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Online Lead Generation Ideas

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Table of Contents

Generating leads online is one of the best ways to find potential customers. However, it can be difficult to know where to start when you need new leads and don’t know where to start.

In this article, I’m going to provide a few best practices for how to generate leads online for content marketing, direct marketing and advertising strategies.

Instead of dumping dozens of tactics and ideas on you cold, these are organized by marketing strategy — based on your Marketing Superpower.

Lead Generation Strategy Basics

Let’s get something clear, leads are not just emails or warm bodies or phone numbers. Leads are supposed to be qualified ideal customers who have a need for what you are offering and are able to pay the price you’re charging.

It’s up to YOU to set everything up so that your ideal customer can find you, check you out and choose you.

Your Lead Generation Process

An infographic of the marketing process map to show how online lead generation works

Traditional marketing assumes that you are choosing your ideal marketing medium to run your marketing campaigns. Unfortunately, that’s not how you probably work.

Today’s lead generation process is

  1. Search Google
  2. Read a bunch of articles
  3. Pick an idea that looks good (i.e. email marketing to generate leads)
  4. Give it a go
  5. Fail
  6. Try another idea like content marketing
  7. Fail

While this is, indeed a process, it’s not really a lead generation process.

What is online lead generation?

Instead of this constant trial and error process for online lead generation, think of it this way.

Your lead generation process is really a marketing process. Because the whole point of marketing is to FEED your business with ideal customers and keep them coming back for more.

  1. Market research: What’s missing in my industry? What problems am I uniquely qualified to solve?
  2. Segmentation: What are the different groups of people who most value what I’m selling?
  3. Targeting: Who is my ideal customer? Who needs what I offer most and values it the most?
  4. Positioning: How can I describe my product or service that resonates with them?
  5. Strategize the marketing mix: What is my irresistible offer? The irresistible bundle of product, service, price, promotion and distribution?
  6. Implement your strategy: Where will my customers come from? Your choices are: Content marketing, Direct Marketing and Paid advertising. This is the DOING part. All you need to decide here is WHICH of these three marketing strategies are you going to DO.
  7. Measure your results: This element doesn’t need to be fancy. It can include something as simple as counting phone calls or as complex as tracking Google Analytics.
man in front of blue wall looking at yellow sticky notes featuring online lead generation ideas

Lead Generation Techniques

Generating leads is so much easier when you start from your marketing strategy. Because the marketing strategy you choose will inspire the flavor of your lead generation tactics.

Lead Generation With Content Marketing

These online lead generation techniques are ideal for those who are using online marketing such as online content to capture qualified leads from a website or blog post.

Content marketing is known as an inbound marketing strategy. I like to think of content as a 24/7 sales team dedicating to generating leads.

If you want your content marketing to generate sales qualified leads from your own website, you need to have:

  • A sales funnel
  • A solid value proposition
  • Lead capture mechanism such as a form submission
  • Call to action

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

SEO is one of a handful of online lead generation techniques. Search Engine Optimization is easy enough for anyone to do — to a degree. BUT, it is NOT a set-it-and-forget it strategy.

If you are using content to attract a target audience via search engines, you will have to invest your time and some money in doing some industry research, and understanding HOW search engines work.

You’ll also need to understand your target audience and what they are searching for, hence what they need (or want) to see in their search results.

Optimize your website for high visibility

If you want website visitors to turn into sales leads, you need to make sure that you create a lead generating website.

There are many things you can do to optimize your website, but some of the most important are:

  1. Make sure your site is easy to navigate.
  2. Use clear and concise titles and headings on your pages.
  3. Write quality content that is interesting and relevant to your target audience.
  4. Use keywords carefully and naturally in your content.
  5. Structure your web pages so that the most important information is at the top of the page.
  6. Optimize your images for faster loading times.
  7. Enable caching to speed up page loading times for repeat visitors.
  8. Use a reliable web host with good server performance

Create SEO optimized landing pages for your offer

Landing pages are a key component of effective lead generation,A well-optimized landing page can dramatically improve your website’s click-through rate and conversion rate, resulting in more leads and sales. In this article, we will show you how to create SEO optimized landing pages that will help you increase your website’s search engine ranking and conversion rate.

