Leads Automation: Use Marketing Automation to Get New Leads

A Step-by-step Guide on how to set up your Marketing OS lead generation funnel

December 24, 2023
Marketing automation to generate new leads

Whether you’re running a small business or nonprofit or working as a solopreneur, you need leads. And the process can feel daunting to guide someone from curious about your brand to ready to buy, donate or volunteer. 

But it doesn’t have to be.

With an intentional customer journey mapped out and well-designed marketing automation established, you can see your funnel consistently deliver leads while you focus on running the business. 

For most entrepreneurs, there are some key elements you need to understand.

  • Customer journey map
  • Lead Generator
  • Email Automation
  • Scheduling Automation
  • Lead Offer
  • Proposals

The technical examples in this guide are specific to the Better Story Marketing OS, but the principles apply if you already have another tool that provides a CRM, email automation, scheduling and proposals. If you don’t yet have a marketing automation tool, the Marketing OS Starter allows you to implement this guide for only $5 a month.

So let’s dive in.

Schedule a marketing automation Q&A session
Schedule a marketing automation Q&A session

Customer journey map

We’re starting with the customer journey map because when you have a good map, it’s easy to identify how you will use marketing automation to generate leads when you have a good map.

A customer journey map is a visual representation that outlines the steps and interactions a customer goes through when engaging with a brand or product. It helps you understand the customer experience from start to finish, identifying key touchpoints and potential pain points. 

By mapping out the customer journey, you can gain insights into how customers think, feel, and behave at each stage, allowing them to optimize their marketing, sales, and customer service efforts accordingly. 

Customer journey maps often include stages such as awareness, consideration, purchase, and post-purchase and may incorporate various channels and touchpoints like websites, social media, customer support, and more.

Here’s an example of what a generic customer journey might look like.

Let me highlight some elements on this customer journey map you’ll want to consider when designing your marketing automation plan.

  • Lead Generator: This could be a downloadable PDF, a video series or an assessment. No matter what type of lead generator you use, you will want it to trigger specific automation.
  • Sales Campaign: You want to immediately follow up when a prospect engages a lead generator. Your marketing automation should deliver a campaign designed to help the prospect and invite them to the next step, which in this map is a meeting.
  • Qualifying Meeting Scheduling: This brief (20-30 min) meeting allows the prospect to meet you and you to determine if you can help them solve their problem or reach their goal. An example of this would be the Focus Session I offer.
  • Nurture Campaign: Not everyone is ready to move ahead right now. You need an automated way for prospects to stay connected and continue to receive value from you. This is usually a long-term email sequence
  • Lead Offer: A lead offer is like a lead generator but is not free. Think of it as solid value at an entry-level price. It lets you and the prospect get to know each other while helping them significantly. Some examples of this are my Marketing Strategy Roadmap and Marketing Automation Roadmap sessions
  • Outcome survey: This one isn’t always necessary, but I find it helpful. When someone tries your lead offer, gathering additional info from them can be beneficial.
  • Proposal: If someone is ready to buy, you want the proposal process to be efficient, which is why it’s an essential part of your marketing automation plan.

Once you complete the customer journey map, you want to look for two things. 

  1. How can you automate what’s already working?
  2. What are you not doing now but would be effective and scalable if it were automated? 

This is essentially what I help entrepreneurs do during a Marketing Automation Roadmap session. And it’s powerful when they can see their current process mapped out and then prioritize critical places on that map to automate. 

Which ones do you need to prioritize? 

Well, it depends on your business type and how mature your current process is. That nuance is why so many entrepreneurs find such value in the roadmap session. 

When you have a good map, it’s easy to identify how you will use marketing automation to generate leads when you have a good map.

But, I chose to highlight the above elements because they are essential to most entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and coaches with whom I primarily work. So, if you fall into one of those categories, chances are you need to automate at least half of them. 

With that in mind, let’s dive in and take them individually. 

If you want to follow along for your own business, sign up for a starter account, and you can give it a try. If you sign up, take a quick detour to this marketing automation short setup guide because I’m not covering those details here.

Automating a Lead Generator

Let’s quickly define a lead generator.

 A Lead generator is an offer that provides value to the potential customer in exchange for their contact information, such as an email address, phone number, or social media account. 

