Ready, aim, fire! We’re talking all things targeted leads here. Find out below: 

  • what a targeted lead is
  • how to build a targeted lead strategy into your wider marketing activity
  • how to land them as paying customers.


What are targeted leads?

Targeted leads are your best bet for new business. The right audience, demographics, pain points, needs, behaviors, and interests – they tick all the boxes. 

First, you identify them, then you target them with focused marketing tactics (like personalized content) to give you a higher chance of converting them into paying customers.

You’d usually acquire these leads through lead generation campaigns using email, direct mail, digital marketing, or good old cold outreach. And because you’ve already scoped these leads out, you know what you need to say to turn their heads.

Why is targeted lead generation effective?

Targeted lead generation can be more effective than casting a wider net to potential customers. It starts you off on the right foot. Research legwork is complete by the time you’re pulling your audience lists together. You already know they need your business. They may even have already interacted with you.

Targeted leads will get you results faster. By running targeted lead campaigns that:

  • Keep your team focused on finding high-quality leads
  • Are tailored and customized to your leads
  • Build better customer relationships
  • Improve your knowledge of what your buyers need
  • Stand out from your competition

you’ll get higher conversion rates, lower churn, increase retention and improve your ROI. The benefits of lead generation that’s pinpoint accurate are endless.

5 steps to generate targeted leads

1. Define Ideal Customer Profile (ICP)

To work out your targeted leads, you need to know them inside out. Putting together an ICP will help you focus your research on the need-to-know information:

  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Past interaction with your business
  • Revenue potential
  • Needs
  • Pain points

Check out our free ICP templates in our ICPs and ABM blog to help you structure an ICP that you can use to generate targeted leads.

2. Build audience database and buyer persona

Once you know your ICP, it’s time to build your audience into your CRM. You’ll need to do some digging to find out

  1. The types of businesses that fit your ICP
  2. Who to contact

You can use intent data providers to build your database and find hot leads. Even better though is getting your data directly from the source (that’s where first-party data comes in).

Putting together buyer personas will help you get into the heads of the different types of key decision-makers you’ll be reaching out to. More individualized than ICPs, buyer personas are semi-fictional representations of job roles, interests, responsibilities, and behaviors.

3. Segment

Now you need to segment your audiences. The same selling message, hook, or content won’t work for every business or individual. Using data-led marketing like segmentation will help your messaging land first time and improve your engagement rates.

You can segment by:

  • Geographic elements – location of the business, or if you’re a more global brand, country, language, city, or population
  • Behavioral elements – engagement and brand interactions, intent or pain points
  • Demographic elements – industry, gender, age, job role or revenue
  • Psychographic elements – interests, values, personality, or lifestyle

4. Engage

This is the biggie. Decide what tactics you’ll use to engage your targeted leads across your segments. While you’ll typically be using lead generation campaign tactics, an account-based marketing strategy could also work well here. Your marketing team develops content and messaging and your sales team works on hooking your leads and establishing a friendly relationship.

To help you decide on content and channels, you need to research:

  • The pain points you need to raise and how you solve them
  • What channels work best for your audiences
  • What content will best answer their needs and work across channels
  • What content to use for each stage of the funnel
  • What kind of lead magnet will resonate best
  • How you can incorporate data-driven personalization into your content at each stage

5. Nurture

Once you’ve got a funnel stuffed with targeted leads, you need to nurture them. These are a smaller pool of leads for a reason – so you can look after them, keep in close contact, and move them through the funnel. An effective lead nurturing strategy means giving them the right information when they need it, being available to them if you’re running an ABM campaign, and building trust through your expertise and knowledge.

And with converted customers comes advocacy. When you’ve got customers who trust you, have learned from you, and enjoy your product, they’re more likely to refer you, leading to more hot leads that you can target.

8 targeted lead generation strategies

1. Lead magnets

A killer piece of content can do wonders for your targeted lead generation strategy. B2B lead magnets are most commonly used at the top of your funnel (TOFU), but you can also use them mid-funnel (MOFU). Promote your lead magnet to your targeted leads at the right time, and you’ll engage them for longer and make them more likely to purchase.

Some TOFU lead magnet ideas are:

  • White papers
  • Guides and reports
  • E-books
  • Courses
  • Webinars
  • Template downloads

And some MOFU lead magnet ideas:

To help you understand how successful your lead magnets are, you could also consider gating them. That means putting them behind a lead generation form, so the lead has to give you some data to access the content. This is good intel to add to your CRM and, depending on your content format, you can keep track of how they’ve engaged with it.

