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What Is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing?

In the world of digital marketing, companies clamor for customer attention. We’ve all had to wade through emails bursting with marketing promotions, so it’s understandable that the majority of potential customers have little time for cold calls and marketing material that does not resonate with their needs. That’s why digital marketers focus on identifying leads.

A lead is someone who has shown interest in your company. They may have interacted with your brand in some way, e.g., reacted positively to a social media post. This makes them more likely to engage with subsequent marketing efforts.

So what is lead generation in digital marketing? It is the process of targeting these prospective customers and nurturing their initial interest in a particular product or service. The overall goal of lead generation is to convert the interested party into a buyer and increase your company’s sales. 

Lead generation in digital marketing can occur via multiple channels, including email and social media. Leads may be further defined by the following categories:

  • Information-qualified lead (IQL): A lead that has offered some information on their specific requirements
  • Marketing-qualified lead (MQL): A lead that has engaged with your marketing team’s activities
  • Sales-qualified lead (SQL): A lead that has expressed their desire to become a customer

Why is lead generation in digital marketing important?

Lead generation is an integral element of any digital marketing strategy. It’s not enough to develop a marketing campaign and send it out into the ether, hoping you will garner some positive results. As a digital marketer, it is part of your role to narrow down a massive pool into a smaller subset of people who are most likely to become a paying customer. 

Businesses that don’t have an established lead generation strategy often resort to cold calling, which can damage your brand’s reputation. Think about it this way — if you are repeatedly receiving promotional emails for a product you have zero interest in, you’re not going to rate that company’s marketing efforts very highly. 

What’s more, online-savvy customers are wary of blatant sales pitches. In most cases, they will be reluctant to engage with a company that appears more interested in their money rather than addressing their pain points. Targeting someone who has already expressed interest is a much more organic approach.

If your company is new to lead generation in digital marketing, an external consultant could be the answer. They will conduct extensive research on your brand to help you identify high-quality leads that ultimately convert to actual sales.

Further reading

Digital Marketing KPIs and Metrics

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How to Become a Digital Marketing Specialist