The Tool Shed Blog

How to Generate Leads: A Beginners Guide to Lead Generation

We live in one of the most competitive times to do business.

Nowadays, it is no easy task to differentiate your product from the other 50, 60, or even 100 companies that offer the same thing as your business. The rise of social media in the online world is making things even more competitive.

Who will be the most successful? The one that people know the most.

Yes, yes, I hear you. You may have a lot of things that make your version of a product different from your competitors.

However, at the end of the day, all that matters is how many people know about it and give you their money because of it.

Creating an audience for your business from ground zero is no easy task, but it is not impossible either.

As someone once said (I'm not sure who it was)

"Rome wasn't built in a day," and neither will your audience.

It is a process that takes time, effort, and constant monitoring to be effective.

Don't worry! You've come to the right place... through this article, I'll show you the best ways to generate leads and make your business pop out like fireworks in New years!

I must be clear: if you're looking to get leads by cold calling people, repeating yourself a million times, and getting in their way to convince them that you are their solution, you're thinking it wrong. Besides, you'd be violating the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

This article will guide you through the best practices to get your company shown to the right person at the right time and message. At the same time, this is one of the principles of inbound marketing.

Ready to go? This is a beginner guide on how to generate leads (qualified) leads :)

Let's start by defining a few things:

What precisely is someone we can call a "lead," anyway?

Well, A lead is a person who has indicated some interest in your company's product or service by providing their basic information (name and email, at the least).

Let's put ourselves in the shoes of a lead for a second; sometimes, with so much theory, it is easy to get confused, so let's bring it back to basics.

As an email user, I'm sure you receive tons of emails about different companies you have either gotten in touch with or done business with.

The key information here is that you showed interest at a certain point. Enough interest to provide them with your name and email. And that's the reason they can get in touch with you.

Companies get creative in asking for information without becoming pushy or spammy.

That said, you must know that leads can be qualified depending on which stage of the buyer's journey.

In a marketing strategy, that is what we call "lifecycle stages"

Let's go through each of those stages:

Leads: A website visitor becomes a lead when they have shown sales readiness beyond being subscribers.

Marketing qualified leads: leads who have had contact with your company's marketing efforts but are still not ready to receive a sales call.

Sales qualified leads: Leads expressed they are ready for a sales follow-up.

Opportunity: Real sales opportunities.

Customers: Someone with whom you've closed a deal.

Evangelists (advocates): Customers who talk about your business to their family and friends, leveraging the opportunity to engage with other leads. They are not exactly influencers, but they might act like one.

Now that you know each of the lifecycle stages, let's actually talk about some lead generation tools, how to identify qualified leads, and how to move them from one stage to the other.

How can you start generating leads ASAP?

1. Content

If used correctly, content can work wonders for your lead-generation strategies.

You must, however, make sure you are taking into consideration the stage of the journey in which your lead currently is. Content will not be the same for someone who just found out about your company as it will be for someone with whom you have been in touch for a couple of weeks.

It is important that you also consider the stage, who your audience is, and where you will find them. These aspects can be laid out in general terms by refining your buyer personas since the approach will change as much as your ideal customer changes.

Content is no magic trick. However, a constant process of creating, releasing, evaluating, and enhancing for better results works wonders.

2. Email

Email is one of the cheapest ways to nurture your existing leads (compared to the ROI it usually brings). While this asset may not be a lead generation tool per se, it can be a great tool in transitioning these leads into a later stage in the journey.

However, because it is "cheap and easy," people tend to overestimate its power and release pretty much anything in any way. This is a huge NO!

An email is a tool to build, maintain, and deepen your company-client relationship. However, you must do your homework and know what you are sending, why you are sending it, and to whom you are sending it.

3. Ads

Ads can be a tricky and often misunderstood world. While ads don't convert people per se, they are great lead-generation tools.

So, where's the huge gap many companies and people miss?

Let's say you have a beautiful design for an Ad. You have invested a fair amount of money, and you're expecting great results to come from it. However, once you release it, people are just coming in and leaving without taking action. Translated to digital marketing slang, your bounce rate radically increases. Why?

