Need some more leads? Let’s solve that problem for you.
Let’s dive into some effective ways to start generating leads for your business right away.
Inside each of those categories are several types of lead generation strategies for your business to try out. We’ve put together this guide to cover each type and how to choose the best one for your business.
Inbound Lead Generation
Inbound lead generation is when someone contacts your business looking for more information. This is mainly what we focus on here at Lead Engines, as the quality of lead is often much higher.
Instead of chasing a lead, you can attract them.
Inbound leads are looking for answers to their questions and solutions to their problem. Typically, this happens with a phone call or info submission. This is why we love inbound leads and often why they are the most valuable.
Ask any successful business owner, and they often prefer inbound leads over outbound. The tradeoff is, this can be a slower way of collecting leads (unless you’re running paid advertising).
A prospect is contacting you for more information which puts you in a better position as a business. From there you can follow up with them and find out how you can solve their problem.
Inbound leads can be broken down further into several other types, here they are:
Inbound Lead Generation Strategies
1. Inbound Phone Calls
Inbound phone calls are some of the best quality leads you can get. Someone has willingly picked up a phone to call your business and find out how you can help them.
With inbound phone calls, you can answer questions and position your product as the solution. Inbound phone calls typically sell for a premium because of the intent behind the lead.
To generate inbound phone calls you can use an online ad platform like Google Ads or Facebook Ads. With online ad platforms, it has become much easier to generate leads fast with more control of your audience and budget.
You can also still use traditional methods like TV, Radio, Billboards, Magazines, and Newspapers. Keep in mind, these can be harder to track without some type of tracking in place.
It helps to use a tracking phone number also to know which source of leads is performing best.
2. Email Sign Ups / Newsletters
Email is definitely not dead, and this is still our favorite type of lead for many reasons.
Email marketing is a one-to-many strategy. So you can send one email to hundreds, thousands, or millions of leads at a time.
Typically, this type of lead is interested in what you have to offer and is looking for more info to fix their problem.
With email sign-ups, you can build an email list database of prospects that you own.
This is key. YOU own it.
Unlike social media followers which are owned by the sites you’re using, you actually own your list of leads. This can be a valuable asset for your business and even be included in the sale of a business.
The best part? You can follow up with these prospects over and over again until they buy or unsubscribe.
So, unlike most types of lead generation, you can continue to market your business and products at scale. There are even ways to automate this entire process with online marketing automation tools.
Some of the largest companies in the world all use email sign-ups to capture new leads and create a database of potential customers. Think about all the emails you get in a day as proof.
It’s also often the highest revenue per lead channel we’ve seen in our business and of our customers.
The easiest and fastest way to capture new leads is to create a form on your website or landing page and send your website traffic to this page with an offer for them to sign up.
If you’re in Europe, make sure to follow GDPR practices to ensure you are compliant as well.
3. Social Media
Social media is a great way to capture inbound leads.
Something to keep in mind with social media is that your followers are not yours. They belong to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, or whatever platform you’re using.
So you need to learn how to turn your followers into actual leads.
To do this, add your website to your profile for people who are interested in learning more about your business. You can also post helpful tips and advice on your social media account with a link to your website.
Just be sure to have a balance of valuable content and offers so people don’t get annoyed with you always promoting your business.
No one likes those types of businesses.
4. Referrals / Word of Mouth
Referrals and word of mouth are the classic forms of inbound marketing.
Typically, this comes from past customers. However, these types of leads can also come from friends, family, colleagues, or even complete strangers who recommend your business.
Referrals are fantastic and can quickly grow a business, but are hard to get unless you have a great business to start.
People won’t refer friends to a business they don’t love.
To get more referrals start by having an awesome business, then create a way for people to refer customers to you. You can offer incentives also like rewards or gift cards to get people to make the extra effort.
5. Events / Tradeshows
Events are a great way to generate leads. By setting up a booth at a convention or local event you can start to collect leads from people who visit your booth.
