17 Digital Marketing Experts Share Their Most Successful Lead Generation Strategies
Lead generation is vital for your business. The traditional way of doing business has dramatically changed. To create new business you need to spark interest in your products or services across many channels. Modern lead generation strategies are necessary to ensure relevant leads flow into your marketing funnel for ongoing nurturing by your marketing and sales teams.
61% of B@B marketers surveyed say generating quality leads that include a valid connected phone number and email address is one of their biggest challenges. With that in mind, we asked 17 digital marketing experts to share the lead generation strategies they are have found to be the most successful.
Featured Digital Marketing Experts
The Content Upgrade
Brian at Backlinko.com says…
#1: The Content Upgrade. Honestly, this could be my #1, #2 and #3 lead generation strategy. It works SUPER well because you’re offering something your visitor actually wants.
#2: Making your homepage a squeeze page. This sound spammy at first…until you realize that every big site (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc.) all do the same thing. Fewer options=higher conversions. So the more you make your homepage about converting, the better your conversions will be.
Brian Dean is an internationally recognized SEO expert and founder of Backlinko.
Targeted Blog Posts
Tom at Webbiquity says…
One top lead generation strategy is driving organic search visits to blog posts carefully targeted to solving specific problems. Every post should end with a relevant call to action, often a content upgrade of some sort—a related checklist, assessment, white paper, or ebook.
A second is sharing those posts selectively in carefully targeted LinkedIn groups. Groups can’t be used just for promoting content, of course. But combining post sharing with being active in group discussions—commenting on other posts and answering questions—can drive traffic that converts well.
Award winning B2B marketing consultant who’s helped small to mid-sized organizations improve their online visibility, website traffic, lead generation, and business results. Tom helps companies address tough B2B marketing planning and execution challenges, improve the customer experience, and optimize marketing technology strategy.
Tom’s business mission: Drive superior client experiences and business outcomes.
Josh at MWI.com says…
A lot of my agency’s leads come through SEO (good thing, since it’s an SEO agency), but the biggest source of leads was when I started writing for Forbes, and then expanded into writing for TechCrunch, Mashable, Entrepreneur, etc. Call it thought leadership, or personal branding, or becoming an influencer, or whatever, but that has been HUGE for lead generation.
Josh is the founder of MWI, author of Chief Marketing Officers at Work: How Top Marketers Build Customer Loyalty, a TEDx speaker, and presents regularly at marketing and business events. He has written over 200 articles on marketing and entrepreneurship for publications like Mashable, TechCrunch, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Time.
Mix of Inbound and Outbound
Adam at Socedo.com says…
At Socedo, we’ve found the most success with a healthy mix of inbound and outbound lead generation strategies, and social media data is core to both approaches. We engage organically with net new contacts on Twitter who are already having relevant conversations, and these leads typically respond to us at 5x the rate as other channels. We also enable our sales development team with social intent data to target lists of leads with hyper-personalized messaging. But no matter the channel, data and relevancy are key to generating and converting qualified leads.
Senior Marketing Manager at Socedo and a Marketo Certified Expert.
Tip: When using outbound lead generation be sure to check do not call list to avoid FTC fines and penalties.
Landing Page Testing
Zach at Zach Heller Marketing says…
When I think about lead generation strategies, there are two things that stand out as most effective for me. The first is landing page testing. Any lead generation efforts rely on converting people who visit your landing page into signups. We need them to fill out that form, or click that button. The more who do, the more leads we will have to follow up with. And so I never stop running A/B tests on my landing pages in order to improve the conversion rate.
The second is a tool Facebook offers, called Lookalike Audiences. What Lookalikes allow you to do is simple – upload a list of existing leads or customers, and use Facebook’s algorithms to target ads at people who are most similar to them. Because of the size of Facebook’s user base, you are likely to find thousands or more who resemble your existing customers and are ripe for your advertising campaigns.
A marketing professional with years of experience in branding, digital marketing, direct response and marketing communications. Zach has entrepreneurial and consulting experience, and loves working with small and medium sized companies to help direct marketing efforts toward growth.
Kevin at Red Point Marketing says…
Local networking groups (either BNI or groups using a similar model) and podcasting.
Kevin is the owner of Redpoint Marketing Consultants, where they specialize in helping local businesses use the famous Duct Tape Marketing system.
