What digital marketing channels are the most effective at generating leads?

December 17, 2018

5 Minute Read

BFO-Get Leads

What channels are most effective at generating leads? It’s an age-old question but one which is easily answered: it depends.

Organic search, email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, referrals, events, social media – all of these channels have a role to play in a marketing campaign but how well they generate leads differs from business to business. Articles online will claim that there are specific channels which generate leads but often it’s a result of the strategy used, not the channel chosen.

In this blog, I’ll explain how you can identify your business’ lead-generating channels and what you can do to improve them.

Find out what works

This means opening up your website analytics and drilling down into your source and attribution reports. Asking Google ‘what channels are most effective at generating leads’ is like asking someone what their favorite movie is – everyone has a different opinion!

In essence, the most effective channels are the ones that work for your business, and each channel has its nuances.

For example, leads generated via pay-per-click (PPC) advertising are typically further into the buyer journey and actively looking for a product/service or solution to purchase. People who click on paid ads know what they are looking for and have deliberately typed in a specific keyword or branded terms. It’s a cost-effective method for your business to generate leads and target your ideal audience.

Leads generated via organic search, on the other hand, are more likely to be in the earlier stages of the buyer journey and conducting research to find out more about their business challenges and what can be done to remedy them.

So have a look at how people find your website and which channels contribute the most to lead generation. Maybe a lead’s initial discovery of your business was via social media but they later arrived and converted on your website as a result of an email. In this instance, two channels played a part in the process, so attributing the right amount of value and effort to each would be sensible.

In an ideal world a marketing campaign should leverage every channel to generate leads – but getting to that point requires a lot of time and a significant budget. Large organizations have the resource to deploy such strategies but for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) it’s more practical and effective to focus on what’s working and slowly expand.

Optimize your lead-generating channels

Having identified what channels work, the next step is making them better. For example, if most of your leads are generated via organic search and one of your top keyword terms is ‘HubSpot website design’, it would make sense to create more content around that keyword.

Conduct keyword research to find out what other questions searchers are asking in relation to HubSpot website design and use those terms to create new, relevant content.

Ask your prospects about challenges they have relating to HubSpot website design and compile a list of those challenges. Use this list to then create content targeting the specific business pain points your prospects have. You can also ask your existing customers for their opinions on the content they would like to see and engage with. Involving your customers in the content creation process will not only increase their appreciation of your business – it’ll also demonstrate your business’ understanding of specific business challenges.

Once you have a bunch of ideas, get drafting and interlink blog topics to ensure Google can understand their relationship and distribute link equity. Search engine optimization (SEO) is vital when it comes to driving targeted traffic to your website. This kind of approach will not only increase the value of the content you have already on a specific topic, it’ll also help you to expand into new areas and attract more interested parties to your website.

Here’s another example. If you generate a lot of leads via referrals, have a look at your website’s analytics and work out what web pages are receiving them and from where. If you can identify the page and what websites are linking to it, you can replicate that success. You might have a web page discussing marketing automation, for instance, and a reputable marketing automation website is linking to your page.

Look at the content on the page and see if it could be improved or updated (Google loves fresh content). Add more calls-to-action (CTA) to prompt website visitors to engage. Include a lead flow and advertise a specific piece of content relevant to what’s on the web page.

Use this web page as a testing ground and framework for your new web pages. Improve it and monitor the results – if it works, do the same to the rest of your website!

When was the last time you assessed your website’s SEO performance?

Find out how effective your website is at generating traffic and leads with our free website review.

Get the information you need, when you need it

Time is the bane of any marketer or salesperson – but fortunately, marketing automation makes it possible to do more with less.

Not all marketing and sales actions can be automated but many of the more arduous and time-consuming tasks can.

One thing you’ll want to do in the process of identifying your lead-generating channels on a regular basis is to automate your reporting. Most marketing automation platforms come with some kind of website analytics, so you should be able to set up a custom report. The report should focus on the channels you are trying to improve and there should be an option to automatically receive the report on a weekly basis.

The benefit here is that instead of regularly having to go into your analytics platform to find the information you need on specific channels, your reports are already set up to show you what you want to see, and you receive it every week directly to your inbox.

Having this kind of insight will help you to refine your marketing activity and at a granular level. Suddenly, you go from vague marketing suggestions such as: “Oh, I think if we do this we’ll increase this…” to “I know x platform works and regularly receives engagement, so if we do this we can increase x”.

So, to answer the question: ‘What channels are most effective at generating leads?’ – look at your website analytics and go from there! If you expand your marketing and targeting too early and too soon, you run the risk of diluting your focus. Start small but think big. As you refine your marketing and your main channels become self-sustainable – i.e. they continue to generate leads without much input – you can start to focus on the others.

If you want to create lead-generating marketing campaigns, we can help. Check out our marketer’s guide to managing and maximizing lead generation success. It’s free to download and full of useful tips!

Just click here to download it.


Steve Krull - CEO/Co-Founder

Steve Krull

As CEO/Co-Founder of BFO, Steve excels in ‘unleadership.’ (his word) Steve believes in collaboration and leading by example; remaining vulnerable and open to new ideas, accepting feedback…and doing good things.