Generating leads is the best way to improve your digital marketing and sell more on your website. Our comprehensive guide will teach you everything you need to know about lead generation and how to use it. Learn the latest lead tips and tricks, and get a peak at how your favorite companies are using leads to get ahead in their industry.

Whether you’re a new business owner or have experience in online sales tools, this guide is the ultimate tool to becoming an expert in generating leads.

What does generating leads mean?

To get started, let’s get on the same page about what lead generation is.

A lead is a term used to describe someone who could potentially purchase a company’s product or services. So, generating leads is the process of attracting and identifying leads. Lead generation tools encourage visitors to show their interest by sharing their contact information. Then, companies can send their marketing directly to people who are more likely to engage with it. Generating leads is an efficient sales tactic that helps persuade potential customers to become paying customers.

Generating leads: outbound vs inbound

Leads are commonly categorized as being ‘outbound’ or ‘inbound’.

Outbound leads are potential customers that have not expressed interest in a company. Communicating with outbound leads is usually done through methods reflective of ‘cold calling’, like mass emails.

Inbound leads are leads that have expressed interest in a company. Marketing to inbound leads has higher success rates than outbound and offers companies opportunities to use personalized marketing strategies.

Why generating leads is important for your website

Generating leads is key to growing a business online.

While lead generation used to be done using phone calls and letters, the tech revolution has given business a platform to make sales online. This means modern lead generation is integrated into websites. Combined with a digital marketing strategy, successful lead generation will get people that click on your website to hit that check out button.

The main benefits of generating leads are:

Generating leads to increase return on investment (ROI)

Having access to an inbound lead database means you can target leads directly, which will likely reduce time and money spent on marketing.

When you try to market to everyone, you’ll likely end up in the spam folder of people’s inboxes. Inbound lead generation means you can focus your marketing budget on connecting directly with people who have signed up to receive information about your company. Generating leads is a great way to boost your return on investment (ROI).

Better user experience

By generating leads and accessing volunteered personal data and contact information, you can follow up with consistent and personalized digital marketing.

When you make it easier for leads to buy from your company through informative lead generation tools, you’re helping to create a positive customer experience. This encourages customers to feel connected to your brand and builds a loyal, trustworthy customer base.

Understanding your customer base

When leads volunteer their personal date, you can analyze it to understand who your customers are, and what they want.

With demographic information like age and location, you can optimize your website, marketing, products and services to meet your customers’ needs.

Top lead generation trends for increasing sales

As digital marketing trends continue to evolve, to keep up with fast-changing consumer needs, your business needs to stay up to date with new ways to make your lead generation stand out.

It’s important to find clever and creative ways to keep potential and existing customers engaging with your marketing efforts.

Check out the hottest trends and innovations in generating leads:


Nearly half of all marketing professionals believe email is the most effective way to generate leads online.

Generating leads with email is all about getting leads to invite companies to their inbox by collecting their email address. An example of an email collection strategy is when websites ask visitors to enter their email to receive updates on when an item is back in stock.

Once you’ve got the email address of a lead you can use email marketing techniques, like attention-grabbing subject lines, to encourage future sales.

Content marketing

As quality content continues to achieve high customer engagement, content marketing has become a popular tool for generating leads.

Content marketing can be used for lead generation by persuading leads to submit their contact information to receive more content. For example, a lead may find your company’s blog posts entertaining, and enter their phone number to receive an alert when a new one is posted.

Some more types of content marketing that can be used to generate leads are:

  • E-Newsletters
  • Contests
  • Tutorials

Social media

Social media is a powerful marketing channel your company can use for generating leads.

By using platforms like Instagram and Facebook for lead generation, you can generate leads through lead tools that appeal to your followers. When individuals and businesses engage with your company’s social media account, they are more likely to become a paying customer. Plus, when people make a social media profile they usually need to enter their contact information, adding to your lead database.

To successfully use social media marketing for generating leads, all content should be guided by the goal of increasing future sales. By using tools like links, engaging videos and captions, you can nudge leads from follower to customer.

The best tools for generating leads

A Complete Guide to Generating Leads

There are different online tools and platforms designed to take the guesswork out of generating leads, and it’s important to choose one that works best for your company.

A good lead generation tool is easy to use, within your budget, and helps your company keep up in the fast-paced world of digital marketing.