The first step in creating an SEO optimized landing page is to choose the right keywords. When choosing keywords, it is important to target keywords that are relevant to your product or service and that have high search volume and low competition.

The next step is to research your competition. This includes studying their

Make sure every blog post answers a popular question

Blogging is a must-do lead generation tactic. Most people struggle with what to blog about, the easiest thing to do is create a list of Frequently Asked Questions and start answering them.

Post intentionally on social media

People forget that posting on social media is social media marketing. Social media posts are CONTENT!. Instead of just posting this and that on social media, be intentional.

You don’t have to make a fancy plan, but it’s a good idea to make an outline of what type of content you’re going to post on what platforms.

  1. Keep your ideal customer in mind when you select your social media platforms.
  2. Post relevant content on social media that helps your customers solve simple problem.
  3. Allow customers to access and download valuable information.
  4. Engage with existing customers and encourage them to post their experiences with you to their social media accounts and to tag you.

Host a webinar workshop

man in front of computer with professional microphone delivering webinar as an online lead generation tactic

Webinars are a terrific tactic for both content marketing and direct marketing. If you’re a content marketer, your webinars are going to be an educational lead generation tactic.

Hosting a live event would be more personal and allow attendees to ask questions while giving them the opportunity of seeing the product before purchasing it; however, costs could prove more expensive than hosting an online webinars (which often require less equipment).

The true goal of a webinar workshop is to generate leads in the form of emails or appointments.

The way to generate the most leads is to invite and interview experts in your industry who make a commitment to promote your webinar workshop to their audiences.

This way you and the speakers benefit from reaching an expanded audience, and your audience benefits from learning from experts on a topic that’s important to them.

Make videos and optimize them for your targeted keywords

When your audience wants to learn how to do something, they head over to YouTube.

Make videos about the top problems your customers face and create a free downloadable as an incentive.

Video drives website visitors. And, it makes complex services much easier to understand.

Launch a Podcast

man delivering podcast and being recorded

Podcasts are a great way to build your personal brand as a thought leader. The challenge is that hosting a podcast requires a lot of upfront work, with little payoff in terms of lead gen.

If you’re a consultant, use your podcast to get around the gatekeeper. Invite your ideal clients as guests on your podcast. This gives you and your guest to have a conversation that might ultimately lead to a sale.

Online PR

A lot of small business owners ignore public relations because they think that hiring a PR professional is expensive. It can be. But you can use online PR as a leg up on getting search engine results.

Whenever you have a newsworthy event in your business, share it to an online PR hub such as PRWeb. Just write out your press release and submit it to PRWeb. They will distribute it across all of their online channels.

Answer questions on Quora

If you’re a consultant, answering questions on Quora can yield new customers. The process is simple. Create an account, follow channels in your industry and answer questions people are asking.

One great thing about Quora is that you are free to post links to any content you’ve written, or any lead magnets such as ebooks.

Create lead magnets

ebook on table as online lead generation idea

Speaking of lead magnets. A lead magnet is a valuable piece of information that’s easy for you to create and provides enough value to your audience that they’re willing to trade their email for the information.

Typical lead magnets include:

  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Calculators
  • Quizzes
  • Videos
  • Email courses

Don’t overthink this. You might think that something you know is obvious, but it’s super valuable for your ideal customer.

Create eBooks

I’m separating out ebooks because they are so versatile. An ebook can be a lead magnet, but it can also be SOLD on Amazon.

Most subject matter experts will write a book about their process that guides their customers through their consulting process. This is better than any sales call. It gives your target audience the experience with working with you.

