What is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing? With Strategies

Suppose you are a street vendor selling chopsticks. You make a sale by engaging with individuals and convincing them to buy your product.

However, with so many people passing by, engaging with all of them is impossible. So, how do you decide who to approach?

The key is to target those in the market for your offering — chopsticks!

Companies employ lead generation essentially to find and target potential consumers likely to be interested in the business’s offerings.

Is it interesting? Let’s dive deeper and know more about lead generation in digital marketing!

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What Are Leads in Digital Marketing?

A lead shows interest in your product, service, or company and interacts with you, noting their interest by giving information about themselves to the company. They are a potential customer, and nurturing leads is key to successful digital marketing campaigns.

They commonly share their interest and intent by filling out a web form or using other digital methods.

You can attract 4 types of leads:

  1. Marketing-qualified Leads (MQL): These come from your marketing efforts, like providing a downloadable guide. MQLs are often in the early stages of the buying funnel and need more time to be ready to connect with the sales team.
  2. Sales-qualified Lead (SQL): These show quick interest in your products/ services by submitting a quote request or a contact form. Usually, they talk to the sales team and occupy the bottom stage of the buying funnel.
  3. Product-qualified Lead (PQL): These demonstrate an interest in your products/ services by signing up for a free trial. Generally, they take action after trying your products. A PQL, for example, may contact the sales team to ask queries and learn more about your offerings.
  4. Service-qualified Lead (SQL): These are actively interested in the products/ services as they already use and pay for them. SQL usually contacts the sales team about making an upsell, like choosing an internet plan.

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What is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing?

Lead generation entails attracting and capturing potential customers’ interest in your products/ services. It initiates contact with individuals and gathers their information to nurture them into loyal customers.

Consider the following example:

A company selling fitness equipment creates videos and blog posts about effective workout routines and healthy nutrition tips. They offer users a free e-book on “5 Major Exercises for a Fit Body” in exchange for their email addresses.

As individuals download the e-book, the company collects leads interested in fitness and nurtures them with personalized content and offers.

Now, that’s lead generation in action.

You can generate leads at any phase of your sales funnel. Avoid focusing intensively on any one stage. Ideally, you want to have ways to reach users who are in the Awareness, Evaluation, and Conversion stages.

Focusing on building brand awareness will convert fewer of those leads into customers. Likewise, you will only have convert leads if you optimize your conversion strategies, but you must pay attention to awareness and evaluation.

The lead generation process has 2 main components:

  1. Lead Generation Marketing: Attracting traffic to the website 
  2. Generating Leads: Convincing the visitors to share their email addresses

Let’s discuss the 2 components in detail.

a) Lead Generation Marketing

Lead generation marketing involves finding constructive ways to draw latent customers to your website. There are various strategies commonly used to drive traffic:

1. SEM (Search Engine Marketing)

Employing online advertising to display ads in search engine results, paying Google or Bing for boosted visibility.

2. SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Optimize the website to rank higher in organic search results without paying for advertising by aligning with search engine algorithms.

3. Social Media

Leveraging well-known social media platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook via content posting or paid ads to draw traffic and compete with search as a primary traffic source.

4. Display Ads

To drive traffic to the website, employ multiple ad formats on relevant websites, often through PPC (Pay-Per-Click) models.

5. Offline Events

Participating in offline marketing activities, such as industry meetups and conferences, networking with potential customers, introduce your brand, and direct them to your site.

6. Referral Programs

Encourage satisfied buyers to refer others to your business. To boost participation, offer incentives or discounts to the referrer and the new lead.

7. Webinars

Host workshops, webinars, or virtual events on topics relevant to your target audience. These events showcase your expertise and build trust with eventual leads.

8. Guest Blogging and Partnerships

Collaborate with other influencers or businesses in your niche. Guest posting on their blogs or teaming up on joint projects exposes your brand to new audiences and routes prospects to your website.

