Lead Generation for Agencies: The Ultimate Guide for 2024

August 11, 2023

As an agency, you have extensive expertise in developing digital marketing strategies for your clients. You're always going above and beyond to get them more customers. 

But are you doing enough for your own digital marketing business? 

If you're like most other digital marketing agencies, 

  • You're one of 40% of marketers who finds it challenging to generate qualified leads
  • You're also one of the 26% that can't understand how to gauge lead quality 
  • That's not all. You're among the 14% who don't know which channels are right for lead generation. 
Lead Generation statistics for marketers

If that wasn't enough, as much as 45% of marketing agencies rely on getting new clients from recommendations or referrals. Referrals are great, but focusing on only one lead source is risky. 

You could be wasting your time on the wrong leads that:

  • Are not high quality 
  • Are not a relevant fit for you
  • Don't have the proper budget or type of projects 

Overall, referrals alone aren't a consistent source of leads. It becomes oh so important when you're navigating a thoroughly competitive landscape. Even sizable digital marketing agencies today are going after the same leads that medium and small digital marketing agencies chase. 

Guess that brings us to the all-important question—how can you refine your lead generation efforts? 

By using the proper lead generation and content marketing strategies.

This blog will give you everything you need for a successful lead generation strategy. So keep reading until the end!

Digital Marketing agencies hero image

Why should you implement lead generation for agencies?

There are multiple reasons you should put together a solid lead generation strategy for your agency. But we'll make it quick and list down 10 key ones. 

  1. You attract qualified leads, improving conversion rates.
  2. You can keep the sales pipeline active. 
  3. It establishes a strong foundation for long-lasting client relationships. 
  4. You set clear expectations for prospects and your lead generation team.
  5. You demonstrate brand credibility via insightful information.
  6. The right audience segments get to view your value proposition. 
  7. The sales team can gather better data to support their pitches. 
  8. You facilitate your potential leads' decision-making process.
  9. You build repeatable lead generation strategies that improve productivity. 
  10. You boost growth through increased revenue, market expansion and partner alliances. 

6 steps for building strategic agency lead generation  

Effective lead generation campaigns are built on a solid and strategic foundation.

“If your foundation is not right, the leads you generate may not be useful and you will not have a successful campaign.” – Shivani Khokhani, Growth Marketer at Driftrock

Here’s how you can set up yours. 

1. Identify qualified leads 

Instead of reaching out to a target audience that's far and wide, get more specific with your targeting. Find leads that best fit your offering and are looking for your solution.

And if you don't know where to begin, customer research is the perfect place. You can gather insights by interviewing existing customers and understanding their personas, buying motivations, behaviours and interests.

How to capture more qualified leads? Identify your target audience by asking 3 questions. Where do your customers spend time online? What are their biggest challenges or pain points? How does your solution help them?

By digging deeper into 'Who is your customer?', you can correctly drive your lead generation campaign.

2. Define your offering

Audiences comprehensively research products before making a purchase. More than 43% of internet users use the internet to research products and brands. 

Showing audiences precisely what you do gives them the information they seek, influencing them to connect with you. 

Start by clearly defining your services and USP. It also lets you set realistic expectations and value propositions for leads, attracting the most relevant prospects

Defining your offering also helps avoid lengthy discussions or negotiations with prospects who aren't a good fit. Instead, you can spend time building long-term relationships.

3. Set lead generation goals 

Each lead generation campaign must be attached to specific goals if you wish to know where your efforts lead your business. 

You could use past performance as a benchmark to set numbers for leads, conversion rate, lead value, and more. If you don't have enough data to fall back on, turn to industry benchmarks instead. But remember that these may vary, depending on the players involved. 

💡 Bonus tip:

If you're new to lead generation, there's another way to set goals. Find out the average lead value for your company (from existing customers) and then work backwards. Then, calculate how many leads you need and how many should be converted to reach this sales goal.

4. Nurture leads for conversion

You should engage with leads where they're active. This is where an omnichannel presence matters.

Drive value for your leads across channels by making information about your offerings readily available.

Nurture leads for conversion by sharing information and using lead generation tactics. Share Pricing, Success stories, Use cases, Industries you service, Testimonials or social proof, Unique selling points, Background information on key leaders or persons in the team

Also, if your leads have queries or concerns, ensure your lead generation team addresses them head-on. It improves your credibility and trustworthiness among prospects

5. Consider generating your own leads 

The market for lead generation has expanded to a large extent, opening up several options to purchase leads today.

While this does seem like an easy way out, consider keeping lead generation in-house. It gives you complete ownership over your lead ecosystem.

Plus, zero and first-party data (gathered from customers) are far more reliable and accurate. And it avoids data security issues and legal ramifications, which will otherwise cost you a fortune.

6. Strike a balance between inbound and outbound 

Rounding up a successful lead generation campaign is all about leveraging the right channels. Primarily, these channels are classified as inbound and outbound.