Common forms they take include:

  • How to guides
  • Webinars
  • Free trials
  • Checklists
  • Templates
  • Tips & Tricks
  • Discounts. 

Your lead magnet should provide information or resources that help solve a specific problem your persona is facing. For a deeper dive, check out What is a Lead Generator and How do I Create One?

To demonstrate how to automate your lead generation process, we will use a lead generator I created called 5 Common Mistakes When Outsourcing Content Writing and see how I automated it.

Create a Lead Generator Form

Once the content of the lead generator (in this case, a PDF) is created, the next step is to create a form that can be used on a landing page or popup. 

Creating a form in the Better Story Marketing OS is pretty straightforward. Here are the steps.

  1. Log into your Better Story Marketing OS account.
  2. Click Sites in the left menu.
  3. Click Forms in the top menu.
  4. Click Add Form and select Start From Scratch.
  5. Click the “+” in the top left corner to add elements to your form.
  6. Change the name in the top middle to represent the lead generator for which you are creating the form.
  7. When you’re finished, click Save.

To include custom questions, you must first create Custom Fields. Here are the steps.

  1. Click Settings in the bottom left corner.
  2. Click Custom Fields on the left menu.
  3. Click Add Field in the top right corner.
  4. Choose the type of field you want and click Next.
  5. Give the field a Name and Group. Most of the other parts are optional.
  6. Click Save.
  7. Return to your form and add the Custom Field.

Now that you have a working form to use for your lead generator, you can embed it on landing pages or popups throughout your site. 

The next step is to set up the email automation that will deliver the PDF and build a connection with the new lead who filled out your form.

No more stringing together a hodgepodge of tools that only sort of get the job done. Instead, it's time you experience marketing that runs the way it should without you having to babysit it.

Identify key areas where marketing automation can help you reach the goals of your small business or nonprofit.

Email Automation

Email automation is an essential part of your marketing OS. And it is vital when delivering a lead generator. 

To set up an automated email sequence, you will create what is called a workflow. Setting up email automation in the Better Story Marketing OS requires a few steps across two major stages.

  1. Create the workflow and add a trigger
  2. Add all the actions to the workflow

Create the workflow and add a trigger

  1. Click Automation in the left menu.
  2. Click Create Folder in the top right corner.
  3. Name the folder the same as the lead generator.
  4. Click on the newly created folder to open it, click Create Workflow and select Start from scratch.
  5. At the top of the screen, change the name to “[name of lead generator] - Sales Sequence.”
  6. Click Add New Workflow Trigger and select Form Submitted.
  7. Change the trigger name from “Form Submitted” o “[name of lead generator] - Form Submitted”
  8. Click Add Filters, select Form is and choose your form from the list. 
  9. Click Save Trigger in the bottom right corner.

Add all the actions to the workflow.

  1. Click Add your first action, select Add Contact Tag, name the tag the same as the lead generator and click Save Action.
  2. Click the “+”, select Create/Update Opportunity, select the pipeline and stage appropriate to this lead generator, name the opportunity by clicking the tag icon and selecting Contact > Full Name, add the name of the lead generator in the Opportunity Source field and click Save Action.
  3. Click the “+”, select Send Email, name the email [lead generator name] deliver, set the From Name to {{location.name}}, set the From Email to {{location.email}}, add a Subject line like “Here’s your [lead generator name], write an email that thanks them for downloading the lead magnet and includes a link to access the PDF, then click Save Action.
  4. Click the “+”, select Wait, set it to wait 1 day and click Save Action.

You can repeat steps 3 and 4 to add additional emails to the sequence. Typical content for emails in this sales sequence includes:

  • Reminding the potential customer about the problem you solve.
  • Sharing a customer success story.
  • Explaining how they can think differently about the problem they’re facing.
  • Addressing an objection they have about buying your product.
  • Inviting them to take the next step to buying your product.

For many entrepreneurs, the next step to buying their product is scheduling a call, which we’ll cover next.

Scheduling Automation

Scheduling a sales qualifying call is critical in most companies' sales process. The Better Story Marketing OS makes this easy with calendars.

Here’s how you set up a calendar for scheduling a discovery call.