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b) Generating Leads

Once visitors arrive on your site, the next step is to convert them into leads, which can be accomplished using lead generation tactics along the buyer’s journey. These tactics spark users’ interest in your product or service and encourage them to submit their contact details, often motivated by a lead magnet incentive.

Below are common marketing strategies businesses employ to generate leads:

1. Lead Magnets

Offer valuable resources, like demos, free trials, or samples, to entice users to give their contact details. These lead magnets can be placed diplomatically on the website.

2. Landing Pages

Create dedicated landing pages for certain products, services, or promotions. These pages should have a clear call to action (CTA) to encourage visitors to leave their information.

3. Live Chat and Chatbots

Implement live chat support on your site or use chatbots to engage with visitors in real time. This helps address inquiries and capture leads more effectively.

4. Optimize Website and Forms

Ensure that your website is mobile-responsive, user-friendly, and loads quickly. Further, keep lead capture forms simple and easy to fill out to encourage more submissions.

5. Customer Testimonials and Reviews

Showcase customers’ positive feedback and reviews on your site. Positive social proof boosts credibility and attracts more leads.

6. Content Marketing

Create top-grade, valuable content addressing your target audience’s weak points and interests, including white papers, blog posts, infographics, videos, etc. Content that offers solutions or valuable insights will attract potential leads.

Why is Lead Generation Important in Digital Marketing?

Lead generation is an indispensable component of any digital marketing strategy. More than creating a marketing campaign and sending it out immediately is needed, hoping to garner positive results. As a digital marketer, your role is to narrow down a vast pool of individuals into a smaller subset of those most likely to become paying customers. 

Businesses with an unestablished lead generation strategy often resort to cold calling, damaging their brand’s reputation. Think about it this way: You receive promotional emails about a product you have zero interest in, and you rate that company’s marketing efforts low. 

What’s more, online-savvy buyers are wary of blatant sales pitches. In many cases, they are reluctant to engage with a company more interested in their money than addressing their pain points. Targeting those who have already expressed interest is an appreciably more organic approach.

In case your company is new to digital marketing for lead generation, an external consultant could be the answer. They will research your brand extensively to discover high-quality leads that eventually convert to actual sales.

Lead generation matters for B2B and B2C businesses for a few reasons, including:

1. Supports Healthy Business Growth

Your company can grow with leads. While you may receive referrals, you need more than those to grow your business as you want. You need a way to attract and convert prospects; lead generation provides that.

2. Attracts Qualified Leads

Lead generation provides a solution to finding qualified leads rather than any leads. While you can spend time cold-calling the leads, this strategy rarely results in a lead—only unhappy individuals with a bad image of your brand.

3. Provides a Transition from Consumer to Customer

Through lead generation, your business provides a seamless customer journey. People can move at a relaxed pace from consumer to customer, like by completing a contact form. Most of all, it benefits your business because it works correctly.

4. Increases Brand Awareness

Effective lead-generation techniques in digital marketing significantly boost brand visibility and awareness. By consistently appearing in search engines, social media feeds, and email inboxes, you keep your brand top of mind for potential customers. 

5. Increase in ROI

By focusing on leads that are more likely to convert, companies improve their ROI. In this case, businesses spend resources on prospects who are more likely to become paying customers.

6. Secures a Company’s Digital Relevance

Consumers today conduct extensive online research before making purchasing decisions, and lead generation helps businesses stay relevant and accessible to their target audience, providing various touchpoints and engagement activities within the customer journey.

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What is the Role of Lead Generation in Digital Marketing?

Lead generation plays a significant role in a business’s online marketing success. Through various online channels, such as social media, email marketing, landing pages, and search engines, businesses can attract and capture prospects’ attention and encourage them to take the next step toward becoming customers or clients.

One primary advantage of lead generation is that it enables businesses to focus their efforts and resources on the most optimistic prospects. Plus, by identifying and nurturing leads who have already shown interest in a business’s offerings, companies can increase their chances of making sales or conversions and reduce customer acquisition costs.

