Marketing / Digital Marketing

Your Ultimate Guide to Successful Lead Generation

Mark Cirillo, Twila Grissom, Josh Haynam, Marcus Taylor, Irina Weber & Shaun Whynacht

Updated: Feb 03, 2022 · 18 min read

Toolkit for download in this article

lead generation

How do you find new clients? This is an ultimate question for any active business. There are different ways for different kinds of operations and of course, there are some special approaches that digital agencies employ.

Tactics to boost your lead generation strategy

Optimize calls-to-action

For a call to action to work, it needs to capture attention, but also give them a clear reason to click. Small business lead generation starts when a prospect clicks on a CTA, so you want that CTA button to shine.

  • Be specific about what you want prospects to do
  • Place your CTA (or CTAs) in a conspicuous place
  • Make the CTA eye-catching

The message is crucial to the success of your CTA. Take time to craft a concise, but instructional message to prompt potential customers to learn more about your small business.

Make your CTA’s location obvious on your website so that it’s easy to see, and potential customers will know what kind of action you want them to take. By placing a CTA next to or around valuable snippets of content, your prospects will understand that you want them to request further information about your small business’ services.

Catch your prospect’s eye with a pop of color on a background of neutral color. This will cause your CTA to rise from the page and encourage a click, and, thus, an information capture.

  • Your call to action buttons should ideally be the largest buttons on a given page
  • Use contrasting colors to make smaller buttons stand out more
  • Use less distinct colors to make oversized buttons fit in better
  • Your call to action buttons need to command attention without overwhelming your design

Gating your premium content

Gating your most valuable content behind a lead capture form is a simple, but a highly effective tactic for capturing email leads. Copyblogger used this tactic to increase email signups by 400 percent and Crowe Horwath hit a 133 percent ROI within six months.

Harness video to capture leads

The advice to use video in your marketing mix probably feels like old news now, but fewer than one in 10 SMEs have an active YouTube account. So how can we use video for lead generation?

Video platforms like Wistia provide the ability to add email capture boxes within video content. You can use this to gate video content as mentioned in step one, or you can use it to capture email leads at the end of your videos—when leads are most likely to be willing to hand over their details.

Connect with your audience to build relationships and awareness

Buffer has been using Meetup to connect with its users and fans for years. Part brand awareness, part consumer dialogue, and part relationship building; it’s a great strategy to tick a lot of boxes while generating new leads.

Use lead capture popup tools

In a brief moment of indecision, interruption with a singular call-to-action (CTA) can be very powerful.

Using the tools below you’ll be able to configure where and when these pop-ups appear, to whom, and with the styles you’d like. You will also have timed, automated pop-ups, as well as manually triggered ones.


They allow you the option of many more features including drag and drop building, graphics controls, triggers based on time of day, engagement with other offers, delayed timing for appearance, and more.

Convert Plug

Dubbed as the world’s easiest popup plugin, Convert Plug provides users a feature rich plugin for their WordPress site to capture leads through pop-ups, full-screen overlays, info bars, slide-ins, and inline content opt-ins. Features allow you pre-made templates and full customization with CSS, Google Fonts, color selections, and over 80 entry and exit animations.

Other pop-up lead capture options that integrate with Infusionsoft by Keap are:

Remember to test your pop-ups on different browsers and once you roll out your pop-up on your site, review the site google stats to see if the bounces go up or down, the opt-ins increase and if your traffic seems more engaged. If either of these is of a negative result, your problem may be either in the messaging of the pop-up, its timing, or its placement.

Answer your audience’s most pressing questions

Q&A websites have had a checkered history, but it seems that Quora has finally hit the nail on the head. Celebrities, thought leaders and even Barack Obama have taken their turn answering questions there. Articles about how to get traffic from Quora are 10 to the dozen too, it’s becoming a marketing tool in its own right.

Use tools like Google Instant, the AdWords Keyword Planner, or SEMrush to identify what your audience is searching for—and then answer those questions within your content. When we began answering common questions relating to web hosting in our web-hosting guide, we noticed an increase in traffic from Google’s Direct Answers, which is where Google display your answer to a question at the top of the search results.

