Do you want to know how to convert potential clients into loyal customers? 

It all starts with a well-designed lead generation funnel

If you're not familiar with this powerful marketing strategy, get ready to discover more about it.

In this complete guide, we'll cover everything you need to know, from the top of the funnel (attracting visitors to your website) to the bottom (closing the sale).

We'll discuss strategies for capturing leads' information, nurturing them with targeted content, and ultimately turning them into loyal customers.

Take advantage of the opportunity to increase your leads and grow your business. 

Buckle up, and get ready to take your sales to the next level!

What is a lead generation funnel?

Lead generation is the process of attracting potential clients and converting them into qualified leads.

The process is similar to fishing. 

fishing for leads

To begin, decide what fish species you want to catch and where to find them. Next, pick the best bait for your hook and cast your line.

But the lead generation process doesn't end there; you can't begin reeling in your line if you have a bite. 

Putting your fish on the hook and spinning it without losing it requires skill.

A successful lead generation strategy involves understanding the target audience and creating valuable content that addresses their pain points and needs.

But what exactly is a lead generation funnel, and how can you create one for your business? 

Think of it like a funnel in the kitchen - it starts wide and gradually narrows down until you're left with a concentrated product.

In this case, the product is a group of high-quality leads ready to become customers.

Infographic – The Lead Generation Funnel

 Lead Generation Funnel

B2B Lead Generation Funnel vs. B2C Lead Generation Funnel 

B2B Lead Generation Funnel vs. B2C Lead Generation Funnel


B2B (business-to-business) and B2C (business-to-consumer) lead generation funnels have similarities and differences.

In a B2B funnel, the sales cycle is typically longer and more complex than in a B2C funnel. B2B sales involve multiple decision-makers, more extended contract negotiations, and more significant deals.

Therefore, lead nurturing and relationship-building are critical in a B2B funnel. 

B2B lead generation also tends to rely more on targeted and personalized messaging, as it's essential to speak directly to each potential business client's pain points and needs. The key goal is to generate qualified leads that are more likely to convert into sales.

On the other hand, B2C lead generation funnels are typically shorter and more straightforward, as the target audience is the end consumer, who normally makes decisions based on emotion rather than rational analysis.

B2C lead generation often relies on broad marketing efforts, such as social media ads and influencer marketing, to generate interest and awareness. The focus is on developing a high volume of leads and converting them quickly.

The goal of B2B and B2C lead generation funnels is to move the potential customer from awareness to consideration to a decision.

However, the strategies and tactics used to accomplish this differ due to the differences in the target audience, sales cycle, and buying behavior.

Types of Lead Funnel Based on Maturity

PQL vs. MQL vs. SQL

Before the creation of lead qualification, marketing and sales teams would try to convert leads that were the result of marketing efforts to save time.

With the help of the lead qualification process, it is now simple to identify the perfect client who is most likely to make a purchase.

Start with the definition of quality. 

According to the marketing, sales, and product teams, what constitutes a qualified lead?

Continue reading to learn more about MQLs, PQLs, and SQLs. 

You'll also discover how Baremetrics can assist you in tracking information about these leads as they move through your funnel. Start using Baremetrics for free right away.

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Prospects that have interacted with a brand's marketing content and have a buying intent are marketing qualified leads (MQLs).

When a lead takes specific actions like opening emails, visiting websites, or even giving their contact information on a landing page in exchange for an online resource, like an ebook, they are marketing qualified.

However, the standards used to define an MQL vary depending on the organization. While Company Y may choose an MQL as a lead that downloads several white papers, Company X may choose webinar registrations as an MQL.

These standards are often established by considering a lead's behavior throughout the customer lifecycle.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

After interacting with a brand's numerous marketing communications, leads deemed prepared for a sales pitch are categorized as sales-qualified leads (SQLs). A lead must demonstrate sufficient interest in the good or service to be regarded as a SQL.

Company Y might decide that a lead with five webinar attendances qualifies as a SQL. Typically, MQLs transform into SQLs.

The marketing team will mark MQLs as sales-ready after they reach a particular lead score (a score given to leads for having several attributes) or lead behavior.

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

Prospects who have utilized a brand's primary product or service via a free trial or a freemium-use model are referred to as product-qualified leads (PQLs). 

So before being labeled product-qualified, a lead must complete some predetermined tasks. Every business has its own definition of a PQL, which changes as the product progresses through various stages.

What Are the Different Stages of a Lead Generation Funnel?

