Five Steps to Building an Online Lead Generation Machine

September 8, 2011 8:43 pm

Five Steps to Building an Online Lead Generation Machine for Your Brand & Business

The number one reason most companies continue to focus on and invest in their websites and online marketing activities is simple: to create more offline interaction. For the small or mid-sized business, improving website experience and online marketing activities is the best way to boost inbound leads, inquiries and the opportunity for future sales.

Follow these five steps and turn your online marketing program into a lead generation machine for your brand and business:


    All customers follow a fairly definable path when it comes to brand selection, whether a product or service, or for home or business:

    1. Problem Identification
    2. Information Gathering
    3. Evaluation of Options
    4. Selection
    5. Post-Selection Evaluation

    In the top three phases of decision-making, they go to the web for learning, information and to virtually “see what’s out there.” These early phases represent the best opportunity for your brand to intersect and make an impression.

    By developing content that helps them in these early stages, you can put yourself and your brand first in their consideration set. After all, great brands are built around great customers. Mentally place yourself in your customers’ shoes, and answer these questions:

    • What circumstances would prompt a prospect to begin a search?
    • What issues, concerns, or problems would they likely be experiencing?
    • What search words or phrases would they initially search for?

    By introducing content that acknowledges their situation and provides useful direction and answers, you are putting your brand in a position to give a prospect valuable guidance at a point where he or she needs it most. By doing so, you have immediately positioned your brand higher in their perception. Even if they don’t end up selecting your company, they will be left with a lasting positive impression of your business, one that very much leaves the door open for them to circle back.


    In the early stages of decision-making, you hold the power. The prospect doesn’t know what you know, doesn’t have your skills and abilities, your insight or experience. That’s why they’re searching in the first place. Establish a sharing mindset, and you can be a helpful guide, one that escorts the prospect in their search for answers, and ultimately leads them to your brand.

    • Share understanding by acknowledging your familiarity and compassion for their circumstance
    • Share knowledge by offering up answers to frequently asked questions
    • Share experience by offering case studies on common scenarios your clients find themselves in
    • Share results by offering successful outcomes or testimonials of clients you have served or are currently servicing

    Brands that share are brands that care, and ultimately brands that win more business.


    In our last edition of Brand Matters (in case you missed it, click here), we offered up our Nifty 50: 50 thought starters to help write great viewer-focused content. While there has been and continues to be a lot of hype around social media as a lead-generation tool, without content, it’s just an empty shell.

    On a regular basis, monthly, weekly or even daily, content creation should be happening. And it doesn’t have to always be new content. We often find when working with clients, they have amassed a great deal of content already, but just haven’t made it broadly available. Think about past presentations, past articles, interviews, panel discussions, white papers, video segments, or conference participation. Much of this can be simply updated and presented for broader consumption.

    New, original content should certainly be part of the mix as well. Make content creation a priority in your organization. And if you can’t do it internally, outsource it. Based on all the evidence we’ve seen with regard to search marketing and companies with online marketing programs that thrive, content creation is always a key element.


    Once you have established a content generation mechanism, NOW you can invest in a strong, impactful deployment program, one that will certainly include social media channels. The key is to having a do-able method for making the most use out of each content component. If the original content was formulated in a blog entry, repurpose the post as:

    • A brief, YouTube video
    • A Facebook post
    • A Tweet
    • A LinkedIn post
    • An Online Press Release
    • A brief PowerPoint
    • An E-newsletter or E-news Update
    • And more, if you have the bandwidth

    By deploying across multiple channels, you can ensure that each time you create content, you are getting maximum value, exposure and reach. Most important, you are ensuring that the broadest possible audience searching for answers gets your message, and gets it from you.


    Your website is still the hub, and the destination where all content deployments lead. However, simply dumping interested viewers onto your homepage doesn’t work anymore. For each content deployment, a corresponding landing page needs to be developed, the final destination from all related content deployments. And each landing page doesn’t necessarily have to fit into the architecture of your site. It simply needs to create the opportunity for a visitor to engage. The following are the key ingredients of a successful engagement-based landing page:

    • Keyword enriched page title (relating to your content deployment)
    • First sentence acknowledges the viewer’s circumstance
    • Next sentence explains how your product or service helps
    • Next paragraph offers supporting details, evidence or examples
    • Learn more, with links to additional information on this or related topics
    • Contact, giving viewer ability to make contact on the specific issue described

    Don’t get caught up in how this page will work or function in the overall context of your site. The landing page, while it should enable the viewer to navigate to your home page, has a singular purpose: to entice the viewer to engage on the particular issue addressed on that page. While for the purpose of this story, we’re using this as a best-practice guide for landing page creation, it absolutely can be used as a guide for every navigate-able page on your site. Click here for an example.

Remember, prospects don’t wake up thinking about you. You have to wake up thinking about them. Follow these five steps, and you will show them that you are doing just that, and are well equipped and ready to serve their needs. If you get stuck, or need help, just let us know!

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About The Author

We specialize in b2b, supporting the clients who are the "The Brands Behind the Brands." These are the supply chain partners of brands, either in Tier 1 or Tier 2 positions, who drive value through the delivery of goods, services and technologies. We enjoy blogging about all things related to Branding, Marketing, Inbound, Tradeshows, etc... And we're always happy to talk about any ideas you may have that might Get You To Your NEXT!