Optimize your lead capture forms

Spend some time focusing on the final step of your lead management, the form that entices your prospects to share their information.

Every industry has its own unique sweet spot that works with its audience, so this trialing and testing is paramount to finding it.

By using clickable images, multi-step forms, and large amounts of social proof, this form enables its users to easily achieve their outcome in an engaging way that doesn’t create fiction. Consider how or where your forms are creating friction and whether you could test an improved lead capture form to boost your lead generation efforts.

Lead generation quizzes

If you’re interested in generating leads through a quiz, you’ll be responsible for creating more than just goofy lead quizzes. The actual medium itself can be inconsequential to KPIs if you don’t offer more than just an entertainment value. If people are going to give you their information, they’re going to want something in return.

Personalize your value proposition and ask for a lead in return

Marketers have more broadcasting available than ever before. This is awesome, but it also presents a challenge - how do you stay relevant and personal when it’s so hard to know who is reading your messages?

The answer can come in the form of a quiz that funnels people to relevant content based on their personalities.

Once you’ve identified what the personalities of your quiz will be (whether it’s candles, ebooks, or animals), create a quiz that uses personality logic to match people up to their result and add an email capture form to let people opt-in if they choose to.

After you capture email addresses, use marketing automation to follow up in a personal way with people based on which product or style you gave them, which will allow you to continue to make sales long after the quiz campaign.

Pair a quiz with a big event in your company or industry

Events are a huge part of marketing your business and bringing awareness to that pain points your product alleviates. Events provide an opportunity for excitement and something different, a break from the norm.

Start by thinking about different personalities that are present in your upcoming event, then turn those into a quiz and place a lead capture gate in the quiz that offers to follow up with information around the event and the quiz takers’ personal result.

Online contest marketing

Contests and giveaways were proven marketing strategies in the days of paper entries at brick and mortar shops. Just think of all the business cards you’ve placed in a countertop fishbowl in hopes of winning a free lunch.

Social media platforms and third-party apps provide a new way to update this concept and engage with fans and new prospects. A well designed and executed online contest or giveaway can attract new interest in your business and help already loyal customers feel rewarded and engaged.

Market research firm Ipsos reports that contests can motivate 52% of consumers to stay connected to a brand.

Before you initiate your first online contest, give careful thought to both strategy and execution. Although a contest is fun and entertaining, it's also a component of your overall marketing strategy, so it should be given as much attention as any other campaign.

The purpose

  • Increase fans/likes/subscribers: Contests can be fan-gated so that only those who have liked your page, follow you or subscribe to your list are able to enter.
  • Generate new leads: Pay extra attention to targeting your ideal customer and to create a contest entry form that provides you with the correct information to guide your follow-up marketing efforts.
  • Brand awareness and interaction: Research the way your current audience interacts and to what sort of content they tend to share and discuss.
  • Customer loyalty and engagement: Delighting your current customers and increasing their connection to your brand is an ideal function of an online contest.

The people

Every decision should be made with your desired audience in mind, and a failure to address this component at the outset can negatively impact the success of your campaign.

Questions to ask:

  • Internal vs. external: Is your contest internally or externally focused (current customer engagement vs. new lead generation)?
  • Targeted: Do you fully understand your target audience and their needs and motivations?
  • Competition: Have you undertaken an analysis of both your followers and your main competition in terms of contest interaction?

The platform

It is important to have a full understanding of the social and web platforms you currently utilize and understand how your target market interacts on each platform.

Important considerations:

  • Internal vs. External: Your contest can live internally (on your own website or driven by your email list) or externally (on a social media platform).
  • Opportunity: The size and current engagement of your audience on each potential platform. Where will your contest reach the most people in your target audience most easily?
  • Third Party Applications: In some cases it will be necessary to utilize a third party app in order to run your contest. For example Infusionsoft by Keap uses an app called GroSocial, which provides the software that makes integration of your contest with the Facebook platform streamlined and effective.

