Lead Generation: 10 Things You Need to Know in 2019

By James Tredwell on August 10, 2019

Businesses revolve around generating leads, nurturing those leads, and then converting those leads into happy, committed customers. But like anything worth doing, lead generation requires a planned and thoughtful approach. This post helps you understand what lead generation is, the role of content marketing, the different types of content you can use and the information you need to get the right people.

While there are similarities between lead generation and other marketing activities, lead generation is very specific. There is definitely an emphasis on high-quality visual content when it comes to lead generation, and there are plenty of different types of content you can use to your advantage. Market research and user research are also essential and helpful to lead generation.

Today, I’ll share 10 different insights regarding lead generation to help you get started on building your own lead generation strategy.

1. What is lead generation?

We’ll start with the basics to keep things clear. Lead generation is the collection of information on targeted individuals who demonstrate an interest in your products or services. The people whose information you collect are your leads, which you then qualify, place into different marketing funnels and then potentially convert into paying clients. There are a number of ways to collect that information and generate those leads.

Terms like cold leads, warm leads, hot leads, refer to the level of interest people have in your product or service when their information was collected. Their level of interest and the relevance of their segment to your product or service determines which marketing or sales funnel they get placed in, and how they get nurtured.

2. Is lead generation the same as demand generation?

Actually, lead generation is just a tactic that falls under the broad scope of demand generation. Demand generation is essentially the act of creating demand for your products and services, which sounds a little vague. But that’s why there are so many different strategies that are implemented as part of ongoing demand generation campaigns, such as:

  • Inbound and online marketing
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Print marketing
  • Event marketing
  • Social media marketing
  • Paid advertising
  • Lead nurturing
  • Lead scoring
  • Program measurement and optimization
  • Sales/marketing alignment activities, such as sales enablement

A business might not have a formal demand generation plan in place, but will probably focus on things like content marketing or paid advertising to accomplish the same thing.

3. Great visual content drives lead generation

Visual content should definitely play a major role in your brand’s lead generation strategies. I’ll give you two big reasons why!

First, our brains love to process and retain visual content. This blog post on visual learning provides some helpful statistics:

  • 90% of the information transmitted to our brains is visual
  • Visuals get processed 60,000 times faster than plain text
  • Visuals boost comprehension and retention significantly

Second, the popularity of certain social media platforms has a huge influence. Platforms like Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat prioritize the consumption and sharing of highly visual content. They’re also some of the highest-social media platforms out there.

So, not only do our brains prefer digital content, our digital environment prioritizes visual content for us. Basically, if you’re not producing high-quality visual content to communicate with your audience, you’re probably not communicating with them at all.

4. Content gating is the easiest way to use visual content for lead generation

A popular lead generation strategy is content gating, which you’ve probably come across before. Content gating is when a valuable piece of content is offered to the reader in exchange for his/her contact information (usually a name, email or phone number).

For example, a prospective user discovers your whitepaper that seems to be helpful and insightful. But to view it, she has to fill out a lead generation form with her contact information. She does this happily since she wants this awesome resource. Then, with her contact info, you might give her a call, target her with more content, or place her in a highly effective email marketing funnel that encourages her to one day become a paying client!

There are plenty of content gating strategies you can take to generate leads, some of which are:

  • A landing page promoting a free ebook, guide or whitepaper download
  • Offering to reveal a blog post, or data visualizations in the blog post
  • Offering relevant bonus content at the end of a blog post

Content gating is simpler than you might think, too. Certain online design tools let you apply content gating to any content you create in the tool and publish online (infographics, ebooks, whitepapers and more). You can also use tools like Unbounce and Wishpond to create landing pages or lead-generation popups.

5. Infographics are the most popular form of visual content

Infographics are super-engaging pieces of visual content. It’s obvious considering they’re the most popular form of online content today.

Infographics effectively convey broad concepts, share detailed statistics, and tell compelling stories. They’re highly scannable, and can be formatted to encourage your eyes to keep moving to the next section.

