7 Essential Ways To Get High-Quality Leads

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Mark Huber

You know the saying, “Any press is good press”? The same can’t be said for leads. 

The end goal of lead generation isn’t to attract just any lead. It’s to attract high-quality leads for your sales team. That way, they aren’t wasting their time with junk follow-ups and you’re not wasting your time marketing to people who will never buy in the first place. 

Great lead generation strategies let you direct all your efforts and resources toward your ideal customers — the ones who will benefit the most from your product or service, convert, and stick around for the long haul. 

Below, we’ve highlighted some of the best tactics around to capture worthwhile potential leads. We also go over an example of the lead generation process for more tips on how to start or improve your strategy. Let’s dive in. 

get high quality leads

1. Pay-per-click ads (PPC)

PPC ads are the ads that show up whenever you do a Google search. Considering that in 2022, there are 8.5 billion Google searches each day, Google Ads can be a great way to get those leads. Marketing campaigns with well-defined budgets, keywords, and branding — plus a large user flow — typically work best with PPC.

Why it’s great

  • It gets your brand out there fast. Rather than waiting for engagement to build, you can buy PPC ads and receive an immediate traffic boost.
  • PPC lets you target your target audience more precisely than other types of lead generation.
  • Google’s PPC ads give you lots of metrics to track, which lets you see what works and what doesn’t. You can continuously improve to get more from your PPC campaigns.

Why it’s not so great

  • Some types of content, like blog posts, are forever — until you take them down, at least. But with PPC ads, once you stop paying, the ads disappear, which means less visibility over time.
  • Modern consumers have learned to be ad blind, which means many skim right over the ads in search engine results without seeing them.
  • Some keywords can be pricey — and if you have a particularly popular vertical, you could find yourself in an expensive bidding war to get ad placement.
  • Every click has a cost, which can make PPC more expensive than other types of lead gen.

2. Email marketing

Lead gen often revolves around exposing people to your product who have never heard of it — but not always. Email marketing is one way to generate leads from current customers or potential clients who know enough about your brand to have subscribed to your emails.

While this might seem like a no-brainer, there are some things you need to keep in mind if you want the best results from your email marketing campaigns. For example, it’s not enough just to send out newsletters with a bunch of links to your content or products.

Email marketing is a relationship-building activity. It’s not about getting an instant sale from a list of leads or convincing someone who downloaded your ebook that they now need to invest in a thousand-dollar product.

It’s about slowly building trust over time and letting your audience self-declare when they’re ready for a free trial, demo, or conversation.

Why it’s great

  • It’s extremely inexpensive. You’ll need to pay for email content development and possibly tools to help you manage your subscriber list, but these are relatively cost-effective and often come baked into other tools in your tech stack.
  • It’s easy to personalize emails to reflect your brand, share special offers, and even tailor them to specific groups or individuals.
  • Social media is how you grow an audience. But email is how you profit. Creating content that’s optimized for search engines is great for increasing traffic and social media is great for building a brand. But email is essential to growing your business.

Why it’s not so great

  • It can be tempting to spam your audience. Avoid this at all costs.
  • People can unsubscribe easily.
  • It takes time to build a large subscriber list.
  • You’ll face a lot of competition. And not just with other marketers in your niche. Your subscribers are getting emails from dozens if not hundreds of sources every single day. 

3. Performance content marketing

Performance content marketing is gaining traction because it’s a type of digital marketing where you pay not for the marketing campaigns, but for the results they generate. It can involve many different digital marketing subsets — like paying influencers to promote your content, affiliate marketing, social media marketing, etc.

Why it’s great

  • It’s super easy to keep track of your ROI since you’re paying for conversions or leads generated.
  • You’ll pay less for campaigns that don’t perform as well.
  • Since you pay for results, these are highly optimized campaigns.

Why it’s not so great

  • Marketers assume risk since less successful campaigns generate less revenue.
  • It can be quite costly — you pay a marketer to handle every aspect of the lead generation process.
  • You’ll need a solid product and business model that makes performance marketers confident enough to assume the risk of potential failed campaigns.