  1. Click Settings in the bottom left corner, then click Calendars and click the Create Calendar button in the top right corner.
  2. For this discovery call, you’ll choose Round Robin
  3. Give the calendar a name, assign it to a team member, give it a custom URL and click Advanced Settings.
  4. You’ll want to add a Description and update the availability, interval, duration and scheduling notice.
  5. Update the Thank you message, select both Contact and Assigned use for who should receive notification.
  6. Click Save in the top right corner.
  7. Find your calendar, click the three dots to the right and select Share.
  8. Copy the Scheduling Link to use in your sales email at the end of your sales sequence. You can also create a specific page on your website to display the booking widget using the Embed Code.

You now have a calendar your potential customers can use to schedule a call with you. During this call, you listen to their needs and goals to determine if your offers can help them. 

Even when your offer meets their needs, customers may still be hesitant to buy. A lead offer is an excellent way for the customer to get sold value at a discounted price.

Lead Offer

A lead offer is when you offer a smaller version of your main product or service at a discounted price to allow someone to experience working with you. An example might be a leadership coach offering a StrengthsFinder consultation or how I offer a personal 1-liner workshop

Your lead offer could be downloadable and set up similarly to your lead generator, but it’s not free. A lead offer also often takes the form of a consultation, which you would set up similarly to the calendar in the previous section. 

Here are the primary outcomes you want from your lead offer

  1. The client feels like they receive more value than the cost of the offer.
  2. You’ve identified if the client is a good fit for your services. Can you solve their problem, and do you want to work with them?
  3. You’ve identified what products or services you would recommend as a next step.

If you’ve done all three, then you’re ready to send them a proposal.


Proposals allow you to clearly outline how you will help your new client overcome the problems they’re experiencing and reach their goals. 

The Better Story Marketing OS has a straightforward and effective proposal feature. To learn how to create and send your first proposal, check out this guide: Creating and Sending Proposals & Invoices in the Better Story Marketing OS.

Setting a lead generation funnel is crucial to growing your business. 

Once it's up and running, it will bring in more leads and improve your ROI. Knowing your target audience, creating valuable lead magnets and landing pages, and keeping in touch with your lead through email sequences are essential.

Action Plan

You will transform leads into happy customers by implementing the right technology and strategies. If you’re ready to take that next step and level up your marketing, you can sign up for a free trial of the Better Story Marketing OS and 

Start today and watch your lead generation efforts pay off in the long run.

Frequently Asked Questions

Marketing Automation

What is marketing automation?

Marketing automation is the use of software to automate repetitive marketing tasks. This includes email marketing, social media posting, and ad campaigns, allowing businesses to nurture prospects wit

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What is marketing automation?

Why should a small business use marketing automation?

Marketing automation can save time and increase efficiency by automating repetitive tasks. It can also provide valuable data on customer behavior, helping to refine marketing strategies and improve c

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Why should a small business use marketing automation?

Can marketing automation help with customer retention?

Yes, by providing personalized content and timely communication, marketing automation can help nurture customer relationships and increase customer loyalty.

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Can marketing automation help with customer retention?

Is marketing automation expensive?

The cost of marketing automation tools varies widely, and many offer scalable pricing based on the size of your business and specific needs. Some tools offer free versions with limited features.

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Is marketing automation expensive?

Does marketing automation make marketing impersonal?

While it does automate certain processes, the goal of marketing automation is to enable more personalized and targeted communication by understanding customer behavior and preferences.

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Does marketing automation make marketing impersonal?

Customer Journey Maps

What is a customer journey?

A customer journey is the process that a customer goes through when interacting with your company, from the initial discovery phase to the final purchase or interaction.

See the full answer to
What is a customer journey?

What are the stages in the customer journey?

Awareness - Consideration - Decision - Delivery + Use - Loyalty + Referral

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What are the stages in the customer journey?

Why is mapping the customer journey important?

When you understand the journey, your can meet the customers where they are.

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Why is mapping the customer journey important?

How do I start creating a customer journey map?

Start by defining your ideal customer personas, then map the current process by identify the different touchpoints where your customers interact with your business at the phases of the customer journ

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How do I start creating a customer journey map?

How often should I update my customer journey map?

Certainly whenever your products or services change and at least annually.

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How often should I update my customer journey map?

Ready to level up your marketing? Start today!