In addition, lead generation helps businesses to build stronger relationships with their prospects and customers. By providing valuable and relevant content and personalized interactions, companies can establish trust and credibility and position themselves as experts in their industry. Further, by tracking and analyzing data and continuously adjusting their approach, businesses can optimize their lead generation efforts and accomplish long-term growth and success.

Moreover, lead generation provides businesses valuable data and insights about their prospects’ behavior and preferences. Companies can spot patterns and trends by analyzing and tracking metrics such as website traffic, click-through rates, and conversion rates and adjust their technique accordingly.

Lead generation is an essential component of a successful online marketing strategy. By utilizing various tactics, businesses can attract and cultivate potential customers or clients and improve their chances of making sales or conversions. 

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What are the Types of Lead Generation?

There are 2 main types of lead generation:

1. Inbound Lead Generation

Online lead generation attracts traffic to your site and persuades users to exchange their contact details. Since most businesses start their search on Google, it makes sense to capitalize on this channel.

2. Outbound Lead Generation

B2B companies leverage outbound marketing methods to generate more leads. They must find and actively engage customers who fit their ICP (ideal customer profile). B2B companies have the potential to fill lead funnels in niche or specialized businesses.

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How Lead Generation Works?

The lead generation process has 2 main components: getting traffic to your site and convincing visitors to share their contact details.

The first step is to find an effective way to attract customers to your website. Based on your company’s goals and budgetary constraints, several ways to attract prospects to your website exist. 

The following are a few of the key ways businesses use to drive traffic:

  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM) — A form of online advertising, SEM involves paying search engines to display advertisements in their search results. This is a significant traffic source because search is how people navigate the web.
  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO) — SEO is similar to SEM because it implies getting traffic from search engines. However, instead of paying search engines for ads, SEO entails optimizing the site for search engine algorithms to appear higher in organic search results.
  • Social Media — Social media has become one of the most well-known sites on the web. It is beginning to rival searches as a significant traffic source. You drive traffic from social networks by paying for network ads or posting content to social media platforms.
  • Display Ads — This type of advertising can take multiple forms, such as images, text, audio, or video. It can be purchased on relevant websites to drive traffic to your site, usually via PPC (Pay-Per-Click) models.
  • Offline Events — Online marketing can often begin offline. Events such as industry meetups and conferences are good ways to network with new customers, brief them about your brand, and get them to your website. You attend these events as a guest, sponsor, or host yourself.

Once visitors arrive at your website, the following step includes converting them into leads through an online platform, which can be done using many lead-generation tactics. Still, it involves getting users interested in your product/ service and getting them to submit their contact info, often through an incentive.

How to Improve Lead Generation?

Besides driving more traffic to your website, there are various ways to optimize it to drive more leads.

Since content is a crucial incentive for driving leads, experiment with diverse pieces of content, call-to-action placement, and lead magnets to decide the type of content that performs best. This involves discovering your key buyer personas and developing compelling and valuable content for driving quality leads.

Beyond incentives, the lead form is a vital part of the conversion funnel that can often be optimized. Although it is advantageous from a business standpoint to collect more information about a user, more form fields reduce form submissions. Experiment with various form lengths to determine what is best for lead capture and information.

Many other aspects of a site can also be optimized, from having a clear call to action to making the site distraction-free and easy to navigate so that searchers can quickly access the content you want. Exploring the data in an analytics platform helps visualize how potential leads navigate your site. 

Lead Generation Strategies in Digital Marketing

Lead generation strategies are businesses’ methods and tactics to attract, capture, and nurture leads. The right strategies depend on the target audience, industry, and business goals. 

The following are critical areas in which effective lead-generation strategies can elevate a business above its competitors:

1. Content Marketing

Create informative, high-quality content that addresses the needs and pain points of the target audience. This can include blog posts, e-books, videos, webinars, and infographics.

2. Social Media Marketing 

Utilize social media platforms to initiate engagement with an audience. Share high-value content and run targeted ad campaigns to reach potential leads.

