What Is a Qualified Lead?

What Is a Qualified Lead?
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What is a qualified lead? A qualified lead is a potential customer with a high likelihood of converting into a user, based on the data they have provided about themselves, including demographics, interests, location, salary, and many other unique factors.

One of the easiest ways to think about this digital marketing term is to relate it to the process of adding a new team member to a company for an open opportunity.

For instance, you are in the market for a digital advertising executive. You post the job listing online, outlining the requirements, and your inbox is flooded with applicants. Of those who throw their name into the hat, a handful will be qualified for the job, while many others will move straight to the slush pile.

It’s vital for professionals to distinguish between a lead and a qualified lead with digital marketing efforts.

While a company may have a mega database of emails they send their promotional newsletters to, if only 5 percent of those leads are qualified, their actual reach is much lower. It isn’t beneficial to create campaigns if they are ending up in the trash of a person’s inbox or going unread entirely.

From a social media perspective, it’s often easy to see where a brand has invested in qualified leads (rather than just purchasing followers) when comparing their following count to their likes per post count. If they have a high amount of followers but very few likes, it means their audience isn’t engaged with their content.

However, suppose they have a smaller follower count but a high number of likes on their posts. In that case, they have may have a micro-influence over their community, which is far more helpful than millions of uninterested followers or fake accounts.

A qualified lead will reduce the number of marketing dollars you spend, improve branding and copy, and give a crisp look into your audience. When marketing teams take time to dissect their lead list, they will ultimately become more successful because they will better understand their target customer.

How can you tell if a lead is qualified?

A smart content marketer will take the time to analyze their leads’ potential, also known as lead scoring. This helps to clear out subscriber lists, social media followers and irrelevant web traffic that doesn’t impact the bottom line. The tricky part about defining a qualified lead is realizing it’s unique for every organization.

There is no tried-and-true test that works in all industries, so you need to map out what “qualified” means to you and your company. What a fitness company would use to measure a qualified lead isn’t the same tactic a concrete manufacturer would use, so pay attention to your industry and past successes to guide your practice.

To get started, you can ask yourself these questions to determine if they are likely to convert to a customer:

  • Do they have a need that you or your company can fulfill?
  • Do they have the ability and resources to purchase your goods/services? (In other words: Does their income match that of your current customer base?)
  • Are they ready — right now! — to make a purchase or investment?
  • Do they interact with your brand via social media or email? Do they seem like they’re already a fan?

Common uses of a qualified lead:

  • To gain a better understanding of your audience, newsletter lists and social media followers
  • To know who is more likely to take action or to become a customer
  • To better capture customers ready to make a purchase or subscribe
  • To improve engagement across all mediums and channels
  • To improve the cost per lead and reduce spend
What is a qualified lead — and why does it matter in marketing? Find out in this quick #marketing guide. #contentmarketing Click To Tweet

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About the author

Lindsay Tigar

Lindsay Tigar is an experienced, established travel and lifestyle journalist, editor, and content strategist. Since uprooting from Asheville, North Carolina in 2010 to Manhattan, Lindsay's work has appeared on several websites, including Travel + Leisure, Vogue, USA Today, Reader's Digest, Self, Refinery29, and countless others. While she is always up for the challenge of any assignment, her main areas of focus include travel, wellness, career, psychology, love and healthy living.