lead generation in digital marketing

This article introduces 3 overarching strategies you can use to generate leads online.

Instead of individual tactics such as paid ads, great content, and lead generation forms, we focus on aspects that help you optimize the whole pipeline.

Lead Generation in Digital Marketing: Definition

Lead generation in digital marketing means a process of making potential customers interested in your brand with the help of digital marketing tools and tactics.

Digital marketing happens online: on websites, social media, email, and so on. 

We can contrast it with marketing that happens in “traditional”, “offline”, or non-digital media, such as newspaper advertisements, billboards, and TV commercials (this one’s tricky, but generally TV is not regarded as digital marketing).

The digital marketing lead generation pipeline could look something like this:

First, there is an internet user who is unaware or uninterested in your brand.

Later on, they become 

  1. A website (or social media) visitor who becomes interested in your brand.
  2. A lead who has expressed interest in your product or service and given you their contact information. They can be further divided into a marketing qualified lead, sales qualified lead, product qualified lead, service qualified lead…
  3. Possibly an opportunity who would potentially purchase your product or service.
  4. Eventually, a customer.
lead generation funnel

Another way how the lead generation process can be defined is through the steps of the customer journey.

Out of the five layers of the customer journey, lead generation covers the awareness and consideration stage.

customer journey layers: awareness, consideration, acquisition, service, and loyalty

As a marketer, your job is to reach and convert internet users into leads.

The sales team continues from there and finds out if the lead truly is a potential customer, and pursues a deal with them.

Methods to Generate Leads Digitally

As mentioned in the introduction, this blog doesn’t focus too much on individual lead generation methods or tactics.

However, let’s refresh our memory of these tactics before we see how they can be improved with the three upcoming techniques.

Website SEO

Search engine optimization is one of the most important, if not the most important lead generation tactic for digital marketing.

It’s the method that helps so-called warm and qualified leads find your website through search engines.

In other words, you can attract people who were already looking for a solution to a specific problem.

The SEO process includes technical details as well as content strategies.

Content

It’s fitting to mention content marketing next, as it related to SEO quite a lot.

While content marketing can take place on multiple platforms, its role on websites is important for search engine optimization and creating visibility for your website.

Powerful content is also something that makes your potential customers appreciate your expertise and trust you more.

Paid Advertising

Paid advertising on social media and ad banners on websites can increase brand awareness online, and keep your brand in potential leads’ minds.

A paid ad can disrupt the internet user’s experience and they might notice your brand for the first time. 

Or, many times, the paid ads are targeted at people who already visited your website. The goal is to establish your brand as the go-to solution whenever the potential lead comes to the consideration phase.

Social Media

Social media can be an effective lead generation channel, especially if you get people to engage with your content.

It’s your chance to showcase your expertise with great content and participate in industry discussions.

If your followers share, like, and comment on your social media posts, they can potentially spread to a much wider audience.

Conversion Rate Optimization

When you have driven traffic to your website with the above-mentioned methods, make the most of it by optimizing your website conversion rates.

Conversion rate optimization means the process of perfecting your website so that it can reach its full potential – get more leads and customers out of the website visitors.

CRO marketing ensures that the hard work and money you put into getting website traffic is not going to waste.

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a way to nurture the marketing qualified leads you have already collected.

These people have signed up for your email list because they are interested in your brand and/or content. It’s your chance to convince them to make a purchase.

Choosing the Right Tools

When planning your lead generation campaign, take into account your target audience, where to reach them, and what kind of content they would value.

Analyze the customer journey and find the right ways to impress your audience.

Remember to follow the results and adjust the strategy if needed.

phases of a lead generation campaign

Whichever of these tactics you are using, there are ways to make them more effective.

Time to dig into the powerful digital marketing lead generation techniques.

1. Social Proof: The Not-So-Secret Weapon

The first technique on our list is social proof.

Brief Explanation of Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that kicks in when we are not completely sure about what to do in a new situation.

In these situations, we often look at others. What are they doing? How are they acting?

Most likely, we will start following or copying the actions of others.

The effect is the most powerful between people who relate to each other.

For example, a personal recommendation from a friend is likely to be more effective than a recommendation from someone you dislike.

There are several effective ways to utilize social proof:

  1. Friends and family
  2. Influencers and celebrities
  3. Experts
  4. Other customers or users
  5. Wisdom of the crowds
  6. Official certificates

When any of the above groups give positive signals toward you, it affects your potential customers.

types of social proof

Examples of Social Proof

Social proof has countless applications, and here are some of them.

