Companies and marketers are constantly being challenged to generate more quality leads and convert them into customers. However, the process can be daunting especially considering how much the world of marketing has changed in recent years. Today, cold calling and direct mail are no longer considered “real” options whilst traditional email blasts are also not providing the same results. Many of these simply get ignored and end up as SPAM or in the trash folder.

So, how do you generate more quality leads? What digital path will leads follow to become customers? In this article and webinar recording, you’ll discover a handy 7-step framework to help generate more quality leads. This includes goal setting, buyer personas, content marketing and reporting. But first, let’s recap on what a lead is.

What Is An Online Lead?

The definition of an online lead may vary but in simple terms, a lead is an individual or organisation that shows an interest in what you are selling. This interest can be expressed through the sharing of contact information such as an email address, a phone number or even a social media handle.

A lead is someone you know and not an anonymous website visitor which can only happen through collecting personal information. Not all leads are created equally as it depends on how engaged they are with your organisation and where they are in the buying process. Leads are often put into different categories, including the following:

  • Cold leads
  • Warm leads
  • Hot leads
  • Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) – someone engaging with marketing activities (webinar or any type of content a brand puts out there)
  • Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) – someone showing clear intent of purchasing a product or service

Which Is Best, Quantity Or Quality?

Let’s put it this way, all leads are important but striking a balance and finding a good mix is the best solution. Whilst your focus should be to generate more quality leads, you also need to scale it up to achieve your company’s marketing goals. There is growing evidence that an integrated marketing approach is a way forward as highlighted in this graphic representation:

integrated marketing to generate more quality leads onlineIintegrated marketing to generate more quality leads online

In the webinar recording and slides, there is some additional information on B2B buyers and how the process has changed. This brings us to the 7-step framework which is super easy to follow and something you could greatly benefit from.

7 Steps To Generate More Quality Leads Online

As you can imagine, a successful marketing strategy in any shape or form involves several steps or processes. This particular framework has 7 steps where each one answers some very specific questions, including the following:

  • How many leads do you need to meet your revenue goals?
  • Who is your ideal customer? What matters to them and how can you attract them?
  • What are the steps your ideal customer takes to purchase from you?
  • In terms of content, what will motivate your potential buyers in exchange for their email address or other contact information?
  • What is the digital path a lead will follow to become a customer?
  • What marketing tactics do you need to achieve your revenue objectives?
  • Which type of data and insights do you need to gather to close the loop between your marketing activities and sales results?

How to generate more quality leads online

Step 1: Goals And Objectives

The first part of the process is identifying how many leads you will need to achieve your goals. Not every business will have the same objectives as it depends on the product, service and the sales process or buying cycle. Here’s a simple example:

If your goal is to generate £100,000 more in revenue and the average selling price of your product is £1,000, you need 100 new sales. Assuming the average close rate of your leads is 10%, you’ll need to generate 1,000 additional leads. If your average cost per lead is £20, the total budget would be £20,000.

These ‘average amounts’ can refer to data from your previous campaigns, from a digital marketing agency you are using or industry standards. Remember, if you know what your marketing plan can generate in terms of new leads, and the average lead-to-customer conversion rate, your business can predict future sales!

Step 2: Buyer Personas 

Knowing who your target audience is and what they need or want is vital when it comes to online lead generation. Buyer personas can help as these are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customer based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

The only way to find out what you need to know is by interacting with them. Here are a few ideas for gathering the necessary information to build your very own buyer personas:

  • customer interviews
  • contact database
  • website forms
  • sales feedback

A great idea is to run a workshop with your team to brainstorm and create buyer personas after collecting information on your current customers. To help you generate more quality leads online, download our eBook on How To Create Buyer Personas (includes a user-friendly template).

Recommended: ‘How To Create Buyer Personas From Real Data

Step 3: The Buyer’s Journey

A buyer’s journey is the process buyers go through to become aware of, consider, evaluate, and decide to purchase a new product or service. Typically, this involves three stages namely Awareness, Consideration and Decision.

To generate more quality leads online, you must match the buyer’s journey to your type of business. In other words, it’s about offering a product or service to solve a problem or meet someone’s specific needs. That means creating the right type of content around your business offering and the leads you want to attract.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong lead nurturing process as it all depends on your business type. For example, B2B businesses won’t use the same tactics or processes as a restaurant or retail outlet.

Step 4: Generate More Quality Leads With Content Mapping

When it comes to marketing, one size rarely fits all as every business has its own unique set of challenges, objectives and goals. To ensure that your company’s marketing strategy can help generate more quality leads, nurture and convert them, you need to deliver the right message. This means creating the right type of content for the right people at the right time.

