It’s not enough to simply generate leads. You need to generate high-quality leads, meaning leads that are ready to buy your specific products and services right now.
Unfortunately, low-quality leads come with the territory in lead generation. There will never be a campaign that generates only good quality leads while also generating enough to keep a business afloat.
But that doesn’t mean we can’t work to improve lead quality and try to get closer to perfect. In this article, we’ll walk through a handful of strategies that I use regularly to improve lead quality and drive revenue-generating leads.
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6 ways to increase lead quality
Without further ado, here are the top six ways you can increase your business’s lead quality.
1. Increase your number of form fields
The first tactic is probably the easiest. By adding more fields to your lead generation forms, you’re requiring the user to give you more information and to spend more time inputting that information. This will scare off people who are not serious in two ways: they won’t want to share the information because they probably don’t want to be followed up with, plus they’re most likely not willing to dedicate the time to input that information either.
Think about your forms as they exist now. How many form fields does a user have to fill out to submit the lead? Is it two, three, four?
There’s almost always room to add additional fields to gain more qualifying information.
The simplest set of questions could be quick additional details. Maybe you ask for someone’s job title or their company name and website. Most likely none of these are fields that anybody will fill out if they’re not serious, but they also won’t feel out of place to somebody who is a serious and qualified lead. That’s the needle you’re trying to thread when adding more form fields. They need to be relevant to accomplish the goal of improving lead quality.
Adding conditional logic that applies a secondary set of form fields depending on your lead’s initial response, can help further qualify your leads.
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2. Ask more difficult questions
In addition to asking more questions, you can further improve lead quality by making the questions you ask slightly more difficult or invasive of the user filling out the form.
Just like with the time investment that we mentioned in the previous section, users who are less qualified are also less likely to share more invasive information.
Do you currently ask for a project timeline or budget? What about the details or scope of a project?
By asking these more forward but still relevant questions in your generation form, you cannot only scare off lower-quality leads, but also help support your sales team by giving them more information when they follow up with the lead. If you’re having trouble thinking of additional fields, ask your sales team what information would be useful for them to help convert a user and add that to the form.
3. Require additional steps
Depending on the platform you’re using to generate leads, there are a few different ways that you can require additional steps for somebody to submit a form fill.
If you’re generating leads on your website, you can use functions like captions or form verification software that requires all of the information to be credible and for the person to prove that they are not a robot. Much of this software is much more attainable than it has been in the past and it’s relatively easy to roll out.
If you’re generating leads through lead generation forms, like on Meta Ads, you can use the higher intent form type to provide a review screen before the user submits the form. This operates almost as a “Are you sure?“ for the user before they submit.
In several cases that I’ve come across, bad leads are simply a function of the user not knowing they were submitting a form to a business through a Facebook or Instagram instant form. That might seem silly to some of us, but to others, they kind of blend into the user interface. By using the higher intent form type, the user can review all of the information they are sharing with you and they are also able to realize that they are sharing information with you in the first place.
4. Use more focused targeting
This might seem simple, but I think it bears repeating: the targeting options you use to find your users are going to greatly impact the quality of the leads that you get.
One of the biggest challenges I see advertisers having is the conflict between the suggested targeting from the platforms compared to who they believe their target audience is. It seems like every new announcement from Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn is promoting some new form of automated high-volume targeting. While that might be what they see internally, the data for those suggestions comes from an aggregate level of all accounts. That does not mean that this type of targeting is guaranteed to generate the highest quality leads for you.
Whether it’s Performance Max and broad match keywords in Google Ads, Advantage+ Facebook audience targeting, predictive audiences, or whatever else they come up with next, these platforms are suggesting targeting options that are going mostly for volume not for quality.
If you’re able to guide those targeting options, either through search themes for Performance Max or by providing example audiences for Advantage+ Audience, this is a great place to start.
If those optimizations don’t work, it might mean you need to shift back to a more manual form of targeting, or simply get more specific with who you’re trying to reach. That could mean more phrase and exact match terms on search, it could mean more legacy lookalike audiences on Facebook, and it may mean reverting to good old job title targeting on LinkedIn. But at this juncture, our focus is lead quality, not quantity, and many of these targeting options simply aren’t doing us any favors.
5. Turn off extended networks
Extended audience networks also impact your targeting, but rather than focusing on the person themselves, we’re taking a harder look at the placement of your ads. Just like the suggested targeting above, while these extended networks are helping you see more volume, they’re very rarely going to generate the high-quality leads that we all want to see.