4. Social media targeted ads

Pretty much all social media platforms — from LinkedIn to Facebook, Twitter, and beyond — offer some form of targeted ads. It’s a popular strategy because it gets results — and it gets results because these ads give you a wealth of data about engagement so that you can optimize your campaign. It also lets you seriously zero in on your target audience, then place ads where they’re browsing.

Why it’s great

  • Social media is one of the best places to build engagement since people can share your ads.
  • You can target audiences by platform and demographic information, increasing the chances of being seen.
  • It’s a surefire way to boost brand awareness, even when people don’t click or share the ads. They’re still seeing those ads, after all.

Why it’s not so great

  • Finding your audience on each platform and continuously analyzing the data on your targeted ads can be very time-consuming.
  • There’s a lot of competition, with potentially dozens or hundreds of competitors also vying for ad space.

5. Referrals and word-of-mouth marketing

This is another great tool for lead generation. Referrals and word-of-mouth marketing are exactly what they sound like — people love your product so much that they recommend it to others. That gets people to look you up, and there’s a good chance you’ll get new leads or new customers from it.

Why it’s great

  • It’s free. The only cost is something you’d pay anyway: The costs of producing a quality product and excellent customer service.
  • It’s organic, which creates a high level of trust. People are likely to trust the opinions of friends and colleagues, which increases the chances of generating leads and paying customers.
  • People can see friends and colleagues addressing pain points with your product — and that makes for even better leads.

Why it’s not so great

  • It can be hit or miss. While you can always put out the occasional CTA asking for referrals, that doesn’t guarantee that people will talk.
  • Referrals are hard to track. Follow-up surveys after purchases are one of the best ways to learn whether a lead came to you via a referral.
  • Because of the above difficulties, relying on referrals as a primary lead generation strategy is unwise.

6. Product trials

If you have a demo or free trial that lasts a certain number of days or weeks, it’s usually at the core of your marketing strategy. Combine your trial with a product nurture email series and you get a pretty potent marketing combination. 

Why it’s great

  • People can instantly get success and solve their problems without a huge investment. 
  • People can get invested in a trial. Once they’ve tested a service and even set up some features, they’re more likely to stick with it.
  • Trials build urgency — purchase before it expires.

Why it’s not so great

  • It’s costly. You’re paying to provide the product or service — in exchange for a lead, rather than profits.
  • There’s no guarantee of a sale or new business, even if you offer incentives at the end of the trial period.
  • Competitors can sign up for a trial to see how their offerings stack up to yours.
  • Some people will try to game the system — like using different emails to sign up for multiple trials.

7. Content marketing

There’s no question that content marketing is a go-to lead gen strategy. Three-fifths of marketers achieved their demand or lead generation goals through successful content marketing. And they plan to keep putting the dollars behind it — over 70% of companies planned to increase their content marketing budget in 2022. 

Content marketing can take so many different forms — blogs, podcasts, YouTube or TikTok videos, infographics, webinars — to meet your target audience where they are, speak to their pain points, and draw them through the sales funnel. Whether you want to educate, convince, motivate, or close the deal, there’s a format for it. 

Why it’s great

  • Content is reusable. You can repurpose it almost infinitely, turning a blog post into multiple social posts, pulling from a video script for ad copy, updating old content, and resharing it across all your channels. 
  • Tutorials, thought leadership, and similar types of content help establish trust and authority, which boosts conversion rates.
  • Content marketing is a long-term tactic. Publish it, and it’ll keep on bringing in traffic and attracting new people until you take it down.

Why it’s not so great

  • Content creation and distribution can take a lot of resources and preparation. You may need a team of writers, editors, designers, and producers, either in-house or freelance, to churn out high-quality work. 
  • There’s a lot of competition. In B2B marketing, most businesses have blogs, newsletters, social channels, and so on.
  • With all that competition, your content will need to offer something unique to stand out — and finding those unique ideas can be tough.