Remember the lead gen process for a restaurant? Well, this is where content mapping comes in as you’ll create and promote breakfast offers at different times than lunch or weekends, for example. The only way to do this properly is by performing a content audit and these are the steps involved. Watch the webinar recording for a higher-level explanation of how this works.

content audit

Online Tools And Lead Magnets To Generate More Quality Leads

If you don’t know where to start, several tools can help you find the type of content that best resonates with your target audience. One of our favourite free tools is

Simply enter the phrase and the tool will search online all the different ways people are searching for similar content. From the results, you will be able to see what type of content could work based on how people are searching for it.

Now you have to create some valuable offers and that requires lead magnets. These are free items or services that are given away to prospects to gather their contact information. When creating yours, make sure your audience cares about it, sees value in it and solves a problem they have. Here are some examples of lead magnets you can use at different stages of the buyer’s journey:

lead magnets and special offers

Step 5: Creating The Conversion Path (Putting The Funnel Together)

As briefly mentioned in the introduction, a quality lead is a known person and not an anonymous website visitor as these are often referred to as prospects. Whilst it may differ somewhat, every business has a conversion path which is the process of turning anonymous website visitors into known leads.

A great way to dive right in is checking Google Analytics and using the Funnel Visualisation report. This will help you investigate how your current clients are behaving on your website which can set the tone for how you approach future customers or prospects.

Conversion paths will vary between companies but here is an example of a typical process involving a blog post, call-to-action and conversion form.

generate more quality leads online

Step 6: Choosing The Right Channels To Generate More Quality Leads Online

Now that you’ve established the ideal buyer’s journey, type of content and conversion process, it’s time to put a plan in place. This involves identifying the right digital marketing channels to get your message across and to generate more quality leads. As you’ll see in the section below, the choice of marketing channel is a consequence of what your goals are.

Paid Search

  • Paid search can reach customers at the “moment of intent”
  • Text-only ads
  • Very flexible for testing
  • Massive volume available for some terms
  • Can be ramped up and down very quickly

Organic Search 

  • Reach customers at “moment of intent”
  • Very high volume available
  • After initial SEO investment is set pays dividends in terms of free traffic for a long time

Social Media

  • Social media is very flexible for testing
  • Massive volume available
  • Can be ramped up and down very quickly
  • Visual medium is good for demand creation
  • Audience targeting tools are very powerful

Display Advertising 

  • Very flexible for testing
  • Massive volume available
  • Can be ramped up and down very quickly
  • Visual medium is good for demand creation

Email Marketing

  • Highly measurable for conversions
  • Reach your core audience (know best, verified ID)
  • Email addresses also allow for targeting of other digital advertising

Recommended: ‘How To Get Higher Email Open Rates

How To Map Marketing Channels To Your Buyer’s Journey

generate more quality leads using content mapping

Step 7: Data Metrics And Reporting

Once your lead generation strategy is in place and you’ve gathered sufficient data, you can now create accurate reports. It involves closing the loop between your marketing activities and any achieved sales results. This will not only show how you’ve performed but it’s also important for creating future marketing campaigns. Here’s a brief overview of how “Closed-loop Reporting” works:

  1. A potential buyer visits your website for the first time
  2. The prospect’s browser uses cookies to track their unique activities
  3. The prospect’s click actions and page visits are recorded on a one-to-one level
  4. Using lead magnets and forms, the user has an opportunity to convert and provide their contact info
  5. Using email as a unique identifier, the visitors previously tracked behaviours are associated with their lead profile
  6. When that once anonymous visitor becomes a customer, the tracked touchpoints are credited with the conversion

Benefits of Closed-Loop Reporting To Generate More Quality Leads

It’s important to keep in mind that good data drives better results so the more effort you put into market research, content creation, marketing and reporting, the more successful your lead generation efforts will be. Here are some of the benefits of closed-loop reporting:

  • Focus on the right channels and offers
  • Gain insights about your target audience
  • Set the right goals and expectations
  • A better understanding of your results
  • Shorten your sales cycle
  • Keep your cost per lead low

Once again, many tools can help but our top choices for out of the box software that integrates marketing tools with CRM include SharpSpring, HubSpot and Vbout.

Conclusion: How Do I Generate More Quality Leads?

Marketing is not an exact science and requires significant investment in time and effort to succeed in the ever-growing industry. To stand out amidst all the competition, you need the right marketing strategy to develop a deeper understanding of your target audience using buyer personas. From there, it’s all about creating the right content, promoting it using the most relevant channels and building detailed reports to further improve your efforts.

It’s becoming increasingly challenging to generate more quality leads online but by downloading this 7-step framework, you will help steer your business in the right direction. Better yet, you can partner with WSI eMarketing if you need expert advice on how to generate more qualified leads. To help take your business to the next level, call us on 01453 542761 or visit our website and request a free consultation.

lead generation tips and tricks

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