By Paul Schmidt

What is an MQL?

Marketing qualified leads (MQLs) are leads that on the surface appear to meet all the attributes of a quality lead. A rule of thumb is that an MQL is someone in whom you would want to invest another marketing dollar. MQLs are identified based on the information provided when the prospect completes a landing page form or when they conduct certain behavior on your website or social media channels that indicates they could be a good fit for your product/service. MQLs meet your definition of a quality lead and are identified based on demographics, activities, and behaviors on your website.

One mistake many organizations make is thinking MQLs are ready to pull out their credit cards to purchase their product. MQLs are usually not ready to purchase and will require lead nurturing to move them through the sales process to determine whether they are sales qualified.

Here are 6 methods for generating MQLs through ungated content: 

1.     Turning Blog Subscribers into MQLs

Blog subscribers are rather easy to generate assuming you’re producing interesting content for your readers. A single form field on your blog can be an easy funnel to drive email addresses into your database. After these contacts have been receiving your blog, they are in a prime position for you to share your longer-form premium content offers. Since you already know these users, you don’t have to send them to a landing page to fill out additional forms. You could send them an email that takes them to a thank you page or ungated page where they have the ability to get a copy of your latest whitepaper without having to fill out a form.  

Based on your MQL criteria, these subscribers who click through straight to your thank you page (instead of landing page) may be considered MQLs.

 

2. Pillar Content Creation

Another method for generating MQLs is by providing your premium offers in long-form ungated content and then offering your users the ability to download a PDF version in exchange for their email address. Another benefit, besides lead generation, of pillar content creation is that search engines are then able to crawl all of your ungated content, which could benefit your organic rankings and SEO.  

 

3. Content upgrades

Similar to the pillar content technique are content upgrades. Content upgrades are typically found on long-form pieces of ungated content and provide a value-add related piece of gated content that is available for download. An example of this is if you’re reading an ungated guide on how to make cookies, the content upgrade could be a gated piece of content with 101 cookie recipes.

 

4. Facebook or LinkedIn Lead Capture Ads

One of the most effective ad products with the lowest CPA we are seeing right now are lead capture ads (though this won’t always be the case). Facebook and LinkedIn both provide a CPC ad that allows users to get a copy of a premium content offer by clicking on the ad and submitting their pre-filled information (based on what the social media network knows about them). Lead capture ads are as simple to use as the 1-touch ordering from Amazon. From there, the pre-filled information can be synced with your CRM and the user doesn’t have to fill out any of your forms.

 

5. Website Chat

Drift’s website chat product is making waves in the marketing world by pushing websites to avoid gating their content and instead capturing leads through real-time website chat. Website chat isn’t a new technology, but it can be an effective way to interact with users on your website who have questions and then more passively collect their information.

 

6. Retargeting Anonymous Web Visitors

MQLs can also be generated through retargeting. 90%+ of your website visitors are not going to convert. Retargeting through Google Display Network or Facebook ads is an effective way to drive this traffic back to your website’s ungated content or even retargeting them with a lead capture ad on Facebook or LinkedIn.

As more and more consumers turn to ad blockers and refuse to fill out forms, marketers need to be more creative to generate MQLs. What are some methods you use to fill up your MQL funnel?

growth-driven-design-ebook.png

Learn more about lead generation with:

What Is Growth Driven Design?

Learn More
Paul Schmidt

About the author

Paul Schmidt is senior consultant at SmartBug Media. He works with clients on SEO, analytics, lead generation and inbound marketing strategy. He recently co-hosted an SEO webinar series with the HubSpot Academy and spoke on social media strategy at the HubSpot Inbound conference. His past clients include: Travelers Insurance, Unilever, and the SABIAN Cymbal Company. He previously worked as a HubSpot Consultant as well as with a Boston-based search marketing agency. Paul studied percussion in Las Vegas and got his MBA in marketing in Boston. Read more articles by Paul Schmidt.