Lead Generation Best Practices: 2019 Edition

Generating leads today is simple. You set up a website, blog, and social media accounts. Create an SEO strategy and PPC campaigns, and you're well on your way to building more traffic.

However, generating leads from the right target audience is another story. 

That is why 61 percent of B2B marketers say that generating high-quality leads is one of their top challenges. 

Computer screen with the words Lead Generation on display.

Is it the same for your business?

If so, then it's time to learn what's working in 2019. So let's take a look at the best lead generation best practices and strategies you need to implement today. 

Truly Understanding Your Target Audience

Speaker on stage.

We can't stress enough how essential it is to know who it is you're targeting. Broad marketing strategies no longer work, especially since today's consumers are savvier than ever. They're not just looking for the best price. They're also looking for a great experience. The brand that can offer this is more likely to earn their dollar. 

To illustrate the truthfulness of that statement, 40 percent of mobile users are willing to spend more money with brands that offer personalized coupons. Another 48 percent are more likely to choose brands that personalize their marketing to address their specific business needs. 

How do you offer personalization if you don't know your customers? It's critical to have buyer personas in place. You'll need to develop one for each customer type, so you can create segments for each group. For example, you may need an email campaign that's unique to moms and another that speaks to business professionals. 

The same goes for any inbound marketing materials you create. If you're crafting the right message for the wrong audience, then your conversion rates will suffer. 

Creating Lead Magnets that Attract Each Persona

Once you start getting visitors that match your buyer personas, it's time to qualify them. What better way to do that than with lead magnets? 

One issue marketers have is converting the website visitors that come to their site. There's a gap here that only a lead magnet can fill. You need to send prospects to the right landing page, which will offer a "gotta have" piece of content. For example, if you're targeting e-commerce businesses, then you can use a case study as a lead magnet. It can show how other customers successfully increased their sales using your product/service. 

To ensure you're driving the right traffic here, you can create PPC ad campaigns and/or blog posts that target this group. Then when they click on the link in the CTA, they're taken to the landing page and a form to download the free case study. 

There are many types of content and offers you can use as a lead magnet, such as:

  • Free trials
  • Webinars
  • Training videos
  • White papers
  • Ultimate guides
  • Checklists
  • Q&A with experts
  • Content upgrades
  • eBooks

In exchange, you're building up your CRM with the emails of qualified leads. Backlinko was able to increase its conversion rates from 0.54 to 4.82 percent using lead magnets (content upgrade).

Developing Personalized Email Campaigns

After collecting emails from qualified leads, it's time to nurture them into a sale. You can do this by sending them personalized emails. How?

Segment each subscriber into a campaign designed specifically for their persona. This should be easy to do since you're using unique landing pages and offers for each persona. Simply automate the segmentation based on the form they use to sign up. 

From there, you can personalize the content based on their interest or need. For instance, the e-commerce business will want more information and tips on improving their sales. Another campaign may focus on helping e-commerce marketers enhance their PPC campaigns. 

To further automate the process, develop a drip campaign for each group. 

Does any of this actually work? Well, there's a reason 78 percent of B2B marketers are using email marketing for demand generation. Not to mention, Thomson Reuters was able to boost its revenue by 175 percent and lower lead conversion time by 72 percent using email marketing. 

Keeping Your CRM Data Clean

Woman holding a green cloth and spray bottle.

Roughly 53 percent of top-performing companies are investing in CRMs to increase sales. It's the platform that helps you learn your customer base and grow relationships with them. 

However, it's impossible to pull off if you're not maintaining the integrity of the data on your CRM. Just to give you some perspective, 25 percent of B2B marketing database contacts contain critical errors (according to SiriusDecisions). This leads to 62 percent of organizations relying on marketing and prospect data that's up to 40 percent inaccurate. 

That's pretty scary, especially if you're not taking measures to keep your data clean. One simple tool you can use is SmartSuite, which integrates with your CRM and ensures all names, emails, and other vital information remains up-to-date. 

