares more about their ad money than their readers, so most readers will find somewhere else to go where they can get to know a company before whitelisting them or joining.

How to Do It Right

We’ve covered a lot of ways to do lead generation in all the ways that scare away leads and generate pointless dislike from strangers, but what about doing it the right way? Rest assured, there are also plenty of ways to use your lead generation website widgets to amuse, delight, and offer convenient service to your leads. Don the right way, you can easily increase your number of happy community members and generate more natural conversions through inbound marketing and timely outreach. All you have to do is think about it from the lead’s perspective and walk through the experience as if you were a lead to be sure the funnel is smooth.

Always Check Your Spacing

Floating features are a great addition to almost any web page, but they are dangerous. Any time you add a floating feature to your entire website, you risk causing a single page or a whole category of pages designed off the same template to be partially blocked by the floating asset. Side-bars, slide-panels, and chat boxes can all occlude important content that your leads will want access to. This means that any time you add a new floating asset to you website, every single page must be checked. Alternately, simply make it a policy to have more than enough buffers space between the edge-anchored floating assets and the page content.

In other words, widen your page margins for side-bars and add a few extra inches of blank space to the end of web pages for chat boxes. This ensures that side-assets never occlude central content and leads can always scroll low enough to get the chatbox off of your right-hand side content.

Timely Engagement

We talked about two examples of not-so-timely engagement tactics with both the endless sequence of pop-ups and the all-at-once mistake of triggering too many engagement features at the same time. Instead, you want your website to be intuitive. Here’s a quick guide of when to pop each item.

  • Scroll-locking top-up
    • Use this first, at the top of the page
    • Note: Not as popular as they are pretty.
  • Full-Page Pop-Up
    • First instead of a top-pop OR
    • When leads navigate away from the website tab and then return
  • Chat Box Offer of Assistance
    • First instead of top-up or pop-up OR
    • After 5 minutes OR
    • Halfway through the article OR
    • At the bottom of the page
    • When clicked on
  • Slide-Out Panel
    • After 5 minutes OR
    • Halfway through the article OR
    • When leads navigate away from the website tab and then return
    • When moused over

Being Quirky

If you’re going to use funny answers to standard questions, be very careful. Humor is a tricky tool and it can turn back and bite you if someone finds your humor offensive. Whatever you do, keep it positive. It’s Okay to be tongue-in-cheek, and it’s even okay to suggest that users of your product and members of your mailing list are (slightly) cooler than non-members, but always leave the lead feeling happy. Even if they say “No”. Keep all your answers positive and double-check with several people to see if your quirkiness could be taken as an insult instead. Quirky is great, compelling, and often an excellent boost to engagement, just be careful.

Whitelisting and Exclusive Content

For all you businesses out there who want to keep your articles exclusive or rely more on ad revenue than customer buys, don’t chase your leads away with exclusivity. Instead, be inviting. Offer them a taste and let them know (politely) that you can only afford to share more with members or white-listers. The best approach we’ve seen to this need some businesses have for exclusivity is the starter-article. Give the customers most of the first paragraph or two, then fade out the last few lines to a ‘Read More’ button. The button can then open a pop-up that explains your need for white-listing or membership and asks the lead to join you. You might consider a ‘free’ tier that gets a certain number of articles per IP address a day/week/month. This way, leads can get to know you before making a decision but you still get to keep your content exclusive.

Bonus Tip: Be sure to make your offers and assets available even after a lead has said ‘no’. In many cases, they simply haven’t had enough time to get into your conversion funnel when the pop-up arrives. After reading your article, or several articles, they may be ready for your mailing list, e-book, or new member discount. Make certain there is an easily identifiable UI element that will help them accept your offer a few minutes later. Slide-out panels are often the best for this task.

Thanks for joining us on this long journey of lead generation and how to make your website widgets work for both you and your leads. For more great tips on how to optimize your website design to meet your business goals, contact us today!


We also have a surprise coming up that we are so excited about and can’t wait to tell you! But for now, it’s a secret! Come back in October 2021 to see!