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Online Lead Generation: How to Get More Leads Online

Written by:

Tamara is a seasoned copywriter with a unique blend of legal expertise and business acumen, and a passion for writing.

Edited by:

Sallie, holding a Ph.D. from Walden University, is an experienced writing coach and editor with a background in marketing. She has served roles in corporate communications and taught at institutions like the University of Florida.

Online Lead Generation: How to Get More Leads Online

Online Lead Generation: How to Get More Leads Online

Think about the last time you were scrolling through your feed, and even though your mind was at least a million miles away, something caught your eye. Was it a clever ad, a cat video, or a compelling article? Well. Whatever it was, you experienced a “Let’s see what’s this about” moment, the kind of moment that provides a good example of how online leads start to generate.

Only it’s not quite that simple. Because you don’t need the attention of everyone on the internet (thank God), but you do need the attention of those who are interested in your product or service. So, how do you find your prospective customers in the online marketplace? How do you turn casual browsers into genuine leads and, eventually, loyal customers?

Unfortunately, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Fortunately, it’s all about strategy — and that means it’s something you can learn! So, let’s put on our thinking cap as we look into ways to turn a digital traffic jam into a lead-generating superhighway!

Understanding Your Audience

The old saying, “You can’t please everyone,” rings true for digital marketers, too. This might sound discouraging, but if you think about it, you’ll realize it’s easier to please a few than it is to please a crowd.

So, the first step on your road to online lead generation is knowing who you’re talking to. Think of it as you might think of going on a coffee date. Depending on whether you’ll be meeting with your best friend, a business partner, or your mom for such a date, you might choose a different location and expect to engage in different conversation topics. Right?

Identifying Target Demographics

Before deciding on where you’ll go for coffee, you will need to know who is meeting you for your virtual date, and you’re not allowed to make wild guesses. No, not here. Here, you must know who will be sitting at the table across from you.

This is a perfect analogy for thinking about getting up close and personal with who your online audience is. Are they busy working professionals in their 30s and 40s looking for efficiency tech business tools? Or maybe they’re tech-savvy college students keen on affordable, flexible, high-quality learning solutions? The point is, it is crucial that you must pin down details about your prospects, like age, location, income, interests, and even the challenges they’re facing.

But why is this so important? According to a survey by Salesforce, 65% of consumers expect companies to understand and adapt to their needs and expectations. That’s a huge majority of your potential market asking for personalized attention!

Using Analytics for Audience Insights

Now, you’re probably realizing you are going to need a secret weapon to help you understand your audience better. And this is where audience analytics tools will come in handy. 

Analytics tools, like those detective bulletin boards used in crime shows, are used to connect the dots of your audience’s online behavior. They will help you see who is visiting your website, how they found you, what pages they visit the most, and what makes them click (pun intended).

Imagine knowing that most of your visitors check out your blog posts on sustainable living or that your tutorial videos on YouTube are a hit with a certain age group. With these insights in mind, you can tailor your content better, focus your marketing efforts, and, in essence, speak a language that your target audience understands. Using analytics tools to gain valuable insight into your audience is how you can create connections that are less like delivering a sales pitch, and more like having a conversation with an old friend.

And the fun doesn’t stop with collecting the data. After gathering the data, you need to analyze and interpret it so that it can help you make smarter decisions. It’s like cooking a favorite meal where you taste while mixing, adding ingredients to improve the taste, all while making sure it’s just right for the people who are coming to dinner.

Creating Compelling Content

Take a moment to think of your content as your digital handshake. Think about how it’s often the first interaction your potential customers will have with your brand. This thought should make it clear to you just how much content counts! 

Everyone likes a firm and confident handshake when meeting for the first time, and that’s what you need to create with your online presence. Focus more on showing people why your work matters, not so much only on what you do. Good content will set you apart from the competition, educate your audience, entertain, and begin the building of trust.

Here’s a fact that might surprise you: The Content Marketing Institute found that content marketing gets three times more leads than paid search advertising. Three times! That’s a clear signal that if you’re not putting effort into your content, you’re leaving a lot of opportunity on the table.

