Lead Generation for Digital Marketing Agencies: The Best Ideas

Lead generation for digital marketing agencies entails a variety of techniques. 

Advanced social media features, long-tail search engine optimization, and much more. 

In this article, you’ll find proven tactics to increase your digital marketing leads.

Let’s dig into them. 

Social media platforms help you reach potential customers, strengthen brand awareness, and generate new leads.

To build a social media presence organically, you’ll need to publish content consistently—both from your agency’s profile and from your clients’ profiles. And engage in conversations. 

However, you’ll need to use paid features if you want to leverage each platform’s advanced lead generation options. 

Let’s analyze some of the most powerful options.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

LinkedIn is perhaps the best social media platform for finding prospects because of its high-level user data.

It offers several options to generate more leads for your agency. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a powerful one. 

It’s a paid sales management tool that helps you find potential customers on LinkedIn, organize your prospects, and reach out to them. 

It removes many of the free LinkedIn account limitations and offers exclusive features. 

With it, you can use more than 30 premium filters when searching for prospects.

LinkedIn Sales Navigator

For example, let’s say you’re an agency that works with medium-sized businesses in the retail industry. 

You could add filters such as the following: 

  • Company size: 51-200
  • Company type: Privately held
  • Title: Chief marketing officer, head of marketing
  • Industry: Retail
  • Group membership: Allows you to target people with specific interests
  • Relationship (first-, second-, and third-degree or group member): Target users with whom you share connections and ask for an introduction 
  • Posted content keyword: Add a keyword (such as “ecommerce”), and the tool will show users who recently published a post including that keyword. 

With these filters, you can create “Lead lists” of qualified prospects. You can return to these lists in the future and even share them with team members. 

LinkedIn Sales Navigator also gives you 50 InMail messages per month. InMail messages are private messages you can send to anyone on the platform. Even if you’re not connected. 

Tip: If a user replies to your message within 90 days, you’ll receive that InMail credit back. LinkedIn does this to encourage users to send valuable messages and avoid spam.

Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook’s Lead Ads allow you to collect leads directly from mobile users. 

You can create regular ads that display a contact form when clicked.

Facebook auto-populates the form with the user’s information. They only have to click “Submit.”

Easy, right?

Facebook’s Lead Ads

That’s one option to generate digital marketing leads.

But you can also use lead magnets

Lead magnets are resources or special offers given in exchange for a prospect’s contact information. 

They can take many forms, such as ebooks, free SEO audits, coupons, and more.

Facebook Lead Ads are a great way to promote your lead magnets and collect new leads. 

Create them in the Facebook Ads Manager or the Meta Business Suite.

Setting up Facebook Lead Ads is similar to creating other Facebook Ads. 

The main difference is a customized form known as an instant form:

An instant form

Find out how Semrush can help you manage your Facebook Ads campaigns.

Facebook Groups

Facebook groups are an excellent way to engage with potential leads, help people solve problems, and start conversations around industry topics. 

Let’s say you’re an agency specializing in the logistics industry.

You could create a group for people in that space. 

Update it frequently with relevant information, respond to comments, and use it to identify potential prospects. 

To create a group, go to Facebook Groups and click “+ Create new group” in the left-hand navigation bar.

Create new group button

Then, name your group and make it private. 

Group name and Choose privacy options

Private groups require Facebook users to request to join. 

You can create screening questions as part of the request process. This allows you to detect prospects and avoid spam.

To create screening questions, go to your group dashboard. Click “Manage” on the left-hand menu.

Then, click “Membership questions” then “Add question.”

Add question option

Conversion-Optimized Twitter Ads

Twitter ads can offer significant reach. And a variety of ad formats that can help you generate digital marketing agency leads. Optimize them to increase conversions.

These ads offer a certain level of segmentation, though they’re not as advanced as LinkedIn ads.

To use them, go to Twitter for Business and click “Start a campaign.”

Once in your dashboard, click “Create campaign.”

Create campaign in Twitter

There are two types of campaigns: Simple and Advanced. 

To get the most out of your campaigns, select “Advanced” and click “Next.”

Advanced campaign option

Now, choose your campaign objective. Choose “Conversions.”

Choose campaign objective box

If your goal is to generate new leads for a digital marketing agency, you’ll likely want the user to fill out a form on your site. Optimize your Twitter ad to direct users to complete the action on your site. In this case, a form. 

One of the most important steps is the “Targeting features” section.

Here, you can define your audience.

Targeting features section

Fill out the information about your ideal customer and finish setting up your campaign. 

The more targeted your campaign, the better it can convert. Make sure your creative assets and content are written for your target audience to net the best results. 

Agency Directories

Directories help businesses find the best digital agency for their needs. This is a great tactic for increasing lead generation for digital marketing agencies.

Agency directories allow users to narrow their search. 

