Different Marketing Lead Sources and their Value

8 minutes

Different marketing lead sources and their value

Inbound marketing leads sourced from digital marketing efforts are some of the easiest to convert leads. They've already engaged with your company and expressed some interest.

In this article, we're going to run through the different types of marketing leads, how they're sourced, and the value they add to your sales pipeline.

Before investing in marketing leads

Before going out an investing in digital marketing, the first step is to actually having your marketing and sales teams come together and agree on your ideal customer profile, the relevant buyer personas, a lead scoring system and most importantly, what actually qualifies as a marketing qualified lead (MQL).

Once that's all in check, it's time to start looking at your existing marketing infrastructure like your website and email marketing platforms and whether or not they can support your marketing strategy. An optimised website capable of collecting contact details combined with an email marketing tool like MailChimp are the foundation for collecting and nurturing leads.

Different MQL sources and their value

Depending on the lead source, it's going to have a higher value to your business. For example, leads that visit your website and book a consultation are of higher value than leads that download an eBook. The first group have shown a clear interest in your product which implies that they're already in the consideration phase whereas an eBook download could indicate a lead in the awareness stage or a pre-sales stage.

This doesn't mean that certain strategies should be avoided and others focused on. What it actually means is that your content engages buyers at different stages of the buyers journey and depending on where they are, they've got a higher chance of conversion. eBook downloads may have a lower chance of conversion but it's easier to generate a large volume compared to inbound leads that have submitted their details.

Your plan should involve creating content that engages your buyers at each stage of the buyer's journey. This is what lead nurturing is and is critical to the success of your marketing efforts. The challenge ends up being providing a consistent stream of interesting and valuable content that keeps your prospects engaged and informed over time. Furthermore, your strategy should be measurable so that it can be optimised or adjusted over time.

Below, we're going to run through seven different lead sources and the value each provide.

01. Blog subscriptions

Your website is your biggest marketing asset but unfortunately many businesses stop investing after it's launched. Whether you site is custom built, on WordPress, Webflow or Wix, you should continually provide information to prospective customers via a regular blog articles.

Blogging is an understated strategy but when created in a way that they're optimised for search engines, they generate traffic for long-tail keywords and position your brand as an industry authority. Combining this with the ability for readers to subscribe to your blog, means you're able to convert your blog traffic into prospects that can be nurtured over time.

With content being published consistently and regularly, blog subscribers are likely to come back and read and be moved forward along their buyer journey. They may not be ready to make a purchase now but keeping your business front of mind is valuable in the future.

02. Downloadable content (e.g. eBooks)

Gated content such as downloadable eBooks or videos that require your visitors to submit their details in exchange for access is another effective way to collect prospect information and convert them into MQLs.

The advantage of downloadable content is that the specific content downloaded provides a good indication of their pain points and objectives. The content speaks directly to their issues which is why they were willing to provide their contact details in exchange for access.

Like blog articles, downloadable content should be available on your website and organised in a way that it's easy to download. You can segment the content based on your services (e.g. 'Sales Guides' and 'Marketing Guides') or topics (e.g. 'Guides' and 'Templates').

After a visitor downloads your content, we strongly recommend engaging with a follow up. Ask for feedback on the content and if they found it valuable. You can take it a step further and ask what other content they would like to see which will allow you to further identify that individual's pain point plus influence your future content marketing strategy.

03. Case study downloads

Case studies are similar to eBooks and blog subscriptions in that you're providing valuable content in exchange for contact details. However, case studies are more effective at influencing buyers during the later stages of the buyer's journey (consideration and decision).

This is because case studies provide concrete evidence that your solution works and is very compelling for prospects considering you over competitors or trying to make a decision to purchase. Depending on the case study downloaded, you'll also be given insight into the exact solution a visitor is after. This insight can help you segment your prospects and dictate best practices for follow-up.

04. Web/Live chat

At the bottom right of our page you'll see a white box with a grey speech icon. This web chat just like many others is a way for visitors to immediately make contact with us and ask questions. Although typically associated with customer service, web chat is extremely valuable when it comes to lead gen.

Many visitors and prospects may see web chat as an annoying pop-up with automated messages so it's important it's setup correctly. Our recommendation is that you use a combination of automation and live agents to deal with inbound messages.

The automation should allow you to quickly segment the prospect based on interest. In our case, we have ask the question "...would you like to book a consultation or talk to our team?" followed by three options:

  1. Chat to the team
  2. Book a consultation
  3. No, I'm just browsing

When managed well, visitors will engage with the web chat and appreciate the value of immediate personal outreach. On top of that, you may end up collecting the contact details for a follow-up if the conversation is worth continuing or even close a sale.

05. Webinars

With COVID-19 putting conferences, seminars and trade shows on hold, many businesses went virtual and invested in webinars. Webinars and other virtual events are an opportunity for your business to put a face to your solution and educate prospects on how you can add value.

Prospects can be given the opportunity to ask questions and engage with you to better understand the value you provide. This is a very streamlined process to generate MQLs when compared to blogging and downloadable content.

06. Contact form submissions

For most businesses, this is the ideal lead. Contact form submissions represent leads that have conveyed enough interest to provide their direct contact details and request a conversation. Of all the lead sources in this article, contact form submissions are the hottest and have the highest chance of converting.  

07. Email drip campaigns

Drip campaigns are a form of lead nurturing where your database or list receives valuable information via email over time. Drip campaigns are automated and the intention is to nurture prospects by providing educational content and product information that is valuable to them.

How it's automated is up to you but some recommendations include MailChimp, ActiveCampaign, Hubspot and Pardot.

This form of nurturing is perfect for those that have subscribed to your blog, downloaded content or attended webinars. We also recommend having email automation running alongside sales so that it's automatically warming up warm leads and keeping your business front of mind.

MQL metrics to measure

MQLs are extremely valuable to pipeline growth and revenue generation for any business. Because there is such a large investment of time and money in implementing your strategy, it's important that it's continually refined. Continually refinement requires measurement so we've included four examples below of what metrics should be tracked.

  • The number of MQLs generated per time period
  • The MQL source
  • The conversion state of an MQL (i.e. have they converted into a sale?)
  • The average sales cycle for each MQL source

The above four metrics give you a good start in determining the value of your various marketing efforts and if your content strategy is actually focused on your customer's goals.

Don't undervalue MQLs

Too many times we've encountered businesses that rely on one channel for pipeline growth. We've seen businesses who have grown purely from word of mouth, others that generate leads via cold call only and some that rely purely on PPC advertising to generate new business. If anything should be clear from this article, it's that more consideration needs to be put into the lead generation process and the content that supports it.

Focused content combined with automation helps nurture leads along every stage of the buyer's journey. Combined with continuous reporting and refinement, you have the recipe for maximising the value of your marketing and sales efforts.

If you'd like assistance in building your marketing strategy and implementing a framework get in touch with us for a free consultation.

Related Resources