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How to Get Higher Quality Leads Online

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When you are investing in an online marketing campaign, your goal is to drive sales (not leads). Often times, leads from ads don’t convert well because they are not qualified for your services. Maybe they don’t have the budget to hire you, or they aren’t in the right industry, or they are looking for something different than what you provide.

Regardless of the reason your leads are not qualified, there are things you can do to get higher quality leads online. Here are some of the things we help our clients do:

Get Clear About Your Ideal Customer

Before you even start creating marketing campaigns, you should map out every detail of your ideal customer and create a customer profile. Ask yourself:

1.) How old are they?

2.) What gender are they?

3.) What are their interests?

4.) What is their education level?

5.) What is their net worth? Income level?

6.) What is their job title?

7.) What is their paint point?

8.) What is their budget?

9.) How long do they take to make a purchasing decision?

10.) How many touch points are required, on average, to make a sale?

11.) What questions are they asking?

12.) What competitors of ours are they evaluating?

13.) Why do they choose us?


There are hundreds of questions you can ask. Write everything down and develop one or more customer profiles. This sounds like a simple task – but most companies haven’t done it. You will be surprised how much clearer your ad targeting and messaging becomes when you complete this step first.

Develop Targeting

Only after you have developed a detailed customer profile should you put your audiences together on advertising platforms. Select demographics, interests, and behaviors that align with those of your customer profile.

Segment your targeting into separate ads so you can easily measure and optimize the response rates of each.

Develop Ad Types

Your customer profile should also tell you a lot about your customers’ decision-making process. Your ads should align with this. If it typically takes months for your leads to become sales, you might consider creating a longer ad funnel. For example, you might create retargeting audiences so that after a user visits your site, they continue seeing your ads over time.

Or, if your service is difficult to explain and typically requires a call with a salesperson, you might consider producing video content. This allows you to more effectively convey your value proposition than an image ad would.

If your customers make emotional purchasing decisions in regards to your product, focus your ads on feelings (happy faces, colorful graphics, glowing testimonials). If you are more of a commodity and your customers choose you for objective reasons, focus your ads on statistics, benefits, and value.

Qualify in the Ad Text

Companies are often hesitant to use restricting language in their ads. They worry about ad text that gives qualifications because they don’t want to discourage anyone from reaching out to them. However, exclusivity is a very powerful tool.

We ran an ad campaign for a franchisor recently who was looking to attract new franchisees. At first, they were getting a lot of leads that were not financially qualified to invest in a franchise. However, when we added, “Must have at least $700,000 in net worth and be ready to invest in growing a business” to the ads, our conversion rates actually increased. Why? Because we were projecting that we were an exclusive opportunity – and people love to be part of something exclusive.

So, not only will you weed out unqualified leads – but you will actually attract more qualified leads.

Filter Your Leads

Your landing page should have a form that asks all the important qualifying questions. If someone isn’t qualified, automatically send them an email that lets them know it’s not a good fit (in a polite way).

Make sure your email leaves the door open, in case they actually are qualified. Explain why it’s not a good fit – and then tell them something like, “If we are mistaken and you think our services are a good fit for you, please respond to this email and we can set up a call.” People often make mistakes on web forms. This will prevent you from throwing out a qualified lead – without wasting your valuable time.

Create a Feedback Loop

It is VERY important that once you start driving leads, you are tracking the exact source of each lead. Please, please, please use a CRM. And PLEASE post the exact campaign and ad that drove each lead into the CRM on that lead’s profile.

For example, if Facebook Ad #23 created the lead “John Doe”, then “John Doe” should have a field on his profile in your CRM that reads “Facebook Ad #23”. It is important that you not only know it was from Facebook, but that you know the exact ad that drove it.

Choose a CRM that allows for reporting based on detailed lead source. Most have this capability, or can be customized to.

Then, you can run reports on the success of each advertising platform, creative, audience, ad type, and more! You can see not only what campaigns are driving the most leads, but also what campaigns have the highest quality leads (that are becoming sales and driving revenue!). Once you have this data, you can funnel more of your budget towards what is creating these high-quality leads – and drive more of them!

Report on Qualified Leads (with a Rating System)

Often, when marketing teams run key performance indicator reports, they use “cost per lead” as their main metric. When your team is optimizing for leads and not sales, you will not create high quality leads.

Make sure you define the exact things that make a lead qualified, and use “qualified leads” as the metric in all your reports. The numbers won’t be as sexy – but your bottom line will thank you.

It’s not always as black and white as “qualified” and “unqualified”. You should consider creating a lead rating system on a scale of 1-10. You can report on the average rating of the leads you are generating, and use that as your key metrics as well. Many CRMs, like Salesforce, allow you to automatically calculate lead ratings based on the fields in each leads profile.

Ask Questions

You should be having conversations with your prospects, and incorporating that into your feedback loop as well. As them things like:

1.) How did you find us?

2.) What made you interested in us?

3.) Why did you decide to contact us?

4.) Why did you decide to purchase from us?

5.) What, if anything, did you find confusing about the process?


This will be valuable information. If a lot of your best leads express that a specific image or video really spoke to them, it is a good indicator that you should use that creative more. If a lot of your best leads found something confusing about your ads or landing page, consider making changes. You will uncover things that your CRM data might not tell you.

You should also be asking questions of your sales team. Ask them:

  1. What are the greatest lead quality issues you are experiencing?
  2. What are the reasons leads are turning into sales?
  3. Describe your ideal lead.
  4. What do you think marketing should be doing differently?
  5. How can we better prepare leads for you?

Listen to your sales team, and adjust your ads accordingly. They know the client much better than you do.


Never. Stop. Testing. Ever. Especially when it comes to increasing lead quality. You should always be testing new messages, targeting, creatives, and ad platforms, and measuring how each affects the cost per qualified lead.