Reviews

Reviews from previous customers offer your potential customers more information about your business.

It’s a good idea to include reviews on your own website and social media. This is especially important for industries where leaving reviews on external review sites is not a standard practice.

For obvious reasons, positive reviews especially encourage customers to choose you.

There are also other factors that make reviews more effective:

  1. Recency: the fresher the better.
  2. Length: long reviews are more effective than short ones.
  3. Amount: the more reviews, the greater the social proof effect.
  4. Details: reviews with details about the brand, products, or experience are more credible.
  5. Recognizable: reviewer’s name, profile picture, and other personal details make the reviews more credible than anonymous reviews.

Pro tip: With Trustmary, you can collect reviews that fulfill those criteria. You can also showcase them with customizable widgets.

online review statistics

Video Testimonials

Like reviews, video testimonials are an effective way to showcase your happy customers’ experiences.

Statistics show that 77% of people who saw a video testimonial, stated that they were motivated to make a purchase because of it.

There is also proof of video testimonials resulting in more sales compared to text testimonials.

Video has that effect because it influences our emotions on a deeper level than text.

Generally, video testimonials are seen as these elaborate and expensive projects that result in almost a cinematic experience.

While that kind of testimonial videos are nice and have their place in marketing, it’s not accessible to every business.

Something that is accessible to everyone: remote video testimonial software.

Instead of hiring a production team and organizing time for making the video with your client, you can simply send your customers a link and let them film a short video with their own laptop or mobile device.

After collecting the video reviews, you can use them on multiple channels: on your website, on social media, in email newsletters, as paid advertising… The options are endless.

remote video testimonials

Case Studies

Case studies are more in-depth stories from your customers.

These are especially important in B2B lead generation campaigns. B2B buyers want to make sure that their investment will pay back, and what would be a better way to prove that beforehand than by sharing the success stories of previous clients?

Case studies can be a mixture of text, images, and video.

Use them as gated content to collect potential leads’ contact information!

Numbers

A way to leverage the wisdom of the crowds is to use numbers in your copy.

When you tell your customers about a large number of happy users, newsletter subscribers, or content downloads, you signal that many other people are trusting you.

social proof numbers that matter

Beware of the effects of negative social proof. If the numbers you showcase aren’t impressive enough, they will have the opposite effect.

Using Social Proof in Lead Generation

We have noticed that using social proof in lead generation has true benefits.

For example, adding video testimonials to your website can significantly boost the conversion rate, such as sales or contact requests.

Social proof:

  • Improves conversion rate on your website
  • Helps with SEO
  • Works as authentic content from users
  • Can be used on social media and email marketing to nurture leads
  • Can be used as gated content (especially case studies)

If you are looking for an easy and effective way to leverage social proof, Trustmary can help you.

Collect reviews and video testimonials from your customers and display them on your website or social media with stylish widgets.

Start a free trial today and see how easy it is!

2. Personalize as Much as You Can

Personalization means creating unique experiences based on customers’ interests and behavior.

Personalization is expected in today’s customer experience. It’s difficult to capture one’s attention with general or universal content.

Ways to Personalize Marketing

Here are some ways in which you can add personalization to different marketing channels.

Website

Website personalization especially means giving website visitors agency and accommodating their actions.

For example, interactive content is one way to add personalization.

It can mean interactive images, quizzes, or chatbots. These are website widgets that let your potential leads play around and spend more time on your website.

Another way to do it is to use pop-ups. When you create pop-ups that are launched upon a specific trigger, you are providing content that best aligns with the visitor’s needs – and your interests.

For example, you could add exit-intent pop-ups to strategic places on your website to increase conversions.

Thirdly, design your website in a way that supports the customer’s overall path and journey.

If they end up on your website because of a certain advertisement, make sure that their experience is consistent with the expectations set by the ad.

You might need multiple versions of the “same” page or functionality, but it pays off.

well-planned web personalization helps you avoid confusing experiences

Email marketing

Anyone who does email marketing knows how difficult it is to get people to engage with your messages.

The message must be relevant enough to get a reaction out of the recipient.

One way to do it is to send emails upon certain triggers and actions that the potential customer does. 

Granted, this can be difficult in lead generation. Depending on your business model, you might not be able to track people’s actions.

