Lead generation: Everything You Need To Know

Have you ever encountered this: you’re walking down the street and someone approaches you, explaining the increased risk of having heart-related diseases. He then talks about the countless health benefits of exercising and how busy individuals like us are not working out enough. He proceeds to introduce his gym membership and persuading you to buy it. You seemed interested but you’re not sure, so you gave him your contact information and walks away.

Voila! You’ve now become his new lead!

Laptop with data

All businesses need some form of lead generation strategies to find new customers and improve revenue. Fortunately, there are many ways to do lead generation.

In this post, I will explain:

  • What is lead and lead generation?
  • Types of lead generation
  • Why is lead generation important?
  • Lead generation strategies that can drive sales
  • Top 5 lead generation tools

What is lead generation?

So what is a lead? It’s a person showing interest in purchasing or wanting to know more about certain products or services. As he or she progresses through the sales funnel (more on that later), the person can be potentially converted into a customer.

Take the above example: the gym’s salesperson likely had to go through a pre-qualification on you before approaching. He might be trying to determine your age, gender, income level, and decide if you were an eligible lead. Based on this judgment, he approached and tried to sell you the gym membership. And good thing for him, he had somehow piqued your interest which eventually led to you giving your phone number or email address to him to follow up on his sales process.

Gym club

In the world of lead generation, it is crucial to not just identify individuals who may be interested in what you have to offer, but also educate people who have never heard of your product or service before.

If you have an effective lead generation strategy, you will eventually start to grow your quality leads and convert more qualified leads into your customers easily.

Types of lead generation

When it comes to lead generation, marketing and sales have a big part to play. There are many types of successful lead generation marketing methods. Most of them fall under two main categories: outbound and inbound marketing.

Outbound marketing

Outbound marketing is a marketing strategy that involves a company reaching out to a target audience and starts the conversation first. In the gym’s example above, it is considered a type of Outbound marketing as the salesperson is the first one to approach you to sell his services.

This lead generation method is a traditional type of marketing that is being practiced by many companies for a long time. Some of these strategies include:

  • Cold email marketing
  • Cold sales call
  • Door-to-door sales
  • Radio and TV advertising
  • Newspaper advertising
  • Billboards advertising
  • Direct Mailing
  • Tradeshows
  • Pop-up advertisements

Do you notice anything in common between these methods?

Yes, you’re right. They are invasive marketing approaches that usually interrupts your lead prospects. Your audience may not be in the right moment or emotional state to be blasted by your outreach and may even start to hate you. He may be keen on your products and services but could be too busy to listen to your sales pitch.

Outbound marketing also tends to be single directional communication. As your goal is to reach a large audience, your outreach message will likely be “templated” and too broad. Due to this, prospects are usually not highly interested in what you’re selling as your solutions may not pinpoint their problem and pains.

Girl on phone

Fortunately, there are also benefits to an outbound lead generation campaign.

You are the first to reach your high quality leads prospects if this is the first time they hear your products or services. Depending on your persuasion and how good your offer is, your prospect may not have the time or interest to research your competitors. This contributes greatly to your lead generation efforts as the chances of sales conversion favor you.

Having an outbound lead generation campaign also means you have more control over who you wish to send your message to. This lead generation strategy works best if you have historical data that indicates valuable audience person information. Running a promotion on your interior design services? How about sending your message to families who recently moved to a new apartment? By having a good selection of your target audience, you also gain better control of your marketing budget and Return on investment (ROI).

Inbound marketing

In inbound lead generation, it is the opposite of outbound marketing. in this scenario, prospects are the ones searching and approaching companies first.

Say, for example, you’re searching to buy women’s boots online. Most people would head to Google and search and browse for women’s boots. You will see websites in the organic search and paid ads and click them to find out more.

For a shoe seller, you’re already in the proper sales funnel as you have a strong intent and getting ready to buy women’s boots to satisfy your needs at that moment. As a potential lead, you’re frequently researching the women’s boots. Companies will have to leverage this opportunity to capture your attention to turn into leads or customers.

