How to generate quality leads for your business..quickly

Are you one of the 49% of businesses planning to prioritise increasing customer numbers this year? The first step is to work out how to generate high quality leads. You’re in a rush, so lets dive in.

Article Info

December 6, 2023 12 mins

What we will cover

Whether it is in the office, down the pub or in the ether of a digital experience, understanding the process that people take to find and buy from you is critical to understanding how to generate quality leads for your business.

We call it the customer journey or marketing funnel in the trade, and spend our days working with organisations to understand and create great experiences for their potential customers so they become their actual customers.

To do this well takes time, but there are some shortcuts we can share for how to generate quality leads.

The difference between Sales & Marketing

The first thing to understand is the crossover between Sales & Marketing.

Most small startups do very little marketing, it’s often all about sales and having a transactional conversation to close the deal. However, there’s a whole bunch that can be done before the phone rings, with the aim to increase the quantity of calls or quality of the person on the other end of it.

Consider anyone asking questions about “what you do” a marketing conversation, even if they ask about the price, it’s still marketing.

Consider anyone asking “when can you do it” the crossover point to a sales conversation, now, we’re probably having a lot fewer sales conversations than we thought.

Marketing demands that we take the time to understand and explain what makes us different, this is the only way for customers to choose between you and a competitor and to see the value in spending more.

No matter what industry you’re in you won’t sell to 100% of your customers, making marketing something of a numbers game. You need to get enough of the ‘right type’ of person through your doors – virtual or otherwise – to pay the bills and make a bit of profit.

It is easier to detect, track down, and work out how to generate quality leads (aka potential customers) if you know what a typical buyer looks like. So that’s a great place to start if you’re looking to improve lead generation.

What’s the golden thread between your customers?

If you don’t know why a customer chose you, how can you attract more of them? 

There are plenty of shady marketing firms happy to take your money to drive hundreds or thousands of random people your way but this won’t help your Return On Investment (ROI), this will only make you busier by answering the wrong phone calls.

Genuine, high-quality lead generation is a targeted process which begins with building profiles of your key customers. These are known as marketing personas.

In a nutshell, you need to trawl through all the objective and subjective data you have on your customers to work out how old they are, their gender, where they live, their occupation, how they spend their time, what social media platforms they use and anything else that will help guide your lead gen strategy.

Spend some time creating personas to improve your messaging and understanding of where these people are, then keep that picture in mind when you approach your decisions about the choice of language you use with your customers or images you use in your flyers.

All this is going to take time, so let’s scoot on to another tip.

Quick wins for generating leads

Now we get into the difference between marketing and advertising.

We have just considered how to understand our audience and tailor our messaging, but if you’ve just opened the doors you may not have a customer base to call upon.

The starting point then is something we often feel uncomfortable with, we are going to need to put ourselves out there, we are going to have to pay for visibility.

The more effective this will be will depend on the eyeballs that see you, the temptation to stand out is great but getting the message totally wrong, or turning off the audience are sure-fire ways to spend money and damage your brand.

You could do worse than getting involved with your local area by sponsoring events, especially if they align with your values. If you create sports clothing then a good strategy may be to sponsor local sports teams. Or perhaps awards ceremonies, you will often see large drinks companies sponsoring the best restaurant of the year award.

Understanding where your audience is can give you a greater quality of lead, but there are places where we all are. What do you do when you buy something? Nearly every purchase I make involves an internet search for research or purchase.

Google advertising is a great way to get started, and often the key part of any initial Marketing plan we put together for a small business, if you want to get started, check out our tips to maximise its effectiveness.

You may also find similar success with social media advertising, however again, this is a bit more customer-specific. For example, a specific demographic will hang out on X compared to Facebook or Insta. Spotify advertising is also a great platform for visibility.

Generate quality leads for your business through networking

A quick non-digital aside here. Many small businesses have found success by building a good network of local businesses.

This can give you the benefits of creating a team of people to go out on your behalf and listen out for opportunities, good advice and a support network (if you’re just starting out), new opportunities and connections to work with directly.

I have listed them in that order because the success of your networking will depend entirely on how much you put into it, spending time to make your products and services easy to understand and buy, finding opportunities and offering advice and support with others will create a mutually beneficial relationship – failure to do so will result in you feeling a little bit invisible in these environments and can be a bit disillusioning.

There will normally be an associated cost for membership, and quality marketing materials like brochures, flyers and business cards will likely all be needed so be prepared to outlay some money as well as time.

Aligning these networks on values and finding people within them that you genuinely connect with will also impact the success, we would welcome you along to the Positive Nature Network if you want to come and say hi.

Using Social Networks, for um… Social networking

Im not many of us consider ourselves networking when we scroll through our feeds, you are choosing to engage and share your story or be a passive admirer of others.

And depending on your approach, this can prove to be a highly effective use of time or a real waste of it, you will need to be the honest judge of results, not enjoyment!

If you can treat social media with the same giving mentality above of in-person networking you will get more engagement. Don’t waste your time posting time after time about your products and services, your audience arent here for that and you don’t need to be so blunt.

