Today’s marketing teams are pressed to do more with less. One way to do this is to optimize inbound lead generation efforts to bring in new leads and revenue at scale.
Fortunately, there are plenty of lead generation tools on the market today that can help ideate opportunities and activities for capturing demand! Better yet, many of these tools incorporate some automation and recommendations for optimization of your campaigns.
This allows your marketing team to spend more time strategizing and executing on tasks that actually work towards your department’s goals.
- Categories of Lead Generation Tools
- Choosing the Right Lead Generation Solution for Your Business
Ready to find the best lead generation tools by use? Scan this table to jump ahead!
|Video content marketing
|Written content marketing
|Search engine advertising
|Social media advertising
|Website exit-intent pop-ups
|B2B social media lead generation
|LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
|Building and optimizing landing pages for conversion
|Building one-off landing pages
|Earning product trust and grid positioning from reviews
|For being ranked on categories for buyers to find you
|Email marketing automation
Why Lead Generation is Crucial for Businesses
Lead generation efforts are important for businesses because it’s what allows the company to grow its market share to new audiences. Without lead generation activities, companies would be forced to rely on existing customers for upsells and referrals, which often has a much slower growth rate. And since 97% of potential buyers are ignoring cold calls from outbound lead generation efforts, there’s even more importance on inbound efforts, in particular, to be successful!
Transform your lead magnet strategy with Thinkific’s Free Download Funnel. This AI-powered funnel enables you to quickly build and publish your own landing page and offer a free digital download to your prospects in return for their email addresses.
Content Marketing Tools
Content marketing is the practice of creating media like blogs, videos, quizzes, and whitepapers to help your audience learn about your offering and attract them as leads.
In B2B marketing programs, 88% of marketers also use content for building brand awareness! A great content strategy tool should enable you to build interactive elements and track engagement so that you can keep your audience on your content for longer which drives up conversion and retention rates.
Video content is rapidly becoming a dominant force in marketing, with studies showing that 85% of all internet users in the United States watched online video content monthly on their devices.
By leveraging Thinkific Plus’s robust platform for video content marketing, your businesses can tap into this growing trend, creating, distributing, and analyzing high-quality video content. This fosters a deeper connection with prospects, customers and drives leads, revenue and growth, positioning your company at the forefront of the competitive marketplace.
Thinkific Plus is a Learning Management System and is a fantastic option if you’re pursuing a video content strategy as it allows you to create, market and sell your library of video and educational content ino other formats to viewers. The platform is great for webinars, thought leadership courses, product training videos, and bundles with other content formats (like downloadable templates, for example).
- Video editing tools
- Marketing promotion and distribution support
- Detailed payments and course engagement analytics
- Build and manage communities for future upselling and referrals
Pricing: Request pricing here.
Looking to learn more about Learning Management Systems? Download the LMS Platform Buyer’s Guide
For Written Content: Hubspot Marketing
For companies pursuing more blog, whitepaper, and search engine optimization (SEO) strategies, Hubspot is a good place to look. It syncs to your customer relationship management (CRM) platform to give marketing teams ideas of what topics inbound leads are asking about. Then, you can write, distribute, analyze, and optimize your blog content for top rankings – all from the Hubspot Marketing platform!
- Identify SEO opportunities to create targeted pieces to buyer’s needs
- Embed custom forms onto content
- Detailed tracking on views, clicks, and conversions
- Marketing engagement analytics synced to contact’s data profiles so it can be tracked through the customer lifecycle
Pricing: Starts at $1,150 per month
Search Engine Advertising Tools
Search engines are one of the best places to generate leads because you can offer solutions to potential buyers in the same place that they’re asking the questions. A lot of other companies know about this marketing strategy too, which is why SEO and search engine advertising efforts have shot through the roof in popularity!
For Advertising on a Search Engine: Google Ads
Far and wide, Google Ads is the most utilized search engine advertising tool. Even if you only have a basic understanding of how ad purchasing and performance works, Google Ads makes it really easy to walk through the tool.
- Create custom audiences based on engagement, search interests, and demographics
- Set-up retargeting to ensure hot leads get the most attention from your ads
- Choose to do automated or manual bidding to maximize your return on investment (ROI)
- Create multiple campaigns in different media formats and on multiple channels at once
- Detailed tracking and analytics to measure and compare campaign performance over time
Pricing: Free to use, advertising costs are paid based on performance
Social Media Advertising Tools
Social media marketing (SMM) is ideal for brands that have highly engaged online buyers. LinkedIn and Facebook are more popular for B2B lead generation efforts because they typically host more buyers or facilitate more business-oriented conversations. Therefore, it’s a great place for B2B brands to jump in with solutions to ongoing business challenges presented directly to their target audience.