The Different Stages Of A Lead Generation Funnel

You must know the many stages involved in directing leads through the lead generation funnel.

The following terms are commonly used when discussing lead-generation funnels:

  • Top of the Funnel  (TOFU)
  • Middle of the Funnel (MOFU)
  • Bottom of the Funnel (BOFU)

Here are the different stages of a lead generation funnel explained:

Awareness Stage

The first step in the process is raising awareness. The secret to success is getting people to notice your brand in the first place.

To draw them into the funnel, you must capture their interest. 

And this is where inbound marketing comes in.

The success of your inbound marketing efforts, such as search engine optimization, paid advertising, and content marketing, will depend on how successfully you execute them.

Also, you should be familiar with your customers' identities and operating methods such as:. 

Who are you trying to reach? What interests them? What precisely are they looking for?

Interest Stage

The next step is to consider bringing in your consumers' data if they are familiar with your brand.

Gathering information will be crucial to engaging them further in the funnel. 

However, most businesses prefer to include an email address or phone number. You can do this in various ways, including through sign-up forms, landing sites, and straightforward requests.

You can use anything that convinces your audience to reveal information to you.

Another choice is to host a contest or provide free information in exchange for contact information. 

After you have this information, enter it into a database.

Appraisal/Desire Stage

Potential consumers are now in the first stages of the purchasing process. They might be familiar with your company or product but have yet to decide if they want to buy.

During this phase, you want to grab their curiosity and create interest in your company or product.

Giving them helpful content that answers their questions and highlights the advantages of your good or service is one approach to achieving this.

You can do this through blog postings, social media posts, or videos demonstrating your product. You may also provide incentives like free samples or demos to entice prospective clients to interact with your company.

Action/Confirmation Stage

Potential clients join the action/confirmation stage once they have passed the appraisal/desire stage.

At this point, people are actively considering purchasing and can evaluate their goods or services against rivals. During this phase, your objectives are to give certainty and foster trust.

Giving social evidence, such as client testimonials or reviews, that demonstrates the worth of your good or service is one way to do this.

In addition, you can address any concerns or objections potential clients may have by providing thorough product details.

Finally, to give potential clients the assurance they need to purchase, you can offer guarantees like a money-back or satisfaction guarantee.

Conversion Stage

The conversion step is the last in the lead-generation funnel. This is the point at which a potential consumer converts into one after making a purchase.

Making the purchasing experience as simple as you can is your aim at this point.

Offering a variety of payment alternatives, such as credit cards, PayPal, or other online payment solutions, is one approach to achieving this.

Reduce the steps needed to execute a transaction to streamline the checkout process further.

Finally, resolving any problems or issues during the purchasing process as soon as possible will demonstrate exceptional customer service.

How to Build A Lead Generation Funnel

You now understand a lead and the various lead-generating funnel stages. 

But how does one go about making one?

There are several options, but in general, what you’re about to read is an excellent place to start.

Define Your Target Audience

Building your lead-generating funnel begins with defining your target audience. This imaginary persona stands in for your ideal client. 

Establishing your buyer persona is crucial since it will enable you to:

  • Be sympathetic to your client.
  • Determine both their present and future needs.
  • Recognize the purchasing processes they use.

You can better develop content for them by defining your target audience. Most importantly, it will help you understand how to create the best lead-generating funnel for your target market. As a result, the quality of the leads you produce will improve.

Identify A Problem that Your Target Audience Is Struggling with

The effectiveness of your lead-generation funnel depends on finding an issue your target audience is facing.

It entails determining your target market, conducting market research, examining customer data, generating buyer personas, pinpointing common pain spots, producing content that solves the issue, and optimizing funnels.

You may develop personalized marketing strategies that appeal to them and increase conversions by being aware of their pain concerns.

Map the Customer Journey

A customer journey map shows the stages potential consumers take, from being visitors to signing up for your service or making a purchase. 

It is vital to map out the precise phases and touchpoints involved in guiding individuals along this trip since it enables you to:

  • Nurture leads effectively.
  • Analyze conversion rates and lead quality.
  • Find new outlets for lead generation.
  • Find and remove any places of friction in your lead creation process.

According to Aberdeen research, controlling your client journey can reduce the length of your sales cycle by up to 18 times. So, mapping your customer's journey is one of the essential steps in developing an effective lead generation funnel.

