What is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing : A Beginner’s Guide 2021

what is lead generation in digital marketing

For better understanding, let’s take an example from you.

In this digital world, I am sure that you run social media or the web. Right now, you are on this webpage just like that.

Let’s suppose you have visited some website, where you could see a pop-up mostly. There are some things available on a pop-up that they will provide you with some stuff for free. 

And you do click on this button, and you fill your email and that thing, you will get in your email inbox. 

Or similarly, on social media, you will get those things. Those things called are lead magnets, which we will discuss in this article. 

Now you get some overview or confusion as well. And you want to know what all these things are and how they work?

Let’s go ahead!

Before understanding the lead generation in digital marketing, Let’s understand first, 

What is a Lead Actually?

In Simple Words – Contact details of potential customers, who might become a paying customer of your business sooner or later.

In other words – A lead is a person who shows interest in your product or service. 

You can take contact details of as many as people from unethical ways, but they are not the leads.

Sometimes you get unrelated messages and emails to you, Aren’t you?  I am pretty sure you hate those messages because they are going to target the wrong person. 

Leads show the relevancy to your business, as their goals, interest, occupation, or place.

In the lead, we have an email id, phone number, or Name

Social media followers are not the leads. You have to convert them from followers into leads in your system.

What is Lead Generation in Digital Marketing

Lead generation is a method of generating contact details of a person who shows his interest in your business. Or you can nurture them later to buy your core product. 

These lead generation methods are complete via digital channels like running paid ads on social media to generate leads or initial version products or ebooks on websites.

These leads are categorized into cold leads, warm leads, or hot leads.

Cold leads: these leads are initial stage leads where people want you to know more. They have been more attracted to your free lead magnet. 

Warm leads: they know you on social media and follow you, or they had purchased your product before.

Hot leads: Hot leads are those leads who follow you on your every internet platform, or they listen to you every day and consume your content on a daily basis. They have purchased your upper-level product or service or are always ready to buy your next product or service. 

Why Do we Need to Do Lead Generation in Digital Marketing?

We need it because we want sales or want to see the profit in a statement at the end of the year. 

Lead generation gives a boost to business growth.

Fast forward to the past >> businesses used to advertise on newspapers, local hoarding, or physical pamphlet distribution door to door. They are also costly or not specific. 

For example, you need to gain weight, but newspapers show you to lose weight advertisements. That’s why they are costly or not targeted. 

But in the digital age, you need to find a specific type of customer group where you can show your products or services at the right time to the right person.

It is the process where you spread awareness of the product on digital channels so that people who are interested want to consider it or find it useful they can decide to buy.

People need some time to make their decision to buy something so that the business keeps those leads for future purchase references. In the meantime, businesses have to convince their potential customer to buy something. 

The Most Important Goal of Lead Generation in Digital Marketing

It is the journey from an unknown person to a customer. Here, your goal is to make a loyal customer, or potential customer’s goal is to understand the product very well and you as well.

Generating leads or having sales from those leads is the crucial step of every business. we need to generate the leads for business growth and health.

Keeps in mind these 3 steps process 

1.) Traffic: your first aim to generate traffic on your website or other digital channels via organic or paid advertisement.

2.) Collect leads: Second, you have to convert that traffic into leads through any lead magnet. This is the most benefit of digital marketing that we get the quality of specific leads. 

3.) Just to Customers: It is not the easy work to convert leads into customers. It is a sensitive case because you have to build trust among the leads and show them feedback or results. 

Generally, most businesses make this mistake to sell immediately to leads. Don’t try to sell them on the first go. Provide them free value or solution first. 

Make this communication so natural, so you don’t need to worry anymore because sales happen automatically with customer satisfaction.

How to Generate Leads from Digital Channels

Here, you will know all the methods, strategies, or ways to get leads from digital mediums. 

Before going to these strategies, we need to know some terms about leads. These are mostly used terms on the internet. You must need to know.

what is lead generation in digital marketing
  • B2B Lead generation 
  • B2C lead generation 
  • Inbound lead generation 
  • Outbound lead generation

B2B Lead Generation 

What is B2B lead generation?

B2B means Business to Business. 

It depends on your target market where your product or service is used by only business. 

Business to Business lead generation is the process of attracting businesses who show some interest in your product or service.

For B2B high-end products, you need to generate leads. Without leads, it is challenging to sell any B2B high-end product.

Lead generation is more comfortable than converting the leads into customers. It would be best to have a good sales team to convince the leads because high-end products require some effort.

B2C Lead Generation

What is B2C lead generation?

