Are you looking for effective, new ways to generate leads for your business? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve compiled a list of top lead generation ideas that are proven to work. A big thank you to all the business owners who shared their best tips for winning customers.
Before we dive into the details on this topic, we also suggest you check out Insightly, our recommended small business CRM. Insightly is an inexpensive, easy to use, contact and task management system. Visit Insightly to learn more.
Kevin Moses, That Truck Needs A Mudflap
I like door to door sales. While some may feel that door to door sales is inefficient, some things you just can’t find out about behind a computer desk. I’ve learned a lot about my customer just by gauging their reactions to my pitch, which I can translate into a more effective marketing campaign online.
Paul Manwaring, Designer, Consultant, Blogger, Internet Marketing Hustle
First use blogger outreach tools to find web owners that are active and blogging about my niche.
Then get in contact with these bloggers and offer a free trial of my service (I’m a usability tester). This involves me spending 5 minutes recording a personal video for that blogger. Showing them my service in the flesh usually gets them excited.
My response rate is typically 40-50%. Most of the responses are to enquire further about the service and some just to say thankyou for going to such effort.
I then offer the full service to those interested in it for free in exchange of a review or mention on their blog.
It’s a win win situation as I’ll either get paid for the job or ill get a promotion on a relevant bloggers site.
Dan Nainan, Comedian/Actor/Voiceover Artist/Computer Geek, Dan Nainan
I’ve gotten a number of shows by doing a lot of cold calling. For example, for both Obama inaugurations, I cold pitched every single organising committee for every inaugural event, and I ended up doing about 12 of them. Also, at every one of my shows, I make sure that every person at the event gets my business card – I have a table on the way out where I sell my books, CDs and DVDs, and I personally hand a business card every person.
So it’s a combination of cold email pitches as well as in person networking.
David Smethie, Senior Analyst, Origination, Legal Funding
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Jennifer Martin, Business Coach, Zest Business Consulting
One really successful way for me to generate new leads has been to use live and virtual networking in a unique way.
Rather than focus my energy trying to gain new clients I ask for help introducing me to strategic partners who would like to support one another’s success.
When I go into a Business Networking group I say:
Hi I’m Jennifer Martin with Zest Business Consulting – I help Small Business Owners Get out of Overwhelm so they can Take more vacations, Pay off bills, and spend more time doing what they love.
Today I’m looking to meet (my strategic partners) Accountants, Attorneys, Bookkeepers, Website Developers,and Graphic Designers. If you know someone in one of these professions who is looking to grow their business or better support their clients I would love to talk to them about becoming one of my referral partners.
I use a variation of this in online groups ( think facebook, LinkedIn, etc.) too.
Rather than spending my time trying to sign up a new client I connect with many potential partners who can refer me business.
This might not be a new technique but it’s EXTREMELY effective.
Ryan Stewart, Webris
I run a small business so we don’t have the budget to pay for marketing just yet. Therefore we’ve been forced to get creative with our marketing strategy and find organic sources. One of the best sources of free, untapped, organic traffic comes from Facebook Groups. It’s well documented that Facebook Pages don’t have the organic reach that they once did, but Facebook Groups don’t have that problem. There are literally millions of niche, active and engaged communities within Facebook that are a perfect way to connect and engage with potential customers.
Joe Fiduccia, Owner & Founder, America’s Footprints, LLC
We have had great success with LeadPages. Basically we create a document or downloadable file that people are looking for in our industry, and offer it to our website visitors completely free via Facebook advertising. To request a copy, they simply provide their name and email. The file is then sent to them instantly, and we have collected a lead from someone who has a mild interest in our content. We then continue to follow up once every few weeks with additional documents that further compliment their initial download.
Through this method we have grown our email list substantially in just 5 months. And it continues to grow almost every single day.
Lidia Varesco Racoma, Art director & designer, Lidia Varesco Design
Email prospecting. I created a targeted list of potential prospects in my niche (education-focused organizations). I reach out to them via email to start a conversation and determine if my design studio may be the right fit for them. It has resulted in new clients as well as helped me build my email list (I also find email marketing to be successful with current clients/prospects).
Andrea Foreman, Principal, Andrea Foreman PR
Without a doubt it’s LinkedIn! This site has helped me build my growing PR Business! I’ve connected with old clients and have met new ones.
Tom Casano, Life Coach Spotter
The successful strategy that I use is driving traffic to a landing page, optimizing that landing page, and then converting that traffic into leads.
Sounds obvious, but there are a lot of tweaks along the way. I’m testing Facebook advertising right now. Most of our traffic comes from Google search. Optimizing landing pages takes relentless testing. Also, with less fields for the lead to fill out, we can get more client leads, but they’d be lower-quality. On the other hand, we can get higher-quality client leads if we add more fields to the form, but there’d be less of them.
Shauna Whiting, Clothesland Resale Boutique
As a start up I tried every advertisement source out there. I used newspapers, radio, flyers, face to face marketing, networking and even paid for Facebook ads. Feeling frustrated with not seeing any results I continued to search for other advertisement sources that’s when i stumbled
on the* Facebook Community Group Pages*. Wow, what a difference it has made in generating new leads. It’s like an online classified page that every time you post each post gets looked at by 1000’s of people looking for just what you are selling. I see at least a customer a day from the community pages I post.
Whitney Keyes, Founder & CEO, Whitney Keyes
Hands down, the best way to generate new leads is to go back to your old leads, either to ask them for referrals or to drum up new business from them – again!
I’ve used this technique many times with my clients over the years, and in my own business, and the results are instant and always revenue generating.
14 – Consider what keywords your ideal customers would use to find your product/ service and sprinkle them throughout your blog post (in a natural and relevant way).