Then you can use your CRM to:

  • Gather essential insights about customers (age, purchasing habits, location)
  • Offer surveys to customers and store the data into your CRM
  • Nurture leads with personalized emails (based on data)
  • Integrate with live chat, saving conversations for later use

Don't overlook the value a CRM when its data quality is superb!

Managing a Consistent Content Marketing Plan

Content is what everyone's after. Consumers are looking to be informed about problems and solutions before they make a purchasing decision. That's where your content marketing strategy comes into the picture. 

Having a strong strategy is critical to attracting each of your buyer personas. For instance, you can have a category on your blog for each customer profile. Then fill them up with quality articles offering tips and insights they won't find anywhere else. 

Your content is the middleman between you and your prospects. If you deliver the value they're looking for, then you'll successfully drive them to the next stage in the funnel -- consideration. 

How efficient is content marketing? Crowe Horwath, a public accounting firm, was able to generate $250k in revenue using content marketing. They did this by creating:

  • 48 infographics
  • videos
  • Q&A blog posts

All of these were geared toward a specific target -- C-level professionals from financial institutions with a large market cap. In turn, they witnessed a six-figure growth. 

It's worth mentioning Xerox, which also used content marketing. This time, the revenue increase was in the billions -- $1.3 billion in revenue, to be exact. 

Roughly 70 percent of the companies they targeted engaged with the microsite they built. This generated a stunning 20,000 new contacts to their database ( and over 5 percent scheduled appointments). 

Growing Your Social Proof

Social proof sign.

No prospect's going to just take your word for it. After finding your website, content, and/or products, they're going to dig deeper. One of the first thing consumers do is to search online for social proof. This may be in the form of online reviews or social media recommendations. 

It's only natural for people to trust their peers over the brands selling to them. This is why 30 percent of consumers are more inclined to buy an item endorsed by a non-celebrity blogger, and another 60 percent said they take into consideration reviews on blogs and social media posts while shopping on a tablet or smartphone. 

It's up to you to put your best foot forward and gain a foothold on what others are saying about your business. While you can't control what people say, you can control customer satisfaction levels. You'll need to put more effort into improving your customer support by continuously training your reps and finding ways to meet the demands of your clientele. 

Once you master that, you'll need to form a strategy for building up positive reviews. One option is to send customers an email after a few weeks to request a rating and review. You can display this on your website, social media, or on third party sites like Yelp. 

The more happy customers prospects see, the higher the chance of them doing business with you. 

What about those negative reviews that rear their ugly heads every now and then? Well, there's a remedy for that too. Proactively seek to find a solution to the customer's problem. If you can fix it (i.e., with a discount, refund, etc.), then you can ask that they update their review. Even if they don't, you publicly responding to their review and attempting to make things right can go a long way. 

Investing in Highly-Targeted PPC Ad Campaigns

Content marketing uses SEO to grow a steady flow of long-term traffic, which is excellent. However, when you need to get more visitors faster, then PPC ads rule. 

What makes them excel is that they appear above the first spot on search engine results pages (SERPs). So it's understandable how the top 3 ads get 41 percent of the clicks

What's also compelling about PPC is that you can create highly-targeted ads. This makes it possible to attract specific audiences to your site that are more likely to convert. 

The result is more sales in a short period of time. Like with SEO, you need to target the right keywords to match the searches your audience conducts. 

Make sure to track the clicks and conversions, and don't be afraid to experiment with your copy, headlines, and CTA. 

Get Your Lead Generation Strategy in Order

Demand generation is all about implementing targeted marketing strategies that build awareness and interest for your products or services. With the best practices listed here, you can create or improve your current lead generation strategy (and your bottom line). 

Let's not forget a critical factor here -- the health of your CRM database. If you've never had yours cleansed, then there's a high chance you're working with outdated information. 

Ready to do something about it?

Then it's time to break the cycle of dirty data!

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