There are many types of inbound marketing:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • Paid search advertising
  • Social media marketing
  • Video content
  • Email marketing from an email list
  • Content creation
  • Content marketing
Search Console data

For inbound lead generation, the key to acquire quality leads and potential customers is to publish attention-grabbing and authoritative content for audiences. In the new digital era, prospects and leads want to involve themselves deeper during the sales process. With search engines to satisfy their curiosity, prospects tend to use search engines to answer their questions regarding a product or service.

However, one of the restrictions for inbound lead generation is that there is usually a high level of competition in the same marketing space as you are. For SEO, it is mostly about which websites are ranking keywords well through proper content strategy and a variety of on-page optimization. Companies will need to understand the proper techniques to implement to secure that top prominent search engine ranking position to capture the most amount of relevant audiences and leads.

It may also be a time-consuming strategy as content creation needs to undergo a series of processes including research, facts-verification, and trustworthy articles. You will also need to understand your audience personas and demographics to produce highly relevant blogs and video content.

Laptop and notebook

By looking at these limitations, it is still extremely rewarding to be able to pull this lead generation strategy off well. Website visitors who are visiting your sites are usually qualified leads without needing you to conduct lead prospecting, saving you tons of time and money.

In fact, inbound lead generation tends to have a much lower cost per lead acquisition compared to outbound lead generation. According to CRM Daily, companies can achieve more than 25 times conversion rates with inbound marketing. This also greatly improves your ROI’s performance.


Have you encountered this: your favorite online platform is rewarding you cashback and discounts for your next purchase. All you have to do is to just share their brand through word-of-mouth. Sounds familiar?

Enter Referral marketing: one of the best lead generation strategy that more companies are implementing.

In fact, Dropbox leveraged the power of referral marketing without spending any money to advertise. And yet, they still managed to grown to over $12 billion software company.

So how did they do it?

It’s quite simple: Dropbox rewards their current users by adding more cloud sizes to their account if they share their brand on social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more. The more they share, the larger cloud sizes they get rewarded.

Also, you should check out their homepage which has a strong call to action that encourages new leads to sign up for their services.

Office girl meeting

There are a few ways to execute referral marketing:

  1. Companies can reward both the referrer and the person being referred to. This usually leads to a high number of quality leads as both parties stand to gain from this.
  2. Companies can reward only the referrer or the person being referred to. This has a lower chance of getting potential customers since either non-incentivized party is not motivated enough.
  3. Companies persuade customers to refer without any rewards. This has the least amount of lead capture.

If you’re looking into a proper referral program for generating leads, it is best to conduct a good survey on your customers and find out the best incentive to offer them.

Why is lead generation important?

Nowadays, companies need to find effective ways to grow their business and not just staying afloat. Just staying afloat may also cause a business to shrink and eventually get pushed out of the market. To grow a business, business owners need to embrace the idea of lead generation and its impact it can have.

Lead generation can help build brand awareness. This is a process that helps to nurture a lead to become a customer. For example, companies employ email marketing that shows frequent updates about their companies and time-sensitive promotions for current customers to enjoy. In fact, 66% of customers indicate that frequent email communication influenced them to choose a service provider.

Guy on phone

Lead generation also helps companies to select desired customers to target. When a sales team is tasked to generate leads, the proper strategy is to first determine qualified leads before starting the sales process. In this scenario, it is not about the number of leads to approach, but more on determining the leads’ quality and the likelihood of becoming paying customers.

Now you’ve understood the definition of lead generation, different types, and its importance, let’s move on to how to generate more leads!

Lead generation strategies

To execute sound lead generation strategies, companies usually categorized their leads into two segments: Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) and Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL).

SQL is a lead screened by sales teams to determine a lead quality using a variety of qualifying factors.

MQL is a lead that arrives in your business through inbound marketing and has not been contacted by the sales or marketing team. This usually involves leads visiting your website to submit their contact details for the sales reps to take action and follow up with them.

We will mainly talk about lead generation strategies on MQL as they are popular and more effective in most cases.


Search Engine Optimization is a popular strategy to generate potential leads. It also has higher conversion rates than outbound marketing.

SEO involves doing proper “housekeeping” on a website or landing pages so that search engines are able to crawl using their bots and determine the site’s quality and relevance to a searcher. As there are 3.5 billion daily Google searches and 35% product searches begin in Google, it makes sense for a business website to strive tobe visible to potential leads.