You most likely put all hands in the Ad but totally forgot about optimizing your landing page.

Nowadays, it is harder than ever to gain people's trust online. Potential leads will become just another number for your increased bounce rate when something seems "off" or "fishy" on your website.

You must ensure both Ads and Landing Pages are in total alignment, not only regarding the audience and the actual offer but also design-wise.

4. Retargeting

I hope you're ready for the bomb I'm about to drop…

Did you know around 97% of first-time visitors exit your website without doing anything?

(All that time and money you invested in that beautiful website... I know, it hurts. It sure did when I found out.)

However, since technology is our friend, it sure solved this! Have you ever heard about retargeting?

Retargeting is the fine art (Yes, it is) of converting website visitors into leads using personalized marketing. Additionally, retargeting generates customers after they’ve left your store by promoting targeted ads to suggest they come back to your website and finalize their purchase process. Retargeting is one of the best ways to generate leads online.

However, retargeting has a fine line between being effective and being pushy. It is typically recommended to take time and research to precisely target and make sure your budget focuses on the most relevant audience. There is such a thing as "becoming annoying" through retargeting.

5. Blogging

This is where any business can showcase expertise in their field and educate potential customers to prepare them with information for later conversion.

Not only that, but keep in mind that the more valuable pages you publish, the more search engines like Google or Bing will rank your website. As a result, you’ll attract more organic traffic.

Companies that have adopted blogging as a part of their marketing assets typically receive 97% more backlinks to their site, which will help you rank higher in searches.

With the use of long-tail keywords, the right user intent, the topic's relevance, and, most importantly, including content offers, your blog will surely be successful in generating leads.

6. Product Demo

Who doesn't love free stuff? I sure do. And I'm sure you do as well.

A product demo is a perfect way to discover if a product or service fits you.

Now, let's think as a business owner and let's ask ourselves a few questions:

  • What are my potential customers expecting to test out my product before buying it?
  • What are how I'll be able to showcase what my product is during a trial period and get more conversions?

Usually, a product demo includes the full version of a product or service in a limited amount of time.

The amount of time should give enough space for a potential customer to explore and discover why your product is exactly what they need.

7. Referral

Better known as word-of-mouth, a referral is a complete art. You can use existing customers (happy ones) and nurture them. Then, later on, they will take care of the rest by telling everybody how amazing your business and its services/products are.

Please note how important it is to keep your customers happy!

All that theory is great and dandy. But it can be overwhelming if this is your first attempt to generate leads online.

I've found an example I believe is great! No fluff, only real things done by a real company.


RedShelf is a company that provides eTextbooks for students. When you go into their website, you'll see their homepage is optimized to be a complete lead generation machine.

Why? Let me list a few reasons:

  • Clarity: One of the main things you must consider when building your landing page and connecting it to the rest of your efforts is: Will it make sense to people?

Think about it: A person who is totally unfamiliar with your company comes to your website only to find ten different things they can do to get to the next step. They are totally going to be confused and probably leave your website without doing anything but increasing your bounce rate (hehe...).

  • Segmentation: This is a fun (but hard to master) one.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, one of the things that'll make you or break you is how you deliver a message to the correct person at the correct time with the right words.

The secret to this is segmentation, or, in simple English, "knowing your audience."

RedShelf has mastered this art by providing a personalized experience depending on the type of audience you fall into. This means they take the time to know more about you, what you're up to, and your expectations when using a tool like this.

  • Punctual navigation: We live in a society that's always in a hurry. We need information, and we need it now! No time for fluff. This is something highly appreciated on this website. They have improved their navigation experience so you can easily find the information you're looking for without being bothered by things that could be unrelated to the stage you are at through the purchase process.

As you can see, building a "lead generation machine" might take time, effort, and a lot of thought about your audiences.

However, your business will greatly benefit from these efforts in the long run. That's because, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, when talking about sales, it all comes down to how many people know about your product or service.

The more people who know about you, the more likely people will buy, and your number of sales-qualified leads will rise.

Don't sweat it! It is a long path; we understand a business owner can't be in everything simultaneously. You got stuff to do!

Let us guide you on how to generate more leads for your business today! Let's have a chat. 

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