Digital Marketing Leads Explained

What are leads in digital marketing and why should you care? How do you generate leads? Finding and converting leads into sales is a challenge in and of itself. If you do not understand what leads are in digital marketing, you may find your business struggles to make sales and risks closure as a result. An effective lead generation strategy through digital marketing can help you avoid this fate.

In this article, you will learn the answer to the questions “What are leads in digital marketing?” and “What is a lead?” You will also learn how you can use digital marketing to create and foster leads into taking action.

what are leads in digital marketing

What Is a Lead?

Before answering what are leads in digital marketing, you need to first understand what a lead is. So, what is a lead? In marketing, a lead refers to any person who shows interest in your brand. Generating interest in your products or services is the first step in creating customers, so generating as many leads as possible is important to the continued success of your business.

Best Practices

There are many ways to generate leads, many of which are through digital marketing channels. Still, there is no one size fits all approach that will work for all businesses. As such, your lead generation strategy will be shaped by the needs of your business. Though the ultimate decision regarding how you will use digital marketing to generate leads will be up to you, there are a few lead generation practices that you should know about before making any decisions.

Set Goals, Identify and Track Metrics

If you do not define what success looks like before you implement a digital marketing lead generation strategy, you are going to have a hard time knowing what is working and what is not. If you do not set specific and measurable goals, you will waste a lot of time on lead generation techniques that are not doing you any good. 

There are many metrics that you can choose to track, though the ones you choose need to be informed by your goals. Tracking metrics like organic traffic, traffic-to-lead ratio, bounce rate, click-through rate, cost per lead, and many other metrics can help you identify if your digital marketing efforts are effectively creating leads. 

Create an Accurate Buyer Persona

A buyer persona is a tool your company uses to simulate who your customers are. You need to understand the wants, needs, problems, buying behavior, and many other factors. The more complete an image you have of your potential customers, the easier it will be for you to pique their interest. You might need more than one persona if you sell multiple products or versions of the same product. The more complete image you have of your customers, the easier it will be to generate leads.

Use Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Do not underestimate the power of SEO. Creating a lot of content will only get you so far on its own. Before a person can be converted into a lead, you need to make initial contact. This is where SEO comes in. SEO techniques can help increase the visibility of your digital marketing content by triggering Google’s search engine algorithms to push your content to the top of search engine results pages.

what is a lead

What Is Digital Marketing?

Now that you can answer, “What is a lead?” you need to understand how to use digital marketing to generate leads. But do you know what digital marketing is? Before we get into how to use digital marketing to generate leads, let’s answer the question. “What is digital marketing?”

Digital marketing refers to any marketing activities that take place online. Examples of digital marketing include blog posts, pictures, videos, email marketing campaigns, and online advertising either on your website, social media, or placed anywhere else online. Digital marketing is an effective way to generate leads. With over 3 billion people online, digital marketing is an integral part of any lead generation strategy.

Digital Marketing Techniques

So, what are leads in digital marketing and how can you most effectively use digital marketing to generate leads? In combination with general lead generation best practices, experiment with some of the most popular digital marketing techniques to generate leads for your business.

Paid Advertising

You can pay to place an ad on many corners of the internet. Many of these are pay-per-click, meaning that you pay for every display or click that the ad gets. Although most paid advertising services have algorithms to push your ad to the people most likely to take action, you still need to create a compelling ad copy optimized to reach that target audience. 

Email Marketing

Email marketing is a classic example of digital marketing. -mail marketing is considered one of the most effective marketing tools as you have direct contact with potential customers. It is a great way to reach people who already know about your business. Perhaps they are already interested in making a purchase. When it comes to leads in digital marketing, email marketing is a powerful tool. Following up with leads with the right personalized offers at the right time can push a lead to make a purchase and email marketing is a perfect way to do that. 

Social Media Marketing

Social media offers the opportunity to connect and build rapport with leads. You can use both organic and paid posting to reach your target market and keep them interested. Everyone who follows your account has demonstrated interest and in turn, are leads. Respond to questions, comments, and concerns sent to your company’s direct messages, made in the comments, or where you are tagged. Create engaging content, posted to a carefully chosen social media platform to stay at the forefront of the minds of your potential customers.


One of the most effective ways to create customers is to solve their problems. Consistently posting search engine optimized blog posts with helpful information will help you find the customers interested in what you do. Establish yourself as an industry leader your customers can trust. If they are interested in your business’s expertise, they will likely be interested in other things you have to offer.

Video Marketing

Video marketing is an effective way to generate leads. Typically, video content is much more engaging than written content. It elicits stronger emotions and is more likely to keep viewers on-page. People are more likely to share and interact with video content. 

what is digital marketing

Marketing Leads

Now that you know how to generate marketing leads, what do you do next? What do you do now that you know what leads are in digital marketing? Your job is not over yet. You need to take those marketing leads and spur them into action. 

Not all leads are the same. They will be at every stage of the buyer decision-making process and the type of content you expose them to and the way you interact with different leads needs to be informed by this. You need to gauge both the lead’s level of interest and how close they are to making a purchase decision before you take action. Coming on too strong too quickly can push a lead away from making a purchase instead of nudging them closer to making a purchase.

Marketing Qualified Lead

Marketing qualified leads are people who your marketing team has interacted with, but they are not ready to receive sales calls yet. They are actively searching for a solution to their problem. Your company might be the right one to solve this problem for them, but they need to do more research before they make the decision to buy. They might have filled out a form to receive an offer in return.

Sales Qualified leads

These are people who have expressed interest in making a purchase. They are right on the edge of making a purchase and are ready to meet with the sales team. They should be reached out to as quickly as possible because they are very close to making a decision though they may still be weighing a few options.  

Product Qualified Lead

Product qualified leads have already tried your product through a free trial or a free version of a product. They might ask questions about the paid version 

Service Qualified Lead

Service qualified leads have demonstrated interest in paying for a business’s services. They want to make a purchase. They should be directed to the appropriate sales team to help them buy. 

marketing leads

Generate Leads With Digital Marketing

Now that you can answer the question, “What are leads in digital marketing?” you should begin to shape your own lead generation strategy using digital marketing. Finding and nurturing marketing leads correctly will help you create customers. Utilize lead generation best practices and digital marketing to convert your leads into sales no matter where your potential customers are in their buyer decision process. 

If you need help generating leads or have further questions regarding what leads are in digital marketing, SEO Design Chicago is here to help. Our expert team can help you create digital content to attract leads and engage them no matter where they are in their decision-making process. 


  • What types of marketing leads are there?
  • What type of digital marketing is best for lead generation?
  • How do I engage with leads at different points of the decision-making process?
  • What is digital marketing?
  • What are best practices in lead generation?

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