Want to know the top channels to find leads and run effective lead campaigns? You could Google it, or you could ask the experts.
According to HubSpot, getting more leads is a top priority for marketers—but finding effective strategies isn't easy. That's because different lead generation channels and campaign types don't work for every business.
Which channels are most effective for your business?
We asked ten marketing experts to share their top lead gen channels and how they leverage those platforms to generate better leads.
There are dozens of lead generation channels, each with multiple ad and campaign types; it can get overwhelming.
To make the process easier, we've narrowed it down to just seven channels and asked the experts to explain how they leverage those channels effectively.
LinkedIn as a lead generation tool
LinkedIn is a powerhouse for lead generation, especially for B2B. According to Similarweb, the average LinkedIn user spends 7 minutes and 28 seconds per visit and views almost seven pages.
Your prospects aren't mindlessly scrolling LinkedIn; they're actively engaging with content, making it a highly effective lead generation channel.
LinkedIn also offers a range of ad types, many specifically targeting lead generation 🙌
Here are ad types that make LinkedIn an exceptional channel for lead generation campaigns.
LinkedIn dynamic ads
Dynamic ads allow businesses to activate custom ads for each person based on their profile data.
For example, your lead gen Linkedin ads could mention their job title, use their company name in the copy, or even use their picture in your ad. As a result, you can create insanely personalized ads—at scale.
LinkedIn lead gen forms
Lead gen forms are a LinkedIn add-on for Message Ads and Sponsored Content ads. (Which means they don't work for every ad type.) Rather than asking users to click on a landing page, these add-ons turn your ad into a lead-gathering form.
Lead gen forms also come pre-filled with data from the user's profile, making it easier for them to fill out your lead form 🎉
LinkedIn outreach + other platforms
LinkedIn is pretty powerful on its own, but pairing it with other platforms creates a one-two punch that delivers incredibly qualified leads.
Here's what Trevor Larson, the CEO of Nectar HR, shared about their most effective lead gen campaign:
“The most effective lead generation campaign I've run was a combination of LinkedIn outreach and email. The LinkedIn component is key because it allows you to target your ideal client with precision. You can use LinkedIn's search function to find people who work at the specific company you're targeting, or who have the specific job title you're targeting.
Once you've found your target, the next step is to reach out and connect with them on LinkedIn. I like to send a personal message, rather than just a generic LinkedIn request. In my experience, taking the time to write a personal message increases the likelihood that they'll accept your request, and also starts the relationship off on a positive note.
Once you're connected with your target on LinkedIn, the next step is to reach out to them via email. I like to keep my email outreach fairly brief and to the point. I'll usually mention that we're connected on LinkedIn, and then explain what it is I do and how I think I could be of help.
I've found that this two-pronged approach is the most effective way to generate leads. It's also relatively inexpensive, with the cost per lead coming in at around five dollars.”
LinkedIn conversation ads
Do you remember the "choose your own adventure" books from childhood? Every few pages, you'd choose what decision the main character made—maybe opening a locked door or turning right instead of left. Each decision leads you down a different path with different choices.
LinkedIn Conversation Ads work just like those choose your own adventure books.
The ads allow you to set up multiple CTA buttons and design different conversation threads so prospects can engage with you on their terms. They can choose what topics they want to discuss, talk to a real person, or select what content to download.
And you can learn more about who your prospects are and what they want. Joe Kevens, Director of Demand Generation at PartnerStack and Founder of B2B SaaS Reviews, shared how his team leveraged Conversation Ads.
“One of the most effective lead generation campaigns we’ve run at PartnerStack is LinkedIn conversation ads, specifically targeted to SMB CEOs/Founders in B2B SaaS.
LinkedIn Conversation Ads provide a way to send direct outreach messages at scale. We decided to go with a founder-to-founder message, i.e. from one of PartnerStack’s founders to fellow SMB founders. LinkedIn limits the message text to 500 characters, so we did our best to quickly communicate our offer to them.
The cost per lead was roughly $175 ($125 on ad spend + $50 on a gift card (as an incentive to take the meeting.)