B2C means Business to Consumer.

B2C lead generation is the process of attracting potential customers who show some interest in your product.

Your target market is that where consumers use your product or service.

What If I say you don’t need to generate the lead for B2C products. 

Yes, you heard it right. It depends on products, whether you need leads or not. 

For example, your business is making candy and toffee. Now think, you don’t need to generate the lead for these types of products. They are very cheap, and people make decisions immediately to buy. You can do awareness only for your products to generate more revenue. 

But some B2C products require effort to sell them. You also need marketing or sales calls for selling the product. You can automate the function for low-end B2C products where you don’t need the sales team. You can nurture them via communication channels.

Inbound vs. Outbound Lead Generation

Inbound lead generation: People try to find solutions on their own, and your product service comes to them as a solution. 

In inbound lead generation, you need to make yourself more discoverable, visible on search engines or social media channels through organic content or paid advertisement.  

Conversion ratios are high in inbound lead generation because you do not need search leads. Leads automatically come to you by searching. You just focus on being visible in the first place.

Outbound lead generation:  Where you are trying to find people and pushing the message to the people who might be interested or not. As you are just trying to send out the message that you have the product, they convert if someone finds it useful.

You have to reach out to the people intentionally in outbound lead generation.

For effective outbound lead generation, you need to try experiments like A/B testing. Conversion rates are less than inbound lead generation.

Almost we need a paid system for outbound lead generation because organic reach or giving suggestions to the people by social channels are down now. So, we need to run ads on these platforms.

Lead Generation Techniques

what is lead generation in digital marketing

Let’s talk about lead generation methods. 

There are lots of techniques or strategies to generate leads on digital channels. 

I have divided them into 3 main categories so that you do not get confused. All the small methods are covered in these categories.

  1. Content Marketing
  2. Social Media Marketing
  3. Paid Advertisement

Content Marketing: Marketing via content, which involves the planning, creating, distributing, or sharing the content on digital channels.  

It is the first step to create valuable content for lead generation in digital marketing. Start creating the all form of content like images, podcast , video or live interaction.

  • Blog & article: Start with writing the blog post or article on your digital channels. 
  • SEO Friendly: To get free traffic on your website or blog, you have to optimize blog posts or articles according to the search engine.
  • Website optimization: Use the chatbot / or live agent chat option on your website so that people put their contact details before talking. Create an attractive pop-up for subscribing to you, or you can put a lead magnet on your website. 
  • Leverage the content: you can repurpose the content on other channels, so you do not need to create different content for every platform. You can create a blog post or share it into a small piece of content on other social media platforms.
  • Promotion: don’t forget to promote your content on online platforms as we have talked about SEO, email user base, or paid marketing, which we will discuss below.

Social Media Marketing: Marketing via social channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn, or like many others which involves the process where we can promote our product or service and take advantage of creating a user base, engagement through posting the images, text, audio or video content.

Running contests, referral systems or sharing valuable content is the best practice to attract more users on social media platforms.

Social Media Platform to Get Leads : 

  • Youtube videos:  YouTube is the 2nd largest engine in the world. Leverage your content strategy to sharing content in video form. 

The latest trend is to collect leads from youtube videos that talk about your next webinar where you want to share all secrets or strategies or give the link to register people.

Another method you can use is a lead magnet for collecting the lead.

  • Facebook lead generation: Facebook has the most users than any other social media platform. It has more than 2 billion users. 

Facebook allows you to create a page for business where you can promote your product or service. 

You can create a group where you can post valuable content on a daily basis. In the group, you can generate leads by asking for details before joining the group.

  • Instagram lead generation:  Instagram does not allow the link in post or description. Now Instagram has become very popular because most young people are there and they are action-oriented. 

You have only added one link only on your profile to make sure all the links are needed to be available on that page. 

You can generate lead through a lead magnet or on live interaction. 

You just have to keep in mind always to create valuable content. Give more, get more.

  • Linkedin lead generation: The most B2B leads you can generate from LinkedIn. It is a professional network, and almost every professional, business owner, or entrepreneur is on LinkedIn. 

According to the pinpoint research, 64% of leads generated on LinkedIn by B2B businesses.

You can increase the reach of your business by using paid ads on LinkedIn as well.


  • Twitter lead generation: This is a channel where we can post micro pieces of written content. Use relevant hashtags, and if some retweeted you, your post reach increases.

Similarly, you can call him to take some freebies or live interaction on other platforms. 

This way, you can generate leads from Twitter, similarly with Instagram.

