“If agencies had a magic circle, we
would have been kicked out long
ago for debunking the myths and
removing the smoke and mirrors
agencies use to keep clients in
long term commitments without
the optimum results”

What is lead generation?

Lead generation describes the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service for the purposes of creating a sale. It is more easily defined as the practice of using marketing to find, engage and convert prospective customers into people with a validated interest in your product or service.


Telemarketing and door to door sales people have often been the spear head of lead generation campaigns in times gone by. However, in 2017, it’s all about inbound lead generation using marketing channels.

What is a lead?

A lead is someone who has through their activity defined an interest in your product or service. A lead can then be nurtured into a sale by a successful salesperson.


How can a lead be generated?


A lead can be generated in many ways, as many ways as there are to declare an interest in something. You can declare an interest by completing a form, emailing a salesperson, or picking up the phone and enquiring. What’s important here is that inbound marketing and use of digital marketing channels can raise awareness and drive all three of these actions that constitute a regular website visitor becoming a lead.

How do you track a lead?

The process of lead generation is made much easier if leads are tracked. If you can define a leads source, you can then use that data to help you generate more leads in the future. You may find that a marketing channel generates leads at a lower cost than another, and thus, more budget should be allocated to that channel to drive the optimum number of leads. Tracking leads is easy, when done correctly. If the lead comes via a form, we can easily use google analytics to track that. If they enquire via phone, the call handler would need to be trained to ask the enquirer “how did you hear about us?”. Likewise, an email enquiry should have the same question, once a rapport is built. Some email enquiries can also be tracked via google analytics too. Having this data to hand makes optimizing a lead generation campaign successful, giving the optimization team a direction to head in, rather than aimlessly using trial and error.


If we can recommend one thing more than any other, tracking the source of your leads is it!

Driving leads, what tools do we have online?

So, we know what lead generation is, we know what a lead is and how to track one, but how do we go out and get these leads? There are numerous marketing channels we can use to generate leads. A digital marketing agency can typically help you with this, it Is their job to match buyers to sellers, with the sellers typically being the agencies client. Marketing and sales have changed over the past 2 decades, so much so that it can be argued the approach has reversed.


So, how do we find the buyers and how do we get them to hand over their information?


Search (Adwords PPC)

Paid search is a staple in any lead generation strategy. Paid search allows you to “cherry pick” your target customers based on their keyword criteria. If you sell a till system for restaurants then you can target customers who are searching for a “restaurant epos system” or “restaurant epos software”, these google users are the perfect fit for your product and clearly have some intent by being the initiator of the search. Similarly, if you are a legal firm, you can specifically search for “mesothelioma no win no fee” which clearly demonstrates a person who has or has suspected mesothelioma and are looking to pursue a claim. Here is the best bit, anyone can create a paid search campaign. Here is the worst bit, creating a campaign poorly can cost your advertising budget dearly through wasted spend on poor keywords, bad campaign structure, poor quality score and inefficient bid strategies. We would always recommend getting a professional pay per click agency to manage your campaigns.


Display marketing is another common method used to generate leads. In general, display marketing has a lower chance of conversion, due to the lower buyer intent. As we saw, on paid search, the user is the initiator heading over to google and starting the search process. Using display, you are placing your ads on websites/apps that you believe your target customers visit/use. Your therefore “catching them off guard” so to speak, at a time when they may not necessarily be searching for your product or service. However, that does not mean that display marketing cannot be effective. If you really understand your potential customers, you can gain some great wins with display. It’s cheaper per click and with laser precision targeting the ROI can be impressive. It’s all about using engaging creative that resonates with them. In 2017 you cant just use a shiny banner ad with great color schemes, you need to answer drive awareness and consideration of your product or service so as the click is targeted and the traffic has a better chance of conversion.



Paid social media marketing is very similar to display, notice how I started this sentence with the word “paid”. The algorithms of the social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat etc are all now based around monetization. Gone are the days where you can simply rely on “organic” social media posts to drive traffic to your website. Paid social allows you to target based on interests, location, age, gender, connections and more advanced targeting. More advanced targeting is the likes of their mobile device, speed of network connection, apps they use and pages they engage with. Similar to display, social media marketing for lead generation relies heavily on communicating with your target customer using the right messaging that resonates with them. Most lead generation campaigns focus on selling a product or service that solves a problem. We find in our experience, using creative that appeals to this pain point is a great way to drive targeted intrigue.

