7 Reasons Your Lead Gen Strategies Are Flunking (And How To Get Them To The Head Of The Class)

by Sandra Rand 3 years ago

In this season of Back-to-School, there are certain strategies that marketers resolve to use to generate leads.

Yet many of these methods can either be misguided or ill-suited for what you’re trying to accomplish.

We’ve gathered some of the most common reasons that your lead generation plans are getting marked with F’s, and showing you the best way to ensure they earn A’s instead.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Not delving into the details after conversion

This mistake not only affects your advertising campaigns but also your bottom line.

You want to review how your leads go through your funnel so that you can spend your budget more efficiently and save money on audiences, ad creative, or even entire channels that are not converting more valuable customers.

Check out the example of this below (and please excuse the wholly simplified definition of LTV).


The value resides not in the cost of the plans, but in the channel that you’re acquiring the customers from originally.

It’s from there that you need to be able to determine if search, or social, or email, or referrals or some combination of those, are producing the higher quality enrollments and then spend more there.

How to Earn an A:

By dissecting your leads and their value post-conversion, you’ll be able to walk away with a stronger understanding on how to spend your money effectively to acquire these higher value conversions.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Valuing quantity over quality

This one is pretty self-explanatory, but it bears repeating. Yes, it may sound great to have generated 10,000 leads. But if only 5 of those leads actually convert, then was the money and effort spent on the other 9,995 leads really worth it?

Quality leads trump the quantity of leads any day. You will have greater success if you generate fewer but higher quality leads in the long run. (Okay, you will have greater success if you generate even more higher quality leads, but I digress.)

Similar to #1, look back over your advertising funnel and see where the higher quality leads are coming from. What advertising campaign was used? What creative converted more? Which forms brought in these high-quality leads? Did they navigate elsewhere on your website before converting?

Look at the audiences you are targeting and where the high-quality leads are coming from. There might be a handful of your ad campaigns that are bringing in a substantial number leads, but be sure to focus on where the highest quality ones are originating.

Bringing in 1000 early-funnel leads may sound great, but if you can bring in 250 people who convert quicker or at a higher value, the source of those leads is where you want to narrow your focus. Early funnel leads may bring you value down the line, but they also require you to expend additional time, money, and resources to nurture them down the funnel.

So often we get caught up in the notion that more is better, but that’s a false belief.

How to Earn an A:

Not all leads are created equally and your ad spend will be more effective if you pursue higher quality leads.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Setting arbitrary KPIs

Similar to the problem above is when you set a specific KPI without taking into consideration the value of the leads, nor the channel that you’re using.

We’ve seen one brand use an industry standard to set a cost per lead (CPL) at $250 flat. While this is a smart way to benchmark their costs, they didn’t stop to think about the cost to generate the leads that would eventually enroll in their program.

While it would have been possible to deliver that CPL it would have diluted the quality of the leads.

No brand wants to spend more than they have to, but this company quickly wised up. Once they saw that the higher cost leads were enrolled 20% of the time while the lower cost leads were only enrolling at around a 5% rate, they realized their original metric expectations were flawed.

In the words of one of our Senior Ad Ops Specialists, Yianni Kotsalidis, you should always consider the “downstream outcome” when setting your KPIs for an ad campaign.

While the above KPI is meant to serve as an example, the key takeaway from that is to understand that you need to tailor your KP to the channel you’re using based on the data you’ve gathered.

How to Earn an A:

Don’t set a KPI until you understand the objectives and the costs associated with acquiring those conversions from various advertising channels.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Not understanding your audience

You need to continually look at your brand and mission to make sure you understand your messaging, your audience, and who you want to attract.

You should be the one to know your client or customer best.

You need to make sure you understand their motivations behind signing up for your offering and how you can effectively convey what benefit they can gain from it.

Always make sure that you don’t lose that thread when you are creating and executing your lead generation campaigns and the ad creative you use to attract them.

How to Earn an A:

By understanding your customers and their goals, you can spend more effectively by accurately targeting the ones that will convert.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Not being clear about your needs

Like in any successful relationship, you need to be clear about what it is that you want from the other person. For lead generation, you need to be upfront with your potential customer or client.

If your ad is too cluttered, or your landing page is filled with so much text, that it’s unclear what you want the lead to do, they will leave.

You need to be direct and communicate plainly what it is you want the lead to do when they arrive at the point of conversion. Always give them the precise instructions to follow through.

Not only that, let them know what is coming up afterward. Will you be following up with an email? Will someone be giving them a call?

No one likes surprises, and the more you can communicate to your customer what you need them to do and what they can expect after they convert, the better off your relationship with them will be.

How to Earn an A:

Confused customers will never convert. Be clear about what you want from them and what you will do.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Not following up after “swiping right”

Like on dating apps, just because you’ve both shown mutual interest, that doesn’t mean they will actually follow up. You need to continue to “flirt” and express further just how interested you are in your customers converting.

So many lead generation campaigns fail because the company relies on a one-and-done strategy. For some leads, just like some dates, expressing that initial mutual interest is enough; they will come right out and convert after you play your hand. But others need to be courted a bit to finally decide to take the plunge.

Lead nurturing allows you to retarget those recalcitrant leads in a relevant, personalized manner to nurture them further down the funnel. Look at what pages they are landing on when they come to your website. Look at what they are searching when they get there, or which emails they clicked on in order to visit your site in the first place.

Many social platforms also allow for granular retargeting based on behavior. Use this to your advantage!

How to Earn an A:

Carefully craft your message and nurture the quality leads that need a nudge in the right direction.

  • Earns Your Lead Gen an F: Not keeping the romance alive

Along that same vein, you want to make sure you individualize your response to interested parties. Just like when crafting a great opening line for your potential date, there is a value in messaging different leads appropriately.

You can’t use identical methods with every potential lead, because they are not all created the same.

Look at what led the potential convert to you, and where they have continued to interact with you from there. Look at how they are accessing you – is it via mobile or desktop or both? Do they vary in demographics, backgrounds, locations? What are their goals for engaging with you?

You want to make sure that you are using different “pick up lines” for the different audiences that you’re trying to convert. It’s not just about that initial attraction, you want to continue to keep them interested.

How to Earn an A:

Don’t try the same pickup lines on different audiences. Tailor your messages to their needs.


Lead generation is a nuanced process, and it is easy to make mistakes by using conventional wisdom or not fully understanding your prospect’s journey.

Use these 7 lessons to keep your lead generation campaign from flunking out and have it move instead to the front of the class!