Written by Laura Farkas

Updated January 26, 2023

Secret Blueprint to Create a Profitable Lead Generation Marketing Campaign for Your Service-Based Business? Step-By-Step Guide

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Your sales and marketing team would be lost without lead generation marketing activities. It is what drives your business growth, and something that you should focus on if you want to tackle the challenges SMEs are facing at the moment. I’ve put together this guide to help you understand how to create a winning marketing strategy with lead generation in mind using advanced sales funnels and custom marketing strategies. Hope you find this guide useful. 

What Is Lead Generation in Marketing 

Lead generation is simply an activity that puts your offers in front of interested prospects, or your target market. You often need to take the first step to get them to notice you, especially if you are in a competitive niche. 

Traditionally, most businesses relied on cold calling and emailing to generate leads, then the market shifted and some of them discovered third party lead generation services. Tradesmen went to Yell.com and other sites, such as Checkatrade and MyBuilder. People in service industries signed up for directories and used sites like Bark or Bidvine. The main problem with this approach is that you will have to pay per lead, no matter how valuable it is. Plus, many companies will send the same lead to dozens of different businesses. 

The 21st Century approach to lead generation marketing is to tailor the process to the preferences of your ideal clients. So match their ideal customer journey. This way, they can become a co-creator of their own experiences. And that’s what lead generation sales funnels can do for you. 

Lead generation is all about taking care of the second stage of the funnel; interest. If you can create interest in your potential clients, you have half-won the battle. But you have to make sure that you provide a clear message and a call to action so you don’t confuse them. We have seen business owners create sales copies that reflected what’s important to them and not what’s important to the client. That’s the biggest mistake you can ever make. 

Hubspot has a great definition of lead generation. According to the CRM management company, “lead generation is the process of attracting prospects to your business and increasing their interest through nurturing”. Lead generation does not cover conversions and closing the sale; but without it, none of them would be possible. 

There are different categories of leads, and that’s where funnels and marketing list segmentation come handy. The main ones are

  1. Marketing qualified lead
  2. Sales qualified lead

Marketing qualified lead is anyone who is willing to give you more information about their preferences and is looking forward to your marketing messages. They might not necessarily be in the position to buy, but they are already interested and are considering their options. 

A sales qualified lead is someone who is at the stage of making a decision and is probably weighing up their options. They have the budget and an ideal outcome in mind, so you just have to convince them that what you offer is the answer to their questions. 

The most common mistake I can see people making is that they send out sales messages to marketing qualified leads. This can drive them away and drive conversion rates down. 

Step-By-Step Guide to Creating a Lead Generation Marketing Campaign

So, now that we know what lead generation is and how to avoid the most common pitfalls, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to put together a lead generation marketing campaign. If you follow these steps you will be able to generate the right type of leads for your business.

1.Determine Your Campaign Goals

The first step is to decide what the ideal outcome of the lead generation campaign should be. You might need to talk to the sales team, the directors, and people who interact with your customers on a regular basis, so you get a good idea of how your prospects are going to prefer to buy from you. 

You must create SMART goals; not something like “I want to increase sales”. If you don’t have a target, you will never get there. That’s why measurable, specific goals are crucial in every part of your business, not just marketing. 

2. Find a Medium for Publishing

Once you have identified your marketing goals, you will have to find a vehicle and decide how to get there. There’s more than one way to skin a cat, so there will be different methods you can use to reach your ideal client. You have to know where they hang out and where they are looking for answers and solutions to their problems. If you are unclear on this stage, our free ideal client worksheet will help you work it out. 

Depending on your price range, the content you are comfortable publishing, and the preferences of your audience, you will have to create a campaign calendar, even if you are not doing a launch. So, selecting the right medium is essential to building a profitable lead generation marketing campaign. 

In summary, your medium choice will depend on:

  • Where your audience hangs out
  • The type of content you create (images, videos, webinars, infographics, lead forms)
  • The price tag of your service
  • The length of nurturing process required to convert leads into customers
  • Your sales process

So, until you have a clear sales strategy, you will not be able to choose the right platform. If you need help with building a campaign, check out our custom funnel marketing strategy service.