Balancing Information and Engagement

Now, here’s the tricky part to generating more leads online. It’s tricky because you will need to capture prospects’ attention, share information, and be engaging, all at the same time. It’s a lot to think about, considering that to accomplish all of this, you must break through and deal with a brief attention span from most people who are online.

Let’s use a simple example to get closer to the topic. Say you are at a dinner party. You don’t want to be the person who only talks about themselves (yawn) or the one who cracks jokes without substance (eye roll). The goal is to be the person who tells fascinating stories, shares useful information, and listens. Be that person and you’ll exude so much magnetism, most folk will be drawn to you!

It is a misconception that online engagement is the same as getting likes and shares. It is not, and it’s so much more than that. Online engagement is creating content that sticks with the audience and lingers in their minds for days to come. It’s about creating content that answers a question, solves a problem, or provides a new perspective. Now, that’s true engagement!

Examples of Successful Content Strategies

Let’s take a quick look at some real-life wizards of content. 

Take a brand like REI, an outdoor gear company. They nailed it with their content strategy by focusing on products and the outdoor lifestyle. Their blog and videos on nature escapades and conservation efforts resonate deeply with their target audience.

Another example is HubSpot. They’ve become a go-to resource for all things marketing and sales (guides, courses, and tools). They provide value first, establishing themselves as industry experts. Notice how they create content that’s not just informative but more like a resource that people come back to again and again.

In both these cases, the content is authentic, relevant, and incredibly valuable to their audiences. The big companies are not focusing on immediate sales but on building relationships and a community of followers who trust and value the brand.

Leveraging Social Media Platforms

Since we all use social media platforms every day, that’s a great motivation to put your business on all social channels and hope for the best. Right? Well, not so much. Success on social media is not created by being everywhere. It’s more about being where it matters! 

Choosing the Right Platforms for Your Audience

You wouldn’t sell surfboards in a mountain town, right? Similarly, choosing the right social media platform depends on where your audience likes to hang out. Each platform has its own vibe and user demographic. 

LinkedIn, for example, is the go-to place for B2B and professional content, while Instagram and TikTok are perfect for visually appealing, youthful lifestyle-centric content. Facebook covers a broad family and friends spectrum, which is great for community building and engagement across various demographics.

But how do you choose? 

You start with what you know about your prospective customers. If your audience is younger, TikTok and Instagram are your playgrounds. If your target is professionals seeking industry insights, LinkedIn is where you should be. It’s all about aligning your social media strategy with where your audience hangs out, naturally.

Crafting Engaging Social Media Campaigns

Look at social media as a two-way street, unlike a billboard where you place ads. Not only should you post on social media, but you should also listen and respond to your audience.

The trick? Make your content as human as possible, even though it’s on digital platforms. People crave genuine connections, so share interesting stories and engage your audience with humor, heart, and honesty. It’s important to present yourself as a well-rounded professional who knows a lot about the topic you’re discussing. This doesn’t mean you need to be boring and limited, though. On the contrary, you should depict your products and services in a way that’s both informative and entertaining.

For instance, you can create campaigns that encourage people to interact — contests, polls, and Q&A sessions. In addition, think about ways to inspire your audience to generate content that supports your vision and your brand. Why? Because user-generated content is a goldmine that’s authentic, relatable, and helps to build community.

The Power of Social Media Influencers

Love them or hate them, the impact of social media influencers is undeniable. Influencer collaborations can catapult your brand into the spotlight. The trick is that you don’t necessarily have to collaborate with someone with millions of followers. You need to choose people who are relevant and in alignment with your brand.

Micro-influencers, with smaller but highly engaged followings, can often deliver more value than their celebrity counterparts. Their recommendations can feel like advice from a friend, and that trust is invaluable. In turn, that means more online leads for your brand.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization might be one of the most used phrases today, but many people still don’t fully understand its importance. Imagine SEO as the compass that guides people through the internet straight to the content they need. Now, let’s hope that this content is yours.

Basics of SEO and Its Importance 

In simple terms, SEO means you are making your website more attractive to search engines like Google. Why is this important? Well, consider this: According to a recent study, about 53% of website traffic comes from organic search. That means over half of your potential online audience will find you through search engines!

