Anyone can generate large quantities of superficial leads by purchasing lists from unknown sources, counting anonymous clicks to their Web site, or giving away the latest electronic gizmo. But it’s quality leads that industrial marketers need to generate.

Here are five overlooked rules that can help you accomplish your goal. Keep them top of mind when planning your marketing spend.

1. High quality content begets high quality leads.
You may have visitors swarming your Web site. The best way to turn them into quality leads is to offer useful information relevant to the task they are trying to complete or the job they do. Prospects with a need will fill out your form if you have a white paper, application notes, Webinar invitation, or other content they want.

Asking prospects to register can help you generate quality leads — but only if you are offering the right stuff. If you’re driving traffic to your offer landing pages and experiencing significant drop off or your forms are being completed with invalid information, it may be time to analyze the quality of content you are offering. Also, ask only for the minimal amount of information that will allow you to communicate with the prospect: name, company, e-mail, phone number. You can fill in the rest of their information later.

2. Targeted tactics deliver higher quality leads.
As a general rule, the more targeted your marketing programs, the higher quality leads you will generate. For example, if your company sells hydraulic equipment, you will reach a highly targeted audience by placing ads in an e-newsletter published specifically for hydraulics industry professionals or by sponsoring an online event for the hydraulics industry. With these types of targeted programs, you are connecting with an audience you already understand and know how to communicate with, and you can craft your messaging to be specific and relevant, helping you to generate quality leads.

3. Generating high quality leads requires branding support.
Too often branding gets the short straw, especially when the mantra in your company is “More leads, more leads.” But branding is an essential component of lead generation. Almost any prospect would rather contact and do business with a company whose name and brand value is familiar. The unknown makes us uncomfortable. The unknown is risky. Sure, an industrial professional looking for a solution to their problem might contact a company they haven’t heard of to get a quote, but when it comes time to choose a vendor, the familiar name often rises to the top of the list and wins the business.

One strategy to consider is to invest in marketing programs that offer both lead generation and branding, such as a visible presence in online directories or sponsorship opportunities for online events. Also, spread out your marketing mix with a variety of programs so your brand becomes familiar with more potential customers in more places.

4. High quality leads can take time to develop.
Not all the leads you generate are high quality from day one and ready for handoff to your sales team. In fact, research shows that up to 70% of potential business comes from long-term leads.

A prospect you connect with might be in the early research phase of their buying process, compiling a list of vendors and products that might meet their needs. Your best chance of converting this prospect in the long term is to stay in touch through lead nurturing programs. Continue to reach out with targeted e-mails and phone calls. Offer relevant information such as articles, case studies, white papers, event invitations and more. If you continue to nurture prospects, they will remember your company and products as they move further along in the buying cycle and get closer to making a purchase.

5. Active, motivated searchers can become your highest quality leads.
One of the great advantages of online marketing programs is that you can establish a strong, visible presence 24/7 on directories, industrial search engines, and web sites. This way your company and products can be found when an active, motivated industrial professional is searching for products and services like those that you offer. Prospects with a clearly defined need who are actively searching can quickly become highly qualified leads if they find you and contact you during their search. Be sure to invest in those areas where your prospects are searching.

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