Inbound vs Outbound lead generation for digital marketing agencies

You can attract inbound leads by creating content and digital marketing campaigns, attracting leads to your business. On the other hand, outbound lead generation pushes you to reach out to prospects proactively.

Inbound methods have slower results but often create lasting customer relationships. Plus, they establish your authority in the industry.

Outbound directly targets potential clients and generates qualified leads faster, but there are chances of a lower conversion rate. That's because if you're reaching out to leads who know little about you, they may not be as forthcoming.

Now, let's look at what channels you can use to generate leads for your agency. 

6 steps for building strategic agency lead generation

7 ways of lead generations for agencies 

There are multiple ways or channels to generate leads. But after testing out several, we landed on the 7 best ones for agencies.

1. Website 

More than having a website, it’s about optimising your website for SEO. 

Search engine optimization is a long-term, organic and strategic process to improve your website's ranking on the search results page. If you rank higher, more users will check out your website, increasing traffic.

Website for agency lead generation

Source: Google

SEO is a low-cost content marketing strategy but has been wildly successful in the long run. It's easily among one of the best ROI-making lead generation channels. In fact, 88% of marketers who already do SEO plan to increase or, at least, maintain their investment this year.

Next on the checklist for optimising your website is mobile optimisation. As of early 2023, nearly 65% of web traffic comes via mobile devices. 

And according to Google, a mobile-optimised web experience results in better ranking on mobile search results. Some essential factors you want to consider are mobile page load speed and button sizes.

💡 Bonus tip: 

Take your website optimisation further with local SEO. This is especially important if you're a small agency. List your business online, such as on Google My Business, and create a dedicated location page on Google Maps.

2. Blogs

Blogs are popular because they're a lean method of marketing your agency. That means blogs use lesser economic resources, which makes them specifically crucial during times of downturn. 

33% of marketers post blogs and articles today. And blogs rank third among media formats that generate the highest ROI. 

Blogs are a low cost lead generation strategy

Source: Driftrock

You can use this channel to create value-based content and brand awareness. Blogs are also an excellent way to leverage high-intent keywords and collect backlinks, contributing to your SEO efforts.

💡 Bonus tip: 

Blogs are effortlessly versatile. Use that to your advantage and experiment with several blog types, including:

  • Listicles
  • Thought leadership articles
  • How-tos
  • Guides
  • Product updates
  • New market entry
  • Company announcements, and more.

3. Email marketing 

Emails may be associated with cold outreach when it comes to lead generation. But we've found that email marketing is more successful when used as an engagement, nurturing or remarketing method. That is, you already have a new lead's details.

Sending emails to users who don't know you may put you at risk of getting marked as 'spam'.  

Email marketing to nurture the target audience

Source: Growth Hacks Weekly

Instead, when a new lead comes in, sync their info with your CRM or email marketing software. Driftrock can help you do this and use the data for nurturing qualified leads. 

Set up welcome, drip and follow-up campaigns. You can start by sending a personalised introductory email. Follow it up with:

  • Newsletters
  • Exclusive invites
  • Exclusive or limited-time offers
  • Product or service updates
  • Brand updates

💡 Bonus tip:

Readers, on average, spend only 9 seconds reading an email. So, build a catchy yet concise email draft with an irresistible offer or lead magnet. 

Remember to test every email before you send it to see if your creative elements and CTA are attractive enough to capture leads. 

4. Social media marketing

Social media is thriving today for brands and customers alike.

People typically use social platforms to take a break. You can fit in using light content or humour that isn't too technical (even if your product is).

Social media lead generation is popular today

Source: Mailchimp

Some platforms you could use are Instagram, Facebook, TikTok and Twitter. If your audience is geared towards B2B, LinkedIn should be one of the first platforms to consider. YouTube is also a good option for uploading how-tos about your solution.

Leverage paid ads to widen your audience. Nearly all social media platforms offer an array of lead generation-related ad formats.

You can even post in several formats, organic and paid. These include:

  • Stories
  • Carousels
  • Short-form videos
  • Q&As
  • Live videos
  • Testimonial posts or videos
  • Contests

💡 Bonus tip:

Join social groups or communities to (a) get insights from experts and other marketing agencies in a similar industry and (b) get more first-hand information on your target audience through discussions and open forums.

You can also use your inbox or DMs (direct messages) to reply to queries and generate qualified leads.

5. Paid social media ads and search engine ads (PPC ads)

Paid media plays a strategic role in extending your reach and making your message seen and heard. It delivers content to a larger audience beyond your followers. This allows you to scale your brand's online presence using lead generation.

Lead generation through paid media

Source: LinkedIn

Paid posts also help generate qualified leads and convert them. These leads could be interested in your offering but haven’t made a purchase decision yet. 

One of the types of paid media is PPC ads

But several brands are already running ads every single minute of the day. Given the competition with PPC, you need to innovate with your idea and copy to stand out.