We saw a 277% ROI (directly) on this campaign. We sent conversation ads to roughly 19K SMB CEOs, and had a 74% clickthrough rate for 14K Conversation Ad views, directly resulting in 78 meetings at a cost per lead of approximately $175 ($125 on ad spend + $50 on a gift card (as an incentive to take the meeting), and most importantly, several new customers.
I believe it’s worth highlighting that we also got our pitch message in front of 14K SMB CEOs who now know not only PartnerStack but how it can help them grow their business, which will pay demand generation dividends over time.”
Editor's Note: A January 2022 LinkedIn update now prohibits LinkedIn-sponsored messaging, including conversation ads, to people in the EU.
In the words of LinkedIn: Effective January 10, 2022, LinkedIn stopped using location targeting in the European Union (EU) for all Sponsored Messaging campaigns. Learn more.
TL;DR: If you are in the EU or target EU customers, this feature may not be available.
Facebook Ads for lead generation
When it comes to B2B lead gen, LinkedIn gets all the love. But Facebook offers powerful features, so don't underestimate it.
Similar to LinkedIn's Lead Gen ads, Facebook's Lead Generation ads enable businesses to collect more information right in ads using pre-populated forms. With just a few clicks, users can fill out their information.
Even better, Facebook Lead ads integrate with your CRM, so all those high-quality leads drop right where your sales team needs them.
Facebook Lead Ads also lets you ask customized questions, add a click CTA, and integrate with dynamic ads so you can send personalized ads to only the most qualified leads 🚀
Here's what Gabriele Bossi, CEO at Skyground Media Agency, shared about their results using Facebook Ads for B2B lead gen:
“We are using Facebook Ads in the field of B2B lead generation and it shows outstanding results such as about a thousand leads at 1.74€.
The technology we have used to build this funnel is:
- Clickfunnels for the Landing Page builder
- Zapier for the Automations and Integrations
- MailerLite for email Marketing (partner with us)
- ClickSend for instant SMS automatic response
- Typeform (partner with us) for the lead capturing on the 1st funnel
- Facebook Lead Ads for the lead capturing on the second funnel
We battle-tested different audiences and creatives to come up with the single most performing ad and placements we could have and the results are pretty good.“
Website as a lead generation tool
There are plenty of shiny new platforms for lead generation, but it's important to remember your business' main online presence—your website.
Your website is the face of your business online, and it's one of the best channels for lead generation.
Even better, you don't have to pay to reach your prospects as you do on Facebook or LinkedIn. (Unless you want to, of course!)
Ant Purkiss from Make Agency says the company website is their primary source of leads, sharing:
“Our website is our main lead-generator, meaning a slick, customer-facing website was crucial.
Recently we also worked on the identity and visual style for a new website for a SaaS cloud-management tool. We made sure that the website was super easy to navigate, with key sections for ‘How it works’ and ‘Who is it for’ - making it accessible and simple to understand the product with just a few clicks.
We also built an extensive pricing calculator that allows customers to itemize a cost based on their actual cloud consumption. This has proved invaluable and the main lead-generator as it personalises the customer’s experience on the site.
To sum up, the website is the center of all marketing activity and, as a result, driving brand awareness and generating new inquiries.”
Keep in mind, that forms aren't the only way to gather leads from your website. In fact, many experts say gating content is going out of style.
Google Ads for generating leads
Google Ads is the OG in the world of lead generation. For years, the platform was one of the most effective ways to deliver ads on the most popular sites on the internet.
There's a lot more competition these days, but Google Ads is still a fantastic source of leads in B2B. Roger Huang, Head of Growth Operations at Springboard, shared their experience using Google Ads:
“A lead generation campaign that has worked well for us has been our Google Ads. We have always been a bit hesitant to invest in Ads, but after seeing the results we achieved, we realized it was a necessary part of our marketing strategy.
The great thing about Ads is that it allows you to be very specific with your targeting. You can target people based on their location, what type of device they're using, and even what time of day they're searching. This allows you to laser-focus your efforts and ensure that you're reaching the right people.
