Lead Generation 101: Guides, Strategies & More

Lead generation doesn’t have to be complicated, it’s all about matching up the potential buyer with the solution (typically a product or service) that they seek.

Check out the article below for more tips and advice on lead generation and of course learn more about some of the nuances to consider when hiring a Lead Generation Specialist.

What Is Lead Generation?

Lead generation is the process of finding and attracting potential customers interested in your product or service. It’s all about matching up the right buyer with the right solution. There are many different facets of lead generation, here are a few examples:

● Finding leads through online sources such as social media, directories, and search engines

● Contacting potential customers through email campaigns or telemarketing

● Generating leads through content marketing, such as blog posts, eBooks, and whitepapers

Why Is Lead Generation Important?

Lead generation is important as it provides the groundwork for many different aspects of marketing – content, advertising and sales. Leads are also essential to pass along to the sales team if you are hoping for income (which most businesses are).

Hint: If your business is interested in making money, you should probably be interested in lead generation.

Inbound vs. Outbound Leads

When it comes to lead generation, there are two main types of strategies: inbound and outbound. Inbound lead generation relies on attracting potential customers through active measures such as content marketing, while outbound lead generation takes a more proactive approach by contacting potential buyers through methods such as telemarketing or email campaigns.

In the following resources and articles, I’ll mainly be focusing on inbound lead generation strategies. Why’s that?

Inbound lead gen. not only saves times but is a bit more quantifiable (in my opinion, keep in mind I’ve heavily biased here). It attracts people that are already in the market, researching and have raised there hand as potential customers. Outbound lead gen. on the other hand, takes more time to generate a “qualified” lead, but can be very successful IF done correctly with the right message and offer.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to inbound or outbound lead generation, it just depends on your business and what type of leads you’re looking for.

Marketing vs. Sales

There has always been a debate between where leads start, on the marketing side or from the sales team. In reality, lead generation is an iterative process and should always be approached from a data-driven methodology.

In other words, don’t just rely on your gut feeling or assumptions when it comes to generating leads. Use analytics and data to back up your decisions so you can constantly improve your lead gen. process. Key performance indicators, or KPIs, can help you measure success and progress over time. These key performance indicators will vary based on your business but there are some trends that apply to every lead generation strategy.

Lead Generation Process/Overview:

Here’s a typical lead generation process overview that you might have seen online:

But what does that actually mean? Where are the actionable points and KPIs in that? The world of lead generation deserves a data-driven standpoint. Here’s a very brief overview of how inbound lead generation works with search marketing (more on this later).

1. Customer has a problem (in need of a solution)

2. Customer searches for solution (through Google) and finds a potential answer to their problem (this does not have to be a product or service, this is in-fact where educational marketing come into play) — for an expert on the educational-marketing play check out Chet Holmes

3. Customer engages with solution via reading an article, watching a video, downloading something for later — the key takeaway here is that they are spending time researching (also called engaging with) what the solution to their problem is.

(it’s important to note at this point that the ‘problem’ that they have does not have to be tangible, in fact many impulse buys are made through an emotional buying response vs. logical) — more on this later.

Now, here’s where you and your business come in to play. There are two main paths here:

1. You show up in the search results for the specific query that the potential customer has. If you aren’t, how will your lead generation journey ever begin?

2. You show up and
retain the user’s attention and trade value 

for their attention (a further dive on these factors later)

Emotional vs. Logical Purchasing Decisions:

One of the most important things to consider when it comes to generating leads is understanding emotional vs. logical purchasing decisions. When someone is making a purchase, they are typically going to either make a decision based on how they feel or how they think.

Emotional purchasing decisions are based on feelings and intuition, while logical purchasing decisions are based on data and reason.

Which one do you think is more likely to buy something? The person who makes a decision based on how they feel or the person who makes a decision based on how they think? Most people would say that the person making an emotional decision is more likely to purchase something, and this is generally true.

Think about a time when you made a purchase and it wasn’t based on logic. Maybe you were feeling down and you decided to buy yourself a new outfit to make yourself feel better. Or maybe you were feeling stressed and you decided to buy a massage package to relax. These are both examples of emotional purchasing decisions.

