The Beginner’s Guide to Generating Leads Using Twitter Cards

Twitter cards are an underutilized yet highly effective way to generating more leads for your email lists. Here is the complete guide for first-timers.

Many businesses live and die by their email list.

A robust and growing email list ensures you have a steady stream of leads that you can nurture. And nurturing leads is important because, as MarketingSherpa reports, “73 percent of all leads are not sales-ready.” For the majority of those leads, it will take around 10 interactions with your marketing before they’re ready to buy.

And when nurturing is done right, there’s a good chance that a lot of those leads will turn into customers. DemandGen Report says that according to Forrester Research, “Companies that excel at lead nurturing generate 50 percent more sales leads at 33 percent lower cost.

It’s no wonder growing their leads list is a top priority for small business owners. In fact, 34.1 percent of the small business owners surveyed in our “2016 Small Business Marketing Trends Report,” listed it as their primary goal.


Organic social media and diminishing returns

In that same report, 51.1 percent of respondents said they were planning on increasing budgets for digital advertising and social media, with 57.8 percent saying their primary way of marketing their content is through posting on social media.

For the most part, small businesses engage in the age-old Internet practice of posting organically on social media. Unfortunately, the returns on those practices are diminishing.

After running through a series of TL;DR calculations, Contently concluded this about brands engaging in organic social media as a marketing tactic:

For businesses that want social media clicks: At current rates, a brand that has fewer than 1 million followers on Facebook or Twitter is better off paying to promote its best content via sponsored updates than it is paying someone to post social content all day long. And it probably won’t pay off the cost of acquiring followers it already sunk, versus paying just for clicks. As organic reach continues to decline, it will soon be unprofitable for brands with more than a million followers to feed their followings.

So, what’s a small business to do? That answer lies in doing what social media platforms want you to do: pay to play.

One area of opportunity in the pay to play world that you may not know about is Twitter Lead Generation Cards.


What are Twitter Lead Generation Cards?

Basically, Twitter Lead Generation Cards are lead generation forms built right into the platform. They effectively replace the need for driving your social traffic to a landing page. And when used right, they can be very effective.

For instance, “Over a four-week period, Webtrends used Twitter Lead Gen cards to drive a:

  • 996 percent increase in leads acquired
  • 500 percent improvement in cost-per-lead
  • 300 percent improvement in cost-per-engagement”

After reading this post on how to set up Twitter Lead Gen Cards, you should definitely check out Webtrends’ post on how they created these results.

Web Trends
Source: Webtrends

As Twitter explains, “Adding Twitter Lead Generation Cards to your Tweets makes it easy for people to express interest in your business without having to fill out a form or leave Twitter. With just a couple of clicks, users can share their contact information with you so that you can follow up with your new potential customers.”

People spend time on Twitter because they want to find new or interesting things, and that includes brand generated content—if it’s interesting and relevant. One of the advantages to paid versus organic social placement is that you can get very detailed about the demo and psychographics you want to target with your posts. This is a huge opportunity to create a lead magnet like an e-book, white paper, or webinar targeted to a very specific audience and then to promote it for lead generation through Twitter using these cards.


How to create Twitter Lead Generation Cards

OK, you’re convinced that this is worth a shot, but how do you start? The following is a quick guide on setting up your first Twitter Card Campaign.

Step 1: Log into Twitter Ads

Go to your Twitter profile and click on your picture in the right hand corner. On the drop down menu, click “Twitter Ads.”

Twitter Ads
Logging in to Twitter Ads

Depending on whether you’ve ever used Twitter Ads before, you may have to fill in some set up information before starting a campaign.

Step 2: Start a Leads on Twitter campaign

On the Twitter ads landing page, click to “Create new campaign,” and then “Leads on Twitter.”

Twitter Ads Campaign
Creating a campaign

This will take you to the campaign set up page, which is a four-part process to getting your campaign ready.

Step 3: Name and schedule your campaign

Set Up Your Campaign
Setting up your campaign

The first step is to name and schedule your campaign. Try to be specific and consistent in your naming so that, if you’re running multiple campaigns, it’s easy to know which one is which.

In terms of scheduling, you have two options. You can start immediately and run continuously (until your budget is up), or you can set a time frame. This is especially handy for time-sensitive things like webinars and events.

Step 4: Select your audience

This is where you can make or break your campaign. In the end, your conversion rates will only be as good as your ability to target the right people with your content.

With Twitter Lead Generation Cards you can get very specific. Determine each of these for your audience (it’s helpful to do this before you’re ready to set up your campaign!)

  • Location (i.e., city and country)
  • Gender
  • Language
  • Device types (i.e., iPhone, computer, etc.)—even mobile carriers
  • Keywords that Twitter users tweet
  • Followers, targets the followers of accounts you name
  • Interests, there are a number of categories you can choose from
  • Tailored audiences, custom lists you have as well as retargeting for people who have been on your website
  • TV targeting, retargeting of people who have watched certain television programs
  • Behaviors, these are psychographic targets, such as people interested in buying a first home, etc.
  • Event targeting, people attending a certain event

As you can see, things can get quite granular! Don’t fret, though; Twitter has a number of pre-made terms you can search and use. It just takes a bit of time invested.

