lead generation campaign

How to Build a Successful Lead Generation Campaign (+ Examples)

Key points

  1. Successful lead generation campaigns are built on in-depth understanding of the target audience, clearly defined goals and offers that align with potential customers’ needs and interests.
  2. To nurture and qualify leads effectively, leverage behavioral data, direct engagement, and advanced technology like AI and machine learning.
  3. Varied tactics like providing free tools, gated content, hosting webinars, and creating educational courses can be implemented to engage and capture leads in a campaign.

Busy sales pipelines don’t just happen. They’re the result of strategic, qualified lead generation programs engineered to capture demand, attract it towards businesses, and convert them into happy customers.

Unlike what gurus might tell you on Twitter and LinkedIn, though, lead generation isn’t easy. It’s not impossible either.

If you’re an agency and you want to build a lead generation campaign—either for yourself or for your clients—you should read on and find out more.

What is a lead generation campaign?

In short, a lead generation campaign is a marketing campaign (often via inbound marketing, but not exclusively), where the goal is to generate targeted, qualified and interested leads for a business’ sales pipeline. A lead generation campaign requires plenty of research, planning, targeting, executing, and optimizing to be effective.

What makes a successful lead generation campaign?

The question here might seem futile and even odd, but the truth is that defining success in lead generation can be an entire debate. You should set goals before you build your first campaign in order for it to be effective.

That being said, there are two main ways to look at success in lead generation:

  • You have generated marketing-qualified leads, which your sales team will pick up on and your marketing team will nurture.

  • You have generated actual sales-qualified leads, which your sales people can convert into happy customers

So, which one is the right way? It all comes down to the role of marketing in your agency or in your client’s companies: If the role of marketing is perceived at a more traditional level (e.g., generating brand awareness), then your leads need to be marketing-qualified (e.g., someone who has entered the funnel and is ready to be nurtured).

If you’re more growth hacking-oriented, you’ll want to measure every step of the way and scale on the tactics that work best for you. That means that you will measure attribution for leads beyond the TOFU area of your funnel too. 

A few tips for lead generation campaigns

Every lead generation campaign is unique, but there are a few universal tips that can help make your campaign successful.

Set a goal for the campaign

Spinning your wheels aimlessly is not a good start for any project – lead generation campaigns included.  You can’t have a successful campaign if you start with a clear goal in mind. This could be anything from generating a certain number of leads to increasing sales by a specific percentage.

Study the target audience

Understanding your target audience deeply and comprehensively is crucial for the success of your lead generation campaign. By knowing who your audience is, you can tailor your messaging and strategies to meet their needs, interests, and pain points.

Follow these steps to get a better understanding of your target audience:

  1. Conduct surveys and interviews to gather direct feedback from your potential and current customers.

  2. Analyze social media behavior to understand their interests, preferences, and the types of content they engage with.

  3. Leverage analytics tools to study website and email engagement patterns, identifying what captures their attention the most.

  4. Create detailed buyer personas that represent segments of your target audience, including their demographics, challenges, and goals.

  5. Monitor competitors and industry trends to see how similar audiences are being engaged and what strategies are effective.

Develop a good offer

A good offer is the heartbeat of any successful lead generation campaign, serving as the compelling reason for potential customers to engage with your brand. It must resonate with your target audience’s needs and provide enough value to motivate them to leave their contact information or make a direct purchase.

Build high-converting landing pages

You could run the best ads and pour millions of dollars into your content and paid campaigns without being successful.

SPP alternatives high converting landing page

If they click on ads and see poorly organized, untrustworthy, or irrelevant landing pages, you will lose leads left and right. A good offer means nothing if the landing page doesn’t deliver on its promise.

Qualify & score leads

Want to know the likelihood of someone actually buying from you (or simply want to keep a record for your next board meeting)? Qualify and score leads according to your target audience’s behavior and attributes. This will help you prioritize the most likely-to-convert leads for your sales team while optimizing your lead generation strategies and messaging for the future.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when you qualify and score your leads:

  • Know your customers: Identify the characteristics and actions of your most valuable customers to create criteria for lead scoring.

  • Use marketing automation tools: Track lead activity and engagement with special software that are able to provide insight into a lead’s interests and readiness to buy.

  • Continually refine your scoring system: Based on changes in customer behavior, industry trends, and business goals, make changes to the lead scoring system as you need.

  • Engage with your leads directly: Sometimes, direct engagement through calls, lead generation emails, or face-to-face interactions can provide invaluable insights into a lead’s genuine interest and purchasing intent. Engaging directly allows you to ask specific questions, gauge their enthusiasm, and assess fit in a way automated scoring might not capture.

  • Leverage behavioral data: Analyze how leads interact with your content, website, and social media platforms. Behaviors such as downloading whitepapers, attending webinars, or spending a significant amount of time on specific web pages can indicate a higher level of interest and intent. This data can refine your scoring process, ensuring you prioritize leads who are actively engaging with your brand.