This includes the Google search partner network or Microsoft ads partner network. Both of these can be great tools for extending your reach if you’re saying good performance, but they both also have a reputation for generating some pretty crap performance alongside your search campaign. I highly suggest you review the performance of these networks if you’re using them with your campaigns, which is pretty easy to do on both platforms.
The same strategy holds true for LinkedIn advertising. If you’re using lead generation forms, you’re only going to generate leads on the LinkedIn platform. But if you’re using sponsored content in the LinkedIn newsfeed, you’re likely also targeting users on the LinkedIn Audience Network.
This network is opted into by default for all new campaigns, so unless you turn it off, you’re more than likely showing up here. You can review the performance of these placements with the breakdown section just like you can in the search channels. And then if you need to, you can opt out of the LinkedIn audience network by simply unchecking the box in your campaign settings.
? Find out what strategies could help improve your Google Ads lead quality using our Free Google Ads Grader!
6. Create more targeted calls to action
The last suggestion I have for you requires you to look inward more so than at the platforms or the audience themselves.
What are you currently using as your offer or call to action? Is it appealing on a mass level or is it highly focused on the target audience that you’re going after?
A common challenge I see with my clients revolves around their offer. They generate an asset like a whitepaper or infographic on a high-level, wide-ranging topic that appeals to a large group of users. They see decent volume come in, but then are irritated when the lead quality isn’t as high as they would like it to be.
In these instances, the challenge isn’t with the targeting or the networks or the forms, the problem is with the assets themselves. Its focus is so broad that even somebody who is tangentially interested in the topic may fill out the form just to get the asset and learn more about something that they’re interested in.
Think about an industry report. This is a common, high-volume asset that I have utilized with many of my clients. For something like a Gartner report, there’s likely only a handful of users who are actually in the market to make a purchase. Some are simply evaluating how their current tech stack compares to others, some are looking to competitor targets, and others may be doing a research paper for their college-level graduate class and it just so happens that productivity software is the focus so a Gartner report is really helpful.
Now that’s not to say that a report can’t work really well for your accounts, but if you noticed that you’re seeing lots of low-quality leads coming through with an asset, it might be time to revisit and develop calls to action that speak far more specifically to your buyer personas rather than anyone in your target market.
What types of questions do your buyers ask your sales team that you can develop pieces of content around? What type of challenges do your customers normally have with products that are similar to yours that your customers don’t have? How can you develop more technical or focused calls to action that are only interesting and relevant to your specific buyers and not simply people who might be interested in your overall industry?
An example of a strong call to action.
? Find more ways to grow your business’s lead generation tactics with our easy-to-use growth strategy guide and template!
Word of caution: reset your lead quality vs. quantity expectations
No matter what, when you focus on lead quality over lead quantity, you are almost certainly going to generate a lower overall number of leads. Many of the strategies mentioned above are purposefully designed to ward off low-quality users who aren’t ready to speak to anyone. That means volume has decreased, but the percentage of the good quality to bad quality leads should be moving in the right direction.
Before you embark on any of these optimizations, you should discuss the potential outcomes with your marketing, leadership, and sales teams to ensure that everybody is on the same page and no one is caught by surprise with a decreased lead count.
I also recommend you set a floor for lead volume that you’re not willing to go below in the name of quality improvement. In every business, there’s a level where the quantity of leads is too low to support the company. If you notice that your lead volume goes down to an unsustainable level, maybe you’ve gotten too aggressive with your qualification tactics. For that, all you need to do is revert some portion of your adjustments and get the volume back to a sustainable level.
Over the course of these tests, the metric you should be looking to improve is the ratio of high-quality leads. Essentially, high-quality leads are divided by total leads.
Are you improving in quality even if volume is decreasing? Are you just decreasing the least and not improving quality? Depending on where those stats end up, that will determine your next step.
Improve your lead quality today for more customers tomorrow
No matter what industry you’re in, your business will benefit from these ideas to improve your lead quality. Just be sure to adjust your lead count goals accordingly, so that you have a healthy balance of both lead quality and quantity. If you try these lead quality tips above but still want to see more out of your lead strategy, see how our solutions can help you maximize your lead generation success!
Here are the top six ways to improve your lead quality:
- Increase your number of form fields
- Ask more difficult questions
- Require additional steps
- Use more focused targeting
- Turn off extended networks
- Create more targeted calls to action