Paid Advertisement: You have to pay to reach more potential customers. It is directly related to your ROI. you want better ROI or profit in a business statement at the end of the year to pay for acquiring more leads.  

The system (metrics) of paid ads is called PPC (Pay Per Click) or Cost Per Click (CPC). You have the option to pay for the click only. You can track your ROI efficiently with PPC.

Search Engine Ads:

 This is the type of ads where you get inbound leads. It means you become more discoverable or visible on the internet. People search the query related to their problem, and they get your ad on 1st position based on their bid price. 

Google makes a good position on the market when it comes to search engines, and most people prefer Google. 

To run an ad on the Google search engine, we need to account on google adword to run many advertisements on search engines.

We can run search ads, Display ads, video ads, or discovery ads on one platform that is google adword. 

lead generation techniques
  • Search ads appear on the top results on search engines. You can see above in the image.
  • Display ads show the banner or images like posts on the web.
  • Video ads are mostly used to promote youtube videos and particular channels, but it is used on other websites as well.
  • Discovery ads for Gmail ads or youtube ads. If you have Gmail, I am pretty sure you must have seen some ads in the promotion folder on the top.

If you might notice that you click on one ad and after that ad follow you on the internet. 

These search engine paid ad conversion rates are high because of the inbound marketing. 

Social Media Ads :

Most popular, Most used, very easy to understand. 

It is a bitter truth that social media had built their user base in their initial stage, and they have good organic reach. Not a Good, great organic reach if you know some tactics or algorithms.

Now at this present time, their organic reach is almost dead. It is the harsh reality. As their user base grew, they reduced the organic reach. 

Now they have every user data, and we need to pay directly to reach more users. 

For example, Facebook page reach has been reduced to just five percent or less. If your page has 10K likes, your post can only reach up to 500 people.

But it is good, and you still have 500 potential customer reach for free. 

You can take advantage of other platforms as well, where organic reach is pretty good. 

Almost all the big social media networks have their ad network where you can also run the ads. 

Their ads are very cost-effective because you are doing target specific people. 

And in traditional marketing, you have to spend big chunks, and they are not targeted. 

We could not track the sales. 

In the digital world, we can track every sale and every reaction of a customer while purchasing.

We have all the analytics, and we can check where we are going wrong and where we are right. Then we make a decision based on analytics. 

Paid advertisements on most social channels are outbound channels. They generate leads to show the ads intentionally to the user based on their interest or goals.

So that we can not expect a reasonable conversion rate, but sometimes it gives a considerable ROI. 

So if our ad does not work well, we need to run A/B testing always. Experiments on social media ads give you a good ROI.

Let’s talk about some big social media ad platforms.


  • Facebook Ads: Facebook is the outbound marketing channel in the sense of paid advertisement because it shows the ads to the people intentionally whether they are interested or not at that time. 

But we can target a specific group on Facebook based on their interest and locality because Facebook has a vast audience in every niche.

You need a Facebook page before running the ads. Running lead ads on Facebook is not easy, but you can, you can learn. Once you are done, it’s easy. 

Or you can hire any right freelancer or agency for running Facebook ads.

  • Instagram ads: Instagram ads are cheaper than Facebook ads. Instagram became popular very fast among young audiences. 

Instagram ads get more clicks than Facebook ads, as per my experience.

You can run ads from Instagram directly or the ad manager of Facebook because Facebook owns Instagram. 

If you want to run the ad from the ad manager, you need a Facebook page, as we had already discussed in the Facebook ad section. 

Or if you want to run the ad from Instagram directly, just go to settings of Instagram and change your account personal to a professional account. After this, you can see the promote button on every post. 

Now you can promote them easily and can check analytics on Instagram professional resources.

  • Linkedin ads and Twitter ads: Similarly, you can run ads on LinkedIn or Twitter just like Instagram. Go to their business account, where you get the ad manager.

From these platforms, we get high-quality prospects. 

For B2B leads, both ad platforms are giving the best results.

Conclusion :

I hope you guys get some insight, and now you get some overview or some understanding about “what is lead generation in digital marketing?”

We talked about leads leading to sales. We need leads to run the business very well and future business growth. 

We have discussed the journey of the customer from the awareness stage to a loyal customer.

Now we know which types of business we have B2B business or B2C business.

We have known the difference between inbound leads or outbound leads.

We discuss the generation of leads from which types of medium. We have the option to generate the lead with content marketing, social media marketing, or paid advertisement

Now we know that What the differences are between search engine ads or social media ads.

Guys, if you have some thought in your mind, or question or something to tell me more about this blog post, just drop the comment below.

I would like to hit the answers to your query.

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