Jacob Lumby, M.Sc., Founder, Cash Cow Couple
Our business has had a lot of success generating leads through search engine traffic. We make a list of questions that customers are likely to ask Google, then we write a post answering each question. In the end, you get very targeted traffic and the ability to build trust with readers by solving their question or problem.
Brad A. Swezey, President, JustSmallBiz Marketing
One of my favorite strategies for getting new leads is to go to Chamber of Commerce seminars and workshops and to introduce myself to small business owners there. I collect their business cards, send them an e-mail asking if they want to get together for a one-to-one, where we can learn about each other’s businesses. Many times this leads me to get a new client without spending much money at all.
16 – Target that one individual who’s responsible for deciding whether or not to use your product/service.
Linda Parry, Esq., Chief Executive Officer, Product Launchers
What many companies do not realize is that there is ONE person responsible for making a decision about your product or service. Put together a hit list of companies that you want to work with – that are aligned with your offering – and then find out who that one person is through online research and cold calling. Once you have their contact information, personalize your outreach. If you leave a voicemail and reference your vm in your email, you’re more than likely to get a response from them.
Edgar Cerecerez, Marketing Specialist, Nortridge Software Company
It’s not one specific marketing channel like social media, ads, or newsletters. It’s more of focusing on the channel that will provide the biggest ROI for the effort. It truly has more to do with strategy and analysis than a particular channel. I would recommend starting with an analysis of current marketing strategies and past performance. With smaller companies, often you’ll find a gap in tracking leads and attribution – start there.
In general, the biggest source of lead will be from a well-developed website. Focus on content, design, user experience. It’s a channel that provides leads continuously providing an outsized ROI. It’s where at Nortridge we have put most of our focus on, building an online community, brand recognition, and expertise.
Iola Yhap, Speaker, Business Trainer, Author
My opt-in offer on my website has generated new leads for me. I have a blueprint to help women escape their 9-5 as my Opt- in offer, then I add those emails to my list to build a relationship and market to.
19 – Use networking to better understand your customer’s pain points, and the language they use to describe their goals.
Rob Watson, Click to Sale
My favourite way of generating leads is still networking. I love digital and it’s right at the heart of what I do, but face-to-face contact can’t be beaten for impact and the ability to have a two-way dialogue. Being an experienced presenter I regularly offer to present for free at events too.
I always keep it informative and non-salesy, and I tend to find that even a third-hand recommendation from someone who saw my presentation and told a friend, can be warmer than a complete stranger coming to my website.
Networking isn’t just great in its own right, but it helps your other marketing communications too. When you go out and meet people and really listen to them, you get to understand what their real problems are, the language they use and their common misunderstandings. That can only help with your copywriting, persona building and coming up with new content ideas.
Taylor Kerby, Creative Director, Cave Social
When large companies with massive marketing budgets spend outrageous amounts of money on ads, it forces smaller businesses to get smart. At Cave Social, we combat this with content creation. We can’t win with ad spend, but we can win by being smarter and creating articles, videos and infographics that will give us a fighting chance of being found.
21 – Referrals are the gift that keeps on giving. Your referral customers will come to you with built-in trust.
Brett Bastian, CEO, Blast Moba
There are lots of ways our company generates leads. What we have found to be the most effective is referrals. We go back to previous clients and offer them a gift card for every person they refer. We then contact the referral using the name of the person that referred them. Since they have a relationship with the lead the trust is already built. Referrals have the highest close ratio for us. It is a cheap lead to produce and most of them do business with us.
David Klein , Director of Marketing, ClickTime
Emailing potential customers with links to case studies have been incredibly successful for us. A proper case study — one that demonstrates clear, quantifiable ROI for a specific vertical or need — validates the work you do and helps set your sales team up for success. Unlike white papers or ebooks, case studies are relatively quick and affordable to produce, and they resonate with potential customers at all levels in an organization, from individual contributor to CEO.
Alex Mason, CloseFox
Cold Email: This works in a high volume scenario (sending at least 100 customized emails a week). It normally converts to about 2% of emails sent become leads. They still need to be qualified and pursued.
- Twitter: Tweeting relevant information at companies works, but then begins the process of identifying the decision makers. It works more for connecting with influencers that can then open their network.
- Media coverage: If the media that mentions you is not industry specific or does not contain your target customer then it will likely be ineffective. It is good for branding, but does not necessarily connect you with buying customers.
Each of these methods have their pros and cons. The less personal methods like cold emailing work but take a large number of contacts to get results. In person events are effective but are very time consuming. Every industry is different. I have effectively found leads using every strategy but have always found that face to face interaction or referrals are the most effective.
Elene Cafasso, Enerpace, Inc.
Develop some strategic alliances who automatically refer to you as part of the way they do business. For instance, every client of mine receives a certificate good for a complimentary consultation as part of my “Preferred Partners Program”. My partners include a vocal/presentation expert, a financial advisor, professional organizer and executive attorney – all services that make sense for my busy clients. And all of my partners’ clients get a certificate entitling them to a free session with one of Enerpace’s coaches. It’s a win/win/win!
25 – Last, but not least, remember that there’s no one way to generate leads. You should create a strategy.
Tim Gilboy, Franchise Help
Over the last several years we have developed a strategy that allows us to generate a high volume of leads every month. The biggest thing we’ve found is that there isn’t a single perfect solution when it comes to generating leads – you need to use a diverse set of tools to target a broad audience and to reduce the volatility in lead gen over time. Our primary methods are direct email, Facebook ads, and Google Adwords because they allow us to target a broad audience. But these aren’t the only forms of lead generation we use – we are constantly experimenting and testing new methods and new platforms and I think this is a must if you want to be successful in lead generation.
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It’s Your Turn
Do you have a favorite way to generate leads that we haven’t covered in the list above? We want to know about it. Share your best idea in the comments below.
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