Lead Generation: Complete Guide

Table of Contents

What is Lead Generation?

By Lead Generation, we literally mean "lead generation": so to understand the meaning of Lead Generation, it is necessary to take a step back and understand what a lead is.

The meaning of Lead

By "Lead" we can mean the contact of a potential customer, which can be composed of a contact data such as email address and/or phone number, which is often accompanied by other contact data such as name and surname and, when necessary, other data that might interest you, such as company or professional role.

Cold Lead, Hot Lead, Prospect

As much as a "lead" often means a contact ranging from a newsletter subscriber to a quote request, a more appropriate distinction is between Cold Leads and Warm Leads or Prospects.

In the first case we have a contact, typically composed of an email address sometimes accompanied by a name.

Usually the acquisition of these cold leads:

  • is easier to acquire even if it is farther from conversion: for this reason, the acquisition of a cold lead is often accompanied by an Email Marketing Automation workflow, aimed at accompanying the lead to the knowledge of the product or service until it is more ready to convert;
  • occurs with traffic sources such as SEO (e.g. with contact form within articles that acquire organic traffic), Facebook Advertising, Linkedin Ads or the Google Ads Disply Network, i.e. in the context of the so-called "latent demand";
  • is typically achieved with a "bargaining chip" such as an ebook, white paper, video.

As far as warm leads are concerned, we are faced with contacts where we often ask for the phone number, as well as name and email address, in order to request more information about a product or service, access a Demo, request a quote. In these cases we use Google Ads (Search Network), in addition to Linkedin Ads (especially in the presence of a very defined B2B target), Facebook Advertising and SEO.

Lead Generation: for whom?

The acquisition of contacts of potential customers is the main objective of online macro conversion for companies that sell services and make custom products, i.e. on request of customer specifications.

Unlike ecommerce, where acquiring leads, such as newsletter subscribers, is an important goal but not as primary as selling the product or service (a micro-conversion goal, which can provide an assist to the sale), in the case instead of custom-made services and products, lead generation is the ultimate goal of online initiatives, which comes closest to having an impact on revenue.

In fact, if in the case of ecommerce, the objective of conversion and customer acquisition both occur online, in the case of Lead Generation, once the contact has been acquired, it can become a paying customer only after having been commercially managed by someone from the company, or only after signing the contract or paying the deposit, initiatives that typically occur offline.

5 Steps of a Lead Generation Campaign

How does a lead generation campaign work? To explain it I take inspiration from my S.T.AR.T. method in 5 points that you can find in my website emanuelechiericato.com. Let's see it together.

Step 1: Define a Strategy

"There is no worse wind for the sailor who does not know where to go": this beautiful phrase from Seneca sums up the importance of devising a strategy before embarking on lead acquisition initiatives. What does it mean to develop a strategy? For example:

  • Understand the target audience, i.e. what characteristics the potential customers whose contact we want to acquire have;
  • Figure out where we can find them online: we'll devote the next step to this;
  • understand the best way to acquire contact, whether through a Lead Magnet, in the case of Cold Leads, or a request for information or quote.
  • Understand what the Brand Positioning elements are, i.e. the strengths that we will enhance in our Landing Page to convince the visitor to leave their contact details.

Step 2: SEO & Advertising

Having defined the Strategy, it's time to understand which are the most suitable tools to intercept our target audience online. Let's see an overview.

Lead Generation with SEO

SEO can be a great source of visitors to convert into leads.

The traditional way to do this is through Content Marketing and Inbound Marketing activities, i.e. articles that rank for certain keywords, receive visitors who then, within the article, can be converted into cold leads with Lead Magnets such as ebooks, videos, through appropriate forms or PopUp.

Lead Generation with Google Ads

Google Ads' Search Network also allows you to intercept hot leads: in this case, the most common strategy is to use the Search Network (i.e., ads that appear in Google's SERPs) with a Landing Page.

Lead Generation with Facebook Advertising

Facebook Advertising, Facebook's advertising program, is a great tool for acquiring cold and warm leads at a great CPL (cost per lead). 

Acquiring leads with Facebook Ads can be done in 3 ways:

  • Promotional objective Conversions and Landing Page: in this case we make whoever clicks on our advertisement land on a landing page with the objective of acquiring the contact, in exchange for a Lead Magnet or for a request for information or a quote;
  • Lead Ads: are a Facebook Advertising target that does not require a Landing Page as the contact is acquired directly on Facebook thanks to a popup pre-filled with the subscriber's fields;
  • Messenger: also with Messenger and possible automations with ChatBots it is possible to acquire the user's contact.

Lead Generation with Linkedin Ads

Linkedin's advertising program, Linkedin Ads, can be useful for B2B lead acquisition especially if your target audience consists of Decision Maker of certain business areas, companies in specific sectors or companies of certain sizes.

Although more expensive than Facebook Advertising and sometimes even Google Ads, it provides profiled leads with promotional goals similar to Facebook Advertising at times.

Step 3: From Clicks to Leads with the Landing Page

Once the click is acquired, if we haven't intercepted the potential customer's contact directly online (e.g. through Facebook Advertising Lead Ads or Linkedin Ads' Lead Generation objective) we need to lead them to a Landing Page where we typically acquire the contact through a "bargaining chip" i.e. a Lead Magnet or directly, for example in the case of an information or quote request.

In both cases it is important to take care of content, graphics and user experience aspects of the page to optimize the possibility of converting the visitor the lead.

So space for Copywriting, elements of Persuasion, Neuromarketing and CRO.

Step 4: From Lead to Customer with Marketing Automation and Sales

Once the lead is intercepted, the most common possibilities are:

  • Call him back and have a Salesperson handle the next steps;
  • include it in an automated email workflow with email marketing automation, with the aim of providing it with more information about the product, service, brand while waiting for a salesperson to contact it or to keep it "engaged" while waiting for it to be ready to go to the next level.

Step 5: Track performance

Once the lead is acquired and entered into a sales or email path, it's important to evaluate a few metrics to optimize the steps, including:

  • the conversion rate of the Landing Page
  • the CPL, i.e. the cost per lead
  • lead quality
  • the conversion rate from Lead to Customer
Consultancy and training courses on Lead Generation, Marketing Automation and Performance Marketing
Do you want to increase the quantity of potential customer contacts, improve contact quality, reduce the cost of lead acquisition, turn contacts into paying customers and increase their value over time?