Now, the crux of SEO is understanding what your potential customers are searching for online and then tailoring your content to respond to what they’re searching for. Basically, you need to create signposts that will lead your prospects right to your products or services.

Keyword Research and Content Optimization

Now, let’s take a look at keywords, the building blocks of SEO. 

Keywords are the terms and phrases that people type into search engines. However, this doesn’t mean you should just stuff your website with popular keywords. You need to understand the intent behind the search and provide content responding to or addressing that need.

For example, if you’re a vegan bakery, your audience isn’t just typing in “vegan bakery.” They might be searching for “best vegan birthday cakes” or “gluten-free vegan muffins near me.” This is where detailed keyword research comes in. Tools like Google Keyword Planner or Semrush can help you uncover the specific search terms your audience members are using.

Once you’ve identified these keywords, the next step is content optimization. You must find a way to weave keywords into your website’s content naturally and informatively. Remember, Google loves content that provides value and answers queries effectively.

Building Backlinks and Improving Site Authority

Now it’s time to dive into deeper waters and build a reputation or “authority” for your website. The best way to do this is to use backlinks. But what are those? 

Backlinks are links from other websites to yours. We can think of backlinks as a vote of confidence in your content’s quality. It’s like networking in the digital world, where you establish relationships with other websites, bloggers, and influencers.

Keep in mind that not all backlinks are equal. A link from a reputable website in your industry is worth more than a random link from a lesser-known site. So, you need to focus more on generating content others want to link to, be it blog posts, research articles, or helpful guides.

Pay-Per-Click Advertising (PPC)

To make things easier to understand, let’s imagine your online presence as a garden. SEO is like planting seeds and cultivating your presence to grow organically over time. Pay-Per-Click, or PPC, on the other hand, is like a fertilizer. It’s a turbo boost, propelling your brand into the spotlight faster. 

But how does it work, and what makes it so effective?

How PPC Works and Its Benefits

In a nutshell, PPC is an advertising model where you pay only when someone clicks on your ad.

Sounds efficient, right? The beauty of PPC is its ability to target specific audiences with laser precision. You can filter who sees your ad based on demographics, interests, location, and even the time of day.

One of the biggest benefits of PPC is its immediate impact. Unlike SEO, which takes time to build momentum, PPC can drive traffic to your site almost instantly.

Crafting Effective Ad Copy

Even though PPC is effective, you still need to come up with ad copy that converts. The challenge here is to say the most using the least number of words because you have limited space to make an impact.

Your ad needs to have a clear value proposition. What can you offer that no one else can? Whether it’s an unbeatable price, a unique product, or an irresistible deal, you must make it clear in your copy. And don’t forget to include a strong call-to-action (CTA) either. Whether it’s “Shop Now,” “Learn More,” or “Get a Free Trial,” your CTA should inspire immediate action and gently nudge the potential customer.

Measuring and Optimizing PPC Campaigns

One of the best things about PPCs is that they are easy to measure and optimize. 

Platforms like Google Ads and Facebook Ads provide robust audience analytics to track everything from click-through rates to conversion rates. This data will become your guiding star to let you know what’s working and what’s not.

However, data alone is not enough. You need to use the information you get to optimize your campaigns. This is where split testing or A/B testing comes into play. By experimenting with different ad versions — varying headlines, images, and CTAs — you can see what resonates best with your audience. Continuous optimization based on real data is what turns a good PPC campaign into a viral one.

Email Marketing Strategies

You might hear that email marketing is old-school and outdated, but here is a fun fact: For every dollar spent on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. That’s like putting a dollar into a magical vending machine and getting a whole pizza in return. Who wouldn’t love that? 

Now. Let’s break down how you can order some of that marketing email pizza for yourself.

Building an Email List

First things first, you will need people to send emails to. This doesn’t mean you need to buy a random list of email addresses, even though it’s tempting. The best idea is to grow your own list organically and fill it with people who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. 

The best way to build a viable list is through engaging content and value-driven offers on your website. For example, you can use sign-up offers like free e-books, webinars, or discount codes. And don’t overthink these offers. Instead, make them simple and easy to understand, with rules that are easy to follow. Depending on your audience, adjust the offers to something you know they would really appreciate.