Lead Generation With Direct Marketing

DIrect marketing is a business model that shortcuts typical marketing channels, such as television and radio, and instead targets potential customers directly. This can be a more cost-effective way of reaching out to customers who may be interested in what you have to offer.

Direct marketers collect high quality leads by uncovering a specific problem faced by their target customer, providing a solution to that problem, and then they convert leads by providing an offer that easily solves that problem.

Here are specific tactics that you can use to collect prospective buyers and qualified prospects.

Sell with with email marketing

Email marketing is NOT a strategy! It’s a tactic and a channel – it’s simply a vehicle to connect with your customers.

In the world of “direct marketing” (which IS a strategy) you would use emails to connect with sales leads by demonstrating that you know and understand their problem and presenting them with a solution and an opportunity to purchase a product or a service.

Sure, your emails contain educational content, but the goal is to send targeted messages in order to capture a qualified lead.

Every email you send is guiding your customer through a buying journey and ends with a call to action which should result in a sale.

Email marketing is a great tactic for direct marketers because you are creating content with a consistent message.

Sales Webinars

I’m listing webinars as a direct marketing tactic because sales webinars are different from webinar workshops. A sales webinar is designed to work like a direct sales call.

A sales webinar is designed to — sell. The webinar presenter targets a specific audience with a specific problem, then gives them a solution process that is unique to them. The presenter also includes testimonials from existing clients who have experienced success with this process.

Finally, a sales webinar has a specific offer at the end of the webinar for a product or a service that simplifies the solution for the attendee.

Lead Generation With Advertising

person looking at facebook advertising on computer and mobile for online lead generation idea

If your business is focused on serving customers and clients and you don’t have the time or the inclination to spend your time and money on marketing activities — advertising is a great option for you.

Of course, advertising is the traditional way that most people think of lead generation — but it’s changing.

Digital marketing has changed how companies advertise – they are now more interested in targeting prospects with ads based on their behavior, previous purchases, demographics and interests. This will allow you to reach an audience who has a greater chance of being interested in your product or service.

Advertising is all about impressions and reach vs. conversions. When you have an ad that is designed to capture attention and build brand awareness – it’s going to cost more than a single conversion would produce.

Your advertising budget should be focused on getting the highest number of possible impressions and then you will need to analyze the results in order to determine if your advertising goals are being met.

Direct Response Advertising

A direct response ad or campaign is designed to generate an immediate response from a prospect which could be anything from signing up for a free trial, downloading an ebook, opting in for a webinar registration or purchasing a product.

The idea behind direct response advertising is that you must give something away in order to get a lead or a prospect to take the next step and then you need to follow up with them in order to capture their contact information.

You use direct response advertising when your advertising goal is meeting a specific target demographic and qualifying prospects by using landing pages to capture and convert leads.

PPC (pay-per-click) ads either with Google ads, Facebook ads, etc.

Pay per click ads are an advertisement on search engines and social media platforms to drive traffic.

Once you’ve generated a lead with your ads, it’s time to follow up. You can either offer an ad-supported free trail or present the price and give them the opportunity to opt in for more information in order to get a quote and make a purchase.

PPC advertising is good when you have the resources and the budget to manage your ads You have a sizable audience to target. People spend money online and the search engines continue to drive more eyes to your ads.

Which platform is best for lead generation?

person working at desk with computer and notebook choosing platforms for online lead generation

Google Search Console for relevant keywords and organic search results to help you drive more traffic to your website.

Form submissions platforms such as OptinMonster make it easy to create beautiful opt in forms.

Kartra is an affordable all-in-one marketing automation platform that you can use to create landing pages, forms, and content delivery.

LeadPages is similar to Kartra and is a great way to create landing pages and optin forms.

What to do with all of this

Generating leads is essential for any business, but it can be difficult to know where to start. The best way to get started is by understanding the different types of lead generation and how they can be used together to create a comprehensive marketing strategy. Once you have a plan in place, you can begin advertising and generating direct response leads that will help you grow your business.

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