Business owners can typically specify their desired services, such as SEO or pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns, to find the right agency.

Directory leads are often much more qualified than those from other sources.

There are several types of agency directories to consider:

  • Technology partner directories
  • Work showcase and award directories
  • Third-party directories and review sites

Each directory has its own pricing structure. 

Many directories allow free listings but require payment for premium listings or prominent directory placement.

Make sure to review pricing and terms before listing your agency.

Semrush’s Agency Partners directory can expose your agency to millions of marketers and industry recognition as an official Semrush partner. 

Semrush’s Agency Partners directory

Start with our Agency Growth Kit, which you can access with your Semrush subscription. Then, get certified via Semrush Academy

And you’re ready to go. 

With our Agency Partners directory, businesses can narrow their search by service, industry, and location. 

Browse agency galleries section

Update your company profile periodically to see leads such as the following:

Find leads

Then, contact your qualified leads and begin the nurturing process. 

Generate leads with Google Ads by combining campaigns on the Google Search Network and Google Display Network.

Google Search ads are text ads shown in Google search results. They target users searching for specific phrases, known as keywords. (Multiple targeting options are available, but we’ll focus on keywords for this example.) 

Google Search Ad example

You can customize your campaign to only show ads for high-converting keywords, such as “best marketing agency in london” or “ppc agency near me.”

These keywords are searched often and have a high conversion rate, also known as a click-through rate. But they’re also expensive because lots of brands are competing for them. 

Google Display ads are visual ads that appear on a network of more than 2 million websites, apps, or videos. 

Google Display ad example

These ads may have a lower conversion rate than Google search ads, but they’re often cheaper. 

With them, you may be able to reach more users with a smaller budget.

That’s why combining search ads with display ads can be a smart move to generate leads for your digital marketing agency. 


High competition in the online marketing space makes organic SEO one of the most challenging techniques to generate leads for digital marketing agencies. 

Maybe you want to rank for informational keywords, such as “how to do keyword research.” Or commercial and transactional keywords, such as “seo marketing agency” or “best ppc company.” The competition is fierce for high-volume keywords like these. 

You’d compete with established marketing blogs and websites. Sites that have been publishing valuable content for years.

Unless you have a highly authoritative site, outranking your competition could prove difficult.

Identifying a niche can help.

Your niche can be an industry or a particular service. Or a mix of both. 

The key is tapping into long-tail keywords

For example, ranking for “digital marketing agency” is difficult.

Ranking for long-tail keywords, such as “ppc marketing agency for insurance companies” or “digital marketing agency for hospitality” isn’t easy. 

But it’s easier

Use Semrush’s Keyword Overview to check Keyword Difficulty, identified as KD %. 

This percentage indicates how difficult it would be to rank for a particular keyword in Google’s top 10 results. 

Keyword Difficulty in Keyword Overview

The lower the percentage, the easier it should be to rank organically for a keyword.

Long-tail keywords tend to have lower search volume, but their keyword difficulty is often much lower, too.

With a strong content strategy, you could rank for them. And start generating leads from your SEO efforts.


Hosting a webinar is an excellent way to build your authority and credibility. And establish your agency as a thought leader.

A webinar invitation serves as a lead magnet. So you can identify qualified leads. And build relationships with key figures in your industry by inviting them as guests.

(This applies if you’re appearing on somebody else’s webinar, too.) 

Webinar attendees can be excellent prospects for your agency. Create an opportunity to share your website and social media handles, which allows you to continue the conversation elsewhere. 

And answer any questions viewers may have. 

If appropriate, direct them to your site or social media to learn more.

Webinar with chat example

Video Marketing

Generally, video creation is more difficult and expensive than other content formats. So there’s less competition. 

How can you leverage video marketing for lead generation for your marketing agency?

These are some ideas: 

  • Share useful marketing tips 
  • Interview customers and share case studies

You shouldn’t just post videos for the sake of it, though. 

Ensure your clips speak directly to your target clients’ marketing problems and offer value. 

Ebooks or White Papers

Ebooks and white papers are an excellent way to provide in-depth information and establish yourself as an industry authority.

Ebook example from Semrush

Check out our extensive guide to writing an ebook, including free templates.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation saves you time and resources. And helps put lead generation on autopilot. Learn more about marketing automation and how Semrush can help.

Automation-friendly channels can increase lead generation for digital marketing agencies.

Let’s consider two common examples:


Email marketing is primed for automation because you can trigger the sending of an email when a prospect takes a specific action. 

If you’re looking for cost-effective, easy-to-use email marketing automation tools, check out MailerLite or Mailchimp

For more advanced options, consider Sendinblue and GetResponse.


Chatbots can interact and engage with users on your website. 

They act as triage, filtering straightforward customer queries.

Chatbot builders are plentiful, and include Zendesk and Birdeye.

