A Beginner’s Guide To Lead Generation

A lead is someone who expresses interest in a business’s offering in some way. Once they open communication with a brand by submitting info for an offer, subscription, or trial, the marketers get in touch with them to carry on with the sales process. Those who are least concerned about a particular business, can’t qualify as leads. While all ads can’t be the same, the process of qualification and sales stage determine their types. 

A lead is any person who indicates interest in a company’s product or service in some way, shape, or form.

Marketing Qualified Lead(MQL)

People who engage with the marketers but aren’t ready to get connected to the sales team are called MQLs.

Sales Qualified Lead(SQL)

Those who take actions indicative of their interest in becoming customers are called SQLs.

Product qualified lead(PQL)

They are people who have tried your offering and have taken actions that cite their interest in becoming a paid customer. Companies offering product trials, free or limited versions of products with options to switch uphold PQLS. For instance, someone who has used a free version might ask about features available in paid versions.

Service qualified lead

Customers or contacts who exhibit interest to the service team in becoming paid customer is termed service qualified lead. They might wish to upgrade subscriptions and are usually forwarded to the deployed sales team to take care of such demands.

What is lead generation?

Attracting leads to a business and nurturing them for conversions to customers is called lead generation. The process gives way to thoughts on a business in multiple forms. For instance, it can be done by posting job opportunities, contributing blogs, sending coupons, event invites, and offering digital resources. When the hook is created, the other steps automatically follow.

Importance of lead generation 

Rather than earning leads artificially, things are better kept natural in the flow. Hence, lead generation.

Think like this- when a stranger initiates a relationship with your business and that too organically, the likelihood of conversion stands high. That said, lead generation is the second step of inbound marketing. But if things feel fake, the leads would get washed away after a certain period of time.

The process of lead generation 

  1. Discovery: A visitor comes across a business through one of the marketing channels- brand website, social media handles, blogs.
  2. Explores call to action(CTA)- He clicks on the CTA button(message, image) which persuades him to take some kind of action.
  3. Records lead info- The CTA takes him to a landing page that records his info. There, he comes across an offer(course, ebook, or template) on the webpage. However, an offer should carry enough value to lure a visitor into providing personal details.

When everything is put together, You can rely on the promotional channels to bring traffic to the landing page, the other name of lead generation.

Lead Generation Marketing

Once you put all of these elements together, you can use your various promotional channels to drive traffic to your landing page to start generating leads. Here go a couple of effective channels that can help get closer to the goals:


The motif behind curating content is to provide relevant and free info to visitors. It might include CTAs whether at the bottom, in the hero, inline, or on the side panel. Great content can pave the way for a smooth journey to a business’ landing page.  


For those who are already familiar with your business, email can do the job. You can ask the visitors to take action straightaway through a catchy copy. Since emails might be cluttered, an appealing design can do wonders to hammer audiences’ attention.

Ads and retargeting

While ads come expensive, always stick to your brand promise matched with the landing page and offer. Also, be clear about the actions you want the visitors to take.


Blog posts are an impeccable way to tailor an article with the end goal, therefore being an unique way for lead generation marketing.

Social media

Social media handles can guide visitors into action from every aspect. Say Instagram stories can be viewed all with a swipe-up option, Facebook provides bio links while Twitter offers short links for hassle-free surfing. Take up any channel to promote your offerings, driven by a captioned CTA.

Product trials

If you’re facing troubles cracking the sales funnel, product trials can overcome the issues. For instance, when a lead using your offering can be enticed with additional resources or offers for better conversions. On the other hand, branding embedded in the free versions can gain other potential prospects too.

Referral marketing

Word of mouth marketing or referrals brings a brand to a wider set of leads, thus boosting conversion rates.

The reason why buying leads won’t be enough

Marketers and sales professionals always look for ways to fill their sales funnel quickly. Buying leads serves as an easy way out to such goals. Contrary to generating prospects organically, purchasing them requires less time and effort which is expensive than the former. Now you might think that since you might deploy ads, why shouldn’t you buy leads. The reason traces to two factors:

  1. They would be strangers to your business
  2. They didn’t at all opt to receive anything from your company.

That said, emails from you would be marked as spam, thereby filtered by the email provider before entering the inbox. And when many people flag the messages, you would be blacklisted among the audience. The data will even reach other email providers, making it hard to carve further headways. Also, the IP reputation and email deliverability won’t be spared from any harm.

How to qualify leads?

A lead stands qualified based on the collected information. The more information you can have, the better chances of qualification. The data can be generated in multiple ways- a candidate filling an application, a shopper submitting contact details for a coupon, or someone filling out a form to download educational content.

Ways to get a lead interested in your business

The amount of accessible information and level of interest of each lead can vary from person to person and company to company. The following ways can interest a lead in a brand-

  1. Job application
  2. Coupon
  3. Content

In other words, meticulous information has to be collected to understand one’s real interest in a company. While there is no hard and fast rule about the exact amount of info needed to analyze it, the type of business can guide the situation in practical terms.

Things to ask in a lead generation form

  1. Full name- for personalization
  2. Email id- acts as a unique card for each prospect
  3. Company- a guide to research a particular industry
  4. Role- understanding of one’s role in a company can help with insight for paving communication. Every stakeholder bears a different take on a brand offering.
  5. Country- Knowing the country of origin can help segregate leads by location and time zone, later to be qualified depending on the type of service.
  6. State: Helps to qualify leads better 

What is lead scoring?