One of the simplest ways is to set up a simple fishbowl and let people toss in their business cards. If you target consumers and not business owners, you can get paper forms printed for people to fill out.
In the digital age, it’s easier to set up an iPad and have it at your booth for people to fill out on the spot. This way, you have email and other information directly entered that is compliant with email marketing laws.
6. Press Releases / Public Relations
PR or press releases are another great way to generate inbound leads. Press releases and being published on other sites can leverage other people’s property to grow your business.
Just make sure to use some type of landing page or send them to your website with a lead capture form to collect leads.
Imagine getting mentioned by Oprah, but not having a place on your website to capture leads. That would be a massive missed opportunity.
Even smaller mentions like local publications can still bring you, customers, so make sure to capture those leads somehow on your website.
Sites like Haro make it easier to get free PR.
Affiliates are another great inbound lead type for a business to grow. Typically this is harder to track unless you have some type of affiliate tracking system in place.
I’d recommend using something like Tune to create your own affiliate tracking program for your business.
When setting up your own affiliate program, it’s important to know your numbers.
Know how much you’re willing to pay for a lead down to the penny. The affiliate game is much harder to do if you don’t know these numbers figured out first.
Once you know your business numbers and how much you can pay affiliates to send you leads, then you can set up a program to have affiliates generate your leads.
This method can be a fast way to generate leads with less risk, but it requires really knowing your business numbers first.
8. Live Chat / Chatbots
Live chat and chatbots are a new way of capturing leads that have grown in the last few years. Adding live chat software to your website is a simple way to capture leads from potential buyers with questions.
If people are browsing your website, and have a question, it’s a great way to get a high-quality lead who is in buying mode.
Make sure to put a form on the live chat box to capture at least an email address.
There is plenty of chat software out there, and Facebook offers a free live chat tool you can install on your website today.
9. SMS / Text Message
SMS and text message marketing has been around for more than a decade now, but it’s still an effective strategy for lead generation.
Text message open rates are as high as 98%, making it a very effective strategy for getting your message seen.
Keep in mind, with any SMS marketing, you have to follow the law, or else you could end up in hot water pretty quickly. The federal law for SMS marketing is called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). This law gives consumers the right to claim damages of up to $1,500 per message if you send them a message that they didn’t opt-in to get.
Make sure to check the laws and compliance around SMS marketing to make sure your business is compliant to avoid any legal issues.
To properly do SMS marketing, you should have permission from the lead to receive text messages. I can’t stress this enough.
Using SMS shortcodes, you can have people text a short number that is dedicated to your business. Then you can communicate back with them via SMS to keep the communication going.
Before diving into SMS do your homework and use the right tools to help you out.
Outbound Lead Generation
Outbound lead generation is when you contact a person or business to tell them about your business.
Outbound lead generation can be extremely effective when done right, but there’s a fine line between spam and outbound prospecting. So take caution when going outbound and make sure to know your local laws.
Unless you have thick skin, outbound can be a tougher lead generation method to tackle.
There are also several types of outbound lead generation methods you can implement in your business. Let’s dive in…
Outbound Lead Generation Strategies
10. Lead Lists
Lead lists are a classic lead generation strategy. Compiling a list of targeted prospects to reach out to can be exhausting unless you use tools to help you out.
Luckily in our modern world, there are dozens of online sites to build highly targeted lead lists.
Sites like ExactData, DnB, or ZoomInfo all allow you to create and purchase targeted lead lists in minutes.
With those leads lists, you can then import them into a CRM for your sales team to contact.
11. Cold Calling
If you’ve ever done cold calling before, you know how tough it can be. From getting hung up on or yelled at, you need a thick skin to survive cold calling strategies. The good thing is, it can be effective if you figure out your process and have the right cold calling scripts.
When I first started in business, cold calling was a great way to get started with very little money. It’s also a great way to learn more about what potential customers really want.
