Every business needs leads, no doubt about that.
Customers churn, bills and expenses don’t. If you want your business to grow, you need to make sure that new leads that turn into paying customers come in regularly.
The solution? A lead generation funnel.
Keep reading to learn everything there is to lead generation funnels and how you can build one yourself.
Note: Throughout the process, we’ll be using the GetResponse Conversion Funnel. Don’t worry, though. The tips and tactics provided in this post will prove helpful even if you’re building your lead generation funnel using any other tool.
Bonus: Get our free guide and learn how to scale your online business with conversion funnels.
Table Of Contents
Let’s start with some theories regarding lead generation.
1. What is a lead?
A lead is someone who’s shown interest in your offer and handed you their contact details, so that you can continue the conversation.
The tricky part?
The tricky part? A lead could be someone who came up to you at an event, asked you about your product, and gave you their business card to schedule a product demo.
At the same time, a lead could be someone who’s downloaded one of your ebooks in exchange for which they’ve had to leave their email address.
In the first scenario, we’ve got someone who’s clearly interested in your product and wants to learn more. In the second one, unless we know the topic of the ebook, we can’t say the same for sure.
2. What does lead quality mean?
To distinguish good leads from bad ones, marketers and sales teams use the term lead quality.
But this concept isn’t as straightforward as it may sound. What makes a lead ‘good’ often varies between companies and could even be different for various departments within the same organization.
That’s why organizations often distinguish three kinds of leads – marketing-qualified leads, sales-qualified leads, and sales-accepted leads.
MQL (Marketing Qualified Lead): This is a lead that has been deemed qualified by the marketing team based on specific criteria. These criteria are typically set by the marketing and sales teams together, and they aim to identify leads who have shown a certain level of interest or engagement with the company’s marketing efforts. (e.g., they registered for a webinar) MQLs are typically at the top of the sales funnel, indicating that they may be more likely to become customers with further nurturing and engagement.
The criteria for determining MQLs may vary depending on the company and its target market. It can include factors such as lead demographics, engagement with marketing content, website interactions, email open rates, or other measurable indicators of interest. Once a lead meets these criteria, they are passed on to the sales team for further qualification and conversion into an SQL.
SQL (Sales Qualified Lead): This is a lead that has been further qualified and deemed ready for direct engagement by the sales team. SQLs are leads that have shown a higher level of interest and engagement compared to MQLs (e.g., they booked a demo of your product), and they are considered more likely to convert into paying customers. The sales team evaluates SQLs based on additional criteria beyond what the marketing team assessed.
The criteria for qualifying an SQL can include factors such as a specific budget, a clear need or pain point, the decision-making power within the organization, or a defined timeline for making a purchase. SQLs are considered closer to the bottom of the sales funnel, indicating that they are more likely to be actively considering a purchase or engaging in a sales conversation.
SAL (Sales Accepted Lead): This is a lead that the sales team has accepted and agreed to engage with, but it has not yet met the criteria to be classified as an SQL. SALs are leads that the sales team believes have potential, but further qualification or nurturing is required before they can be considered sales-ready. SALs are often handed off to the sales team by the marketing team or through an internal lead management process.
If you’re going to run lead generation campaigns for your company, you’ll want to make sure that you and your teammates are using the same definitions. This will make your life so much easier when reporting on your campaigns’ outcomes.
Alright, now let’s focus on how you can acquire more customers with lead generation funnels.
3. What are lead funnels?
A lead generation funnel, a.k.a. lead funnel, is a visual representation of the stages a prospect goes through during the process of becoming a lead. It outlines the steps and interactions a potential customer goes through, from the initial awareness of a business or offering to the point of becoming a qualified lead.
Lead generation funnels, similar to sales funnels, are a subset of the umbrella term called marketing funnels. The difference between a sales funnel and a lead generation funnel is that the latter doesn’t aim to make a sale (not right away, at least)
4. How do lead funnels work?
Lead funnels usually consist of five essential elements:
- A squeeze page (a.k.a. signup page), where visitors land and learn about your offer
- An incentive, that your visitors want to get access to
- A lead capture form, through which visitors can exchange their contact details to gain access to the incentive
- A thank you page, where you can say thanks and present your audience with a special offer
- An automated email, through which you’ll deliver the incentive
Naturally, visitors don’t just magically appear on your squeeze page. You need to drive them there first.
There are several main ways of driving traffic to your squeeze pages. The most popular one is to run paid ads among people that may be interested in your offer.
We go over this and other traffic generation methods in our free guide below:
Drive traffic to your pages
Want to learn how to drive traffic to your landing page and promote it effectively? In this guide, we’ll share 9 effective ways you can do it – even if you’re not an expert.
Once people have reached your website, you’ll want to make sure they convert and leave you their contact details.
And if someone decides to sign up through your lead capture form, you should present them with a thank you page and an automated email that sends them the incentive they exchanged their contact details for.
When you put it together, your lead generation funnel should look more or less like this:
5. How different businesses could benefit from them
Now let’s consider some scenarios of how lead funnels could work in different industries.
Let’s say you’re a dietician who’d like to acquire new customers.
To do that, you’ve decided to give away an ebook with healthy breakfast recipes for those who like to eat while they commute without getting messy.