The more you can know about your audience, the better chance you’ll have targeting them with the right offer to convert. So it’s worth the work.

Step 5: Set your budget

Here you can set your budgets, including either running your campaign through a daily budget or a total budget. In the first case, it will stop the campaign each day when the budget is hit. In the latter, it will run continuously until the budget is gone.

You’ll also notice that under “advanced options,” there’s a place to change whether you want to automatic bidding or set a max bid for ad placement. Basically, you have to bid in an auction with other ads to get placement. As Larry Kim writes for WordStream, automatic bidding can win you lots of auctions, but will also eat up your budget quickly. Here’s his advice on the two options:

Automatic bidding will make sure your budget is spent very quickly. Sure, it helps you win ad auctions, but you don’t really have to or want to win every auction.

Keep in mind it’s not like search advertising where you’re bidding on rare priceless keywords that get searched on 10 times per year. This is display advertising and there are plenty of ad spots available to buy.

Always use maximum bidding. For most companies doing lead generation, it’s not the end of the world if the lead comes in tomorrow vs. today.

The only time you would use automatic bidding is if you need to promote something heavily and you need those ad impressions today (e.g., you have a 24-hour sale) or if you’re targeting a very tight audience, maybe 1,000 people. In these cases, then you do have to use auto bidding—or just bid really high.

(You might see that Kim also advises against cards since they look like ads and equal less clicks. Obviously, Webtreds [mentioned above] would beg to differ based on their results. My advice, do as Kim did, run tests, and see what performs best for you).

Step 6: Do your ad creation

Finally, you’re to the fun part—creating your ad.

Creating Your Ad
Ad creative

As you can see, you’ll need to have your 140 or less characters tweet ready to go, as well as an image and a call to action. Again, it’s helpful to have these written out ahead of time so you’ve vetted with your team and are simply ready to plug and play.

Another thing to be aware of is you’ll need some things for your call-to-action, including a short description, CTA copy, a link to a privacy policy on your website, and a fallback webpage URL.

Conclusion Twitter Ads
Finishing up your Twitter card



Once your creative is done, you’re ready to launch your first campaign! Again, now is the time to do some testing and see what works and what doesn’t. Iterate early and often. Once you find a combination that works well, make a bigger run and enjoy the flow of leads that come through. You’ll be building your list and ready to begin those nurture campaigns, turning leads into customers in no time.

Jake Johnson HeadshotThis was a guest post written by Jake Johnson, who serves as the Sr. Managing Editor for Infusionsoft. Jake works with a team of stellar creators to drive the content marketing initiatives that help small businesses succeed. Entrepreneurial and diverse, Jake has founded two companies, including an interactive creative agency nominated as one of the ten best new agencies in the world by .net Magazine, worked with authors on nearly twenty books, including two New York Times Bestsellers, and overseen the content and creative strategies as an in-house lead with two large non-profits. 

How One High-Growth Startup Uses Shoeboxed to Sustain Their Momentum

Brandon Gaines started Attorney Prime three years ago, and after receiving some big press mentions his business blew up. Learn how this high-growth startup uses Shoeboxed to sustain their growth,

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

As attorneys, our product is time, and Shoeboxed helps us save money by saving us time.

-Brandon Gaines

brandon gainesIntroducing: Brandon Gaines

Profession: Owner, Attorney Prime

Location: Austin, TX

Find them: @AttorneyPrime on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Shoeboxed: Hi Brandon! Thanks for taking the time to chat. Let’s start with a little background on you.

Brandon Gaines: Sure! I’ve basically been an attorney my entire life, even though I only became licensed four years ago. Both of my parents are lawyers, so when I was growing up I always worked in their law office. I enjoyed learning the law and talking to clients, and my parents enjoyed free labor. I knew very early that I wanted to be an attorney and work closely with families just as my parents had done.

SBX: That sounds like a solid foundation for you to start your business, Attorney Prime. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.43.28 PMBG: Absolutely. Attorney Prime is an online legal services provider that is run and operated by attorneys. We give our clients the full legal experience for a low, flat fee. We help people who aren’t comfortable handling their case themselves and need attorney advice for a low price and with all the convenience of an online service. We started the business in 2011 and went national in 2012, and we’re based in Austin, TX.

A few years ago, a couple of family attorneys and I were discussing the rise of sites like Legal Zoom and other sites that sold court documents. Since family law is so specific to every client’s circumstances, those sites aren’t able to do many types of family law cases that a traditional attorney can. Attorney Prime fills that gap, and allows a client to get all of the benefits of actual attorney advice, as well as the ease and convenience of an online service.