For Social Advertising to Businesses: Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads (also now known as Meta Ads) is one tool that can help with lead generation on social media. Meta offers an online business center that allows you to create target audience segments and deliver specially crafted advertisements to these groups!
- Enable retargeting to make hot leads convert faster
- Conduct omnichannel advertising campaigns across all of Meta’s platforms
- Adjust bids on advertising to optimize your ROI
Pricing: Free to use, advertising costs are paid based on performance
Lead Capture Tools
When a potential buyer is ready to reach out, it’s important to have a lead capture area ready to go. Typically, they’ll integrate with your existing CRM or website platform to accept information from a form or send pop-up notifications to leads while they’re interacting with your content. This can be great for asking the lead if they have any questions, offering them a seat at an upcoming webinar, or encouraging them to view a demo of your product.
While Hubspot offers pop-ups in its Marketing hub, too, we’ve already mentioned it above. So here’s a few other great lead capture tools!
For Capturing Email: Sumo
Sumo is an email capture tool, meaning it can pop-up onto your WordPress or Shopify site to help you earn newsletter subscribers, new leads, and webinar registrations. It works well for both e-commerce and salesteam-driven products. With Sumo’s Pro plan, you can optimize your lead capture efforts with A/B testing, too!
- Automatically sends welcome emails to nurture new leads
- Offers new leads discount codes to reduce card abandonment rates
- Enables visitor targeting and social media sharing
- Analytics dashboard to view and measure performance
- Free plan available
- Paid plan available at $39USD/month
For Reducing Exit Intent: Poptin
Often, visitors might leave your website without finding what they’re looking for. But Poptin helps reduce this by understanding when visitors are likely to leave your website and offering them pop-ups with more tailored information. This helps keep your bounce rates low and time on page high!
- 11+ types of pop-ups to suit screen size, interaction type, and information collection requirements
- Integrations to major sales and marketing software for a seamless transition of lead data
- Triggers to target users while they’re doing a specific on-site activity
- Custom visitor targeting based on traffic source, content engagement, and more!
- Free plan available
- Paid plans starting at $25USD/month
For Capturing B2B Leads on Social Media: LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
Many companies leverage LinkedIn as a social media channel, especially those that conduct B2B sales. It’s a good practice to have a lead generation form set up on your company’s LinkedIn profile to collect any contact information from interested buyers. This gets your sales team in contact with the lead faster than if you asked the lead to reach out to you via an email or phone number instead.
- Noticeable lead generation form on every company profile page
- Customizable information fields
- Receive contact information from submissions via email
- Encourages contacts who submit a form to follow you on LinkedIn or subscribe to your newsletter as well!
Landing Page Providers
A great landing page is crucial for converting an interested viewer into a lead. High-converting landing pages should have inspiring copy and visuals that prove how the solution will meet the buyer’s needs and help them overcome a challenge they’re currently facing.
For building and optimizing landing pages: Unbounce
Unbounce is an AI-driven landing page builder tool that can help you craft the best messaging for your page’s intent (eg. selling, registering for webinars or contests, offering free demos). Not only will it help with copy creation, but it will offer recommendations for design, too! This makes it great for beginners.
- Offers pop-ups and sticky bars on landing pages to drive up conversions
- Quickly create landing pages based on templates to cater multiple pages for unique campaigns
- Get recommendations to change layout and copy based on traffic engagement
- Starts at $99USD/year
For Building One-Off Landing Pages: Cardd
If you’re just starting to experiment with landing pages or you just need it for a one-off case, Cardd is a great option! Their platform is simple and easy to use so you don’t have to spend a lot of time building a landing page for a short-term or one-off purpose.
- Offers a template library to make set-up quick and easy for beginners
- Pages will automatically respond to screen size which saves time on optimization and improves user engagement performance
- Option to integrate with marketing and sales tools for seamless lead transfer (paid plan)
- Free to build up to three sites (pages) per account
- Paid plan available at $19USD per year
Review sites also double as a marketplace for lead generation as buyers use them as a centralized spot for comparing features and pricing. It’s a good idea to get on as many of these as possible, but we also have two sites that we think are the best for lead generation!
