Since every business needs new customers to grow, lead generation is a critically important piece of the marketing puzzle. To stay afloat — and ahead of the competition — every brand must implement a lead gen strategy into their advertising plan.
Although 85% of expert marketers agree lead generation marketing is the most significant element to have in their arsenal, only 42% of business owners have an active plan in place.
So whether you’re looking for B2B lead generation tips, social media, or other lead gen ideas, here are 25 of the best ideas to create a lead generation strategy that will carry your prospects through the entire sales funnel, and take your business to the next level.
25 Lead generation tips
1. PPC search advertising
Pay-per-click advertising is mandatory for brands looking to grow brand awareness, promote dedicated offers, etc. because it increases the likelihood your web pages will appear at the top of web searches for the keywords you specify.
It’s a best practice you incorporate Google Ads “extensions” with paid search ads because extensions give you more space to promote your product or service in search engine results — each with their unique value.
This Zoho ad, for example, does just that. A search for “lead generation software” shows an ad with two sitelink extensions to give users more click-through options:
Both the main headline and first extension lead prospects to post-click landing pages where they can exchange their information for a Zoho CRM free trial:
2. Use retargeting ads
These ads promote your product or service to people who have already engaged with your brand by clicking another ad, visiting your site, viewing a specific product, following your Facebook Page, etc.
The process typically looks like this:
Since you’re targeting people who have already shown interest in your product, service, or brand — and are therefore more likely to purchase — retargeting is one of the most profitable marketing investments a business can make.
3. Implement ABM on LinkedIn
With more than 80% of social media B2B leads generated from LinkedIn, LinkedIn lead generation is imperative to B2B marketers. In fact, many B2B companies are turning specifically to LinkedIn account-based marketing to supercharge their digital marketing strategies.
This strategy uses highly-targeted content to attract a very particular audience on the social network. Instead of focusing on a broad audience and hoping to lure in new customers like traditional lead gen methods, ABM focuses on engaging a distinct committee of buyers, influencers, or decision-makers within target business accounts (sales managers, marketing directors, etc.).
When engaging hyper-targeted accounts, you have to learn their most critical pain points so you can better address them and offer a solution.
For example, this Mailchimp ad is clearly directed at the email marketing team looking for ways to automate smaller tasks so they can focus on larger priorities:
4. Link every offer to a dedicated post-click page
CTAs are meant to send visitors to a page where they can receive a specific offer. However, that page should be a personalized, dedicated post-click landing page with no other offers or distractions.
Workato has the right idea with this ad to landing page combination:
Notice how there’s only one offer with multiple color-contrasting CTA buttons and no exit links anywhere on the page. Anything other than a page like this (like a homepage) won’t be persuasive enough to convince prospects to convert. Unfortunately, far too many advertisers are missing the memo and suffering from poor conversion rates — an average of less than 5%.
It’s important to note — the highest-converting lead gen campaigns are those that deliver on what they promise and create a seamless transition from ad copy and design to the post-click page, to the deliverable itself. So make sure you’re presenting a consistent message throughout the entire marketing funnel and providing value to everyone that engages with your brand.
5. Create offers for all stages of the buying cycle
Not all of your website visitors are ready to make a purchase or even talk to your sales team. Someone at the beginning of the buyer’s journey might only be interested in an informational resource like an ebook or a guide, while they’re still learning about your brand and exploring their options:
Whereas someone toward the bottom of the journey more familiar with your company might be ready to redeem a free trial or demo:
Bottom line: if you don’t offer anything a specific visitor is interested in, they may never come back to purchase.
6. Gate high-value blog posts
According to HubSpot, companies that blog 6-8 times per month double their lead volume, proving that blogging is a highly effective lead generation strategy.
One way to use blogging as a lead gen marketing tactic is to gate your highest-value posts, just like you would a white paper or ebook. Tease visitors with a preview of the post, but keep the full-length article gated behind a short form as Adweek does:
This way, they have to input their contact information to receive the content they want. Another option is to include hyperlinks to post-click landing pages within the copy of every blog post, and a prominent call-to-action.
7. Opt for a newsletter
Instead of (or in addition to) maintaining a frequently updated blog, you can create a lead generation campaign with bi-weekly or monthly newsletters to serve the same purpose of capturing leads through sign-ups in exchange for valuable, high-quality content.
According to the 2018 Content Marketing Institute Report, newsletters are among the top 3 most effective formats B2B marketers use to distribute content:
8. Produce live and on-demand webinars
As an alternative to written content behind a form, webinars can be a great part of the lead generation process. They give you the ability to deliver valuable information to prospects via audio and while you still receive their contact information in return.
Live webinars allow you to showcase your expertise on a subject, walk attendees through the entire funnel, and offer a “one to many communication.” Plus, you can provide a time-sensitive offer or discount during the presentation to generate sales.
On-demand webinars are just as beneficial because they are generally evergreen content, so the material doesn’t get outdated too quickly. It’s also easier to scale on-demand webinar production, and you can repurpose the content for other marketing campaigns.