Map the customer journey

Drive Brand Awareness

After creating your customer journey and building your consumer profile, the next stage is to boost brand recognition. You can achieve this in several ways, but we'll concentrate on the best ones.

Using Content Marketing to Drive Awareness

One of the most successful strategies for raising brand awareness is content marketing. This tactic entails producing personalized content that your intended audience will find valuable, pertinent, and useful. According to 72% of marketers, content is a key business strategy. 

Use content marketing to drive awareness

This type of material will assist you in attracting, nurturing, and converting leads. You can use several content types, such as:

  • Blog posts
  • eBooks
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Social media posts
  • Webinars
  • Case studies

A solid content distribution strategy and exceptional content creation are necessary for your content marketing to raise brand recognition effectively.

This entails choosing the platforms and tactics you'll employ to market your content. Your content distribution strategy will determine your reach.

Using Social Media to Drive Awareness

With about 4 billion users that log on each month, social media is one of the most potent platforms for spreading brand awareness.

Global Social Media Users (2017-2027)

Here are a few pointers for using social media to promote brand awareness:

  • Choose the appropriate platforms. Focus on the platforms your target audience uses the most by finding out which ones they use.
  • Improve your profiles. People will be able to recognize and relate to your brand more readily.
  • Employ popular hashtags. Users can simply find relevant posts using hashtags. Use those that are popular to increase your exposure.
  • Engage. Join trending topics, interact with your audience, and interact with other brands.
  • Don't forget to tag people. To increase your reach, mention influencers, clients, business partners, and other pertinent individuals.
  • Use the newsjacking strategy. This entails writing blogs based on recent and popular news.
  • Organize live events. Live events are popular because they are engaging. Take advantage of this by holding live events.

You can manage successful social media campaigns that will feed your funnel with the help of a strong social media manager, automation tools, and social listening tools.

Create A Lead Magnet that Offers A Solution to that Problem

Any effective lead generation funnel must include lead magnets. These are rewards that companies provide to prospective clients in exchange for their contact details, such as their email addresses. In fact, according to 50% of marketers using lead magnets, conversion rates have increased.

Effectiveness of lead magnets

The objective is to grab potential customers' attention and persuade them to take action, leading them along the sales funnel toward a purchase decision.

Finding your target audience's pain points is an excellent strategy to produce a lead magnet that solves a prevalent issue.

What difficulties or impediments keep them from reaching their objectives or getting the desired results? You may develop a lead magnet that solves their issue by knowing their pain areas.

Take running a fitness business as an illustration. You want to generate leads for your online training program.

Those who desire to get in shape but find it challenging to find the time to exercise frequently make up your target market. 

A free guide titled "10 Fast and Efficient Workouts for Busy Professionals" could serve as your lead magnet.

By offering workouts that can be finished in under 30 minutes, the guide provides a solution to the issue of time constraints.

It tackles a problem that your target audience is likely to be experiencing and provides a practical solution that they can use immediately.

Create A Landing Page for Your Lead Magnet

Building a landing page for your lead magnet is crucial to generating leads for your business.

A compelling and well-designed landing page can significantly enhance the number of visitors that download your lead magnet, which could result in more potential customers and sales.

A captivating lead magnet description, a clear call-to-action button, and a clear headline are all essential components of a good landing page.

Use eye-catching graphics and compelling copy to get visitors to download your lead magnet. You may attract and convert more leads with an appealing landing page, which can help your business expand.

Drive Traffic to Your Sales funnel / Reach out to Prospects

It's time to direct traffic to your lead-generating funnel now that most of its fundamental components are in place. You can direct traffic to your sales funnel using inbound and outbound strategies.

Let's examine how you might use these two to guarantee a consistent flow of leads into your sales funnel.

Creating Inbound Leads

Inbound lead generation entails creating digital goods that attract website visitors. Customizing your content for your target audience is the trick.

Creating Leads with Organic Search

Did you know that over 90% of online experiences start with a search engine, resulting in around 3.5 billion daily searches?

And that’s only on Google.

Create leads with organic search


Online consumers look for and discover your product through organic search. It's called organic traffic because you don't have to pay.

You need to provide straightforward content for search engines to find to increase organic traffic to your sales funnel. To do this, you must make use of SEO best practices. The most significant are:

  • Inserting keywords into your writing
  • Generating links to your blog entries by taking search and user intent into account while creating content
  • Building backlinks to your blog posts
  • Improving the user experience (UX) on your website

Following these guidelines will help you attract lots of people to the TOFU stage of your funnel.

