How Lifehack uses targeted CTA campaigns to monetize its 7-figure blog
When Leon Ho launched Lifehack back in 2005, he never imagined his simple WordPress blog would grow into one of the most renowned productivity, health, and lifestyle websites in the world.
Since its inception, Lifehack has published over 30,000 articles attracting millions of loyal readers every month. Readers who’ve helped make Lifehack.org a highly-trafficked site with a thriving online community.
But Lifehack isn't just a blog. It's a highly successful business—one that expertly turns traffic into revenue.
This post shows you exactly how they do it 😎 We'll break down:
- Lifehack's entire call-to-action strategy
- How they segment traffic to capture more leads
- The tactics behind driving subscribers to paid programs
- How they leverage dynamic visitor segments to personalize their offers
- A complete teardown of one specific offer from top-to-bottom
Here we go 👇
Lifehack: The background
Although most people would agree that Lifehack’s online success borders on legendary, the company has surprisingly humble beginnings.
In his early twenties, Leon Ho was a promising young engineer working at software giant, Red Hat. Because of his sincere dedication and work ethic, he quickly climbed the corporate ladder, and in just a few years, became the youngest manager at the Fortune 500 company.
Although Leon was pleased with his rapid rise in the ranks at Red Hat, he soon realized that hard work and grueling 80-hour workweeks weren’t enough to deal with the growing complexities of his highly demanding job.
Wanting to reach his full potential, both professionally and personally, Leon started looking for ways to move beyond his "fixed ability." So, he began to learn everything he could about productivity and management.
Most importantly, he applied what he was learning.
Over the next five years, Leon managed over 150 engineering projects for RedHat. And during that relatively short period, he achieved more success than most project managers could hope to accomplish in a decade.
Amazingly, he was still in his mid-twenties.
One day, it occurred to Leon that he could use his hard-earned knowledge and the practical success strategies he developed to help other people who felt stuck in their lives and careers.
So one day, he took a leap of faith and left his job at Red Hat to focus 100% of his time and energy on growing Lifehack to its fullest potential.
Overcoming challenges many digital publishers face
Looking back, there’s no doubt Leon made the right choice. Since leaving his corporate job, Lifehack has grown from a tiny blog with a few posts into a global platform with millions of subscribers.
Unfortunately, this kind of success doesn’t overnight.
Like most early-stage digital publishers, Lifehack needed to figure out how to get more traffic to its website and blog.
In the early days, getting quality traffic was a struggle, but Leon consistently published rankable content and promoted it across multiple channels. And within a few years, Lifehack was getting more than enough traffic:
With a steady flow of visitors coming to the site, the next challenge was to monetize that traffic by driving people to offers like ebooks, courses, tools, and other resources to help them live happier, healthier, and more productive lives.
While having plenty of traffic is something most digital publishers strive for, it simultaneously created a vexing problem for Lifehack’s marketing team.
Thousands of new visitors were landing on the site every day, and they urgently had to find an effective way to identify what kind of problem each new visitor was trying to solve. Armed with the correct data, they could serve readers personalized, targeted campaigns on-site and via email that drove them to resources that could help solve their problems.
Essentially, Lifehack had to find a way to do three things:
- Engage visitors and turn them into email subscribers
- Segment and target visitors based on their interests and goals
- Drive them to free and paid offers for ebooks, courses, and products in the company’s online store
After testing several possible solutions, Lifehack began using ConvertFlow to help them identify visitors, segment them into cohorts, and turn them into high-intent subscribers who’d eventually become paying customers.
Here’s how Lifehack uses ConvertFlow to engage website visitors and achieve the three marketing objectives mentioned above.
1. Turning new website visitors into subscribers
When you go to Lifehack.org, you’ll quickly see that Leon and his team don't pull any punches when generating new email subscribers whom they hope will eventually become paying customers.
The moment visitors land on the company’s home page, they’re offered a chance to subscribe for “simple inspirations and lessons.”