  • Use AI and machine learning tools: Advanced technologies can analyze vast amounts of data to identify patterns and predict which leads are most likely to convert. By incorporating AI and machine learning into your lead scoring system, you can make more accurate predictions at scale, allowing for more efficient allocation of your sales team’s efforts and resources.

Nurture your leads

Just because someone subscribed to your newsletter via a lead generation landing page doesn’t mean they’ll automatically convert. If you want to take people even further down the funnel, you need to nurture them with relevant, valuable content that aligns with their interests and needs. Keep track of your leads’ activity and send personalized messages to move them closer to a sale.

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Keep in mind your nurturing shouldn’t be suffocating, spammy, and pushy. Treat your leads with respect and focus on building trust and credibility through genuine, helpful communication.

What does a lead generation campaign look like?

Commonly, a lead generation campaign consists of an ad or an organic CTA that triggers you to download an asset in exchange for your contact details. However, that is not the only way you can generate leads. Here are some more examples of what your lead generation campaign could look like.

Building a tool

Free tools are magnetic for people—you are providing them with excellent value, and it doesn’t require any commitment from their end. Tools can be anything from a quiz or calculator to a mobile app or browser extension. They are not only great for lead generation but also for keeping customers engaged and loyal.

For example, we built an internal tool for managing our backlink partnerships, Backlink Pilot.

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Before releasing it to the public, we polished it up, created a nice marketing site, and started sharing it in relevant communities to get feedback.

CoSchedule headline analyzer

CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer is well-known among professionals who rely on content marketing for lead generation: it’s a great tool that analyzes and scores your headline for SEO, emotional value, and word balance.

Offering gated content

Gated content got a bad rap as of lately, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. The reason it has been so unappealing is that the content behind the gate is not worth it. In other words, if you provide a generic ebook that can be found anywhere on the internet, people won’t jump at the chance to give you their email address.

However, you could offer exclusive, unique research or an option to download the blog post as a PDF or ebook.

SPP ebook productizing

For example, we’ve packaged our most valuable content into an easy-to-read ebook about productization. To download it, leads simply have to enter their email address.

Hosting webinars

Webinars are an excellent way of engaging with your target audience, building trust and credibility, and ultimately generating leads. You can ask people to register for your webinar by filling out a form that asks for some basic information (like name and email). This not only helps you generate leads but also gives you insight into what topics your audience is interested in.

LinkedIn webinar lead generation campaign

For example, you can run webinars on LinkedIn and incorporate a form where you ask attendees for their contact details. Here’s an example of how this could look like:

Create a free course

Courses are structured, educational content that your audience can access in exchange for their email address. They are also a great lead generation tool, especially for B2B businesses, as they allow you to showcase your expertise and establish yourself as a thought leader in the industry. You can offer a series of videos, worksheets, or guides on a specific topic that aligns with your business offering.

For example, Canva does a very good job of this with their design academy. They have put forward not one, but multiple amazing courses and tutorials that cover everything you need to know about design, from beginner to advanced level.

Canva free courses lead generation campaign

You can access the courses without a Canva account too, but if you want to track your progress and stay on top of your learning, you’ll want to sign up for a free account..

Offer a downloadable option

Another method you can use is to create very good organic content and offer a complementary downloadable asset: a strategy template, checklist, or guide.

SPP intake form downloadable option

For example, in our blog post about how to create an intake form, we offer a free template created in Google Forms. The hook is the description, pointing users to our form builder.

Frequently asked questions

Is lead generation marketing?

Lead generation is an element of marketing, yes. It is not the only one, nor is it something that works on its own, but it is most definitely an important stage of most online marketing efforts.

How do you generate leads in a campaign?

To generate leads in a campaign, you can use targeted advertising, offer value through content, engage on social media, and provide incentives for referrals.

How do you plan a lead generation campaign?

Planning a lead generation campaign requires defining your target audience, selecting the appropriate lead generation channels and tactics to reach them, and creating compelling offers or content that encourages engagement and captures lead information.

What is the goal of a leads campaign?

The main goal of a leads campaign is to add more leads/prospects to the funnel. Depending on your strategy, they could be marketing-qualified leads or sales-qualified leads, but the ultimate goal is to gain more potential customers for your business.

Optimize your lead generation process with targeted campaigns

The key to building lead gen campaigns that work is providing value and leveraging multiple lead generation channels. Use free tools, offer gated content, host webinars, create courses, and offer downloadable assets to attract leads and keep them engaged with your brand.

With the right approach, lead generation can be an effective component of your overall marketing strategy. Remember to always focus on providing value and catering to the needs of your target audience—your goal should not be capturing their contact details, but offering real value to your ideal customer.

Avatar of Chris Willow
Founder of SPP
Chris started Service Provider Pro back in 2014 as a way to help automate a video production agency he was running at the time. Being early to productized services, he was frustrated with having to piecemeal different tools and services and ended up building an all-in-one client portal platform for himself and a few friends. That eventually took off and now Chris helps agency owners scale through software and systems.

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