Check out the best tools and platforms for generating and nurturing leads:

Customer relationship management systems (CRM)

Essential to the lead generation process, CRM systems are designed to analyze and organize leads. Designed to improve customers’ experience, they can also track lead activity, communication and marketing performance.

An example of a good CRM platform is LeadOwl, an lead delivery app that makes sure users never miss a hot new lead. Through CRM tools like automated lead alerts, analytics and replies, users can access and manage leads quickly and easily. Plus, the app seamlessly connects with your company’s online platform, making it easy to integrate LeadOwl into your existing digital marketing strategy.

Marketing automation

Marketing automation is key to a successful sales system.

When it comes to generating leads, marketing automation is all about using software to take care of parts of the lead process.

The most popular use of marketing automation is in email marketing. Email marketing can be used to send leads the right message at the right time. For example, if a lead purchases a bicycle from an online store, that store could automatically email them ads about the bike helmets they sell.

Mail Chimp is a marketing platform that offers automated email personalization and optimization. Subscribers get access to automation software designed to segment, target and engage their email recipients.

Lead capture forms

Lead capture forms are a highly effective way to collect lead information on your website.

Often displayed as a pop-up on a website, lead capture forms are a tool used to persuade visitors to fill in their contact information. They help your company connect with leads in a way that feels natural and easy.

Strategies: How to use lead generation success

A 2021 report revealed 37% of channels used for generating leads are ineffective. Beat the odds by using research-backed lead generation strategies.

When lead strategies are successfully implemented, every aspect of a lead should function to achieve the intended goal. The best lead strategies for your company will align with what your company wants to achieve with digital marketing (e.g. selling a product).

Here are some tried and true lead strategies that are used by many marketing professionals.

Generating leads with lead magnets

To attract visitors and drive conversions you should include ‘lead magnets’ in your lead generation strategy.

Lead magnets are anything of value that a business offers that helps make their lead irresistible to potential customers. Understanding your target audience and getting specific is key to a successful lead magnet.

Here are some recommendations for creating effective lead magnets:

Free services

A popular type of lead magnet is offering a free benefit in exchange for filling out the lead form. For example, an online store may offer shoppers 10% off their first purchase if they submit their email.

By offering a reward to your leads, you’re making it harder for us to say no. You don’t need to offer your leads something huge like a massive product giveaway. Instead, find something simple and practical that makes the lives of your customers a little bit easier.

Here are some more ideas for free offers that can be used as lead magnets:

  • E-books
  • Short subscription trials
  • Consultation
  • Downloadable worksheet PDF
  • Video demonstrations

Attention-grabbing visuals

This type of lead magnet strategy is all about looks. Design elements can be used to draw consumers to your product through eye-catching visuals like bold headlines, bright colors and images.

You can also be strategic with where a lead magnet shows up so that it’s harder for consumers to ignore it. Pop-ups on websites are a great way to persuade consumers to take action, as they need to interact with the lead by entering their contact information or clicking away.

Calls to action

A call to action (CTA) directs leads on how to engage with your lead magnet.

A popular tool for generating leads, CTA’s usually appear on or just before a button. CTA’s are often a short verb like ‘subscribe’ or a phrase like ‘click here to read more’.

Targeted messaging

A successful lead should connect directly with your audience, and this is where targeted messaging comes in.

Targeted messaging is any communication that is customized to a specific group of people. In digital marketing, companies can use targeted messaging to improve how they connect with their existing and potential customers. Instead of trying to reach as many people as possible, which is called ‘mass marketing’, research shows that creating marketing that feels personalized is a powerful way to persuade consumers. Targeted messaging in lead generation can be used to nudge leads into becoming customers, increasing brand engagement.

Here’s how generating leads can be optimized with targeted messaging:

Connects with consumers

To target marketing to a specific demographic, a company needs to do their research on who they want to reach and why.

When creating leads, the preferences of target audiences should inform tone of voice, content and design. Luckily, today’s data analytics technology allows easy access to customer information, like their age, location and online habits. Companies can then segment their audience based on specific characteristics, and directly send their leads marketing that they’re more likely to engage with.

Increases sales

Targeted messaging is a highly effective way to use leads to increase return on investment (ROI).