Webinars, whether live or on-demand, allow you to establish trust with viewers because they’re typically more personalized than written content.
9. Go live on Facebook and Instagram
“Going live” or live-streaming video has recently become extremely popular. This is especially powerful when you have something to present or describe in great detail since you can provide unique content and connect directly with your audience.
Consider real estate lead generation. You could live stream at a property to give followers an inside look before the listing goes on the market. Not only would this give potential clients a feel for the property during their search, but it would also create excitement around its reveal.
10. Implement time-delay pop-ups
Having great content on your website is necessary, but capturing interested leads makes all the difference in business growth. Enter time-delay pop-ups.
After a visitor spends a specified amount of time on your site, a time-induced pop-up can request visitor information in exchange for an asset:
11. Employ exit pop-ups
This is another type of pop-up form, but instead of being time-induced, it’s usually triggered when someone moves their cursor to the browser bar or hovers over the back button.
Serving as one last chance for visitors to convert before leaving a page, exit-intent pop-ups have been proven to generate 65% more leads for businesses. OptinMonster (whose software provides exit intent technology) uses this popup as people attempt to leave their site:
12. Add post-click landing page links in your emails
Many advertisers think email marketing is best used with existing customers. However, it can be a great channel for new lead generation, too.
Every time you send an email, it has click-through potential as long as there’s a lead gen landing page link included — so be sure to add one within the content or even your email signature.
You can also add forward-to-a-friend links, which essentially serve as free marketing for you!
13. Engage with industry influencers
There’s nothing wrong with looking outside your organization for content because providing a fresh perspective can be a smart way to bring in new audiences.
In fact, 87% of B2B buyers value influencer content such as peer reviews, third-party information, user-generated feedback, and more. And in 2018, micro-influencers were considered the most important influencer marketing group, since it’s easier to resonate with similar people in the industry, rather than a celebrity or millionaire entrepreneur.
14. Post visually-appealing images on Pinterest
About 75% of Pinterest users have purchased something from a Pinterest link, or simply because they saw something appealing on the platform.
Here’s a perfect example of how Pinterest can be used as a lead generation effort — a user sees a targeted, appealing ad:
They click the ad and are brought to this page where they can proceed through the CTA button to take the quiz:
At the very end of the quiz, they’re asked for their email address to receive their results:
Although other social media channels have more monthly active users than Pinterest, there is no denying that Pinterest is incredibly influential on its users, making it a lead gen platform you can’t ignore.
15. Create how-to videos
It’s no secret that video marketing is one of the best lead generating strategies for a growing list of digital marketers. However, many businesses are posting entertainment-based or promotional videos that don’t provide much value. These videos are okay sometimes, but the goal should be to help your target audience solve their pain points.
So whether you’re a subject matter expert or just passionate about your industry, get in front of a camera and record videos on tips, best practices, instructions, explanations, etc. The idea is to provide actionable, sound advice for viewers, not to actively promote your business (at least not until the end).
Then push those videos out through your various channels — to an entire email list, social media, etc. to capture potential leads. Whether you post them for everyone to see or use them as lead magnets, you’ll demonstrate expertise and credibility while building brand awareness and loyalty.
16. Repurpose content to reach a wider audience
One way this can be done is by changing existing content into a different format. For example, for those who prefer not to read longer content, repurposing blog articles, and offering it as a podcast or webinar could be a good idea. This particular example would be especially effective because prospects can consume your content while commuting, working, at the gym, etc.
Content upgrades are add-on offers to an existing piece of content that provides additional value to readers in exchange for their information. These can be anything from downloadable checklists added into an email to additional insights offered at the end of a step-by-step guide.
17. Work with partners
Cross-promotion is great for lead generation as long as it’s done strategically. One of the tricky parts, of course, is finding the right brand. If it’s too similar, your audiences might already be overlapped, but if there is little audience crossover, you run the risk of advertising to an irrelevant or uninterested group of people.
Check out this unique case study in the saturated fitness industry, for example:
Rather than partner with another health and/or fitness company for their cross-promotion campaign, Hydrate IV Bar partnered with an eyelash extension company. They decided after considering all the different places their target customers might be available to try an IV bar. Now anyone that visits Live Love Lash for their eyelash appointment can also receive a B-12 shot, MIC Shot, and/or IV treatment:
18. Develop a free tool
There’s a reason many brands invest time and budget into creating free tools. Lead generation starts with building relationships — not going directly for the sale. Then, with proper nurturing, those relationships can eventually turn into leads, and even paying customers. So even simple, interactive, free offers can turn to sales qualified leads.
For example, WordStream offers their Free Keyword Tool for digital marketers to quickly research and prioritize new keywords:
Take WordStream’s keyword tool, for example. Users start by entering a keyword or website URL that they’re interested in analyzing. They also have the option to narrow down their results by choosing an industry and location. However, upon clicking the “Find My Keywords” button, they can only see some of the related keywords, while the rest of the results remain hidden.
This creates a curiosity gap for visitors, because now that they’ve already started the keyword research process, they might as well take the extra step to see their complete results. That final step, of course, is submitting their email address.