Remember that automation can only take you so far. At some point, you need to interact with your potential leads directly.

However, automation can be a highly efficient method at the top of the marketing funnel.


Influencer marketing can help your agency generate more leads. Finding the right influencers is the tricky part. 

The right influencer is unique to you. But they should have a relevant audience for your goals. 

BuzzGuru can help you find the right influencers and manage your influencer marketing campaigns.


Referrals are an excellent way to generate leads indirectly. Because reputation can hold strong sway in industry circles.

To drive lead generation this way, build relationships and develop formal and informal partnerships with upstream service providers, other agencies that aren’t direct competitors, and niche partners.

Client Rewards

Incentivizing and rewarding your clients for referrals and reviews is another lead-generation tactic for agencies.

Personal recommendations from credible industry figures can go a long way. Likewise, good reviews—particularly personal testimonies—act as social proof for decision-makers.

Accelerate the process by establishing a formal referral program for existing clients. 

Discounts on products and services and access to premium services are good places to start.

Industry Events and Trade Shows

Industry events, such as conferences and seminars, can be a great way to find leads. So are trade shows. 

Here are some ways to get the most out of these events: 

  • Sponsor events or specific talks
  • Join roundtable discussions
  • Give a keynote speech
  • Place your logo on the event website

You can also create your own events: Organize meet-ups, dinners, or award ceremonies, for instance. 

Extend invitations to the decision-makers you would like to build relationships with.

If your agency has a local or regional focus, or you specialize in traditional or offline marketing, check out local media advertisements.

This can involve the following ideas:

  • Seeking exposure in local publications (online or offline), which includes the following:
    • Sponsored content
    • Paid advertising
    • As a go-to expert
  • Listings in relevant directories

Chambers of Commerce

Becoming a member of your local chamber of commerce can be an excellent—and often overlooked—way to generate leads.

There isn’t a chamber of commerce in every location, but it’s worth checking into if so. 

Membership can facilitate many of the strategies already on this list. Such as networking, client referrals, and industry events. 

It also has additional benefits, such as increased credibility and visibility for your agency.

How to Qualify Your Leads:

Qualifying your leads allows you to determine whether a particular lead is worth your sales team’s time. 

Create a solid and well-structured qualification framework, which includes the following:

1. Define Your Ideal Customer

Creating your ideal customer profile (ICP) helps you identify common traits your best customers share. 

By understanding what sets your ideal customers apart from other customers, you can identify high-quality leads more quickly. 

Learn how to define your ideal customer profile

2. Create a Scoring System

To quantify how promising a lead is, assign each one a defined numerical value.

This is called lead scoring. 

Numerous qualification frameworks can help with this. 

Send the leads that score well to your sales team to follow up. 

Learn more about lead scoring and how to implement it in your business.

3. Start the Nurturing Process

Lead nurturing consists of building and maintaining relationships with potential customers until they’re ready to buy. 

It can be automated (mainly through email marketing) or manual. 

Lead nurturing strategies allow you to learn about your ideal customer. And send them selected content that brings them closer to conversion.

Learn more about lead nurturing and why it’s important.

How to Improve Your Lead Generation for Your Marketing Agency

Lead generation is an ongoing process that requires frequent review and analysis to improve your chances of success.

As a starting point, ensure that you:

1. Keep Your Website and Its Content Updated

In particular, your content should: 

  • Be consistent in tone, delivery, and quality
  • Be benefit-driven and provide genuine value to readers
  • Contain visuals such as images, infographics, charts, and diagrams
  • Contain bullet points and other text breakers that make the content easier to digest
  • Display social proof and trust factors such as reviews, testimonials, and external ratings from sources like Trustpilot
  • Have a clear call to action (CTA) and a short form that makes the pathway clear and simple for your prospects

2. Implement Relevant CTAs Across All Your Content

If your prospects don’t know how or where to take action, you’ll lose out on leads.

3. Optimize Your Lead Forms

A prospect may or may not be ready to fill out your form for numerous reasons. And you need to understand why. 

Maybe there are too many form fields. Or maybe you’re unclear about what happens to the prospect’s information. 

Consistently analyze how users interact with your form to improve the process.

4. Conduct A/B Tests of Pages, Forms, and CTAs

It’s crucial to understand which elements of your materials are working and which aren’t.

Split testing is an accurate way to get this information. 

When testing, always track your results and test just one element at a time.

How Semrush Can Help

Now you know how to get digital marketing leads for your agency. 

As a digital marketing agency, lead generation should be one of your top priorities. 

But finding new prospects is just the first step. 

Get Semrush’s Agency Growth Kit and automate your agency workflows: 

Companies of all sizes—from SMBs to Fortune 500 giants—have benefited from using Semrush to generate and convert leads. 

It’s your turn. 

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