3. Email Marketing

Build and segment email lists to send personalized messages and offers to leads. Drip campaigns nurture leads over time, and the right segments placed into the proper workflows raise that content’s long-term relevance to interested leads.

4. SEO

Optimize the company’s website and content to rank higher in search engine results, making it accessible for latent leads to find the business, its products, and services.

5. PPC Advertising

Run paid ad campaigns on Microsoft Ads, Google Ads, and social media to target specific keywords and demographics. These can be search ads or display retargeting from lists of website visitors who have yet to convert.

6. Landing Pages

Create dedicated landing pages for marketing campaigns to capture lead information through forms and CTAs. These landing pages showcase the content’s value and encourage a visitor to act on the offer.

7. Lead Magnets

For lead contact information, offer valuable resources, such as e-books or templates.

8. Webinars and Workshops

Host online events that provide in-depth information on topics relevant to the audience, requiring registration for attendance. This aids data capture, engagement, and the identification of warmer leads through lead scoring.

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9. Referral Programs

Encourage existing customers to refer others in exchange for incentives or rewards. Rewards programs build loyal customers who often spread information about their experience through word of mouth.

10. Chatbots and Live Chat

Implement chatbots to engage with website visitors and gather lead information. Live chat can provide real-time assistance to potential customers, and it’s a newer channel that prospects enjoy. 

11. Networking and Partnerships

Build relationships with other industry businesses and organizations to gain access to their audience.

12. Customer Reviews and Testimonials

Motivate satisfied customers to leave reviews and testimonials that serve as social proof and generate trust among potential leads.

13. Content Syndication

Sharp businesses share content on carefully selected third-party websites, forums, and industry publications to expand their reach. These include membership websites and other partnerships with brands that share aligned goals and target audiences.

14. A/B Testing

Continuously test and optimize lead generation strategies to improve conversion rates and overall effectiveness.

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FAQs on Lead Generation in Digital Marketing

1. Explain leads in digital marketing.

Leads in digital marketing are potential customers interested in a company’s products/services. They engage with the company’s online content or mediums, such as visiting a website, filling out a form, or interacting on social media.

2. Why is lead generation important in digital marketing?

In digital marketing, lead generation is crucial for businesses to attract and convert potential customers, boost brand awareness, facilitate growth, increase engagement, offer measurable results, operate cost-effectively, and build long-term relationships.

3. How can lead generation in digital marketing be done?

Digital marketing provides strategies and technologies to capture and nurture leads while monitoring their engagement, enabling personalized content delivery and optimized marketing efforts.

4. What are lead generation tools?

Lead generation tools are your digital marketing allies. They are software or web-based services that make it effortless for businesses to reach more prospects and convert them into customers. These tools are used with other marketing strategies, such as website optimization, email campaigns, and social media management. They provide several benefits, including tracking engagement on multiple platforms, lead scoring, and automating outreach processes.

5. State the difference between B2B and B2C lead generation.

B2B and B2C lead generation are 2 different approaches to generating leads. B2B lead generation aims to build relationships with business owners, executives, and decision-makers to offer custom solutions that meet their company needs.

Conversely, B2C lead generation generates leads for businesses that sell their products/ services directly to consumers.


So, what is digital marketing lead generation?

When you consider that a significant part of the marketing budget goes towards lead generation, the most potent strategy is to have a good plan and ensure excellent returns. Instead of using digital marketing for lead generation as a one-time strategy, approach it as part of your elemental business to create more customer-friendly experiences from the beginning.

Keeping up with the current trends in lead generation can be challenging, but it will help you advance your business and career.

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  • Puja Sutar

    Puja Sutar is a proficient Content Writer at WsCube Tech. She holds B.Tech. in Electronics & Communication, and M.Tech. in VLSI Design. Her passion for technology and communication is evident in her insightful articles that simplify complex concepts for readers. Puja's writing is a valuable resource for tech enthusiasts and learners alike.