12 Creative Lead Generation Strategies for Your Business
This article was last updated on April 12, 2021.
We live in such a competitive world that for every idea we have, there are multiple companies doing the same thing. As a business owner, this means you need to develop creative marketing strategies to attract customers.
The first step in obtaining clients is to generate leads: these are potential customers who you can guide through the marketing funnel and, ultimately, sell your products to. Lead generation involves making contact with these consumers and, typically, obtaining their contact details so that you can continue marketing to them. Usually, this starts with creating a website and then collecting your leads via forms, CTAs and landing pages. But there are many other effective lead generation strategies as well.
This article includes 12 lead generation strategies, which are designed to help you get more leads and, most importantly, better leads. By attracting high-quality leads, you won’t get one-time buyers; you’ll connect with loyal customers who will buy from you time and time again.
What is a lead generation strategy?
Before we dive in, let’s clarify a few terms:
Leads are potential customers who have shown an active interest in your brand. For example, they may have left their contact details on your website or subscribed to your newsletter.
Lead generation is the process of obtaining leads - that is, converting anonymous consumers into potential customers.
Lead generation strategies are the various marketing tactics you use to initiate someone’s interest in your product. They include anything from creating a landing page to holding a virtual event. These are types of strategies we’ll discuss below.
As a business owner or marketing professional, you’ll need to explore the various options and find the ones that work best for your particular business. It’s wise to set your focus on just a few of these strategies at a time, rather than split your efforts between all of them. So, start with 1-3 ideas that speak to you the most, implement them, evaluate their performance, and make an informed decision about which techniques you should prioritize.
12 lead generation strategies
Build strategic landing pages
Incorporate strong CTAs
Create engaging forms
Use email marketing
Take advantage of live chat
Join social media communities
Start a forum
Offer high-quality content
Initiate a referral program
Work with a complementary business
Connect with social media influencers
Host a webinar or event
01. Build strategic landing pages
If you’ve ever clicked a link in a marketing email or social media ad, you were probably taken directly to a landing page. These are standalone web pages that have been created specifically for a marketing or advertising campaign, and they’re one of the most crucial elements in any marketer’s arsenal. Unlike regular web pages, landing pages have a single goal: to guide visitors towards a CTA, also known as a call-to-action.
This narrow focus is precisely what makes landing pages such an effective lead generation tool. Using compelling copy and a strong call-to-action (CTA), they can convert total strangers into potential customers interested in your brand.
To generate leads using a landing page, use CTAs such as “Sign Up” or “Register Now.” Then, ask people who click to leave their contact details. Once you have their email, you’ll be able to follow up with them and build their interest in your products.
Pro tip: If you want to create a landing page but aren’t sure how to get started, try using this landing page builder. Its drag and drop editor makes it quick to build a high-converting, professional page.
02. Incorporate strong CTAs
That brings us to our next point - the importance of a powerful call-to-action. Of all the lead generation strategies, this may be the most fundamental.
These small but mighty snippets of content are used to hook readers and get them to take action. They aren’t just reserved for your landing pages. Rather, they’re something you’ll need to include across all your marketing copy, from email campaigns to your website.
When it comes to your website, you can increase your conversion rate by strategically placing CTAs in places where users might want to sign up, subscribe, or otherwise get started with your brand. On your product or services page, for instance, you might include a CTA that offers a free trial or consultation. Likewise, you might include a CTA to subscribe to your blog newsletter somewhere within your blog posts. Many companies even include a compelling CTA on the home page, putting it front and center to encourage site visitors to click.
As a general rule, you’ll want to keep your CTAs short, actionable and highly clickable. Limit yourself to just 1-2 words that direct users to take a particular action, and use a contrasting color to make them stand out.
Whichever CTAs you choose, remember that your ultimate goal is to capture leads - that is, to obtain contact details or some other form of information that you can use to guide those visitors through the marketing funnel.
03. Create engaging forms
Forms result in leads. Period.
If a person takes the time to fill out a contact, sign up or registration form, they are likely interested in learning more about and potentially purchasing your products or services. You can then follow up with them by sending out an email or calling them directly.
Forms also help you obtain key information about your clients. While they should usually be short so visitors aren’t discouraged from filling them out, some forms deliberately make use of an extra field or two. In addition to asking for your lead’s name and email address, you might also ask for their occupation or how they found out about your business. This will form a picture of who they are so that you can segment your audience and target different types of people with different offerings.
You can place forms across various places of your site, including your homepage, footer or landing pages. To get started, take a look at these contact form design ideas.
04. Use email marketing
From a weekly newsletter to a new product launch, emails generate leads when the content is short and catchy, and the CTA is equally bold and tempting. You can use convenient email marketing services to schedule automated emails anytime a visitor performs a particular action on your site.
Once a visitor leaves their contact details via an online form, follow up immediately with an automated email that piques their interest in your product and keeps them excited about your brand. For instance, you might send them an exclusive free e-book or invite them to an upcoming webinar.
Most importantly, email marketing also helps you distinguish between your high quality leads and those who aren’t serious about your brand. The leads who engage with your emails, whether by opening them or clicking on a link, are likely more serious about becoming customers. With that in mind, these are the people you’ll want to spend more time, energy and resources interacting with.