A quick example of the lead generation process

We’ve gone over a variety of lead gen tactics, but there’s one more thing to keep in mind: You don’t have to stick to just one strategy at a time. You can combine strategies to hook your prospects, educate them on your product or offer, and motivate them to take action (in this example, to sign up for a product demo). 

Let’s run through a lead generation example that takes a targeted LinkedIn Conversation Ad (a sponsored direct message) and combines it with a demo offer. These are the key steps you need to take to capture not just any kind of lead, but high-quality leads: 

Identify your target audience and goal

Your first step is to determine the “who” you’re targeting for your lead gen campaign and what your goal is. If you’re offering a demo and your goal is signups, you’ll want to go after a high-intent audience that’s already interested in a product like yours. 

Use your website visitor data or a sales intelligence and audience intent tool like Bombora to see who’s been browsing your site or related pages.  

With Metadata, for example, you can see whether a company browsed your product category’s G2 page or a competitor page (and more). Simply create an audience segment with that group and then you’re ready to reach out to them with a LinkedIn Conversation Ad. 

Choose a lead gen strategy and build your creative 

Next up, it’s time to decide how you’ll connect with this audience segment. 

Which strategy or lead magnet will make this group excited to click your CTA or share their contact information? An email loaded with helpful how-to blogs? Three extra days on their free trial? A short TikTok that breaks down your product’s features?

Once you’ve decided, it’s time to work your content creation magic: messaging, design, the works. 

If you’re talking to an engaged, high-intent audience, the direct approach may be the best approach (without being pushy or too familiar). 

Check out our example LinkedIn Conversation Ad to see what we mean. We incentivized their demo signup with a $100 DoorDash gift card while doing a little product education: 

linkedin conversation ad example

Launch, assess, and test

Once you’ve got your audience list prepared and your creative assets in hand, it’s time to launch and monitor your results. 

Of course, this step will look different based on your lead gen strategy. Maybe you’re hitting “Send” on a marketing email and running an A/B test at the same time. Maybe you’re buying Google Ads and watching CTA clicks (and all the other helpful metrics Google provides). 

Whatever the case, you’ll need a plan for keeping a close eye on performance and conversions and adjusting your strategy if needed. Metadata is a powerful tool here. As one example, you can run paid social ads and then watch as Metadata experiments with different combinations and automatically reallocates dollars based on what’s performing and what isn’t. 

Generate higher quality leads with Metadata

Lead generation is a tough process. Along the way, you’ll collect all kinds of data — not just contact information, but also traffic statistics and other metrics that you’ll need to help you optimize your strategies. All of that leads to a lot of manual and repetitive work.

Unless you’re using Metadata, that is. It’s a platform that lets you automate and optimize much of that work so that you can do what you do best — focus on the creative side of things. Book a demo to see how it works.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about lead generation

What are leads? 

Simply put, a lead is anyone interested in your products or services. 

What are the different types of leads? 

There are several kinds of leads, and the best strategies to generate each lead type vary. Here’s a quick overview: 

  • Marketing qualified lead (MQL): Leads who have engaged with marketing materials but aren’t ready for the sales team to call yet.
  • Sales qualified lead (SQL): Leads who have taken an action that indicates they’re ready to buy — like asking questions about your product.
  • Product qualified lead (PQL): They’ve used your product (often through demos or free trials) and shown interest in a purchase.
  • Service qualified lead: People who have indicated to customer service that they’re interested — like subscribers asking for upgrades.

What is lead generation, really? 

Lead generation is the process of finding ways to get people interested in your products and services so that they turn into leads who could someday become buyers.

Lead generation is often confused with demand generation, but they’re not quite the same. Lead generation is one part of the demand generation process. The overall goal of demand generation is to build enough new demand among your target audience to create a pipeline of high-quality leads, which you can nurture to make sales. 

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