If you have multiple meetings with your potential clients and use CRM, you can shoot them a message according to your last meeting. If you are a software company, you can probably send email messages according to how people use your freemium product.

If none of this is possible for you, you must think of other ways to personalize your email messages.

Use personal details like the lead’s name in your emails. Focus on interesting and persuasive copy.

Other than that, keep in mind the marketing funnel and keep the customer experience consistent. 

If the lead ended up in your pipeline through a certain piece of content, you can expect them to be interested in that particular topic and keep nurturing them with more relevant content and offers.

Lastly, segment your customers and target them with relevant content.

segment your customers

Ads

Targeting ads is not only good for the customer journey but also essential for ROI.

Are you going to click on ads that have no relevance in your life whatsoever?

No, you won’t. And neither will your customers.

If you fail to show the ads to relevant people, you just waste your money.

Define your target audience and aim to show your ads to them.

A safe option that many brands go for is showing ads to people who already visited the company’s website.

If you are a local business, targeting the ads based on geolocation is always a good idea.

Of course, Google Ads are an effective form of advertising. They let you reach customers who are searching for relevant keywords. These are likely pretty warm leads!

3. A/B test to Optimize 

The third lead generation technique we are talking about today is A/B testing.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to believe that you have done a great job, but not validate it in any way.

How can you know your marketing decisions are optimal if you don’t compare them to other solutions?

You can discover it by A/B testing your content, websites, and sometimes even individual website elements.

Briefly explained, in A/B testing you create two versions of your website (or other tested content), divide traffic evenly between them, and see which version performs better.

ab testing principle

However, there are some prerequisites that you need to secure if you want to have accurate A/B test results.

  1. You must have enough website traffic. Otherwise, the results are too much affected by coincidence.
  2. Be mindful of the traffic source. If two versions of the website have significantly different traffic sources (different intent and expectations), it might have an effect on the results.
  3. If you want to find out the significance of a certain element, make sure you don’t make too many changes to the versions. Otherwise, it’s unclear which factors contributed to the result.

There are many free A/B testing tools available, but if you are completely unfamiliar with the topic, I recommend you find a professional who can do it for you.

Test Your Website

One of the most important phases in the lead generation process is when the lead reaches your website.

Most likely, they click through an ad and end up on your landing page, or they find your content through organic search.

Now is your chance to convert the visitors into leads!

Make sure your Call to actions are effective by A/B testing different versions of them.

Create two versions of your landing page and test which one performs better.

Measure The Impact of Your Emails

Use A/B testing to find out how to perfect your email campaigns.

Test two different headlines, refine the CTA’s, and try out different content.

See if any of these factors have a role in how many quality leads convert into paying customers.

Find Your Best Social Proof

Sometimes the smallest details can have a great impact.

It matters what kind of content and social proof you present on your website.

For example, our customers have found that:

If you want to use reviews and A/B test their effectiveness, you can do it all with Trustmary. You don’t need a separate tool just to test the review widgets.

ab test reviews to find the best performers

Conclusion

We have explored three effective lead generation strategies in digital marketing. When used wisely, they help you generate high-quality leads more than ever before.

Elevate your digital marketing campaigns with these techniques:

  • Use social proof in all suitable channels.
  • Personalize your lead generation efforts according to the customer journey phase and the lead’s behavior.
  • Optimize your lead generation campaign by A/B testing elements on the journey.

One tool you can use to apply all these strategies is Trustmary.

It reduces your manual workload while making your website into a lead generation machine.

Trustmary collects powerful reviews, showcases them on your website, and optimizes them to get you the best results.

Try for free and see what Trustmary can do for you.

Further Reading

FAQ

What is lead generation in digital marketing?

Lead generation refers to the process of collecting contact information from people who could be your potential customers. Lead generation in digital marketing includes digital marketing strategies that aim to generate leads for a business. The strategies take place in online channels such as social media, websites, and email.

What are some lead generation techniques in digital marketing?

There are numerous techniques for lead generation in digital marketing, but especially these three overarching principles work wonders: include social proof, personalize the customer journey, and optimize your efforts by A/B testing their performance.

How to use digital marketing for lead generation?

You can generate leads in digital marketing by creating powerful content, aiming to reach search engine results pages, optimizing website conversion rates, using paid advertising, nurturing leads with email marketing, and trying many more marketing efforts.