For collecting user reviews and using social proof: G2
Plenty of software companies now use their G2 score as a metric for product success. G2 is a software product marketplace where users can leave detailed reviews. This creates a G2 score that companies can embed onto their website and social media to drive further lead generation!
- Offers a comprehensive portfolio of reviews, case studies, and product images to a potential buyer
- Allows leads to directly contact you for a quote or demo
- Analytics to measure who is viewing and engaging with your product’s profile
- Embed the G2 score or reviews directly to your other marketing channels
Pricing: Free to create a product profile
For ranking on categories of tools users browse for: Capterra
Capterra is another fantastic software product review marketplace. It functions similar to G2, and also allows potential buyers to search by category (which is especially helpful when leads aren’t sure what the name of your product’s category is).
- Share links to customers to request reviews
- Reviewed from actual customers have a “verified” status to authenticate them
- Comprehensive directory so leads can search for your category easier
- Opportunities for companies to be part of industry/category research
Pricing: Free to create a product profile
Marketing Automation Platforms
Once you have a steady stream of leads coming in, you’ll need an efficient tool for nurturing and converting them. Ideally, your marketing automation tool will also be able to sense when leads are cold or hot, and be able to distribute custom content depending on the lead’s stage in the sales funnel.
For Customizing Messaging to Leads: Customer.io
Customer.io is a marketing automation platform designed to give your leads tailored messages throughout their customer lifecycle. From beginning to end, this tool can score your lead based on the type of product that they’re interested in and their likelihood to buy – which helps you deliver the right copy and the right time.
- Automated lead scoring and content distribution
- Easy visual workflow builder to create custom designed automation
- Integrate with other sales and marketing platforms for seamless handover of lead data
- Multiple workspaces to handle different brands or products separately
Pricing: Starts at $100USD per month
For Automating Emails: ActiveCampaign
ActiveCampaign is a great email automation tool for beginner marketers because of how simple it is to use. If you like using the platform, you can also extend your subscription to cover other areas of the sales and marketing process too!
- Automated email distribution based on pre-set triggers
- Create automation workflows that send multiple emails over time based on pre-set contact or engagement parameters
- Easy drag-and-drop email builder
- Build-in A/B testing tools
- Email marketing performance analytics dashboard to measure your success
Pricing: Starts at $66USD per month
Factors to Consider
When determining which lead generation tool is best for your business, there’s quite a few factors to consider. Some of these include:
- Your company’s size. How many team members are using the platform?
- Your audience’s size. How many marketing contacts are you sending content to?
- The frequency and scale of your efforts. How often are you distributing content or processing forms?
- Industry requirements. Are there specific security, compliance, or information collection requirements that you need the tool to meet?
- The information managed in the tool. Is the tool able to automatically collect, transfer, and store that type of information?
- Integration with the rest of your tech stack. Are integrations already in place between the tools, or will you need to leverage a third party platform, like Zapier?
- Long-term costs at scale. As your team, audience size, and activity frequency grows, what will costs look like? Is this a manageable cost?
- Onboarding and training requirements. Is your team quick to learn new technology? Is training or onboarding support available in case you need it?
- Customer success requirements. How vital is the tool to the success of your marketing organization? If you have a question about a feature or use case, who will you contact?
These factors are very important when purchasing any marketing tool. As you review different lead generation software options, remember to consider your company’s current and future situations. Your team, budget, and operations might look very different today compared to 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year down the road! Moving a lot of data and automation workflows isn’t easy to do down the line. So you’ll be further ahead to deeply consider these factors now and save the headache later.
Final Thoughts on Choosing the Best Lead Generation Tools, Software, and Platforms
There’s a ton of different lead generation platforms on the market today, and a lot of them will improve some aspect of your business. To make your search a bit less overwhelming, focus on tools that have features that are vital to your marketing team’s success rather than features that just seem cool but don’t serve a purpose for you. And don’t forget to check in with your team about their needs too – just in case you’ve forgotten something important!
Lead generation is vital for any growing business – there’s no denying that. You need a steady stream of leads and revenue coming in to grow long-term.
Using an LMS platform like Thinkific Plus, as a lead generation platform, makes it easier to transform leads into brand advocates by offering high-value education at every stage of the customer journey. It’s so simple to use, that you can focus on generating demand—not worrying about technology. You also get a team of people seriously dedicated to helping you leverage learning to land and nurture more leads.
Let an LMS Platform like Thinkific Plus help you generate more leads—not more work.
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This post was updated in September 2023 with additional insight.