8 Strategies to Generate Leads That Are Not Known to Many

Strategies to Generate Leads

8 Strategies to Generate Leads That Are Not Known to Many

“If all you do is follow the herd, you’ll just be stepping in poop all day.”— Wayne W. Dyer

Lead generation is not a new concept. Marketers and business have been working on generating leads since the time marketing as a business function has come into being. Just like any other process, there are standards techniques to get leads for your brand. We’ve coved some of. There’s no denying that you’d get steady results if you implement these techniques. However, is that all you can do?

Even though it’s nice to play safe and use the tried and tested ways, today’s fast-paced world demands out of the box efforts to show extraordinary results. While you can put your thinking hats on and look for unconventional ways to get leads, we thought we’d help you with some initial not-so-common ways to get you started.

Lesser-Known Strategies to Generate Leads

1. Free to use interactive tools

While the world is busy using the standard emails marketing and social media techniques to acquire leads, you can go a step beyond by offering something that people would want. So, instead of pitching your actual product or service to your customer, you can offer them a free tool to use that’d help them out in a way. In order to use that, they’d be more than happy to share their contact information.

One of the most effective and quick ways of doing this is to create assessments that help people know where they stand with respect to the industry standards.

SmartBug’s Intelligent Inbound Marketing Quiz

Source: SmartBug

For instance, SmartBug’s Intelligent Inbound Marketing Quiz analyses a company’s marketing strategy and shares actionable recommendations. Another way of creating such a tool is to build some sort of calculators that people can use. Koppr does a fantastic job of building such calculators to help people become more financially independent. While this may feel like too much work, these tools are great in creating a long-term lead generation channel. The effort is just one time, and the benefits are long-standing.

2. Gated videos and webinars

Marketers today know that that video content sells and engages more than anything else. People have better retention and are likely to interact with video content more than long boring pieces of texts. That being said, most companies and marketing professionals under-utilise the potential of the video content they create.

An effective way of using your video content or getting leads through a webinar of sorts is to gate that content. That means you add a quick form (usually with an email submission) that people have to fill in to access a video or register for a webinar.

Webinar Feedback form example

Source: JotForm

You can preface the form with a nice engaging copy to entice people to want to watch the video or webinar. Not just that, you can actually trim an engaging part from the video, show that to the viewer and then ask them to fill a form to view the rest. That way, they’re hooked and curious to know more and are likely to fill out the form.

3. Cross marketing

Who said barter trade no longer works? When it comes to lead generation, be aware that you’re not the only brand out there wanting to get more leads. In fact, every business wants to continuously reach a wider audience and get prospects they can target. That’s where you can rely on the barter system, or what’s known as cross-marketing or cross-promotion in the present times.

Since there’s no set value in a barter system, how you want to use cross-marketing totally depends on the platform you’re partnering with. For instance, if you’re an employee insurance company, you can partner with the HR portal to promote you on their website in place of providing some discounted price to their customers. Similarly, you could officially state each other as partners and list one another on social media to get leads. Alternatively, sites also look for guest posts from industry leads, so the founder of your company or you (if you’re the founder/CEO) and suggest writing an article on their website that leads to your lead generation landing page. The idea is to find companies, platforms and brands that can benefit from you and vice versa and use that to grow together.

4. Create resources that people can use

Similar to the interactive tools, you can offer a little more by creating some sort of downloadable resources that’ll help people in some way. Once you have the resource, you can create a gated landing page for it which asks visitors to share their email to get their copy of the resource mailed directly to them, and tadaaa, you’ve got a lead.

This resource could be an eBook that people want to read. Hubspot does a great job at creating such eBooks. In fact, it has a complete section dedicated to such resources. Whenever you click to download these books, you’d find a form that’d you have to fill as shown in the image.

However, creating eBooks are not the only way. Companies today are creating easy to replicate templates that other companies can use to get work done faster. For instance, Buffer has an amazing template for creating a content strategy for businesses. Similarly, brands also produce white papers, guides, reports, worksheets and even online courses to get people to sign up or share their personal information.

(Pro-tip: If this resource is not your primary offering, try to keep it for free. You’d get a lot fewer leads if you add a price to it!)

5. Get social media shoutouts from influencers

Hubspot free ebooks
Hubspot free ebooks

Source: Hubspot

With new Instagram celebs emerging every fortnight, influencer marketing is the new lead generation trend. Influencers turn their followers into prospects for your brand through the content they create. You could partner with influencers to promote you on their social media or create content for yours.