Social Media Profile
Mindi at MindiRosser.com says…
#1 – Craft a stellar LinkedIn Profile. Your customers are looking you/your company up on Google and social media. You need to make it readily apparent that you’re the perfect match for them.
#2 – Be authentic and consistent. Your customers expect you to be authentic and true to your brand, as well as, showing up consistently in the channels that matter most to them. Be a part of the conversation consistently, and you will win their business.
Mindi helps small to medium-sized B2B businesses—and their leaders—look awesome on social media.
Consistent Quality Content
Ryan at smamarketing says…
First would be consistent quality content. Taking the time to really get to know my audience and answer real questions from real people.
The second would be personalization. Leveraging the power of AI and smart algorithms to deliver the right offer at the right time. It really comes down to context. “Does this content, ad, offer match what the user wants/needs.”
Ryan is the owner and founder of Shelley Media Arts LLC. He is passionate about helping companies make a more personal connection online with their customers and prospects.
Romance Your Prospects
Heidi at HeidiCohen says…
The best lead generation advice for any marketer is to romance your prospects before, during and after the sale (or you’ll waste your marketing investment!)
Remember: Good customer relationships are a lot like good marriages. Everyone’s needs must be met!
This requires knowing your customer, providing relevant information when, where and how it’s needed, and being honest and transparent about your capabilities (Translation: Don’t over-promise!)
Heidi is Chief Content Officer at Heidi Cohen’s Actionable Marketing Guide and President at Riverside Marketing Strategies. She is also a speaker, professor, & journalist. Heidi shares practical advice on social media, content marketing, small business & life.
Nathan at Digital Next says…
Organic SEO has always been a major player in our digital strategy. It allows for longer term visibility across relevant terms and drives sustainable growth. Over time Digital Next can optimize our keyword plan towards better performing terms and thus yielding higher lead quality and ROI.
Paid Media, with focus on remarketing and audience management, comprises the rest of our direct response offering. Powerful Cookie cutting and demographic refinement allow for our messaging and narrative to be well aligned to the person and their relative position in the buying cycle.
Nathan Elly is the branch manager at SEO Agency – Digital Next, a full-service digital agency based in South Melbourne specializing in responsive Web design, SEO, PPC and social media marketing.
Landing Page Offer
Annaliese at MktgInnovator says…
1) Landing pages with a gated offer of relevant value, such as an eBook or webinar
2) Twitter chats (surprisingly) – as long as the links I promote are of relevance to the conversation
Annaliese is an independent blogger and guest writer for CoSchedule, Hootsuite, and Social Media Today.
Attract, Convert, Nurture and Close
Matt at Jumplead says…
There’s only one strategy that I’d recommend. And the good news is that it supports a very wide range of tactics that you can tailor to suit your own business and customers.
The strategy is to attract, convert, nurture and close.
The tactics that have been the most successful for me are to stay laser focused upon the needs of my customers. Publish articles and content that goes some way towards solving their unique problems.
Trade up via conversion to deeper content and product access.
Nurture over time with original content and feature access.
If you can turn the information your potential customers are searching for into a route to your product or service, you’re thinking in right direction.
Once you get the messaging right scale it up with marketing automation. 🙂
Matt Fenn is the founder of Jumplead Marketing Software. A marketing automation platform designed for small to medium sized businesses.
Start a Conversation
Brad at Pittsburgh Internet Consulting says…
Ask an Expert form – I use this on a couple manufacturer client sites. It allows someone to ask a simple question and start a conversation. Works good on social media too! Another way to do this would be to Ask A Question…or Ask Brad a Question (put the business owner’s name). That ads another layer of personalization and the user feels they are directly asking a person more than filling out a form.
It might sound simple, but Request a Quote is a great options. I use this on a sign manufacturer client of mine and the form allows image upload so leads can upload designs for an accurate quote. This works great on specific product pages when you need more details from a visitor that is ready to make a decision to buy.
Inbound marketing consultant with SEO & SEM, content marketing, social media, email marketing, measurement and analysis focus.
Write for sites in your industry
Julie at Link Fish Media says…
My biggest lead generation strategy is one that came about by accident at the time, and that was writing a monthly column for an industry site. I had no idea that it would become a major way to get new clients but we continue to get 5-10 good new leads a month from my articles. The only link to my site is in my bio so I’m not trying to write self-promotional material, but I do end up with some really qualified leads each month.