Some other ways you can stand out are:

  • Showing up where qualified leads are searching for you or your services. 
  • Bidding on relevant keywords that match search intent.
  • Including both short and long-tail keywords. 
  • Considering local ad campaigns, too.

💡 Bonus tip:

It's not all about reaching out to audiences that already know you. Run ads on discovery-based platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn to create demand for your product, where there was little or none before.

6. Lead generation forms

A lead generation form captures contact details in exchange for lead magnets. As much as 84% of marketers use form submissions to measure conversion. It signals that lead forms are the final step in the lead generation race.

Lead generation forms capture more leads

Source: Driftrock

A lead generation form is easy to set up (mainly using a form builder) and can be used anywhere online. You can set it up anywhere on your website—home page, services page, contact us page, case studies, blogs, and more.

You can also use it in social media posts and paid social ads. Several platforms have specific ad inventories for creating native lead gen forms or promoting lead forms that you’ve built.

If you want more specific targeting on search, use Google Lead Form Extensions.

Besides these, Driftrock offers more than 20 sources to generate leads through forms. You can direct the lead data to the CRM using our platform and track their journey from lead to conversion (both online and offline).

💡 Bonus tip:

The type of lead magnets you offer influences the length of your lead gen forms. The form can be shorter if the attached lead magnet isn't comprehensive. However, if your lead magnet is, for instance, a whitepaper or industry report, leads can be more open to sharing more details.

7. Video Marketing

Video is ranked as the most popular and influential media format for the fourth year in a row. It also has the highest ROI of any media format. 

Particularly, short-form video continues to dominate. These include the likes of Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts. 

Video marketing has multi-fold benefits—increased website traffic, improved SEO and higher social media engagement, among others. 

💡 Bonus tip:

Here's how you can use videos. 

  • Determine the objective or purpose of the video. It could be product education, brand awareness, audience engagement, lead generation or conversion, company culture, or something else. 
  • Select the type of video you want to post. Below is a list of widely used video types.  

Video types that drive lead generation for agencies

Source: Wistia

  • Determine the video's length. It could be a short-form video (generally up to 60 seconds) or long form (more than 60 seconds).
  • Choose the most relevant platforms to distribute your video. Options include YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, Facebook and LinkedIn. 
  • Remember to make your videos accessible to everyone. For instance, incorporate elements such as auto-generated captions on YouTube videos. 
  • Once you've posted the video, measure and analyse its performance using metrics such as video plays, minutes watched, engagement rate, and conversion. This helps you improve your video marketing skills and performance. 

5 agency lead generation trends to watch out for

A holistic lead generation strategy accounts for the past, present, and future. To give you a headstart, we've listed 5 upcoming trends for which you should be looking.

1. Leading with intent 

This trend encourages you to look beyond the ICP (which is generally built on anonymous customer profiles). Instead, track intent to understand overall market signals.

Currently, we use tools such as Google Analytics, Google Trends and Social Listening to understand market signals. But these platforms are more indicative of previous interest.

Intent data gives a more realistic and real-time view of potential customers' specific needs and wants. Leading with intent gives you the edge by helping you craft better and more relevant copy for lead gen campaigns.

2. Redefining digital behaviour

Web3 and the Metaverse can potentially transform buyer behaviour through NFTs, virtual events, augmented reality (AR), interactive demos and more. 

While this is all the rage, it may not bear results for all. 1 in 3 marketers plans to stop using NFTs this year, and 29% aim to cut down on marketing in the metaverse and audio chat rooms. 

The best way to find out what works for your company is to experiment with different media.

3. Focusing on full-funnel marketing 

Full-funnel or 360-degree marketing covers multiple marketing channels, creating a unified ecosystem.

“Lead forms are important in the lead generation process and a channel that agencies must certainly explore. 

They can decrease friction and increase conversions. They can be automated, customised according to channels, branding, the information you need, and much more.”

– Shivani Khokhani, Growth Marketer at Driftrock

It connects marketing through different activities, data, tech and personalisation.

4. Fostering trust

Storytelling is an essential part of marketing. But it needs to be backed by trust-building through authenticity.

It could also mean you may have to move away from polished, self-centred content to realistically sharing the struggle behind running a business.

Trust fosters loyalty.  

5. Marketing in the downturn

If your financial position allows you to do so, continue marketing spending during the downturn. Use this time to market yourself and increase your share of voice when competitors are slowing down. 

This is the time to stand behind organic content experiences. Create awareness for your brand rather than outbound lead generation. And prioritise empathy to win customers over. 

Boost Agency Lead Generation strategies with Driftrock 

The final step in building a solid lead generation process is deploying a robust lead management tool. Driftrock can back your lead generation strategies through a plethora of characteristics.

How Driftrock assists lead generation for digital marketing agency

Learn more about how we can assist and amplify your lead generation campaigns. Get started, or book a demo with us!