SBX: It sounds like Attorney Prime fills a real need – that’s awesome! We often hear from small business owners that when they start their business, they try to handle all the paperwork themselves. Was that the case for you? When did Shoeboxed enter the picture?

BG: Yes, we basically just scanned all of our invoices, receipts and business reports and kept them in files on our computer. That worked okay when we first started out, but after we were featured in an article on Huffington Post, our business blew up within weeks. We immediately realized our hackneyed system needed a significant upgrade and fast. Enter Shoeboxed.

After we began to get a little press, our business basically blew up within a few weeks. We were bursting at the seams with receipts and invoices with no easy way to handle that amount of volume, and we found and integrated Shoeboxed about that time. This all happened about seven months ago.

SBX: Cool! It’s amazing what a bit of press can do for a business. So how does Shoeboxed fit into your daily workflows now?

BG: Everything goes into Shoeboxed. Everything. We love the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker app. So when we run business reports, along with the tally from Shoeboxed, we are far more efficient and accurate on our business projections. As attorneys, our product is time, and Shoeboxed helps us save money by saving us time.

SBX: Do you use any other features of Shoeboxed you’d like to share?

BG: Yes, Evernote is the big partner app that we use with Shoeboxed. Since every client case is different, and requires its own attorney notes, photos, and other work material, Evernote, working alongside Shoeboxed, is irreplaceable.

SBX: Awesome! We’re big fans of Evernote too. So what’s changed in your business since starting to use Shoeboxed?

BG: The level of case volume we have now, compared to before we integrated Shoeboxed, is so much larger it is difficult to quantify exactly how much time and money it has saved us. Suffice to say: we wouldn’t be able to manage our receipts without Shoeboxed.

SBX: Well, we are honored to be able to help! Any other benefits you’ve found?

BG: A major part in our business growth, which means bringing in more attorneys and clients, is that our infrastructure is dependable. If we were still using a file system for our records, it would be impossible to grow since our system couldn’t support it. With Shoeboxed, we have yet to see any limit to how large our business will grow.

SBX: Wow, what an awesome endorsement – we’re blushing! In closing, what’s your number one piece of advice for other small businesses to get organized?

BG: Get organized before you actually need to get organized. Our previous file system worked fine for low volume, but when our work volume exploded overnight, we were completely helpless due to the unexpected demand. If we had planned for success, and used Shoeboxed even at the low volume, we could have avoided that problem altogether.

SBX: Fantastic. Is there anything else we didn’t cover here that you’d like share?

BG: We primarily use lawyer-targeted services because of the unique needs of attorneys. Shoeboxed is so flexible, it fits our needs better than even the serviced tailored for lawyers. Because of that, I have to imagine Shoeboxed would work within any industry.

SBX: We strive to suit the needs of our customers no matter what industry, and we’re thrilled that you’ve found us as a solution that works for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Brandon!

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at for more information.

Until next time, stay tuned… and stay organized!


How to Get Back What You Had to Give Up to Start Your Business

All those things you give up in the beginning will someday make their way back to you once you start your business and get into a rhythm. Here’s how.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of

An entrepreneur makes countless sacrifices to see their dream business become a reality. Often, we forget that opening your own business is not just a career change, but a lifestyle change as well. The days of clocking in from 9 to 5 are over only to be replaced with a sort of whenever-I-can-get-work-done schedule, because running a business is a labor of love. You want to see it succeed, and therefore put as much work in as possible.

Though, thankfully, all those big things you gave up in the beginning will someday make their way back to you once your business gets into a rhythm. Here’s how to get back what you gave up!


Let’s face it. When you first dive into the process of starting a business, you are essentially signing over your life. There is so much to do! Incorporating, trademarking and finding a registered agent- oh my! And when you first open up shop, it doesn’t slow down from there. There are customers to earn and profits to break even on!

So how do you get even a slice of that time back? You hire excellent employees with whom you trust your business. When you have a solid team behind you, leaving a little early some days to pick up your kids from school, or going on a week vacation once every summer is not the end of the world. You don’t want to feel like you can never leave or take time to yourself because you don’t trust your team. Keep this in mind when hiring. 


It’s so easy for new business owners to spend all their money right away. They want their new office to be filled with all the latest luxuries from a vending machine to an espresso maker to keep their awesome team happy. But start slow. The best way to start earning some of that money back is to only buy what you can afford. Start with a mini fridge and work your way up.


The life of a business owner is typically anything but consistent, but it is possible to establish some form of routine. A great way to accomplish that is to at least start and end your day the same way every day. I personally like to start my day at the office by making a to-do list of everything I want to get accomplished that day. Then, before I leave for the day, I make sure I’ve tended to all the pressing emails in my inbox. Whatever else happens in between can, and probably will, change on a daily basis. But that’s just part of owning a small business– sometimes, you have to roll with the punches.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.