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In the latest IAB/PwC adspend study, online lead generation registered an impressive 20% growth rate over the year which shows the continuing interest in lead generation.

However, while spend is certainly increasing, there is still a lack of understanding about the industry.

The title of this post could have been 100 lead generation tips, but with the help of a few other lead generation experts I have managed to narrow the list down to the top 20 most important. 

At a recent online marketing event, I was lucky enough to be invited to speak on a panel about lead generation which covered everything from the state of the current market, the issues faced by lead buyers and sellers and a sneak peak into what the future holds for the fledgling UK industry.

As part of the panel we were tasked to come up with a series of lead generation tips for the audience and myself, Andy Purbrick from Dennis Publishing and Sean Sewell from Performance Horizon Group put our heads together to come up with a top 20.

1. Validate as many data fields as possible in real-time

The more accurate the lead data, the higher the contact and conversion rates. There are lots of available technologies that allow you to improve the accuracy of data such as checking consumer phone numbers in real-time, validating post codes and verifying email addresses are genuine.

2. Understand the consumer journey

If you know how the consumer “becomes a lead” you can refine your follow up processes to increase return on investment. This is especially relevant for call centre follow ups where agents are paid by the hour.

For example, if the consumer is expecting a free quote for an insurance product then this needs to be factored into the scripting of the call.

3. Test and optimise

Rome wasn’t built in a day and nor are lead generation campaigns. Just like any marketing spend, there is always room for improvement and it takes time to maximise the ROI potential of any campaign.

This means you need to do lots of testing and optimisation.

4. Understand the value of your leads

Every lead has value but depending on the marketing messaging and origination method there can be significant variation between leads for the same campaign. There is a place for leads at different ends of the value scale but you need to know which is which in order to optimise your spend.

5. Have a relevant conversion strategy

It might seem like an obvious point but I am always surprised by how many times companies get this wrong. If you tell the consumer you are going to call them then make sure you call them.

If you don’t, then not only will the campaign not perform well, it can give your brand a bad name.

6. Don't over-incentivise

There is nothing inherently wrong with an incentive but you need to find the balance between the consumer just wanting the incentive versus wanting to engage with your brand.

For example, if you are running a lead generation campaign to get subscriptions to a magazine, then giving away a free subscription of the magazine is fine but if you offer a free iPad giveaway then you will probably just get people that want to win an iPad.

7. Clear opt-in and privacy policy

This is important not just for regulatory reasons but also for lead quality as well. Ultimately, if the consumer doesn’t know what they are signing up for (or signing up at all) then they won’t be responsive to any further communications which will impact on the performance of the campaign .

 8. Don't make the consumer jump through too many hoops

Naturally you want to know as much information as possible about each consumer but you get to a point where every extra field of data you capture or information you present to the consumer before they reach the lead form reduces lead volumes and doesn’t improve quality.

The amount of data you want to capture is something to test and optimise over the life of the campaign.

9. Leave your preconceptions at the door

Quite simply, the best lead generation campaigns are the ones that work. If the campaign looks ugly then it doesn’t necessarily mean it will generate poor leads and if the creative execution looks amazing it might not generate any leads at all!

The point is that only once the campaign is live can you tell whether it performs or not, so leave your preconceptions at the door and let the data do the talking.

10. Dedupe your leads

Why would you pay for the same lead twice? It is a waste of time and money. Luckily there are a handful of lead platforms that enable you to dedupe your lead supply in real-time so you only ever pay for each lead once. When leads can cost as much as £50 per lead in some verticals, even with a small duplication rate the potential savings are substantial.

Keep a look out for tips 11 -20...

Justin Rees

Published 26 October, 2011 by Justin Rees

Justin Rees is founder of Talking Customers and Cofounder of Currently.

15 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

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I really agree with point 8, you don't want to people to be turned away because of a form asking for 20 bits of personal information that may seem unnecessary. At the same time you want as much as possible in order to follow up with a personalised response.

Good article.

about 5 years ago


Rich Myles

Interesting article. Point number five is spot on and such a vital part of lead generation. I've seen so many examples of excellent lead generation (particularly when working in webinars/virtual events). However when it comes to the follow-up, so often, nothing has been planned. So what were warm and targeted leads can often end up on a big database for a mass marketing push (maybe not even this). A timely and consultative phone call is likely to yield a much better result.

about 5 years ago

Tomás de Teresa

Tomás de Teresa, SEO Consultant at DETERESA.com

I agree with you, testing is the only way to succeed. And point 9 is one of the keys too.
I am looking forward for the second part!

about 5 years ago


Jez Walker

Some really valid points. You rarely get a second chance to capture a prospect so it's important to establish at least one valid point of contact as early as possible.

about 5 years ago


Nadine Stevens

Great tips Justin, I will be passing them along. I particularly liked tip # 9. It reminds me of the saying, 'don't count your chickens before they are hatched.' We should never assume that we will get something until we actually have it. It means not planning something out and acting as if it is going to happen, as it might not go through or it might go wrong. As you said, let the data do the talking. It's never wrong to expect but it's still better to be realistic. Thank you sharing.

about 5 years ago


Barbara Mckinney

Hi Justin,

Thanks for these 10 lead generation tips. Agree the 8 and 9 tips. Lead generation is a tough job but with the right choice of strategies and tactics you will surely achieved the desired results you want

about 5 years ago


Vince Golder

Hi Justin,

Great article, ideas and advice on lead generation, some of which I shall consider for the lead generation and marketing support community website I'm about to launch.

I agree about your points on test and optimise and over over-incentivise. In my 29 years in marketing I have come across so much waste in marketing investment and budgets due to lack of testing and measuring of marketing programmes.

My first task with new clients is to test their current marketing programmes and in most cases they are shocked by the lack of return on marketing investment they receive. In some cases the savings I help them make on ineffective marketing pays for my consultants fee.

I specialise in joint venture marketing consultancy and in most of these JV projects I've used incentives from various of the JV partners combined in selected promotions, to increase the value of the incentives offered. In most cases this will gain greater response, but you should limit the total value of the incentives as prospects will not believe you are offering several hundreds/thousands of pounds worth of offers just for a single sale, appointment etc.

Keep up the good work.



almost 5 years ago


Sherri Wright

yeah i would agree to those tips you have generated. Qualifying or attaining sales leads is a thing that compares to infinity, as long as you were still in the field of generating leads unto qualifying those leads into sales. Tips, advices, and strategies are unlimited, tactics, reality, and adaptation are unlimited upon attaining those, needed only to be discovered.. So far i find your ideas as excellent as you.. thank you.. I'm sure, most of your readers will surely get something upon reading this..just like me..

over 4 years ago

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