With the right approach, and the right tools, you can design infographics pretty easily too!

6. Ebooks, guides and whitepapers are staple lead generation content

Research-driven ebooks are a great way for you to generate qualified leads. They’re also a great way to connect with your audience. Ebooks go into more depth than the typical blog post, they can be used as references for strategy-building, and they’re typically packed with a ton of useful information.

By creating ebooks, whitepapers and guides, you position yourself as an industry leader, demonstrate passion for the topic (since you’re providing so much for free), and gain your target audience’s trust. The same goes for helpful e-guides, whitepapers and other in-depth pieces of content. You can create professional-looking ebooks and whitepapers using sophisticated ebook and white paper templates online.

7. Interactive content like webinars and presentations is gaining popularity

Webinars and presentations are also a great way to generate leads. They usually tend to take less time to create than ebooks, reports, and guides. You can even repurpose existing content into really great webinars. The best part about webinars and presentations is that you generate high-quality leads, you get to engage them directly, and get to know them.

It’s important to note, webinars using highly engaging presentation slides do much better than webinars without strong visuals. So expect webinars packed with strong visual content to be more memorable and engaging for your audience.

8. Video content is great, but no one’s using it for lead generation yet!

Video content for marketing is not at all new. Currently, 87% of marketers are using video marketing strategies in their marketing efforts.

However, the shift towards using video content for lead generation hasn’t really happened yet. It’s surprising since, according to Inc’s post on video marketing:

  • 64% of customers are more likely to buy a product online after watching a video on it.
  • 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions.
  • Video is projected to claim more than 80% of all web traffic by 2019.

Now before you get all mad-scientisty and start tinkering with different visuals to create the ultimate lead magnet, make sure it’s what your target audience wants.

9. Understand your audience’s job-to-be-done

Consider who would be interested in your products or services. What would their professional title be? How large of a company would they be working in? What type of tools do they likely already use? What do they need to accomplish?

If you’ve got a good understanding of your target audience, then answering those questions won’t be difficult. If you don’t know the answers, then consider your ideal audience persona and go from there.

Understand your audience’s day-to-day challenges

Once you understand who your target audience is, consider the challenges they face.

A content marketer wants to drive traffic, increase time on page, increase conversion and more.

A salesperson wants to automate outreach, anticipate their leads’ needs, remember clients’ birthdays and so on.

A contractor wants to simplify his invoices, automate invoices and make it easy for clients to pay.

Discovering your target audience’s friction points will help you understand why your products or services are perfect for them. That’s when you’re in the best position to help them. Your messaging, your content, your lead nurturing campaigns will all resonate with your prospective clients.

10. Connect your target audience to your solution for their problems

Help your target audience find your awesome content.

How you do it is up to you, but rest assured there are many ways to drive traffic to your landing pages to generate these leads. Some strategies include:

  • Writing blog posts and guest posts
  • Running social media campaigns
  • Speaking at events
  • Optimizing landing pages to favor search engines
  • Creating a live chat feature on your site
  • Running paid ads on the right social media platform

Those are just a few suggestions. Feel free to experiment and get creative, but you must draw out a clear strategy for getting your content into the hands of your target audience.


Lead generation is a great strategy when planned out thoughtfully. User research, content research, and high-quality visual content all play a major role.

Creating engaging, meaningful content is not difficult. Gating content is also straightforward with the right tool. Since creating content is so accessible, even for small-businesses and solo-preneurs, your audience will often have high expectations. That means only the most engaging, attention-grabbing content will get noticed.

Position yourself to master creating visual content. It’ll be a game-changer when it comes to crafting your lead generation strategies.

Author Bio: Jeilan Devanesan is a content marketer at Venngage, the online graphic-design tool. He researches and writes on how to design creative content, engaging your audience with visuals, and design trends. He has written for CMI, Outbrain, EmergingEdTech, Classy and other publications.

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