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In a business climate where competition is fierce and customer expectations are ever-evolving, a lead generation strategy isn’t just an option—it’s a necessity for businesses that want to thrive. 

Lead generation is the art of identifying and attracting potential customers, nurturing their interests, and guiding them toward conversion. Businesses that want to ensure a robust and constantly replenished sales pipeline have to employ a diverse range of lead gen techniques. 

In this article, you’ll learn why lead generation is so hard, the key to effective lead generation, and 10 tried-and-true strategies to help you generate leads for your business. 

What is the key to effective lead generation?

Short answer: Knowing your target audience. 

You can’t generate high-quality leads for your business if you have no idea who those leads are supposed to be. Before implementing a lead generation strategy, do some research into your target audience. 

If you’re a new business, do some market research and competitor analysis to figure out who your target audience is. But if you’re a business with a working company website, use Google Analytics to glean insights into the makeup of your web traffic and customers. 

Learn and absorb the following: 

  • Demographics: age, gender, education level, occupation, income, geographic location, etc. 
  • Psychographics: challenges, pain points, needs, interests, values, buying behavior, etc. 
  • Behaviors: the types of content they consume, the products they use, the social media platforms they hang out on, how often they interact with online assets, etc. 

Having all this information will help you create content and lead gen assets that are tailored to attract potential customers and help them convert.

Why is lead generation so hard?

Lead generation is challenging right now due to different factors. The most prevalent ones include the following: 

  • The digital evolution: The saturation of digital platforms and channels has led to an overwhelming amount of information and advertising noise. Consumers are constantly bombarded with information, products, and services, making it increasingly difficult for businesses to stand out and capture attention. Thus, businesses have to invest significant resources in market research and segmentation to ensure that they craft the right message to reach the right people.
  • Evolution of consumer behavior: In response to information overload, consumers are more cautious about sharing their personal information, given concerns about privacy and data security. This means that businesses must work harder to build credibility and earn trust before potential leads are willing to engage. 
  • The rise of ad-blocking technologies: Traditional lead generation methods are not as effective as before because of the increase in ad-blocking technologies and the increased emphasis on user privacy. This shift calls for businesses to focus more on building relationships rather than simply collecting people’s contact information.

10 lead generation techniques that will keep your pipeline full

Here are 10 lead generation techniques you can implement to boost the health of your sales pipeline: 

  1. Optimize your website for search engines 

Search engine optimization (SEO) involves improving your website to increase its visibility and rankings on search engine results pages (SERPs). The higher you rank on the SERPs, the more likely you are to get more organic (unpaid) traffic than your competitors—which results in more qualified leads finding your website. 

For example, Mailchimp ranks in the top organic position for “how to create a drip email campaign”:

Note that they rank above competitors like Benchmark Email and Moosend:

There are three types of SEO: on-page, off-page, and technical SEO. 

On-page SEO involves strategically inserting high-volume, low-competition long-tail keywords in your web content, e.g. title, headings, subheadings, content body, image alt texts, meta description, and URL. This way, when search engine algorithms crawl your web pages, they’ll know what each one is about and rank it accordingly.

Off-page SEO refers to optimization tactics you execute outside your website, including backlink building, social media marketing, PR campaigns, paid advertising, influencer marketing, and brand mentions. Backlink building is critical because when reputable websites link to your site, it signals search engine algorithms that your content is high-quality, relevant, and helpful—which can improve your ranking. 

Technical SEO involves optimizing the technical aspects of your website to make it easier to crawl and improve user experience. This includes improving your website load speed, submitting your sitemap to Google, creating an SEO-friendly website structure, making your website mobile-responsive, and fixing duplicate content.   

  1. Create high-quality content 

Creating helpful and relevant content about your expertise, product, and industry can help you capture the attention and earn the trust of potential customers. For example, Drift, the buyer engagement platform, creates blog posts, eBooks, reports, webinars, and podcasts for their target audience. 

This content helps the company educate its audience, build trust, and foster brand loyalty. People who love this content are likely to sign up for Drift’s email newsletter, where the company can nurture them to become paying customers. 