Of course, this might just as well be a quick diet plan, a weekly healthy shopping list, or some other freebie.
That ebook is your lead magnet.
So, you decide to put it on your signup page, where your potential customers can download the ebook after they’ve left their contact details.
To drive traffic onto your landing page, you’ve decided to benefit from your Instagram and Facebook presence.
You’ve published links to your page and snippets of your ebook to generate interest among your fans, followers, and fellow group members.
Once they’ve visited your signup page and left their details, you’ve sent them a welcome email along with some more information about the content they’ll receive in the future.
Should that be the end of it? Not really.
You should nurture your leads with follow up emails and present an additional offer when you think they’re ready to take action.
What kind of an offer? For example a one-on-one consultation that comes with a complete training program and an individually-prepared diet plan.
Want to build a funnel like this?
Now let’s see how an ecommerce business could use a funnel to acquire more leads and turn them into customers.
For this example, we’re going to imagine you’re an online store owner selling various types of accessories and fashion items.
To generate leads you’ve decided to create a set of gift guides – a gift guide for those who love to travel, sports and activities amateurs, and finally a guide for those who are crazy about a specific movie or game.
Now that you’ve selected the lead magnet, you have to place it on your signup form and start promoting it.
To drive tons of traffic, you’ve decided to run Facebook ads, targeted at people with specific set of characteristics and interests.
Once someone fills out your signup form, they receive a thank you email with a link to download the guide.
That could be the end of it, or you could turn that lead funnel into a sales funnel.
To do that, you just need to add more emails into your lead nurturing sequence, present your best-rated products, and give them a discount code for their first purchase.
As an extra step, you could also run retargeting ads for those who abandoned your sales page or run a Lookalike audience ad based on contacts who’ve already bought something from you before.
Want to build a funnel like this?
How about a coaching business?
Of course, you can use funnels in your lead generation process, too 🙂
The lead magnet you’d use could be a strategic guide, a video course, toolkit, framework, or something else that’s relevant to your audience.
The rest of the funnel would be roughly the same. The only difference would be in the methods you’d use to drive traffic, and the content of your autoresponder email series.
Here’s a complete walk-through, along with best practices for building lead funnels for coaches, from Sean Smith.
And here’s the template Sean discussed in his video, which you can of course use yourself in the GetResponse Conversion Funnel.
Let’s now see the exact steps it takes for you to create a lead funnel using GetResponse Conversion Funnel.
6. How to set up a lead funnel using GetResponse Conversion Funnel
If you’d rather watch this as a video, here’s one that covers the full list building funnel scenario.
Alternatively, you can carry on and read the individual steps below.
Step 1. Accessing the GetResponse Conversion Funnels (fka Autofunnel)
To access the funnel creator, click on the menu icon in the navigation bar at the top and select the GetResponse Conversion Funnel.
Step 2. Choose the right funnel type
Next, name your funnel and choose the middle option – Build a list.
The name you’ll choose here will be used to generate a new list of contacts. This is where your newly acquired leads will be added after you’ve successfully converted them with your lead magnet.
Step 3. Create the signup page
After you’ve successfully named your funnel, you should have arrived to the funnel wizard.
That’s where you’ll be able to manage all the elements of your funnel, like the signup pages, automated emails that’ll go after, and so on.
Here’s what it looks like:
Let’s now create a signup page, by clicking the button to your right.
Step 4. Select and edit the template that’s right for your business
Now you can pick a landing page template or build a page from scratch.
Unless you’re a designer, I’d recommend playing around with the available ready-made templates first, as they’ve all been created by our team keeping your conversion rates in mind.
Once you’ve selected your favorite template, you have to edit it.
This video explains how you can do this.
When editing the template, remember to edit the signup page, exit intent form, thank you page, and the mobile versions of the two.
Change things like the headline, main copy, and links.
And, of course, think about how you’re going to share the lead magnet.
If you’re going to do it on the thank you page, then make sure to add the download link there.
If you’re going to share it only in the welcome email, then you can skip that process for now.
Once you’ve finished editing your squeeze page, it’s time to focus on the message you’ll send to those who fill out your signup form.
Step 5. Add an automated welcome email
In the funnel wizard view, click on the second button – create an email.
This will take you to the autoresponder settings view, where you’ll be able to adjust the elements like the subject line of your message or the from address.
Once that’s done, you get to either create an email from scratch or use one of our email templates that match your signup page.
Pick one and then you’ll be taken to the email creator view. There, you’ll be able to alter the copy and polish off your welcome email.
Remember: if you haven’t shared the download link for you lead magnet yet, you should add it here.
Step 6. Promote your signup page
Finally, it’s time to promote your signup page.
Post it everywhere you think it’s relevant – your Facebook groups, Instagram, and Facebook accounts, or even your blog.
This way you’ll put enough fuel into this lead generation machine that you’ve just launched.
7. The next steps
The fun part starts once you’ve successfully published your first funnel.
This is when you should start thinking about new ways to drive more traffic, select a better lead magnet, increase conversions, and optimize your email open rates.
With the GetResponse Conversion Funnel, you can do all that within one single tool, without having to pay extra for additional services.
If you’re interested in giving it a spin, sign up for a free account and see how quickly it can help you generate more leads.