Julie is owner of and director of operations for the link building company Link Fish Media, Inc. and co-founder of SEO Chicks. Monthly columnist for Search Engine Land.
Leverage Social Media Apps
Pratik at PratikDholakiya.com says…
The business handshake has gone digital, and LinkedIn has made it even easier to promote your business or services through the ‘world’s largest business network’.
What works is a personalized approach if leveraging the new instant messaging app; avoid a copy/paste message that you will send out to everyone. Not only will it produce a low amount of actionable leads, but it can also lead to a complaint by other LinkedIn users for TOS violation and spam messaging. Rather than a cold proposal to offer services, consider sharing an article from your business blog that demonstrates your expertise. Offering something of value is effective, and professional if contacting someone new with a service offer.
Many professionals and businesses overlook the value of leveraging Facebook Live video webinars for lead generation. Create a three-email sequence to your existing contact list, schedule one-week before the Facebook Live event, two days before, and then three hours before you go live on video. Coordinate social media posts to promote the event, and consider placing pay-per-click budget on the event notice, to gain new audience.
After the Facebook Live video is done, re-market to the audience that showed up. Use the ‘Create a Custom Audience” tool in Facebook ad’s manager, select the criteria (I recommend audience that viewed at least 50% of the video for high conversion), and send them a special offer, or an invite to your blog subscription page. Turn audience affordably into subscribers for drip-marketing email campaigns.
Pratik Dholakiya is the Founder of The 20 Media, a content marketing agency specializing in content & data-driven SEO and PRmention, a digital PR agency. As a passionate SEO & content marketer, he shares his thoughts and knowledge in publications like Search Engine Land, Search Engine Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, The Next Web, YourStory and Inc42 to name a few.
Understand Your Audience
Will at Internal Results says…
In the B2B space, lead generation can be complex and has changed in recent years to become more buyer-centric, with many more decision makers involved in the buying process. Not to mention all the different mediums now available as lead generating platforms!
Therefore I don’t believe it’s a question of picking one or two strategies on their own; I think it is about using a blended approach of what works best for your industry type – based upon where each buyer is in the decision-making stage – awareness, consideration, or decision phase.
I find the mix of organic search, paid search, sponsored updates from LinkedIn, social media, and very focused email marketing work best for us. And we plan to introduce webinars into the mix too.
Targeted content syndication is one of the best methods we use to generate new leads as it uses a blend of segmented email, relevant content, buying signals, and competitive intelligence. (Feel free to download our Content Syndication Guide to Successful Lead Generation for B2B Marketers)
Ultimately, we identify, target, and engage with each prospect type with content that is both of relevance and of value.
My advice to anyone wanting to improve their lead generation is No. 1 – understand your audience. If you don’t know who your audience is, you can’t offer them what they want.
No. 2 – Build content that is relevant to each member of that audience depending upon where they are in the buying process.
Bear in mind that some decision makers will only become involved at the final (decision) stage, others, namely those searching for a solution to their problem or issue, will have involvement from the awareness stage.
Content marketing is a medium-to-longer term strategy, but if you are creating good quality content regularly and using keywords that target your intended audience, it will generate good leads for you. Plus it will generate better ROI over paid search over time.
Will is Head of Digital Marketing at Internal Results. With a career spanning 25 years in sales & marketing, Will manages all of our Digital Marketing activities. His time is spent developing, optimizing, analyzing and managing all of our content and communications.
Speaking and Partnering
John at Duct Tape Marketing says…
Speaking and partnering. I’ve used speaking as a lead generation tool for years and while I am now a paid keynote speaker I still advocate the idea of getting in front of potential clients and demonstrating your expertise as a way to generate highly qualified leads. In terms of partnering the best way to do this is find partners that have your ideal client in their network and offer them awesome content that they can co-brand and offer to their network. Of course, you can combine the two tactics by offering to speak to their audience.
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. His latest book, SEO for Growth – The Ultimate Guide for Marketers, Web Designers, and Entrepreneurs, is changing the way the world thinks about SEO.
A BIG thanks to everyone who contributed to this awesome post! Please share if you think it was useful!
What lead generation strategies have been the most successful for you?