Remarketing (across all the above)

So far we’ve discussed three marketing channels that can typically be found in any lead generation campaign, paid search, display and social. Email marketing is another one but that depends on the availability of an email marketing list that you have permission to use. We will be covering this in another post. Sometimes referred to as a channel in itself and another critical function to use as part of a lead generation campaign is retargeting.


Retargeting can be classified as the “lowest hanging fruit”, these are customers who have visited your website (from whatever source) but didn’t convert. When they visited your website you can place a cookie which identifies that person. Using remarketing you can then target your ads to appear on social, on websites and on search to internet users who have this cookie from within the last x days (x is defined by you no setup). Remarketing campaigns have the best ROI fact, they already have some understanding of your company, product and/or service. They have visited your website, they just need some extra nurturing to convert them into a lead.


Retargeting campaigns typically work best by treating the creative and the customer with a level of acknowledgement that they are familiar to you. Creative like “Why not come back and learn more about x. Book a free demonstration today”. We’ve seen integrating this level of acknowledgement increases campaign success by over 30%.

Custom & Similar audiences

Custom and similar audiences are again, great examples of “low hanging fruit” or should we say “lower hanging fruit”. A custom audience would be a way of re engaging with lost leads. These would-be people that enquired previously, but never closed as a deal. You can import a csv file of these contacts to the platforms we have discussed. Using their algorithm, they will, where possible, find that person and display your ads to them.


Similar audiences work very much the same as custom audiences. You feed the platform a list and again using an algorithm the platform will find similar or lookalike audiences. A representative example would be this, if your list contains people in the Leeds area, aged 20-34 and a job title of “sales manager” then Facebook for example would find other contacts similar to these criteria and display your adverts to them. The great thing here is that Facebook’s algorithm, which in most cases, is much smarter than us mere mortals, does the targeting work for you.

So, what’s the secret formulae?

The actual answer here, is that there isn’t one! It varies so much by industry, product and service, as well as service level! If you have experience marketing on these channels you are ahead of the curve and when setting up a new lead generation campaign you can start off using that experience to allocate the best weighting before perfecting a “secret formulae”. The best solution if you have no experience marketing in the industry you are operating in is to start off using all the above platforms evenly, splitting budget. Then after initial data starts to flood in, optimize each account for improvement before then optimizing budget weighting. Remember we talked about tracking a lead earlier? Well it’s when optimizing the campaign that this attribution of the leads that are coming in is critical, this is what tells us which creative and platforms are working and should be given more budget and which ones should be re worked or cut off.


Once you have all this figured out your ready to start giving a larger allocation of the overall budget to the better performing channels before hitting a saturation point. Then the ideal weighting should be understood, you are ready to scale the campaigns spend to dizziest heights possible in that industry.

Something to remember, the leaky bucket effect…

Many marketers spend their advertising budget metaphorically, pouring water into a leaky bucket. In this example the water is your advertising spend and the bucket is your website. Rather than fixing the bucket (the marketing funnel), they pour more water into the bucket to keep it full. This is a recipe for inflated acquisition costs and below average results.


Your website, or bespoke landing pages for a particular campaign, needs to be water tight! They need to be optimized for conversion in order to work your advertising budget as hard as it can be worked. Having a leaky bucket will skew your results and inflate your costs. Let’s look at some maths…



Traffic (Clicks) Conversion Rate CPC Number of leads


1000 2% £3.00 20 £150
1000 5% £3.00 50 £60
2000 5% £3.00 100 £60


As you can see, by improving your “bucket” with a conversion optimization project, you can significantly lower your cost per acquisition without needing to drive any additional traffic. Now let’s assume there is scope to increase traffic too. The result? An increase volume of leads at the lower cost per acquisition.



The key takeaway here is that you can make significant improvements and cost savings by improving your website/landing page so as the traffic you generate using social, search and display has the best chance of converting into a lead.

Are you ready to generate more exclusive leads for your business?

See how we helped NFS Hospitality increase leads by 40% with a 100% reduction in cost per acquisition!

Speak to our expert team today about your project on 0161 818 7277 or email [email protected]