3. Create Core CTAs

Once you have a clear goal and have chosen a way to reach your audience, it is important that you create the core CTAs. A call-to-action should always reflect what you want your prospects to do next. You should have only one of them per page or creative, so you don’t confuse your audience. 

For every stage of the funnel, you will have to choose the most appropriate call-to-action. For example, for lead generation, you can ask people to give you their email in exchange for something they find valuable. For qualifying leads, you can create a quiz or offer a free consultation.

4. Answer Your Ideal Clients’ Most Important Problems

Once you have chosen the call-to-actions, you will have to craft the main messages. Chances are that you will already know the most urgent problems your audience is facing, but if you need any help, you might want to do some research. Create a poll, give your existing clients and prospects a call, or talk to your network. This way, you will be able to speak the language of your audience.

Simply put, your marketing messages should be all about the client’s problems. You can still focus on branding and creating credibility, but if you don’t offer something that people really want, your campaigns will flop. 

Our ideal client exercise is a simple way of understanding your market and crafting high conversion sales and marketing messages. You can book an appointment with us to go through this stage in case you get stuck. 

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5. Create a Sense of Urgency

Marketing experts say that your prospects have to see your messages 6-12 times before they will take action. This is not always the case, but we can accept it as a general rule. You will have to ensure that you shorten the time it takes to get a conversion – or something that Anik Singal calls micro-commitment – and that’s done through creating a sense of urgency. 

There are different types of messages and lead generation marketing methods that can create a sense of urgency. Here are a few examples:

  1. Limited time offer
  2. Tiered pricing – the sooner you take action the lower the price
  3. Offer is being withdrawn at a certain date
  4. Bonuses for limited time
  5. Limited spaces available

No matter what type of marketing method you will choose to create a sense of urgency, you will have to motivate your prospective buyers enough to take action. So, make them an offer they can’t refuse and can’t even procrastinate about. 

6. Run an AB Test

So, now we have the creatives, the main messages, the call-to-action, the platform. We are ready to roll out the campaign. It is crucial that whenever you start a lead generation marketing campaign you run an AB test. An AB test – or split test as some marketers call it – is a small scale campaign you run in the beginning of the campaign to determine which format, headline, and creative performs better. This way, you can maximise your return on investment and run more profitable campaigns long term. You can also avoid losing money on  your ads. 

You can run AB tests on the following variables:

  • Headline
  • Target audience
  • Call-to-action
  • Graphic elements
  • Landing page
  • Button design
  • Main copy
  • Follow-up messages

AB testing everything might be a bit taunting and very confusing. You might have to be crunching numbers for a while to determine what works. The good news is that you can significantly shorten the learning curve if you start your campaign with a marketing SWOT

As Harvard Business Review confirms, an AB test is simply an experiment that measures the performance of one variation against the other. 

7. Optimise

Once you have completed the split test, you will have to start running the main campaign. This, however, doesn’t mean that you should set and forget. Keep an eye on the performance of the campaign and optimise on the go. On some platforms, it is not a good idea to change major things in your campaign, such as targeting and budget while it is running. Sometimes you will just have to hit pause, analyse, and optimise. 

Running a lead generation marketing campaign is not a one-off project. It should be adjusted based on the results you are getting and our changing preferences/business goals. 

As an example, you might be running a successful campaign but attract the wrong type of customers. In this case, you will have to add a lead qualification step to the process, so you are only paying for the leads that will be likely to convert and a pleasure to interact with. 

8. Measure Results

After the completion of the campaign, you will probably need to draw a line and work out the profitability of your marketing. What you’ve got to look at is the return on investment. So, let’s say you spent £15 to get one lead and you got 1:5 conversion. Here’s how you work out your ROI. 

Number of leads *conversion rate*average customer value / cost of the campaign including ad spend and outsourcing/work hours, software. 