Pro tip: In addition to freely accessible content, create lead magnets (or gated content). These are high-quality pieces of content that visitors can only access when they share their personal information with you—usually their full name and email address—via a lead capture form. Lead magnets often come in eBooks, whitepapers, research reports, or templates. 

  1. Execute a social media strategy 

Just like SEO, social media marketing is one of the best ways to get organic traffic and generate leads for your company. B2B brands generally use LinkedIn to promote their website and products because it’s a business-oriented social platform with over 950 million users. Many companies, however, have started using platforms like Instagram, X (formerly Twitter), and even TikTok to promote themselves. 

For example, HubSpot has over 500K followers on Instagram. It appeals to the platform’s audience by using humorous content (including images, carousels, memes, and videos) to promote its products, tools, events, and podcasts.

To succeed on social media, here are some tips to keep in mind: 

  • Identify and create accounts on the social media platforms your target audience uses.
  • Create and publish social media content that is helpful and relevant to your target audience. 
  • Engage with your audience by starting conversations, answering their questions, and replying to their comments. 
  • Monitor your engagement metrics to see which posts perform well and adjust accordingly.
  1. Optimize your landing pages 

Hosting your lead magnets and webinars on dedicated landing pages can significantly boost the number of leads you generate. These landing pages typically contain a description of the product/offer, its value proposition, and a strong call-to-action (CTA) designed to convert traffic into subscribers. 

Here’s an example from Semrush’s Advanced Content Marketing course by Brian Dean. 

On this landing page, there’s the value proposition of the course in the hero section that concisely describes what the course teaches. Below is a definition of the target audience and what students will learn from it. Then there’s the course structure, which gives visitors an idea of what it looks like on the inside.

To optimize your landing page for traffic and conversions, here are some best practices to keep in mind: 

  • Clearly explain your value proposition—i.e., what users will gain from sharing their contact details in exchange for your offer. 
  • Provide social proof in the form of customer testimonials and ratings to show prospects how effective your product is. 
  • Ensure that your landing page is responsive on all major devices. 
  • Clearly state how you will use and protect the data you collect through your form. 
  • Optimize your lead capture form for lead generation.
  • Use a “thank you” page to show appreciation to people who submitted their contact information and let them know what to expect. 
  1. Optimize your lead capture form

Lead capture forms are forms that are hosted on landing pages or embedded in blog posts to collect prospects’ contact information. Since they’re the final step in lead generation campaigns, you need to get them right. 

To optimize your lead capture form, decide on the information to collect. Simple forms, like this one from Zapier, only ask for prospects’ names and email addresses. Since they’re easy to fill out, you’ll typically get more conversions with this type of form. 

But lengthy forms, like the one below from Demand Generation, ask for extra information, such as company, country, job function, job role, and phone number. Because this form is complex and requires more effort from prospects, fewer people will fill it out. 

However, complex forms help you filter out low-quality leads, segment your audience, personalize your emails, and inform your marketing and sales efforts. 

The number of fields in your form depends on your lead generation goal and the customer journey stage your prospects are in. If your audience is in the early stage of the customer journey, your form should be simple. As they go further down the sales funnel, you can ask for extra details in your form. 

Pro tip: No matter the information you ask for, your lead capture form should be aesthetically pleasing and easy to use.

  1. Run paid ad campaigns

Building organic traffic takes time and patience, but the return on investment (ROI) is high when done right. If, however, you need to generate leads for your business right away, you can run pay-per-click (PPC) ad campaigns on search engines or social media. 

As the name implies, you don’t have to pay for your ads until people click on them—in other words, you pay per click. This allows you to target specific keywords and demographics, driving qualified leads to your landing pages. 

For example, here are three paid search ads for CRM tools from Freshworks, Mailchimp, and Bitrix24:

The ads all lead to a landing page that explains the value of the products and features a lead generation form that prospects can fill out.