Netflix does a great job in using such influencers. You’d find social media celebs doing shoutouts to a new series or movie that’s release on the platform. Not just that, they also get these influencers to create content exclusively for Netflix in their trademark influencer gimmicks.

These influencers, masters of their game, are often able to generate relevant leads for the brand.

6. Be a part of the right communities

More often than not, business leaders and marketers are busy leveraging their LinkedIn to network and reach out people to generate more brand visibility and get leads. While LinkedIn is great for networking, most people overlook the power of some other community-driven platforms. The potential of Quora and Reddit is often ignored in these scenarios.

You’d probably be wondering that Quora is heavily moderated and you cannot possibly generate leads from there. That’s not entirely true. While we agree that Quora comes with a lot of moderation, there’s no denying the fact, that it’s the most sought-after platform for answers. So, that’s what you provide there. Find questions that are relevant to your brand, share information and knowledge related to queries or issues that your offering can solve and add links to your website or blog in there. Before you know it, traffic will sweep in on your website where you can add a lead generation form to capture relevant information.

In simpler words, you need to find the community that’s relevant to you and get known in that community, the leads would follow.

7. Offer a free trial, demo or free plan

You’ve built a path-breaking platform that’s so revolutionary that no one’s ever experienced it before. Kudos to that innovation! However, if your idea is so out-of-the-box, then most likely people are not going to understand it or know if they need it without experiencing it themselves. So, you’ve got to offer them a test-drive a.k.a a free trial period. Not just that, you can also offer a free plan/version of your product with restricted features so that you get solid leads to pursue and turn into paid customers.

Every brand from Canva, Spotify, Adobe Shutterstock to even Trello

Trello pricing plan

Source: Trello

offer a free trial or a free plan. Trials or free plans not only make people engage with your offering, but they also make them accustomed to it. So much so, that your product becomes a habit and then they’re ready to pay for it.

8. Build closed social media groups

Apart from using Quora to engage with the community, you can in fact create groups catering to your audience specifically on various channels like LinkedIn, Facebook and Slack too. For instance, there’s a Facebook group for SEO and Content Marketing and a Slack group for HR and recruiters.

While you have the liberty to gate the entry to these groups and collect lead information, these group also become your platform to engage directly with possible prospects. This helps in making your lead generation efforts more focused.

Summing Up

We’ve tried to cover most effective, yet lesser-known lead generation strategies for you in this article. However, there’re always plenty of options you can explore here. You can offer a special deal on a third-party platform like App Sumo and get leads. You could do a fun Twitter banter and get leads. There’s always room for more creative ways to attract the people you want as your customers.

It all boils down to a simple question: What would make someone share their personal/contact information with my company? Anything, we repeat, anything that makes a person do that can be a good lead generation strategy. The crux is to make an offer they can’t refuse and are convinced to let you have their information.

In the end, all we’d say is, “The offer determines to a large extent whether you can maintain a dialogue with a prospect rather than a series of episodes. The offer communicates your intention.” – Phil Fernandez

A Beginner’s Handbook to Get Started with Lead Generation

Lead Generation

A Beginner’s Handbook to Get Started with Lead Generation

“The sales team owns the sales funnel. But as a B2B marketer, you feed the top of their funnel.”

 – Doug Kessler, Velocity Partners

This quote by Doug Kessler summarizes the idea of lead generation. Let’s break this down. What is the most important factor that defines the growth of a business? Customers, right? The more customers you have, the more you grow. To get customers, you need to make more sales–and to make more sales, you need to reach out to more and more people and convince them to buy your product or avail your service.

Now, would it be easier for your salesperson to convince someone who’s already interested in something related to your product to buy it or to convince a random stranger who’s taking a stroll in the park? It’s a no-brainer that the first person is more likely to convert into your customer.

Such interested prospects are leads. Let us elaborate.

What Is A Lead?

Any person who shows interest in your offering or your brand is a lead. In simpler words, they’re keen on buying your product or service but you need to convince them. They may choose to show this interest in various ways. It could be by sharing a piece of the contact information or downloading a resource owned by you.

Needless to say, leads are fed at the top of the sales funnel and then nurtured and persuaded to buy whatever you’re selling. But all leads are not the same, and every lead requires their own level of persuasion. Broadly, leads can be classified into four categories.

Types Of Leads

Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL)

Any lead or information about an interested prospect that you get due to the campaigns and efforts of your marketing team are

marketing qualified leads. These could be leads via social media engagement or even those via forms on your landing pages built to record some information. As long as a marketing initiative has convinced a person to share their information with you, the lead would be a marketing qualified lead or MQL.