19. Offer a quiz or other interactive content
Quizzes and other similar content are often overlooked as an effective lead gen strategy. However, they can function as highly effective lead magnets because they’re inherently personalized and interactive. For example, they often provide different options for answers as shown below, which makes visitors curious about their results and have fun completing:
Their potential for boosting ecommerce sales is also tremendous because they can be used to suggest products best suited for prospects. The quiz maps different questions to specific outcomes, which can recommend products directly from the business’ inventory or direct them towards the product purchase page.
To generate the most leads, create a quiz that interests, entertains, and intrigues visitors with every click, so they stay engaged throughout the process. Provide them with results that speak to their unique situation and business pain points. And above all else, make sure the quiz is on-brand and speaks directly to your target market.
20. Lead gen ads on Facebook, Instagram, and/or LinkedIn
Lead ads are a quick way to collect information from prospects without them having to leave the platform.
Facebook lead generation ads include contact forms, or “instant forms,” that natively appear on Facebook and Instagram when people click the ad. Prospects are prompted to edit and confirm their pre-populated information (name, email address, phone number, etc.) before clicking the “submit” button.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms also allow advertisers to collect leads using LinkedIn profile data to pre-fill forms with user profile data. Like Facebook, when a user clicks the CTA button on a LinkedIn ad with an attached Lead Gen Form:
…the form fields are automatically filled with their contact and profile information:
It’s important to note, however, that lead ads have some limitations. For instance, they can only collect certain information, they’re not personalized to the viewer, etc.
21. Promote social media contests
People spend between 5-6 hours per day on social channels, which provides business owners with tons of opportunities to engage in lead generation marketing in groups, similar pages, or even direct messages.
Social media contests and giveaways have become a popular way to capture potential lead information, as users are often required to upload pictures, refer their friends, or answer a few basic questions to be entered into the contest giveaway.
Similar to offering a quiz, this creates a fun and interactive way to engage users, build relationships with them, and turn them into both MQLs and SQLs.
22. Use the element of scarcity
Scarcity has a psychological influence on people based on supply and demand. People desire things, even more, when there isn’t enough to go around. Fear of shortage is created, thus the urgency.
Common ways to instill a sense of scarcity and urgency in people include:
- Limited time offers: These offers don’t have anything to do with quantity or having enough of something for everyone. Rather, they’re based solely on timing. (“Get X before it’s too late!” “Today, only!” “Only 4 hours left!”)
- Limited quantity offers: Some limited quantity offers outperform limited time offers, because it’s hard to tell when a limited quantity offer will suddenly become unavailable, while a time-based offer has a known end time. (“Available to the first 50 people!” “Only 20 items remaining!” “Grab your spot before it’s gone!”)
- Limited time and limited quantity: This is the most effective option because it provides the most powerful sense of scarcity. (Groupon is the perfect example since their deals end on a specific date, but also limit the number of people who can purchase.)
23. Show social proof in numbers
It’s a natural tendency for humans to emulate one another, even without realizing it, because most of us like to feel as if we’re part of something bigger. This is sometimes referred to as the herding effect. A great way to make an offer more valuable is to show that similar enterprise brands are benefitting from it.
Counters are one way to show social proof, showcasing how many people have already signed up as customers, purchased a product, downloaded a resource, etc.
Look how Freshdesk demonstrates this by boasting big brand names below. If Penn, Unicef, and Hugo Boss can trust Freshdesk for their business support software, then others can, too:
24. Highlight customer testimonials
Customer testimonials can have a strong influence on prospects since they often tell a positive story about your brand. In fact, 92% of customers read online reviews before considering a purchase, and 50 or more reviews can lead to a 5.6% increase in conversion rates.
This is especially true in the B2B industry because if you receive authentic positive insights from other organizations using your service, they help eliminate any potential doubts B2B buyers might have about investing money with a new company.
The best testimonials include a detailed quote with the subject’s name and affiliation, along with their headshot and professional title.
25. Participate in LinkedIn discussions
There are targeted discussion groups on LinkedIn for almost every niche imaginable, full of people looking for support and answers. These are a great opportunity for you to:
Post relevant content (blog articles, event notices for webinars, etc.) to build brand awareness
Answer questions to show your expert knowledge
Establish credibility and authority to become a go-to source for information
Start relationships that will eventually become new business leads
When using this technique, it’s important to be aware of the rules and dynamics of the discussion group. Dominating the conversation or coming off too salesy could easily annoy group members and turn them off to your input. Instead, be genuinely helpful and attempt to build real connections with other community members.
Use these lead generation tips to fill your sales funnel faster
Don’t be part of the 42% of business owners who don’t have an active lead generation plan in place. Unique offers, popular social channels, psychological persuasion, and more of the tips above can help deliver higher quality leads throughout your entire sales funnel.
Although most of the lead gen ideas above are pre-click strategies, the post-click stage is equally as important. See how to provide all of your audiences with unique post-click experiences by signing up for an Instapage Enterprise Demo today.
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