Some social media advertising platforms have built-in lead generation tools. For example, Facebook allows you to use Lead Ads to collect users’ information. This means that you can capture leads directly within the app without redirecting users or having them fill out lengthy lead capture forms on external websites. 

  1. Host webinars and workshops

A great way to generate qualified leads for your business is to position yourself as an industry expert or thought leader. What better way to do that than to host webinars and/or workshops? 

Webinars are live virtual events where you can teach a specific number of prospects about your product. People who register for these events often share their contact information in exchange for a slot, giving you an opportunity to follow up and nurture them via email. During the webinar itself, you can engage with prospects, promote your product, and answer their questions in real time. 

For example, in this webinar, experts from Hotjar teamed up to teach attendees (who are typically from marketing and product teams) about product-led growth. 

In addition to generating leads through the registration form, the company positions itself as an expert in product-led growth and the experts show attendees how they can use Hotjar to ignite their growth engine.

Pro tip: For your webinars to be successful, you need to select topics that are interesting and valuable to your ideal client/customer. As people get value from your sessions, they’ll come to trust your brand and patronize you when they have a challenge or need your product can help them with. 

  1. Offer live chat functionality

Offering live chat support on your website allows your customer support representatives to interact with prospects in real time. Not only does this make it easy for prospects to make inquiries about your product, but it also allows customer support reps to capture lead data, build trust, and convert prospects into paying customers. 

Take this example from Salesforce. The AI bot gives users some options they can choose from depending on what they want to do. They can either speak live with an expert, get help with a Salesforce product they’re already using, or get help with their free trial. 

During the conversation, the chatbot encourages users to share their information and their needs. Then Salesforce adds these details to their customer relationship management (CRM) platform, so they can follow up on the prospects later.  

  1. Create a referral program

Word-of-mouth marketing is an excellent way to generate viable leads because people are more likely to trust others who endorse your product than they are to trust what you say about your brand. Therefore, encourage your existing customers to refer others to your business in exchange for strong incentives, such as discounts or exclusive access. 

For example, Wise, the international payment platform, rewards customers with up to£75 if they successfully refer three friends:

For your referral program to be successful, you’ll need to have a great product and a competent customer service team. People are more likely to recommend your products to others if they’re happy with their experience with your brand. 

Pro tip: You can supplement your referral program with an affiliate program, which rewards influencers with a commission when they send qualified leads your way. 

  1. Use AI and automation tools

Gartner’s research shows that artificial intelligence will dominate the technology space in the near future “as more organizations progress their AI maturity”. AI and automation tools can help you streamline your lead generation process and save your team the manual work involved in getting (and converting) leads. 

Now, many lead generation tools are incorporating AI and automation into their features. Here are a few examples: 

  • Unbounce uses AI to help users create well-optimized landing pages and generate high-converting web copy. 
  • Jasper.ai has AI-based (copy)writing assistants.
  • HubSpot has an AI-based lead-scoring feature that parses through thousands of data points to qualify leads. 
  • Drift Email automatically separates human email replies from autoresponders and routes them to the right person to ensure follow-ups.
  • Zapier allows businesses to connect thousands of MarTech apps (including social media platforms, email marketing tools, CRM systems, communication platforms, analytics tools, etc.) and build as many automated workflows as they wish. 

Lead generation: The key to sustainable business growth

Lead generation isn’t merely a task to tick off a checklist—it’s the dynamic force that propels businesses forward. A well-crafted lead generation strategy ensures a constant influx of potential customers, paving the way for conversion and revenue generation. By implementing the diverse techniques outlined in this guide, businesses can forge meaningful connections with their audience, creating a loyal customer base that advocates for the brand. 

If you need some help generating leads and turning them into paying customers, look no further than Demand Playbook. Demand Playbook is a customer relationship management (CRM) platform that uses AI and automation to help you create demand for your product, fill out your sales pipeline, retain your customers, and build a thriving business. Try Demand Playbook today.

Bernard Aguila

Bernard Aguila is a brand ambassador and SEO Outreach Specialist at Omniscient Digital, a premium content marketing & SEO agency.