The promotion

Even the best-conceived contest will flop unless you launch it with a strong distribution and promotion strategy. Not only should your audience be aware of your giveaway, but should also be enticed to interact.

Tips for success:

  • Fast and furious: Social media moves at a lightning pace and many people will need to see your contest information more than once to take action and enter. Posting about your promotion once (or even once per day) will not be enough.
  • The numbers game: Solid knowledge of social media metrics can help. What day of week or time of day is your engagement highest? Use this information to help schedule posts and advertisements promoting your contest.
  • Key influencers: Identify key influences among your followers. Will they assist you by sharing your contest with their circle?
  • Driving traffic: Don’t forget to make use of your following on other social media sites to drive traffic to your chosen platform.
  • Paid promotion: Will you use paid promotional avenues on social media platforms to promote your contest, or rely on organic reach? Be sure to research the best practices for paid posts to maximize your investment.
  • Keep it coming: Keep your normal content fresh and delivered at normal frequency. You need to make sure you’re keeping your new fans engaged, and maintain the interest of your current followers.

Don’t forget the details:

  • Rules and regulations: In addition to local and national laws and regulations, each social platform will have its own requirements; all of your contests and giveaways should comply. Be sure you have read and followed the most up to date rules for your chosen platform.
  • Easy as pie: When creating your contest entry, pay attention to the opt-in form. Unnecessary fields increase the risk that prospects will drop off prior to completing your entry form. Make your contest both easy to enter and easy to share and don’t forget mobile users.
  • Follow-up: Regardless of your overall goals, your contest represents an extremely powerful opportunity to increase your email list. The questions you ask should provide valuable information to help segment entrants into your list and personalize follow-up marketing. Consider including an email list opt-in as part of your entry but make sure that prospects can also clearly opt-out if they do not wish to be added.
  • Branding:Contests and giveaways are a wonderful way to create increased brand awareness and recognition. Use professional and appealing graphics which fit with your overall branding. All your marketing efforts should be aligned and targeted, and an online contest is no exception.

The prize

People will participate in your contest for only one reason: they hope to win a prize. Therefore, your prize(s) must be a fit for the platform and your target audience.

Choosing the perfect prize:

  • Appeal: Your chosen prize must appeal to the lifestyle and interests of your target. What is it about your prize that makes it strongly enticing to the specific customer persona you are targeting?
  • Brand-related: Your prize should also be related in some way to your brand and identity. This ensures that the motivation to enter connects directly to you and your product or services instead of simply winning a great prize.
  • Lost cost / high perceived value: The perfect prize is one that has a low cost for you but is perceived as high value for your customer. Keep in mind extraneous costs, like shipping or time to deliver in the case of a service-related prize.
  • Sponsored vs. self-funded: Will you provide the full prize on your own, or enlist the support of sponsors to help cover the cost of the giveaway? A sponsored giveaway can not only help with the financial investment but may also help with promotion of the contest if your sponsor shares your giveaway with their network.

The payoff

Don’t wait until your contest ends to determine the appropriate measures of success. The chosen metrics should be directly related to the overall goal set in the beginning and will be greatly beneficial in helping to plan for future giveaways.

Potential Metrics

  • Viral sharing: How often was your contest shared? Include social media shares, posts, and email forwards.
  • Fanbase and brand awareness: What was the overall reach of your promotion? How many new likes, followers or subscribers did you attract?
  • Lead generation: How many entrants did you attract? Of those, how many opted into your list or proved to be target customers?
  • Conversion: What percentage of contest entrants or traffic converted into subscribers or customers?
  • Customer loyalty: How many of your current followers, fans or customers entered and/or shared your contest?

Lead Capture Tools

1. Infusionsoft by Keap

Infusionsoft by Keap is a among the best lead capture software to handle email marketing. The company has been around for 16 years and successfully continues helping businesses to capture new leads and then score them.