Sales Qualified Lead (SQL)

Any person that has clearly stated to your sales team that they may be interested in purchasing your offering, would be a sales-qualified lead. You could say an SQL is one step stronger than an MQL and they indicate their direct interest in becoming a customer. For instance, a person who has talked to your sales team and requests them for a sales brochure to know more about your product or services would be an SQL.

Product Qualified Lead (PQL)

Any person who’s used your product and has indicated their interest in becoming a paying customer would be a product qualified lead. For instance, if you avail the free trial for Spotify Premium, you’re a product qualified lead. It is now the sales team’s tact to convince you to continue your premium membership even after the trial period is over.

Service Qualified Lead

Similar to the Product Qualified leads, Service Qualified Leads too are people who’ve tried out your service and have shown some sort of interest in paying for that service. For instance, you availed a free car wash service and asked the manager about the cost of getting your car washed regularly because you liked the experience–then you become a service qualified lead for them.

In terms of conversion, product qualified leads and service qualified leads are comparatively easier to crack than marketing qualified leads.

Now that you understand what leads are, let’s talk about how you can ensure your sales team has a continuously filling top funnel to work with. This is where lead generation comes in. Here’s what it’s all about.

What is lead generation?

Everything requires a little nudge in the right direction. Lead generation is that nudge you give to identify, attract, and convert people into prospects by using the right marketing tacts and techniques. This could be running a social media campaign that leads people to sign up a form or preparing an ebook that people download after sharing their emails, all are ways to generate leads.

Some of the common lead generation tacts include social media marketing, email marketing, and website flow. All of these ways can be broadly classified into two types.

Types of Lead Generation

You’d often come across two words in marketing–inbound and outbound. Lead generation is also categorized into these two types.

Inbound Lead Generation

Inbound Lead Generation is basically setting up an ice-cream parlour and expecting people to get attracted to it and visit your store. In Inbound lead generation, you set up the right content, campaign, and website flow that brings people in and persuades them to become a lead. Inbound lead generation uses the pull strategy to get prospects.

In this kind of lead generation, it is your prospect who decides when and how to engage with your bread. All you can do is build the right channels for people to find and reach you. More often than not, inbound lead generation has no direct selling efforts.

Inbound & Outbound tactics

Source: InstaPage

Instead, it is more focused on helping people out in making better decisions and building a bond with your brand. For instance, as an inbound lead generation effort, an insurance company can launch an ebook to help people find the right insurance plan for them and then subtly pitch their own brand.

Outbound Lead Generation

Unlike the first type, here you push direct selling messages to strangers and try to gauge their interest in the service or product. Here you send out the communication to them–the time and channel are completely decided by you. This communication talks about your offering to people who may or may not be interested in knowing about it. Outbound lead generation uses the push strategy to get prospects.

Traditional outbound lead generation tacts include mass email, cold calling, display advertising, and direct mail. More often than not, you’d have to pay for using these outbound lead generation tacts.

Moving on, you may be wondering, why there’s a need of putting so much effort into getting leads–they’d come on their own when they have to. Here’s why.

Why Lead Generation Matters?

Here are three reasons why lead generation is important for any B2B or B2C business:

Referrals can take you only so far.

There’s no denying that word-of-mouth is a strong tool which can help you expand your customer base. However, there’s only so much you can grow based on referrals. Lead generation is your way to exponential growth by reaching out to a much larger audience.

A filter you need to grow fast.

Lead generation is the qualifier you need to segregate people who’re more likely to convert over those who’re completely disinterested in your brand. This allows you to focus your efforts on interested buyers and not random cold-calls to strangers who’d simply be put off by your constant nagging.

Sales funnel

Source: ExportHub

Lead Generation makes consumers convert organically.

If done right, lead generation efforts can lead to an automated customer journey where consumers easily find your brand, share their interest and move to the conversion funnel. This way they feel more empowered and make decisions at their own pace instead of feeling coaxed.

In the end–There’s no shortcut

You’d come across several hacky ways of generating leads like buying them from certain providers. But you must always remember, there are no shortcuts to success. First of all, it is a complete data privacy violation to buy leads as these are not people who’ve willingly shared their information with you. Secondly, the idea behind leads is to qualify consumers who’re interested in your brand–buying data of people with their contact information takes away the filter that lead generation offers.

So, take the longer path, and build a process around lead generation. Hope this article helps you in getting started.