Before diving into cold calling it helps to build a list of targeted leads. As mentioned in the previous step, create a targeted leads list so you are at least calling people who are in your target market audience.
Tools like RingCentral make it easy for you to get a team cold calling together and scale your efforts.
With cold calling, just make sure to follow your local laws and respect the Do Not Call Registry, or else you could end up in some trouble. The Do Not Call registry applies only to consumers, and not businesses.
So if you’re customers are businesses, you can pick up the phone and start dialing away!
12. Cold Email
Generating leads with cold email is another effective method for lead generation.
With cold email, it works well for B2B more than B2C, but it can work for both.
With cold email, you can directly reach key decision-makers at a company you want to sell your products or services to.
Like cold calling though, you can expect to get some angry emails back when emailing someone without their permission, so it’s important to approach it the right way.
There are dozens of tools also that can help you put your cold email on auto-pilot. I’d recommend checking out MailShake which has become the go-to tool in the space.
13. Direct Mail
Direct mail is the classic strategy for lead generation. Surprisingly, direct mail also still works well.
Direct mail can even perform better these days as there is less competition in the mailbox now that everyone has gone digital.
Like any cold outreach strategy, it’s best to compile a targeted list first before mailing. This is important else you could waste a ton of money sending mail to people who would never buy from you.
If you’re a local business in the U.S., USPS offers a great service called Every Door Direct Mail. USPS allows you to select zipcodes or a general area that you can send your mail campaigns.
If you prefer more targeted direct mail campaigns, you can use a tool like PostGrid to upload lists and manage your mail campaigns.
14. Online Forums
Online forums have been around practically since the start of the internet. They still remain a great source to connect with people and of course generate leads.
Every forum is different and has different rules about engaging with users, so make sure to check the forum’s policies.
Search Google for forums in your target niche by using “Niche + forums” in your search. Then create accounts on those forums to start engaging with users there.
Remember to not spam people or you’ll end up banned pretty quickly.
15. Cold Social Media Outreach
Social media has been around for more than a decade, but today it’s becoming more powerful than ever for lead generation.
While there are not many restrictions or laws about cold outreach via social media, it should be handled carefully to avoid harming your brand image.
The last thing you want is a bunch of people complaining that you or your brand is spamming social media.
To get leads with social media using cold outreach, you can direct message (DM) contacts to start a conversation. Similar to cold email, have a message that will engage a response without being spammy.
Here are some of the best sites for cold social media outreach:
- LinkedIn – Perfect for Business-to-Business leads, LinkedIn is the main place for business owners to network. Using LinkedIn InMail allows you to message other people on the platform using credits.
- Facebook – Perfect for both B2C and B2B. You can join niche groups related to your product or service and message users who are looking for solutions. You can also go to the business page directory and message the businesses directly.
- Instagram – Instagram is a great place for both B2C and B2C lead generation. Since they added their messaging feature, you can now message people directly on the platform. You can also message business accounts directly promoting your offer. Again, don’t be a spammer and approach your outreach with a plan to make sure you don’t harm your brand image.
- Reddit – Reddit has a ton of niched content but it also allows you to direct message people. With Reddit, you can easily get banned if you abuse the rules of the different subreddits and spam your business messaging. So, make sure to provide valuable content and message users only who want to be messaged.
Inbound Vs Outbound Lead Generation
Should you do Inbound or Outbound? The truth is, you should be doing both.
Both methods are effective and the more you can implement in your business the better off you’ll be. That being said, it’s important for your business to master ONE method first before moving onto the next.
Unless you have a huge budget to test multiple methods at once, it’s best to master one.
Even if you have a big budget, it’s best to still focus this budget on one channel until you’ve got it dialed in.
Whatever you decide for your company, once you find a winning type of lead generation that works, double down on it.
What’s your favorite type of lead generation? Drop a comment below and let us know.