If that doesn’t work, a visitor’s eye may catch the “Subscribe” button in the top navigation bar throughout the site:
On the other hand, if visitors scroll down the page, they’re offered a chance to receive a complimentary Life Assessment:
After clicking the green button and completing the life assessment form, they can enter their email to receive a “detailed custom report for free.”
If visitors keep scrolling down the page, they’re presented with an offer for "The Full Life Framework," a free ebook with a form that asks them to enter their email address.
Lastly, if someone runs the gauntlet of compelling offers on Lifehack’s home page without subscribing, they’ll get a chance to register for a free online class.
As you can see in the screenshot below, each CTA button’s copy highlights a specific challenge the visitor may be facing. This, of course, lets Lifehack segment registrants based on the challenge and class they select:
Note that the button copy displays the following challenges:
- Get Motivated
- Stop Procrastinating
- Sharpen My Focus
- Learn Faster
Each CTA button leads to a webinar registration form that requires people to enter their first name and email address.
You may have noticed that Lifehack uses the color green for almost all their CTA buttons. Neuroscientists and CRO experts have found that “green” signifies “go” to most people. And that’s why green buttons tend to elicit action more effectively than most other colors.
In other words, if you want to boost click-through rates to essential pages and key offers, you may want to experiment with using the color green for your call-to-action buttons.
2. Segmenting visitors based on interests and goals
Although Lifehack offers multiple ways for people to subscribe to their list, they place a very high value on segmenting inbound traffic. This way, they can create and serve the content their readers genuinely want and need.
Here’s another example of how they do that:
When someone clicks on the “subscribe” button located on the right side of the top navbar, a segmentation popup will appear with a quick survey that allows visitors to select the kind of information they want to receive:
On the other hand, if visitors land on one of Lifehack’s blog posts, you’ll see a slide-up site message with a survey that lets people define which challenge is most important to them:
By determining what visitors want at the top of the funnel, Lifehack delivers a more targeted and personalized content experience across their site as well as other channels and devices.
Sorting into medium & high-intent email subscribers
With ConvertFlow’s life cycle segmentation capabilities, marketers can meet visitors and customers at each step of their journey. And they can begin this process even before capturing an email address.
For example, Lifehack segments people by life cycle stages such as:
- Anonymous Visitors
- Newsletter Subscribers
- Returning Customers
Proper segmentation helps them serve the right campaigns, content, and offers at each step of the conversion process.
When someone selects a topic in an on-site survey, the next step asks them to enter their “best email address” to receive “free exclusive tips” tailored to their goals and area of interest.
After submitting the form, subscribers are taken to a confirmation page that directs them to a personalized solution mapped to their specific goals:
This person would move from "Anonymous Visitor" to "Newsletter Subscriber" in terms of their life cycle stage. If they went ahead with the paid solution offered on the thank you page, they would then move from "Newsletter Subscriber" to "Returning Customer."
3. Driving new subscribers to paid offers
When subscribers click the “Here’s your solution” button, they’re directed to a long-form landing page with a free or heavily discounted paid offer:
In the example above, Lifehack offers an ebook titled “Make It Happen” for $19. Low-end offers like this help them monetize fresh subscribers.
In some cases, rather than showing a paid offer, they’ll display a free offer that drops people into an email drip campaign designed to promote a more expensive offering.
But, these offers will always be aligned to how the visitor was segmented in the first place.
How do they do this at scale? By building dynamic visitor segments.
Leveraging dynamic visitor segments
Once new subscribers are segmented based on their interests and goals, Lifehack uses ConvertFlow's dynamic visitor segments tool to set up visitor segments based on pre-defined targeting conditions. Doing this allows Leon and his team deliver personalized messaging throughout their site.
If someone reads a blog post within a particular topic category, they'll see targeted offers related to that topic.
The dynamic segments tool also lets Lifehack reuse visitor segments when launching CTA campaigns that include or exclude specific groups of visitors.
You can see how Lifehack creates these pre-defined visitor segments based on categories they’ve set up in WordPress in the screenshot below:
By adding targeting conditions in ConvertFlow, relevant CTAs appear when people engage with content published in specific WP categories.