Creating Leads Using Paid Advertising (PPC)

Paying to market your content to your target audience is another technique to attract leads to your sales funnel. You can advertise your content on other websites, social media platforms, and search engines like Google, Bing, and Facebook.

According to Clutch, 26% of users click on PPC advertisements because they mention a well-known brand, 27% of users click on PPC advertisements because they are placed before other results, and 33% of users click on PPC ads because they answer a query.

Creating leads using paid advertising


By doing this, you may reach a wider audience and direct more traffic to your sales funnel.

To ensure you bid on the proper keywords and get your content promoted to the right audience, much like with organic search, you'll need to conduct keyword research.

Using Social Media to Generate Leads

Social media aims to foster social connections. But it has also become a potent lead-generation tool for B2B and B2C firms.

In fact, social media marketing is credited by 75% of marketers with boosting online traffic, and almost 90% claim that it has boosted brand exposure.

Use social media to generate leads


Social media can make your content go viral if appropriately used. Nevertheless, you can only achieve that if you write content that connects with your target audience.

Using Email Marketing to Generate Leads

An email list is one of your company's most important resources. According to Omnisend, you can expect an average return of $40 for every dollar you spend on email marketing.

Effectiveness of email marketing

You can send emails to contacts in your database that point them toward content that will advance them through your sales funnel.

Your subscribers are more likely to trust you because of your initial contact and click-through to view your material.

But it's always better to start with an email campaign that reminds people how they joined your email list if you last communicated with them a while ago.

Outbound Lead Generation

Using outbound lead generation strategies is another technique to increase traffic to your sales funnel. Here are a few typical examples:

Cold Email Outreach

Sending emails to people or businesses you have never met is known as cold email outreach.

When sending a cold email, the best course of action is to adhere to best practices, as your receivers don't know who you are. Doing this will enhance the likelihood that your email will be opened by its recipients. In fact, longer follow-up emails are more effective at booking cold prospects for 15 times more meetings than writing 1, 2, or 3 sentences in terms of email length.

Longer follow up emails are more effective

Best practices for sending cold emails include:

  • Do some research on your target market.
  • Create challenging subject lines.
  • Make your cold emails unique.
  • Keep the text in your emails brief and to the point.

When done correctly, cold emailing can produce excellent results. It's a fantastic method of attracting customers to your sales funnel.

Social Media Outreach

You can generate leads and publish and promote social media content by contacting your prospects directly. This entails messaging them through their preferred social networking sites through direct messages (DMs). You can use the following tips to optimize your social media outreach:

  • Publicly begin the connection. This entails responding to and participating in the postings made by your prospects so they get to know you. Another excellent technique to pique their interest in your message is to mention one of these posts.
  • Before asking, give. Avoid making a demand in the first message to your prospect. Instead, give them something of value.
  • Customization is essential. Sending boilerplate, generic messages in DMs is another mistake many people make. They just make an effort to personalize it by changing the names. You may further personalize your communication by including personalized graphics in your direct messages. Here's an illustration of how that operates:

Take social media seriously when generating outbound leads. This is one of the most underutilized yet powerful tools in every prospector's toolbox.

Build A Database and Convert Leads into Customers

You should have generated a respectable number of leads by this point in your funnel. Here is a quick review of how that works:

  • You develop a lead magnet or offer that your target audience finds irresistible.
  • Using both free and paid media, you advertise said lead magnet.
  • Your target market takes up your offer.

How do you use the email addresses you gather, though?

A good customer relationship manager (CRM) will be helpful in this situation. A solid CRM offers more than just serving as a database for your contact information.

  • Partition your list.
  • Lead scoring can help you qualify your leads.
  • From a single location, manage your sales pipeline (including leads).
  • Simplifies the sales procedure

Did you know that 74% of companies claim that CRM software has enhanced their access to client information?

Effectiveness of a CRM software

Using a CRM also significantly improves your chances of turning leads into paying customers. CRMs' effectiveness primarily causes this by fostering satisfying customer experiences.

By automating the lead nurturing process with a CRM, you can ensure that each lead receives the appropriate (tailored) material at the right moment. They move quickly through each stage of your sales funnel as a result.

Additionally, you may collect prospect data from your CRM using Hyperise for data enrichment to give your prospects a more tailored experience.

Create A Lead Nurturing Email Autoresponder Sequence

A lead generation funnel, often called a lead nurturing email autoresponder sequence, is a series of automated emails intended to lead potential customers through sales.