Research shows that personalization that makes marketing relevant and valuable to consumers is highly effective at increasing sales. In fact, data from Experian found that personalized EDM marketing can achieve six times higher revenue than generic emails.

Additionally, re-targeted messaging encourages leads to continue to make purchases in the future. For example, leads that have recently purchased a long-sleeved shirt could be offered a discount code on winter clothing styles.

So, not only does targeted messaging reduce the amount of time and money spent on attracting first-time customers, it increases sales.

Builds positive customer relationships

Not only does targeted messaging avoid annoying leads with ads they find irrelevant, it helps to build a positive relationship between your brand and consumer.

Generating leads using targeted messaging can be used to shape your brand reputation to reflect your company’s values. For example, lead magnets that offer a solution to a common need shared by your customer base will encourage leads to view your brand as helpful.

By establishing a sense of credibility through customized lead tools that improve your customers experience with your brand, you’re encouraging customers to keep returning (A.K.A user retention).

Lead nurturing and sales conversion

A Complete Guide to Generating Leads

After a lead expresses interest in your company, the next step in generating leads is to use lead nurturing to convert leads into paying customers (A.K.A sales conversion).

A way to leverage your lead database, lead nurturing improves the buyer’s journey of potential and past customers through relevant and supportive communication. Ge​​t savvy with your nurturing techniques to keep your company at the front of your leads’ minds.

Here are some best practice lead nurturing tips to increase sales conversion.

Use multiple channels

With the abundance of online communication channels available today, don’t just stick to email for your lead nurturing. Research shows that leads can take up to ten marketing touches before making their first purchase. This means spreading messages to leads across multiple communication channels, including company websites, social media, content marketing. For example, if a company wants other businesses in their industry to use their services, they could post helpful information about their process on their LinkedIn profile.

React quickly

Communicating with a lead at a strategic time is significantly more effective than random lead nurturing. For example, emailing a lead immediately after they sign up to receive promotional material is far more likely to achieve a sale than emailing them a few hours later.

Qualifying leads

Lead qualification is a process that considers factors like timing, interest, authority and need to determine odds that a lead will convert into a paying customer. A company’s ‘qualified lead’ is a lead that has been identified as highly likely to buy from them.

Lead scoring

When it comes to nurturing and qualifying leads, lead scoring can help prioritize the efforts of your company’s marketing resources.

Lead scoring is a way of ranking leads based on the type or amount of value they offer to your company. Usually done using automated marketing tools, a common way of categorizing the value of leads is by using a number system.

You can think of lead scoring like ‘scoring’ in basketball. But, instead of winning the game, the lead with the most points becomes a top priority for receiving lead nurturing communications.

If you’re a busy professional without the time to chase and check up on leads, you should take advantage of technology to take the load off your lead management. Sign up for lead management automation platforms like LeadOwl to easily manage leads from your mobile.

Lead generation success stories

The best way for your business to achieve success with lead generation is to integrate an automated lead management system.

Because of how time-sensitive following up with leads can be, many business owners find tracking and nurturing leads to be overwhelming. This can cause leads to be missed, which means losing potential sales.

By implementing LeadOwl, an app designed to integrate with users’ websites and send them real-time lead alerts, your business has a better chance at closing more deals. Check out the success stories from these businesses using LeadOwl to close more deals:

Ryan Alexander

After struggling for over a year with digital marketing, Ryan used LeadOwl for his business. He describes the process of getting started as ‘quick and easy’, and is enjoying the difference made by a highly efficient marketing tool.

Tefari Bailey

As a digital marketer, Tefari recognises the importance of efficiency in lead generation. By using LeadOwl’s real-time lead alert system, Tefari is able to follow up with leads instantly.

Love the sound of using leads to increase your company’s sales?

A Complete Guide to Generating Leads

Lead Owl is an easy-to-use app that lets business-owners take control over their leads. Designed for effortless integration with websites and sales funnels, LeadOwl uses top lead-management software to connect with potential customers. With LeadOwl, you can:

  • Get instant lead alerts
  • Follow-up with leads to make more sales
  • Automate lead management

Boost your business with top marketing technology, and get started with LeadOwl for free. It’s where best-practice lead generation is made simple. Connect our automated sales tool to your website to get real-time lead results on the go.