The results we achieved were impressive, with a click-through rate of 4% and a conversion rate of 2%. This translated into a cost per lead of just $10.”
Personalized cold email campaigns for lead generation
Think cold email is dead? Think again.
Although email conversion rates have fallen in recent years, the average email still converted at 15.22 percent in 2021.
Several of the experts we spoke to agreed—cold emails are the most effective lead generation channel out there. Here's what they said:
“One of the most overlooked channels in B2B is cold email marketing. It has made the biggest impact on our agency and our clients and for a very little budget, it allows you to target a very specific sector of your marketplace.
We found using automated email tools to send short drip campaigns can really make a difference in conversion rates. The one thing you need to do is stick to a specific niche, research the prospects properly, personalize and customize the email to them specifically, and send it to the correct decision-maker in the organization.
Businesses get lots of spam emails, so personalizing them properly and doing research on each prospect makes you stand out from the crowd,” - Shane McEvoy, Managing Director at Flycast Media.
Lachlan Fea from Cloutly agrees that personalization is the key to making cold email work, sharing:
“At Cloutly, we won our first 20+ B2B partnerships using highly-personalized cold email as a strategy. I cold emailed 122 marketing agencies and here's what happened: - 94% open rate - 42% response rate - 30+ meetings booked ~$60 spent on software and contractors
The secret? Real personalization.
In our lead list, I added a column called "Icebreaker" and then went through one by one to add a personalized introductory sentence to each row. Yep, that's right. Roll your sleeves up.
This involved opening each company's website, LinkedIn, looking through recent media, socials, etc., and genuinely doing my homework. Each row took me roughly 8-12 minutes on average to create a compelling opener.”
EcoOnline found sharing testimonials was crucial to encouraging their leads to take action:
"We've had a lot of success with email marketing campaigns. We started by sending out a short, high-quality piece of content to our email list. It was about the value of our product, and it included a testimonial from one of our customers. We also directed people to a landing page where they could sign up for more information about the product.
We got a lot of responses to this campaign, and we followed up with them in the following weeks with more emails that included more testimonials and case studies. The result was that we got many customers who downloaded our whitepaper or demoed our software,”- Jonas Østergaard Pedersen, International SEM Manager at EcoOnline.
To build a more effective cold email campaign, start with our customizable cold email templates.
Influencer marketing for lead generation
What comes to mind when you think of influencer marketing? Kim Kardashian hawking clothes and makeup? Influencers can also be used for lead generation campaigns.
That's because 61 percent of consumers (even in B2B!) say they are likely to trust recommendations from a friend, family member, or influencer on social media, while only 38 percent trust recommendations from a brand.
Tyler Garns, CEO at Box Out Marketing, discovered the most effective lead generation channel for his business is influencer marketing.
“As a small business, the most effective lead generation campaign that worked in my business is working with influencers to promote our product.
By collaborating with influencers, we could expand our reach and build credibility through them. Lead generation is a long process but having an influencer vouch for your product gives you an extra nudge.”
Twitter lead generation campaigns
Another popular lead generation channel is Twitter ads. In addition to the standard Twitter ads, like text, video, and carousel ads, Twitter also offers a lead generation card feature.
The cards include a short description, an image, and a customizable CTA you can use to encourage leads to click. Plus, Twitter offers tons of targeting options, including by events, interests, keywords, and lookalike audiences.
Those targeting options help Twitter lead generation cards to reach the right people at the right time.
Veronica Miller, Digital Marketing & Growth Director at VPNoverview, shared their experience using this format:
“Twitter Lead Gen Cards allow you to generate leads straight within a tweet without leaving the website. The user's name, email address, and Twitter handle are immediately integrated into the card, and they only need to click "Submit" to become a lead.”
Generating high-quality leads is never easy. Investing time and resources in the most effective lead generation channels ensures your efforts don't go to waste. LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Google Ads all offer specific ads to make lead generation efforts more effective. However, don't forget to use tried-and-true channels like your website and Google Ads.
Want to track the best channels for lead generation? Leadfeeder helps businesses understand how to generate leads, where leads come from, and what type of content they engage with. Sign up for a free two-week trial.
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