On the other hand, a logical decision would be based on data and reason (in a perfect world). For example, if you need a new car because your old one is falling apart and it’s going to cost more to fix it than These are both examples of emotional purchasing decisions.

Now, think about a time when you made a purchase and it was based on data. Maybe you were doing research online for the best laptop deal and you found one that was the best price and had the best features. An hybrid example of this is when I recently purchased a new computer — I needed something with the RAM, memory and speed to be able to keep up (all logical buying stats) but I chose to be upsold by the model with glowing neon lights because…I like glowing neon lights. I had to pay extra for these but my emotional/child brain is happy.

When it comes to lead generation, you will need to decide which factor is an important buying factor for your target audience. Do they want specifications and components or envisioning what your product or service will do for them?

tip: More often than not, your customer’s buying decisions will be a hybrid of buying-decisions.

Process Overview: How to Generate Leads Online

Now that we’ve gone over the basics of lead generation, let’s take a further dive at finding online leads. There are three main stages that any business will need to develop:

That’s pretty much it. The big takeaway here will be how you are tracking your progress and what you are measuring.

What Are Some Lead Generation Strategies

There are a number of lead generation strategies that businesses can use to attract potential customers online. These strategies include:

Whichever strategy you are using however, it’s important to keep in mind that you are using these methods to drive traffic to your website.

SEO Lead Generation

SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the most popular and effective ways to generate leads online. By improving your website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), you can attract more potential customers to your site.

There are a number of factors that influence your website’s ranking in SERPs, and optimizing your site for SEO is a process that requires ongoing care and attention. However, following these basic tips can help you get started:

Warm Leads vs. Cold Leads

A warm lead is a potential customer who has already expressed some level of interest in your product or service. For example, they may have visited your website, filled out a form to download a white paper or e-book, or contacted you directly. Mainly, they have already decided to some level in their mind the solution that they are seeking.

Take for example someone in the market for a new car, their older model is in desperate need of replacement. One of the first purchasing decisions is what make of car they prefer. They decide on a Subaru, a 4x wheel drive. The next step is to call up the local Subaru dealership (most likely) to inquire about the proper specifications and which Subaru. Since the customer has already decided they want a Subaru they are considered a warm lead.

A cold lead, on the other hand, is a potential customer who has not yet expressed any interest in your product or service. For example, they may have not visited your website, filled out a form, or contacted you directly. They are essentially a blank slate when it comes to your product or service and will need more nurturing and the sales team to help move the process along.

What Is a Sales Funnel

I mentioned above, the ‘nurturing’ of a lead. This is typically the passing on a lead from the marketing (lead generation) team to the sales team for follow-up.

A sales funnel is a marketing term used to describe the process of moving potential customers through a series of steps that will eventually lead to a purchase. The steps in the funnel can vary depending on the business, but typically include things such as:

Lead Magnets: Getting Your Prospect's Attention

A lead magnet is a type of offer that is used to attract potential customers’ attention and persuade them to provide their contact information. Without their contact information, at least an email, there’s no way for you or your sales team to follow-up with the potential lead. Common lead magnets include free e-books, white papers, or reports, coupons or discounts, and webinars or other online presentations.

To create an effective lead magnet, you’ll need to offer something that is valuable to your target audience and that they are likely to want. For example, if you sell software that helps businesses manage their social media accounts, you could offer a free e-book on “The Top 10 Social Media Tips for Businesses.” Free software trials are becoming increasingly popular for a potential customer to try out the software or service before committing to a purchase.

When creating your lead magnet, be sure to keep the following in mind:

What Is a Lead Generation Specialist

A lead generation specialist is a person who helps a business generate leads online. This can include tasks such as improving a website’s ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs), increasing website traffic, and engaging customers’ attention.

Lead generation specialists may also use techniques such as search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and email marketing to generate leads.

What's Next?

If you’re interested in receiving an audit or learning more about lead generation services and how we can help then please give us a call.

For more tips and advice, be sure to check out the resources below. Feel free to get in touch if you need help getting started or would like an audit of your current lead generation efforts.

Get In Touch

Questions and Conversations

Submit Your Project Info

Questions, comments or feedback on anything you’ve seen here. I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.