When a website has superb SEO done, it will usually result in being on Google Search’s first page or top 10 results. If prospects are researching a product or service on Google search, your website and brand will be prominent, which will likely capture their attention and convert them into sales leads.

Google search sample

SEO is a popular strategy that has been proven countlessly that it is the best lead generation strategy all businesses should explore.

However, it can be a tough and long process. As Google has reportedly more than 200 search ranking factors, it is extremely difficult for business owners to manage and perform SEO themselves. If done incorrectly, you may even risk your website being penalized by Google. That’s why it is usually best to leave the work to professionals or an SEO Agency.

If you happened to be looking for an experienced and trustworthy digital marketing agency in Singapore, be sure to check out our SEO services!

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

In SEM, business owners employ pay-per-click advertising (PPC) such as Google Ads as part of their lead generation strategies.

SEM is an online lead generation to acquire leads through advertising on search engines.

Google ads sample

When users are searching for a certain product or service, PPC ads appear above and below the organic listings. If the ads are well written and relevant, users would click to enter the landing pages where they might submit their contact details in return for a free trial or incentive. For every ad click, business owners will pay the search engines where the click cost depends on the competitiveness and various factors.

Compared to SEO, this is a quick way for businesses to be visible in search engines and start generating quality leads. Similar to SEO, PPC leverage on search intent of potential customers to show relevant advertisements which can also deliver a high conversion rate.

However, business owners need to be aware of ROI metrics such as cost per lead, cost per conversion, return on ads spend, and more. This is to ensure every dollar for your SEM campaign counts to generating qualified leads and sales.

If you’re looking to maximize your ROI and turns your PPC campaign into huge profits and sales, do check out our SEM services!

Social Media Marketing

Social media marketing is another effective lead generation strategies that can help businesses grow at a rapid rate.

In fact, there are around 3.5 billion social media users globally! People are also spending an average of 3 hours daily on social networks (such as Facebook and Instagram) and 54% of users use social networks to research products before buying.

Compared to SEO and SEM where search intent is being leveraged, social media lead generation tends toward improving brand awareness and followers’ engagement. This is very different as prospects may not be ready to purchase, but are willing to follow your business’ Facebook or Instagram page to receive updates.

Guy on Twitter

Some tech-savvy business owners are even using live chat bot to automate prospects and customers’ queries. This helps to drive them further down the sales process from the research phase.

Similar to SEM, you can use social media ads to display your message to your selected audience easily.

Top 5 Lead Generation Tools

To execute your lead generation strategies properly, you’ll need tools to help you achieve your goals. Here are the top 5 lead generation tools that are sure to improve your process!

1) WPForms

For website owners (eg. WordPress), the first thing you should have is a lead submission form. Their simple and intuitive builder lets you add lead generation forms on your web pages such as “contact us” and “FAQ”.


2) Snov.io

What’s next after collecting contact information from your lead? Schedule an email marketing campaign or newsletter to reach out to them periodically. Snov.io allows you to set up drip email campaigns and even lets you search and verify email addresses. It’s packed with features and comes at an affordable price.


3) HubSpot

If you’re looking for an excellent all-in-one marketing tool, look no further. HubSpot has been in the game for more than a decade and offers a lot of useful features for marketers and business owners. HubSpot offers different pricing tiers so you can pick the most suitable plan for your business.


4) Salesforce

Coined as the world’s number 1 Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Salesforce has been trusted by many businesses worldwide. Their goal is to help you, the sales and marketing team improve your relationship with prospects and lead through Salesforce’s streamlined processes.


5) Engati

Are you looking for live chat bot for communication automation? Engati helps you achieve that by supporting more than 50 languages and it’s free to use up to 1000 interactions. If this is new to you, start with the free plan and try it out.


Final thoughts

Not many business owners can execute proper lead generation strategies. Without a deep knowledge of various types of lead generation strategies, your marketing campaign is likely to backfire which can have negative consequences on your ROI. Therefore, business owners should delve into inbound and outbound marketing to launch a successful lead generation campaign.

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