Looking to grow your business? Whether you’re a one-person show or you manage a large brand, finding qualified leads and turning those leads into customers is crucial for long-term growth.
So, what is a qualified lead? And how can you get more of these leads for your business?
Here at Leadpages, we know a thing or two about getting leads. We’ve outlined what you need to know to build an effective lead generation strategy and find more qualified leads.
What’s the definition of a qualified lead?
A qualified lead is a contact that meets specific behavioral or demographical qualifications for your business. That’s the dry definition—in lay person’s terms, a qualified lead is a person who’s in your target audience and has expressed interest in your products or services.
Here are examples of qualified leads for different types of businesses:
- A shopper who subscribed to your ecommerce business’ email list.
- A business director at an organization in your target audience who visited the pricing page of your B2B service business.
- A social media manager who read a blog post and then watched one of your videos on your social media marketing website.
As you can see, the answer to “what is a qualified lead?” varies from business to business. A fitness coach and a software provider won’t define qualified leads the same way. In fact, the definition of a qualified lead can even vary between marketing and sales teams in the same organization.
Marketing qualified leads vs. sales qualified leads
There are two types of qualified leads. Both are valuable, but they represent slightly different points in the customer journey.
Marketing qualified leads are people that are considered to be a good fit for your business and have taken the first step towards becoming a customer. For example, you might consider anyone who downloads a lead magnet to be a qualified lead.
Once a marketing qualified lead starts showing repeated interest in your products or services they become a sales qualified lead. For example, if after someone downloads your lead magnet they also read two of your blog posts and request a demo they are considered a more serious lead. In a larger organization, this is when a marketing team would hand the lead over to their sales team, as they’re very close to making a purchase.
Knowing the difference between these two types of leads will help you manage your sales funnel more effectively and identify the leads that are ready to become customers.
How to get qualified leads
So, now you know what a qualified lead is. But how do you actually get them?
The right lead generation strategy for your business will depend on your goals, audience, and industry. However, the process outlined below has proven to work for many different business types and is likely your best bet for consistently generating leads for your business.
Step 1: Create a lead magnet
A lead magnet is a free resource offered in exchange for an email address or other contact information. This could be an ebook, white paper, or even a mini-course delivered through an email campaign.
Above all else, your lead magnet needs to offer value. Users won’t exchange their contact information for something they can find with a simple Google search. Instead, give them something they can’t find anywhere else.
Here are a few valuable lead magnet ideas:
- “Ultimate Guide” ebook
- A list of hard-to-find resources
- A detailed checklist for a critical process in your industry
- A study you performed with unique data your audience will find interesting
- A white paper about a topic your audience is interested in
- Templates that streamline a process your audience performs regularly
- A webinar or mini-course related to your offer
Lead magnets can also help qualify leads. For example, instead of asking for just an email address, ask for their company size, title, and location. These questions filter out less-qualified leads and help you pinpoint those who are most likely to take the next step in your sales funnel.
Need more ideas? Here are 12 easy ways to create a lead magnet.
Step 2: Build a landing page
Once you have a lead magnet you’ll need somewhere for it to live, and in most cases you’ll want that to be a landing page. This is a page created for a specific sales or marketing campaign.
Unlike your home page, which can cover a variety of topics, landing pages have one sole purpose: get people to take your desired action. In this case, that’s downloading your lead magnet.
A high-converting landing page should include a clear headline, a compelling offer, social proof, and a strong call to action. These elements inspire trust and encourage users to complete the conversion process.
Use A/B testing to find the headline and offer that resonates with your audience. Finally, make sure your landing page is optimized for mobile devices so users on the go can still access your content.
Need help building a high-converting landing page? Check out our landing page template gallery.
Step 3: Drive traffic to your landing page
With your landing page in place, you’re now ready to start driving potential customers there. Here are a few strategies you can use to bring people to your lead magnet landing page:
- Paid ads: Create targeted ads on social media or display networks to reach users in your buyer persona.
- Social media content: Use social networks to post content about your lead magnet and drive interested users to your landing page. This can help boost your qualified leads, since they already know about your business and are interested in your content.
- Content marketing: Create an article related to your offer and publish it to your blog. Share the link on social media and pay to reach a wider audience.
- Partner with influencers in your space: Influencer marketing can help you reach a wider audience and drive more traffic. For the best results, choose trusted influencers whose audience closely matches your ideal customer profile.
To increase your odds of finding qualified leads, invest in a few different traffic sources. Make sure to analyze the results to see which strategy produces the best conversion rate.
Step 4: Nurture your leads through email marketing
So, you’ve offered a lead magnet, driven traffic to your landing page, and now you have a list of leads. The next step is to make sure those leads are a good fit for your business.
Are they in the right location? Are they likely to be interested in your business based on age, family status, or income level? If you are a business-to-business (B2B) company, are your leads in the right industry?
This is where email marketing comes in.
You may already use email marketing—but did you know you can use it to qualify leads as well? Nurturing leads through targeted email campaigns helps weed out the tire kickers and those that aren’t ready to buy quite yet.
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After you deliver your lead magnet, send a welcome email and ask what topics subscribers are interested in. For example, if you offer content for both sales and marketing teams, ask which industry they are in.
Once you segment your audience based on industry, interests, or customer journey, create email campaigns for each audience. Focus most of your emails on education—this will establish your company as a trusted source of information. Once you’ve engaged with the user several times, you can focus on more sales-related messages.
For example, you might send several educational emails and then suggest a demo. Depending on the lead generation software or customer relationship management (CRM) platform you use, you may even be able to see the customer journey in real-time and step in when the lead is ready to convert.
This step can (and should) be adjusted to your audience and overall digital marketing strategy. Here’s an example of how email nurturing might work for a career coaching business:
- Welcome email with links to main resources.
- Invitation to join a Facebook networking group.
- Links to pillar blog posts on your website (for example, how to switch careers or where to find career training).
- Invitation to a free Instagram live event.
- Personalized blog post recommendations based on the content they’ve viewed in the past.
- Marketing-focused email about joining your paid membership site.
Your nurturing campaign might be longer or shorter depending on the length of your marketing funnel. However, you can see how the content starts as educational and slowly pulls the lead through the digital marketing funnel to conversion.
Ready to get qualified leads?
The steps we’ve covered in this post are just the beginning. Now that you know what a qualified lead is, how to find them, and how to nurture them, it’s time to develop a custom lead qualification process for your business.
Start by taking a deep look at your ideal customer profile. Who converts at the highest rate? Which customer types purchase higher-priced products or packages? What audience has the lowest churn rate? Use that information to determine what a qualified lead is for your business, then create a lead magnet they can’t ignore.
Need help building your sales funnel and finding qualified leads? Our landing page and website builder makes it easy to create high-converting pages to host your lead magnet on.
Try Leadpages free for 14 days and discover how easy it can be to generate new leads for your business.