2. Automation

Automation tools lighten your lead generation workload. We’ve written about some of the best in our lead generation tools article.

You can automate lots of finicky, annoying tasks in a targeted lead generation campaign.  From building lists to automating emails that move customers through the funnel to adding personalization, your team can focus more on building those relationships with your targeted leads.

3. Cold calling

Pick up the phone and talk directly to a targeted lead. It might seem a bit archaic next to all the digital tactics these days, but it works. With a good script, a follow-up plan, and allowing a two-way conversation to flow, watch your targeted leads enter the funnel with confidence.

4. Email marketing variety

Email should be another key element of your targeted lead gen campaign. But one way to keep your emails fresh is to mix it up a bit and meet your audience where they’re at in the funnel. This is where segmentation will be your best friend.

Newsletters are great for leads who have already engaged with you and have shown some intent. Newsletters can act as a nurture tactic to help move them through the funnel.

Sales and marketing emails are good for TOFU leads. They create awareness and, with the right user journey, lead your prospects onto educational content where you can show you know your stuff.

5. Be social

We love a bit of LinkedIn for targeted leads. And if you’ve got the budget, get LinkedIn Premium; it’ll make your life easier. Use it to find the profiles of the people you need to make contact with – the decision-makers in the businesses you’ve scoped out from your ICP. DM them to start the conversation.

But that’s all behind closed doors. In public, you need to create and share content that’s educational and insightful. Share your lead magnets and invite conversation to make it a two-way communication with your audience.

6. Paid ads

Paid ads help you refine your targeting across social and Google channels. Use ads to direct to landing pages, gated content, lead magnets, and demos.
You can get into the nitty gritty and play around with audience demographics to test what messaging lands best with which audiences. And the best thing is you can iterate and improve as you go along.

7. In-person brand building 

Everyone’s got to start somewhere. And face-to-face events are a great way of getting your brand out into the wild and noticed. You might not come away with a whole host of targeted leads, but you’ll have a chance to make your mark. Give it time, and the connections you make can easily become a targeted lead.

Conferences and events, networking, and workshops are all ways you can start conversations with prospects.

The stage and tables at Turtl's community event

8. Referrals

We talked about this earlier, but advocacy really works. Look after your existing customers and they’ll look after you. It’s trickier to track than the rest of these strategies, but there are also formal referral schemes you can set up if you want to drive more business this way.

Top tips for precise lead generation targeting

Get down with the data

First-party engagement data is the best kind of data to get your hands on for targeted lead generation. It’s data taken straight from your audience’s behaviors, so you can track intel such as their engagement with your content, direct feedback from conversations, and their intent across all of your channels.

Third-party data might be available too, but for targeting, first-party is preferable. So make sure you consider that when picking your content types and channels. For example, a PDF isn’t going to give you much to go on, but a webinar or Turtl Docs will tell you plenty about what piqued their interest.

Refine your ICP

You might need to iterate your ICP a couple of times once you start working on your targeted leads. You might find out more about their pain points, or their interests, and that’ll help you create content that’s more relevant to them.

Prioritize your leads

You’ve collected leads. You’ve got some first-party data on them. Now prioritize them. A lead scoring model helps you identify what signals show high intent and engagement. How engaged they are will tell you how warm or hot they are. And the hotter they are, the quicker you want to nurture them.

Pool together people resources and software tools

Understand where software can help you, and where your team’s time, knowledge, and effort are best spent. This is where automation and personalization software is invaluable. And where creative marketers meet data crunchers to put together the best strategy to win those leads round.

Don’t overstretch

The whole point of targeted lead generation is that it’s targeted. Spread yourself too thin and it’s just a regular lead generation campaign. Your efforts should be on the few, not the many – that’s how you’ll get conversions quicker.

Got budget? Look at outsourcing

There are a few areas you could look at outsourcing.

  • Cold calling agencies will do the heavy lifting for you by getting on the phone and getting you off on the right foot with your lead.
  • Lead gen agencies can work with you on your whole strategy, from messaging to channel activation.
  • Brief SME content creators to create some of the weightier pieces of content, whether that’s lead magnets like white papers, e-books, writing up case studies, or product brochures.

Turtl takeaway

Generating targeted leads is only one part of the story. Optimizing their journey ensures they come through the funnel and convert.

Check out our guide ‘Optimizing the MQL’ which includes everything from lead scoring and nurture programs to capturing intent and tracking engagement.

Click to read Optimizing the MQL

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