05. Take advantage of live chat
When it comes to lead generation strategies that invite communication, email marketing isn’t the only option. Live chat has become the new norm for how consumers interact with businesses - in fact, it’s practically a requirement for every customer-facing website today.
Adding live chat to your website lets you interact with visitors in real time, which is a great way to draw them in from the moment they’re introduced to your brand. It also proves you have strong customer service and are committed to customer satisfaction, advantages that will make you stand out from your competitors.
In addition to sending messages over chat, use it as a direct conversion tool by sending lead capture forms to active users. This encourages visitors to enter key contact details such as their name and email address.
Among Wix users, business owners who use live chat on their website make up to 300% more sales. In addition, answering chat messages to users who start a conversation improves conversion by 65%.
06. Join social media communities
Being active on social media is one of the cornerstones of a strong marketing plan. This doesn’t just involve creating social media pages of your own; it also means joining other social media communities and participating in their discussions.
Facebook, LinkedIn and Reddit, in particular, are popular places for people with common interests to gather together online. Step into your target audience’s shoes and think about where they hang out. Based on their interests and needs, which Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and Reddit forums might they participate in?
While these groups typically forbid promotional content, you can nonetheless join them to get to know your target audience and provide them with valuable information. Post questions, and post answers to other people’s questions that offer relevant insights without being promotional. You can also send people a direct message (be friendly and polite, rather than spammy) if you think your product or service is a good match for their needs.
07. Start a forum
In addition to joining existing online communities, you can also create a forum of your own. Many brands, from small businesses to bloggers, add forums to their website to build a community around their industry. This creates a tight-knit circle of existing and potential customers who use your site to engage with one another, answer each other’s questions and provide helpful insights.
The result is that people will use your site as the go-to source of information on this particular subject, and they will come to associate your brand with trustworthiness and credibility. In addition, loyal customers who love your brand may very well use the forum to recommend your products to new leads.
08. Offer high-quality content
Creating a robust content marketing plan is another popular small business marketing strategy that is crucial for generating leads. Having strong content on your site - informative blog posts, e-books, whitepapers and case studies - can push undecided visitors toward a conversion. Think about it: you’re more likely to trust a brand that demonstrates a high level of knowledge in the industry versus one that doesn’t publish any content.
Include a blog on your site where readers can find answers to their questions and solutions to their needs. Not only will this drive traffic to your website, but it will also encourage readers to become leads. Within each blog post, give them the option to register for your service, check out your product, or subscribe to your newsletter.
In addition to blogging, try creating gated content - that is, content that is accessible to users only after they’ve filled out a form and left their details. This type of content tends to be longer and more involved, such as e-books, white papers, reports, or templates.
09. Initiate a referral program
If you’ve ever signed up for Uber or Airbnb, you’re probably familiar with referral programs. The way that most of them work is that if an existing user refers you, both of you get a discount or free offer. This lead generation strategy tends to be successful, since it combines the appeal of a discount with the credibility of a personal recommendation.
Like many big brands, you can apply this concept to your own business. In order to find new clients, write up your own referral plan. Then, create customized coupons to send to both your returning customers and the new ones who they referred.
10. Work with a complementary business
Unlike a competitor, a complementary business is one that sells a product or service that fits perfectly with yours. In fact, both of your services might be more marketable together when it comes to lead generation.
A classic example of complementary products is peanut butter and jelly. Let’s say that you sell organic nut butters and another brand sells superfood-based jam. The two of you can work together as the perfect duo, whether you decide to sell your items for a packaged discount, or to send samples of your nut butters with every jam purchased.
Think about a product or service that complements your business, and reach out to them to see if they’re interested in collaborating. Be sure to brainstorm a creative way that you can work together to give consumers a free sample of your product or a tempting discount.
11. Connect with social media influencers
Influencers are social media users with a large following who have established credibility as well-known figures in their industries. Consumers are willing to listen to their opinions because their posts seem genuine and authentic, rather than advertorial. Depending on your business, it might be worthwhile for you to work with them, as they are a trusted third party who can help build interest in your product or service by giving it a positive review.
Start by reaching out to well-known influencers in your industry, and offer an incentive for working together. Some influencers may ask for a flat fee, while others might be interested in commissions or free swag. You’ll quickly see how this lead generation strategy is a clever way to start winning over customers.
12. Host a webinar or event
Whether in-person or virtual, events are a hands-on way to generate leads. Inviting people to networking events, such as a happy hour or picnic that offers free food or product samples, can help you foster organic connections with potential customers. With your leads surrounded by food and fun, this strategy is a casual way to create interest around your offerings.
Events are an effective form of lead capture in the online world, too. Webinars and virtual conferences can help draw in people who want to learn new information or acquire knowledge about a particular field. If you offer an important tool or service within that field, use these types of events to gently guide audiences toward your offering. At the end, you can even provide a discount to attendees who want to make a purchase.
By Rebecca Strehlow
Marketing Expert and Blogger
By Jennifer Kaplan
Small Business Expert