See our guide for getting started with social media, try to keep your post ratio of eight giving posts (tips, advice, joining in) to one self-promotional (buy my…, look at me…).

Be sure to align your content with relevant world topics where possible. As part of our Marketing planning session, we plot our activities onto a content calendar. You can find out more and download it here. This will not only give you ideas of the special days to post content about but also help you line up your posts well in advance.

Lastly, join specialised groups and spend time posting on local hours or relevant topics, these are pockets of high visibility but require a concise message and relevant reaction time.

Building your lead generation machine

We could also talk about newsletter communities, optimising for search engines and all sorts of other activities but these are our key focus for how to quickly generate quality leads for your business.

As your business grows, lead generation will not be a single process or rely on one form of advertising, it can help to visualise it as a machine made up of various interconnected parts.

The top is wide and all your activities fill it up with potential customers, as they go through the process to a narrower bottom various customers will drop off, opt out and disengage – don’t worry about it, you will have done the same, it’s not personal, not forever, just a “not right now”. At the bottom you will have customers, thus we have drawn the marketing funnel, more on that here.

Lead generation software

Ideally, your funnel can capture the contact details of genuine leads and then pass them through to a sales tool like a Customer Relationship Manager (CRM). This is particularly useful as you can have a divide between marketing (who fill the funnel) and sales (who deal with the prospects).

Gathering information initially is most commonly done through the smart use of online forms.

In the early days of the web, online forms mostly came in two varieties: static and pop-up. Today, there are many more options including:

  • Conversational forms. These walk your visitor through the signup process one question at a time.
  • Distraction-free forms. These remove or blur out the rest of the page so your visitor has to focus on only the form.
  • Exit pop-ups. Forms that appear as the visitor is about to leave the page.
  • Scroll pop-ups. These appear when the visitor has reached a certain point on the page or is scrolling up the page.
  • Section CTAs. Forms that appear at natural breaks in the page content – often on a subtle banner.

Going back to your machine visualisation, you will need to connect your form to a service that can hold your data. This might go straight into your CRM or an email list depending on the form and the commitment from the user. Integrations for signup forms will be available from the form provider or the CRM/Mail provider, or your agency should be able to integrate these for you.

Examples of lead generation

In simple terms, think of a website, your contact us form could go straight to a CRM and then a sales person could call them back.

In more complex terms, someone may sign up for a newsletter, you may hold them in a monthly newsletter pattern and educate them on your products and services, when they are ready they may click on one of the pages and fill out a form for a specific service, triggering an alert for a specific expert team member.

Taking this even further you can create complex automation and interactions, gathering data about your user’s actions so you can give them relevant information as they go through the sales process.

The art of the lead magnet

If online forms are the ‘how’ of how to generate quality leads then lead magnets are the ‘why’.

A lead magnet is a tool for drawing authentic leads out from the general mass of visitors to your website.

It is a valuable product, provided free of charge, that is designed to appeal specifically to your core audience. Now do you see the importance of the persona exercise earlier?

Examples of lead magnets include exclusive video footage, access to a members’ area, survey results, templates, content downloads and, yes, free physical products.

In fact, a lead magnet can be anything you can dream up. There are only three rules:

  • Make it relevant to your target audience
  • Offer them value and
  • Make it worthwhile enough that your prospect will happily enter their name and email address in your signup form to get it.

Nurturing your list

Your lead generation machine should now be taking shape in your mind: you have a means of attracting the right type of visitor, extracting their details from them and adding them to a list.

The next step to imagine is our funnel. At the bottom of the funnel are those leads that are on the verge of taking the plunge and becoming customers. At the rim of the funnel, they’re still getting to know you and your brand.

Nurturing your list requires serving leads the right type of content based on their position in the funnel. This article has several links to others to help our potential customers understand how important marketing can be for their business.

We recommend using your Email provider (we use MailChimp) to create regular newsletter campaigns featuring a digest of your articles and advice. You can even create customised newsletters for different audiences.

Boosting this content

Now the strategies we’ve introduced as part of the lead generation machine are again going to take a little time, we promised to tell you how to ‘quickly’ generate quality leads and I would point you back to the advertising section above, but consider all this quality content you’ve now created for you audience.

This is now a really compelling offering for advertising. Use forms of Pay-per-Click (PPC) advertising campaigns. These include Google Ads, some forms of social media advertising (e.g. Facebook Ads) and industry specific ads (e.g. Amazon Advertising).

Share it via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn or whatever social network they prefer (which, of course, you will have discovered by now!), and encourage engagement with your content via social media share buttons that can easily be added to your blog posts and lead magnets (ask your friendly web developer or digital agency if you’re stuck).

Hopefully that helps with some quick tips as well as a greater understanding of how to generate quality leads. As ever, its a joined-up approach of a range of services, which is where the Tribe really comes into its own.

Even if you cant become a Tribe client just yet, this will help you with the ‘how’ and ‘why’ of how to generate high quality leads, now it’s over to you for the ‘do’…

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