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The secrets of digital lead generation

Businesspeople looking at a chalkboard, learning about social media

The rapid development of technology and the dominance of websites like eBay, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook have changed the way we communicate, thus making the online environment a key means of reaching potential clients.

Online marketing adviser and director of TheOnlineCo James Parnwell emphasised that despite an increasingly digital world, “our psychology of buying hasn’t changed”.

“People are buying today with the same needs and wants, the same fears and aspirations that they had 20 years ago,” he said.


Speaking with sister publication The Adviser, he shared three key strategies for digital lead generation.

Choosing your marketing vehicle

Mr Parnwell stressed that when it comes to digital marketing, “we need to talk about marketing first and technology second”.

He said that when determining how to promote your brand online, it is important to firstly think about marketing in its most simple sense first.

“On one side we’ve got a service. On the other side, we’ve got customers,” he said.

“They’re all out there, and marketing is the process of communicating a message to them using a vehicle.”

Before considering what vehicle to use as a conduit for communicating a message to potential clients, Mr Parnwell said you should firstly examine your business.



Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is my unique selling proposition?
  • What makes me stand out from others offering similar services?
  • Who is my customer? Who am I targeting?

“Once we dig a bit deeper into that, a message will emerge — a call to action, or something that's unique about you to persuade people to engage with you,” he said.

“Then it's simply a matter of choosing your marketing vehicle to take that message to people.”

Mr Parnwell emphasised that it is crucial to get your message right before introducing technology which can add “an entire new level of complexity”.

Search engine optimisation

Mr Parnwell said that although search engine optimisation (SEO) is the most time-consuming of the digital marketing strategies that he recommends, it is also the most powerful.

He provided a few tips for improving the chances of your website showing up at the top of Google’s search results:

  • Make your website “Google friendly” from a code perspective by eliminating duplicate content that can be generated by your content management system
  • Register a Google My Business account in order for your website to feature in the “local pack” of Google’s search results — i.e. the top section that includes local businesses with contact details and an address
  • Have pages or terms on your website that relate to the suburbs in which your business is located to help your website show up in the “local pack”
  • Come up with about 50 keywords that people might search to find your business and write an article around each one for your website in order to rank for those terms

Mr Parnwell stressed that it is important to implement these strategies in order to achieve a strong ranking on Google.


Mr Parnwell emphasised that although people predominantly use Facebook for socialising, it is possible to “disrupt” them.

“Disrupt their social experience with a message that is persuasive,” he says.

“If someone shows an ad that is compelling to you, that appeals to you, then you’ll engage with it and you’ll go buy it.

“We need to come up with compelling and engaging messages in order to persuade people to engage with you.”

He also highlighted that more people spend time on the social networking than they do on Google and thus have a greater chance of being exposed to your marketing collateral.

He explained that there are different ways to target your marketing through Facebook:

  • Geographically: you can target the exact suburbs and areas which you want to direct your marketing towards
  • Demographically: target certain income brackets or double income earners
  • Psychographically: target marketing to people who are of a similar mindset, e.g. people who are interested in purchasing investment properties, people who are interested in buying their first home

Through targeting your marketing in this way, over time you can develop a “custom audience” which consists of people who have engaged with any of your marketing.

Mr Parnwell explained that this list can allow you to target your marketing to a specific niche audience which can help to increase your leads in a cost-effective manner.

The secrets of digital lead generation
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