When you qualify leads quantitatively, the method is called lead scoring. It assigns a numerical value in the funnel to identify the exact stage where leads fall. You can come up with various parameters in this regard ranging from ‘interested’ to ‘ready to purchase’. The criteria qualifying each step depends on the company which has to be uniformly spread across the sales and marketing teams. Once the elements are put to function, a lead’s score can be calculated based on actions, information collected, level of engagement, and other factors. 

To exemplify, you might score someone higher if they engage with your brand on social media regularly or if their demographic info resonates with your target group. The higher the score, the closer a prospect is to become a SQL. Lastly, you have to test the score and criteria to determine the successful formula.

Lead generation strategies

Various tactics, strategies, and campaigns can generate leads online depending on the type of platform:

Facebook– Serving as a platform for lead generation since inception, companies resorted to Facebook for using outbound links in the posts and stuffing information in their bios(a trick to guide strangers into the main website). 

As Facebook ads surfaced in 2007 favoring paid accounts, a shift in the lead generation strategies was witnessed. The feature came to be known as Lead Ads. It also hosts an alternative of incorporating a CTA button at the top of the page to direct followers straightaway into the business website.

Twitter– It hosts the typical feature of Twitter Lead Gen Cards who allows one to generate leads all within a tweet. When a lead reads a tweet, he fills in the user name, email address, and Twitter profile name by clicking ‘submit’.

LinkedIn– The platform has the same feature of Lead Gen Forms that auto populates with a user’s profile credentials followed by clicking on the CTA.

PPC– The ads appearing on the search engine result pages are called Pay-per-click. With 3.5 million searches every day, Google is the best platform to facilitate a campaign, especially when it comes to leads. Sound user flow, budget, targeted keywords, etc. determine the effectiveness of the PPC campaign.

Strategies to execute lead generation campaigns

1) Get your hands on a set of effective lead generation tools

The most successful marketers implement a formal approach to generate and store leads. Hence the significance of leads generation tools and software. You should be able to answer the following questions with the help of some lead generation tools:

  • Do you know the ones visiting your website?
  • What are their names and email ids?
  • Which pages are luring them, how they are browsing online, their activities before and after submitting a form

1. Cta templates: Powerpoint can be used to create customizable CTA buttons for including them in blogs, landing pages, and other places on the brand website.

2. Lead generation software tools: You can use lead capture tools that can help build a database of contacts. 

3. Visitor tracking: Hotjar, an online tool that represents a user’s movement in a particular website. For instance, you can explore his wants, concerns, and activities on a page for a specific period. The tool can capture details via forms, surveys, etc.

4. Form-scraping tool: This tool helps consolidate all leads into the contact database, regardless of the forms submitted. Some of them are Hubspot, Contact Form 7, JetPack, and Google Forms.

2) Embed offers at every stage of the buying cycle

While not every lead might express interest in speaking to the sales professionals or booking a demo of the product, you need to surprise them by creating irresistible offers clickable in the CTAs. Because, if you don’t seek to add value to their business, why will they choose you over the competitors? 

Either way, smart CTAs can personalize every bit of your campaign by detecting the stage of the buyer’s journey whether they are a new visitor, a lead, or a customer). Personalized CTAs carry better chances of conversion than the basic ones.

3) Link your CTA to a targeted landing page

Using CTAs to take leads to a homepage would be a worthless tactic. In a nutshell, even if a CTA talks about a brand or offer, it shouldn’t just link to a homepage where there is no tailored info. Rather it should land into a page that answers their queries backed by an opt-in form. The optimization will drive the conversions far above any unwanted diversions.

4) Involve your sales team

Don’t eliminate your sales team from the big picture. Keep them in the loop. Coordinate with them to stay on the same page without missing out on any opportunity. Also, look after how leads transition within the funnel. As you’ll progress, the definitions will also change.

5) Deploy social media strategically

If you’re posting blogs, analyze their potentiality in generating leads. Find out the most successful one and link your daily social media posts to it.

Again, a social media contest can help generate leads. It will benefit both sides by being a win-win situation. To get started, you’ve to choose a platform, select the winner and analyze the outcomes.

6) Adopt a flexible approach

Evolve with the dynamic trends, behavioral shifts, and transmuted opinions. If you’re flexible enough to handle any challenge, nothing can pose risk to your business.

7) Explore the lead generation trends and the founded benchmarks

Once you generate web traffic and leads, the game doesn’t get over. You have to evaluate yourself compared to others in the same industry. Keep an eye on the competitor’s activities and necessary stats that can help you get one step ahead.

The future of lead generation marketing

In one word, the answer is digital automation tools. Moving forward, the investment in the sector is predicted to touch 3.3 billion by the end of this year(only possible by adopting automation in streamlining lead qualification and scoring them).

The more you have a skeptical perspective, the better things will fall into the place. At times, quality leads can even back out of deals.

Key takeaways

  • What do you mean by lead generation?

Attracting leads to a business and nurturing them for conversions to customers is called lead generation.

  • How does it work?

It can be done in various ways such as posting job opportunities, contributing blogs, sending coupons, event invites, and offering digital resources.

  • What is the process of lead generation?
  1. Discovery of business by leads
  2. Clicking on call to action(CTA)
  3. Recording collected info
  • What are the types of lead generation?
  • The outbound lead generation – cold calls, direct mail, advertising, and email marketing 
  • Inbound lead generation- SEO, social media, PPC)
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