But, Lifehack takes the targeting even further by creating “less-targeted” and “most-targeted” versions for each segment:
The “less-targeted'' versions focus on broader categories with more significant traffic potential. In comparison, the “more-targeted” versions focus on tighter categories with less traffic that’s micro-segmented and more qualified.
Targeted multi-CTA broadcast campaigns
When it comes to actually making use of these visitor segments, Leon and his team do an excellent job running broadcast campaigns that deliver multiple calls-to-action to predefined visitor segments.
With ConvertFlow’s broadcast feature, Lifehack deploys various hooks, exit-intent popups, and embedded CTAs that automatically engage visitors at scale while moving them down the conversion funnel:
Effective segmentation combined with ConvertFlow’s broadcast feature allows conversion-driven marketers (like the team at Lifehack) to launch:
- Personalized (rather than “one-size-fits-all”) campaigns;
- that generate more sign-ups and revenue;
- from multiple offerings.
And they can create these campaigns without writing a single line of code.
Complete campaign teardown: The Full Life Planner
Let’s take a look at how all this works in practice by focusing on one of Lifehack's campaigns: The Full Life Planner, an entry-level offer with a $19 price point.
As mentioned earlier, Lifehack’s marketing team creates less-targeted content published in broader WordPress categories intended to cast a wider net for inbound search traffic.
Here’s how they do it:
Let’s take “Productivity” as an example of a broader category.
As visitors drill deeper into specific topics, Lifehack offers “more-targeted” content within tighter categories, enabling them to deliver more personalized messaging while marketing to potential buyers.
“Focus” is an example of a tighter, more targeted category.
When someone clicks on an article related to a topic like “Focus,” Lifehack uses ConvertFlow to display a slide-up site message like the one shown below to segment visitors and move them towards a targeted offer:
In other cases, Lifehack creates a survey within a popup.
The one shown below is designed to segment readers and move them to the next stage of the conversion and monetization process:
When someone clicks on a button like “Improve focus,” the CTA uses conditional actions to take them to the relevant next step of the popup—which is where Lifehack captures the lead:
Assuming visitors enter a valid email address, they’ll be redirected to a page confirming that their “free download” will arrive in their inbox shortly.
On the same page, there’s a green button that says "Here’s your solution:"
Subscribers then get a low-end offer for The Full Life Planner.
Offers like this one help Lifehack monetize inbound traffic, nurture early-stage subscribers, and present offers mapped to visitors’ interests, needs, and goals:
When the prospect completes the order process for the lower-end offer, Lifehack goes straight in to upsell a more expensive product like a fully-fledged online course:
Offers with higher price points like this help Lifehack maximize customer lifetime value (LTV) and drive significantly more revenue over time.
This isn't a "spray and pray" strategy making random offers of anything to anyone.
In fact, Lifehack has multiple courses and programs that could be offered to subscribers:
Instead, they choose to segment visitors and then offer the relevant solutions aligned with the problems that people have said they're facing.
The best part?
Lifehack now has this segmentation data stored.
So, if someone doesn't take them up on the course offer at first, they can keep showing CTAs promoting it whenever that person returns to the site. Once they do make the purchase, they can cross-sell similar products or services to continually grow revenue.
It's a true conversion marketing model:
The next move is yours
Now that we’ve taken a look at how Lifehack creates no-code workflows for scheduling broadcast campaigns with multiple CTAs, you should have several actionable ideas you can immediately apply to your business.
Whether you’re in digital publishing, ecommerce, SaaS, or another industry, now you know how one of the world’s most highly-trafficked websites successfully:
- Engages new visitors and turns them into email subscribers
- Segments and targets visitors based on their interests and goals
- Drives those visitors and subscribers to free and paid offers
So, go ahead and implement what you’ve learned today in your business.
With ConvertFlow's dynamic segmentation and broadcast capabilities, you can launch personalized (rather than "one-size-fits-all") campaigns that generate more signups and revenue from multiple offerings. Get started with a 14-day free trial of ConvertFlow Pro today.
This story was written and published in collaboration with StoryOps.