Creating Personalized Email Campaigns

Now, you need to craft an email that gets opened and read. It sounds simple, but it’s a challenging task. This is not the time to try a one-size-fits-all approach, or to send generic emails. To do this right, you need to personalize the experience. 

Think about your own email inbox for a second. It’s filled with clutter and messages that all look like billboards. So, you need to create something that feels more like a personal message.

Personalization can start with simple steps, like using the subscriber’s name. But that’s just the beginning. You should also consider the general topic for the email you are about to write, asking yourself if it resonates with the intended recipient. For instance, sending special offers on pet products to subscribers who click on pet-related articles makes your email more relatable and less intrusive.

Measuring Email Marketing Success

Email marketing is not a set-it-and-forget-it deal. It requires constant tweaking and adjusting. Key metrics you should monitor include open, click-through, and conversion rates. These metrics give you a direct insight into how engaging your content is and how well it drives action.

But numbers don’t tell the whole story. Pay attention to feedback and unsubscribe rates, too. If people are opting out or not engaging, it’s a sign to switch things up. Maybe your content needs to be more engaging, or perhaps you’re emailing too frequently.

Webinars and Online Events

Picture this: You’re hosting a party (a virtual one, in this case), and you want it to be the talk of the town. 

Webinars and online events can be that party for your brand, drawing in crowds and creating buzz. But how do you turn these events from just another calendar invite into must-attend experiences?

Engaging Audiences with Live Events

The heart of a successful online event is engagement! 

So, how do you keep your virtual attendees as captivated as if they were there in person? You play with content and delivery. You ensure your topics are relevant but are also presented in an engaging manner. You use storytelling, incorporate visuals, and, most importantly, encourage audience participation. You’ll soon find out that polls, Q&A sessions, and live discussions can transform passive listeners into active participants.

Also, consider the format and platform. A workshop might work best on a platform that allows for breakout sessions, while a product launch could be more suited for a live stream on social media.

Promoting Events for Maximum Attendance

Even the best event is a flop if nobody shows up. Start by creating a buzz long before the actual event takes place. Use your email list, social media channels, and even partnerships with influencers or other brands to spread the word. Create a sensation that everyone wants to see.

Remember, registration is just the first step. Send reminders as the event approaches, and maybe tease some exciting parts of the event or special guests. The goal is to keep the event top of mind and build anticipation.

Utilizing Events for Lead Generation

Let’s not forget the ultimate goal — lead generation. Online events are fantastic for this, but the magic lies in the follow-up. Post-event, send a thank you email with key takeaways and additional resources. This is also a great time to include a call-to-action, like signing up for a free trial, scheduling a consultation, or accessing exclusive content.

And here’s a pro tip — record your event. Not everyone who’s interested will be able to attend live. By offering the recording, you extend the life of your event and continue to generate leads long after it’s over.


Generating leads online is not a small feat, and the journey often feels like stepping into uncharted territory. Only now you have a handy roadmap created to help you on this adventure. 

Keep in mind a few key factors, such as your audience, creating content that resonates, and using the right platforms. Whether through SEO, PPC, email marketing, or webinars, each tactic is a piece of the puzzle for you to use to build a successful online presence. It’s all about connecting, engaging, and providing value. So, start small, experiment, and refine your approach as you go along.


How often should I update my SEO strategy?

SEO is not a one-time setup but an ongoing process. It’s recommended to review and update your SEO strategy at least quarterly, considering search engine algorithm updates, changing user behaviors, and industry trends.

Can small businesses compete with larger ones in PPC advertising?

Absolutely! Small businesses can have an edge in PPC by targeting niche audiences, using localized keywords, and by creating highly relevant ad copy that resonates with their specific demographic.

How important is mobile optimization for email marketing?

Mobile optimization is extremely important. With over 60% of email campaigns being opened on mobile devices, ensuring your emails are mobile-optimized is crucial for engagement and conversion.

What are some effective ways to promote webinars to a new audience?

To reach a new audience, consider leveraging social media advertising, partnering with influencers or industry experts, and engaging in online communities and forums related to your webinar topic. Paid promotions on platforms where your target audience is active can also be very effective.