Infusionsoft Dashboard

2. SE Ranking Lead Generator

The lead generator by SE Ranking helps digital agencies acquire qualified leads by using a lead generation widget installed on the agency’s website. Prospects are filling in the form to get a free on-page SEO audit of their web pages and the agencies are getting the contacts of the "hot" leads in return.

SE Ranking Lead Generator Workflow

3. MySiteAuditor

MySiteAuditor is a simple lead generation tool that allows you integrate a free audit tool to your website and get more qualified leads and sales. Similar to SE Ranking, visitors can generate a free audit tool for a webpage by email and phone, and you will get instant alerts by email with the contact information when you get new leads.

The tool allows you to embed any of the following forms on your website:

  • Large form: The form is perfect for landing pages and has a good conversion rate
  • Slim form: The form is designed for a landing page or home page
  • Small form: The form is good for sidebars and smaller areas on the website
  • Page takeover: Just choose how many seconds before this form will take over the whole webpage or landing page, catching visitors’ full undivided attention

4. WooRank

WooRank is another great tool that has embedded options for digital agencies to generate leads. You just need to add the lead generation widget to your website and get a detailed report of what you need to do with your SEO. In exchange, you should enter the contact information to generate a white-labeled report. It is a win-win option as you get instant alerts about the audit and contact details

5. is an awesome B2B lead generation tool that helps you find useful information and contact details for your leads and save time all at once. To test out its features, you can send a request and get a BETA version of this tool. The tool delivers the full information regarding names, emails, job titles, and companies in a single search.

Foundly dashboard

6. Quora

Quora is one of my favorite free lead generation tool. It works like a de-facto intent to ask and answer questions online. If you look for certain topics related to your business, you will find a lot of people asking questions that you can actually answer for them. These answers can show your expertise and bring potential leads your way.

Lead Generation designed for social media networks

LinkedIn lead generation forms

LinkedIn created a type of ad that allows users to collect quality leads from the platform. It is known as LinkedIn lead generation forms.

It provides a simple way for users to fill out a contact form by auto-populating an in-application form with user’s information from their LinkedIn profiles. Once this is done, they can easily submit the forms. You will then receive a detail lead record that contains the person's name, contact information, company name, job title, location, etc. This makes conversions easy.

The LinkedIn lead generation form works with sponsored content campaigns such as a link, an image, or an update of your page. With LinkedIn, 80 percent of engagement with sponsored content occur on mobile devices and 57 percent of LinkedIn users visit using a mobile device. This makes LinkedIn lead generation form an effective way of generating quality B2B leads for your business.

Facebook lead ads

Facebook lead ads is a tool designed to help you generate cheap leads for your business directly from mobile ads. It is cheaper than other traditional types of ads because it reduces the cost per lead to less than a half of usual spend.

It also helps you to build your brand awareness. When a user submits the pre-filled form, Facebook helps you to store the lead information in a downloadable CSV file. You can then download it and upload to your CRM or autoresponder.

You can learn how to create the Facebook lead ads here.

Facebook Canvas

Facebook Canvas is a type of ad that allows you to create responsive landing pages for mobile devices. With it, you can create stunning landing pages where visitors can zoom in to view your images, videos, call to action buttons, etc. It loads very fast on mobile and it increases engagement and conversions.

To leverage this feature, you need to know how to tell an engaging story that will connect with your audience's emotion. This will lead them to easily click on your call to action buttons.

You can learn how to create a Facebook canvas here.

Instant articles + pre-filled forms

Facebook created the instant articles for publishers to enable them to combat the problem of slow loading times on the mobile web. It loads 10 times faster than mobile web articles.

With the instant articles platform, you can easily share your content and news to Facebook's app. This means that you don't need to promote your blog post or website content. The platform helps to share your contents on Facebook.

The most important aspect of this feature is that it enables you to acquire more leads. According to Facebook, instant articles is 20 to 50 percent more likely to be clicked than a regular link post. Also, when a user clicks on an instant article, they are 70 percent less likely to abandon the article before reading it.

With mobile technology taken over the internet landscape, it is time for you to maximize this opportunity to create mobile ads on Facebook and LinkedIn to generate massive leads for your business.

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