A positive ROI means that you spent less on generating a customer than your profit margin from the client. 

A negative ROI means that you didn’t manage to run a profitable campaign and you need to make adjustments. 

9. Improve 

No matter if your lead generation campaign was a success or not, there’s always room for improvement. That’s why you will have to get back to the drawing board regularly and draw the conclusions. Here are a couple of questions you should ask when trying to improve your lead generation marketing strategy. 

  • Did I achieve a good enough lead conversion rate?
  • Did I get enough qualified leads?
  • Was my campaign profitable?
  • What can I do to attract better prospects?
  • Should I change the platform and message?
  • What was the overall feedback on the campaign?

Once you have answered these questions you will be able to identify the development areas and aim for even better results. 

10. Rinse and Repeat

Marketing is not a one-off activity. You cannot just put one campaign live and expect the leads to flow to your business forever. There’s far too much distraction online today; your leads will slowly forget about you if you don’t stay in touch. That’s why follow-up campaigns are important. 

However, learning from your experience with the first lead generation marketing campaign you can decide to push another service, introduce a webinar, or create a quiz for your leads to improve your conversion rates. Campaign management is an ongoing process and you will probably need to invest in the right tools to stay on top of the numbers. You might also consider investing in sales automation tools to scale your business faster. 

Set new goals, rinse and repeat, and you will have a consistent flow of leads to your business. 

Bonus: The 7 Most Profitable Lead Generation Marketing Methods You Might Want to Try

Now that you have the process, you might want to start brainstorming lead generation methods. Here are some of the ones we have tried and executed successfully for our clients. Check them out and take your pick. 

1.Webinars for lead generation

For those in the coaching and consulting industry, this is a golden opportunity. Webinars are much easier to set up today than a couple of years ago, and you can plug them into any funnel software. You can build your credibility during the webinar and make an offer in the end they can’t refuse. Once you have provided value, you will have created reciprocity, so it will be easier to get people to sign up. 

2.Lead forms on LinkedIn

LinkedIn lead forms are great for medium sized businesses, as they are easy to set up, and they are convenient for prospects. You literally catch them where they hang out. This works best for business-to-business companies, so if you are providing services for individuals, you might want to try Facebook or Twitter lead gen cards.

3. Quizzes

Our all time favourite – and most profitable – lead generation method is quizzes. They are easy to set up – once you know what you are doing – and fun for prospective customers. They simply don’t feel like they are being sold. 

Remember: people hate being sold but they love buying. 

If you would like to find out more about quiz funnels, read this guide.

4. eBook funnels

eBook funnels are still working in 2023, but you will have to offer something of immense value to get people to sign up. An old, revised version of a PLR eBook from 2005 will not cut it. Your content will have to be unique and valuable for your prospects. You might also decide to give away the first chapter of your paperback book before the launch and build a whole campaign around it. I am going to cover eBook funnels in detail in a post later this year, so make sure that you sign up at the bottom of the page for updates. 

5. Free training videos

Free training videos work wonders if they answer the most important questions your prospects have. You will – obviously – need to create a gated content page. A gated content is simply something that is only accessible after the prospect has submitted their details (i.e. name and email address). If the visitor is interested enough, they will be happy to give you their details in exchange for the content. 

6. Calculators

Last year, we experimented with calculators, and they work great. We created our own sales funnel cost calculator which qualifies leads and gives them a good estimate of how much their funnel will cost. We have also implemented a similar system on a client’s website which gave out an exact quote and then asked prospects to proceed. It simply automated their lead generation marketing. 

7. Free demonstration

If you offer a software solution or would like to explain a complex issue in order for your prospects to understand what you offer, this can be great. Loads of SaaS companies use this lead generation method and many have grown at the speed of light as a result. 

P.s. You might have noticed that I haven’t included free trials and free consultations. These are not considered to be high value at the moment, and we believe that if you give away your service or time for free, your customers will not see your value. 

Have you tried any of these lead generation marketing strategies? Share your thoughts or questions below. 







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