The objective is to establish a rapport with the prospect, give them helpful information, and persuade them to become paying clients.

Comprehending your target audience's goals and pain points is crucial to developing a successful lead-nurturing email autoresponder sequence.

You may customize your messaging to meet their unique needs and interests and gradually earn their confidence and respect.

Use Personalized Images In Your Outreach

Prospects are exposed to dozens (or more) of sales proposals daily. Using unique photos in your outreach is one way to stand out.

Give prospects a memorable experience by sending them a message that stands out from other sales messages.

Conversion Rate Optimization

Your lead generation funnel may convert well, but it still has room to improve.

You must now concentrate on conversion rate optimization (CRO). 

In this context, the intentional and systematic process of increasing the number of people who enter your lead generation funnel and convert to clients is known as CRO.

To help you optimize your funnel, here are a few tips:

  • Utilize Data

Use data to examine your lead generation funnel and identify the areas that need to be adjusted. Use analytics tools, for instance, to determine where customers are most likely to leave your funnel. You can address any problems at these places with this.

For instance, you can extract prospect data from your website's anonymous users using a platform like Hyperise, as well as automatically personalize your website and images:

  • Determine Barriers and Remove Them

Determine the reasons why individuals leave your funnel after entering it. Develop more effective approaches to assist people in going to these places. This aims to improve your funnel's user experience (UX).

  • Segment Regularly

Segmentation is essential to developing individualized experiences. For each of your segmented customers, create unique customer journeys.

Also, it's a good idea to periodically review your segmentation plan to ensure it includes candidates with comparable demographic and psychographic characteristics.

  • Always Test

As many components of your lead-generating funnel as you can test—every detail of your funnel, from the language to the design components—can significantly impact your conversion rates.

A constant activity called CRO is learning about your target market and adjusting your funnel to give them the best experience. Your conversion rates will improve with each funnel iteration as you do this.

How to Optimize Your Lead Generation Funnel 

Congrats! You've successfully constructed your first lead funnel.

However, you still need to do more. 

You must dedicate yourself to optimization if you want to get more leads. 

How? Read on to find out.

Use the Right Tools

There are many software products available that will increase lead generation.

You can find out who they work for and how long they spend on each of your websites, and you can get specific information on the content for those employees.

With this information, you can appropriately modify your lead funnel strategy.

Search for technologies to improve lead creation if your company has the funds. Remember to combine the instruments above with the preceding five steps.

Qualify Your Leads

The quality of every lead varies.

You should qualify leads and concentrate on those most likely to convert into customers.

When sales representatives don't thoroughly qualify potential consumers before putting them through the entire sales process, 67% of deals go unclosed.

Qualify your leads‍

Look at a lead's interactions with your content first to qualify them.

A higher quality lead than someone who views your careers page will likely download anything relevant to your company, such as a case study.

After a lead has provided you with their contact information, you can further qualify them based on their contact with your business.

Do people open your emails often? Do they want to participate in polls? Do they return calls from salespeople?

You can determine each lead's qualifications based on their responses to these questions.

Never Stop Experimenting

And lastly, never stop trying new things! You can always make a lead-generation funnel better. 

What was effective last year might not be effective now.

Your lead funnel must adapt to your audience's shifting needs.

Therefore, experiment with different content types to determine which resonates most with your ideal clients. Also, make any necessary adjustments to your advertising, landing sites, and sales efforts.

Boost Your Business With An Effective Lead Generation Funnel

Effective Lead Generation Funnel

An effective lead-generation sales process involves nurturing leads through targeted communication and providing value at each customer journey stage.

If your business wants to increase sales and revenue, it’s crucial to know how to build and optimize a lead generation funnel.

A skilled lead generation specialist or company can help you find and fix problems with your efforts.

At AI bees, we use a tried-and-true lead generation technique that we developed and are continually improving depending on client feedback. This lead generation technique is applied to the creation of all:

  • Lead generation campaigns
  • Nurturing campaigns
  • Lead scoring
  • Marketing automation
  • Content creation
  • Lead generation strategy
  • Engaging content

We start by identifying your authentic brand identity and differentiation. 

Then we work with you to fine-tune your messaging, choose your ideal target audiences, and select the most effective lead-generation plan for your business and prospects.

You'll have the best, most adaptable lead-generation toolset, and as a result, you'll be able to earn more money.

Contact us today!