Top 23 Lead Generation Strategies for Better Results

Learn about the top lead generation strategies for optimizing and improving your existing inbound or outbound lead generation process.

Regardless of your business or industry, lead generation is the lifeblood of your sales process. You need a consistent influx of quality leads to grow your customer base. Now, you probably know the basics of lead generation and the common strategies, such as running ads or cold emailing. But there are some lesser-known lead generation ideas that you can use to iterate on and improve what you are currently doing. Today, we bring you 23 of them.

1. Host Webinars That Don't Sell

Hosting webinars is a great way to turn your audience members into leads. First, create a webinar based on industry-relevant information. The best ones solve a problem or give an insight that changes the attendee’s worldview. To learn more about how to create great webinars, we asked Kristen Hariton, Senior Product Marketing Manager at SiteCompli, what makes a webinar valuable to the viewers.

It seems counterintuitive, but put sales secondary to content value when you're designing a webinar. Prioritize an outline that provides folks with information they want and need, and they'll see your company as a trusted advisor (without having to give them a hardcore sales pitch during the event).

This was especially true during the onset of COVID, when our industry needed clear answers and advice on how to care for their residents and buildings. By designing webinars around COVID strategy instead of just our product, we were able to get people engaged with our content on a higher scale, and turn those people into solid leads.

Kristen Hariton
Kristen Hariton
Senior Product Marketing Manager of SiteCompli

But the work’s still incomplete until you market the event to your email subscribers and social followers. Then, afterward, follow-up with customer attendees to develop the relationship.

2. Use Lead Capture Software

Lead capture software consists of tools like embedded forms or pop-ups that help you capture lead information across your landing pages, blog posts, and other lead capture mediums. The tools usually look like forms that capture email addresses, but many offer more than that on the backend, such as giving you data to optimize your forms as well as lead data that helps you define your ideal customer.

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Additional Reading:

If you want to research some lead capture tools that could take your landing pages to the next level, read our article on the best lead capture software solutions, which includes a breakdown of each of the top options.

3. Create an Interactive Quiz or Calculator

You probably see interactive quizzes or calculators all over the web. For example, some might help you find the right index fund for your financial goals. Others, like this one from Built With Science, help you map out your fitness and diet plan.

When you offer a quiz, you are helping the buyer answer a question. And you aren’t just giving them some canned answer you give to everyone. You’re offering personalized advice based on their traits and desires. Leads will happily give you their email address to learn a bit about themselves.

To generate more leads, gate these quizzes, asking for contact information in return for their results. Then, once they have taken the quiz and looked over their results, you can start emailing them and offering extra help with whatever they searched.

Example interactive calculator
Example interactive calculator

4. Create a Free Course

Successful content marketing is all about educating and engaging your target market. What better way to do this than with a free course. It can be as simple as five video presentations about a topic. Let’s go over how to create a video course that actually provides value to your target audience. 

  1. Identify a Key Problem for Your Audience: This will be the subject of your course. To figure out what your audience is struggling with, send out polls, join forums and social media groups, and pay attention to common questions.
  2. Create the Course Outline: Define the steps that will get your viewer from their current level of knowledge to the level they need to hit to overcome their problem. 
  3. Choose a Format: Videos are best for explaining complex concepts. Keep them 5-7 minutes long. Presentation slides with a recording are useful, as well. To go the extra mile, you can also include fillable pdfs or quizzes to keep them engaged. 
  4. Promote the Course: Post it on social media. Send it to email subscribers. Offer it to current customers. Mention it in relevant blog posts. And even run some ads.

For a more in-depth analysis on building a free course, check out Ninja Bean’s article on 5 steps to generating leads using free courses.

5. Offer a Helpful Checklist

There are some processes in life and business that require you to remember a lot. That could be packing for a wilderness backpacking trip or creating a website. Whatever this long process is for your customers, provide them with a checklist that makes it more manageable. For example, SEMRush offers this free checklist to its audience that needs help with SEO.

Example helpful checklist
Example helpful checklist

Create these checklists and market them across various channels. If you are marketing it to people with emails you don’t have yet, consider gating the content. Require them to give you their email to access it. This is a great way to build trust with your audience and show them that your business is there to help.

6. Run Facebook Lead Ads

Facebook lead ads allow you to capture Facebook users’ contact information directly on the platform. How it works is simple. To users, lead ads look like regular Facebook ads; however, embedded within them is a form that pops open when the user clicks. The form asks users to fill in a few fields that you’ve chosen (email address, name, etc.) and autopopulates the ones for which Facebook has data. This makes it easy for the user to submit without leaving Facebook.

Example of FB lead ad
Example Facebook lead ad
Example embedded lead form
Example embedded lead form

It’s perfect for B2C companies looking to collect email addresses, increase webinar attendance, or book consultations with qualified buyers. It’s also an excellent choice for those without a lead generation website since the contact information is gathered directly on the platform.

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Additional Reading:

If you want to learn how to test these out, read our article on how to generate leads with Facebook lead ads, where we walk you through the step-by-step process of creating a lead ad.

7. Interview an Expert & Share the Conversation

Try interviewing an expert in your field and sharing their conversation on social media or your blog. People are always interested in hearing industry secrets and insights from experts. So consider gating the content; that way, people submit their contact information to hear the interview. Or share it for free to build your reputation as a value provider in the field.

Take this a step further and create a branded podcast and record the conversation. For instance, Shopify runs a podcast called “TGIM” where they interview high-powered business people about their entrepreneurial journeys and what they learned along the way. Their audience of entrepreneurs loves this content. It’s a brilliant way to grow a fan club and generate leads.

8. Create Problem-Solving Videos

Your customers come to you because you can solve their problems. To help them see this, create problem-solving videos they can access for free. For instance, a local plumber might shoot a video about a cheap and easy way to unclog a drain, then share it on their town’s Facebook page. People will applaud and thank them. And when a pipe bursts, they’ll give the plumber a call. Lead generated.

Try creating entertaining and educational videos answering questions and providing best practices and sharing them on social media. And at the end of your videos, after building trust, advertise your service or a lead magnet offer.

Consider taking this a step further and start a lead-generating YouTube channel. One company doing a great job of this is Income School, a small business that teaches people how to build niche websites.

Example lead-generating youtube channel
Example lead generating YouTube channel

Social media is one of the best ways to get these videos in front of your potential buyers. To learn more about the different social media platforms and how to use them for marketing, read our ultimate guide on social media lead generation, which includes strategies for all the major platforms.

9. Make a “Hook, Line, & Sinker” Lead Magnet

A lead magnet is a gated piece of valuable content that the user can access when they submit contact information. The most important aspect of a lead magnet is that it actually converts. To make that happen, try the hook, line, and sinker (HLS) strategy. It works best in ultimate guide form, so we’ll use one in the example below. 

  • Hook: Write an attention-grabbing title. 
  • Line: Give the first half of an ultimate guide. 
  • Sinker: Ask for contact information to access the rest of the guide.

In his article, Sean Ogle, founder of Location Rebel, goes in-depth about how to use the HLS method for email opt-ins. He runs a golf site for golf fanatics and uses the HLS method in an ultimate guide titled “7 Tactics to Play the World’s 7 Best Golf Courses.” Users click into it and get to read the tantalizing intro and the first three of the seven tactics. Then, hungry for more, they run into the sinker below, where they enter their email address to read on.

Example sinker in HLS method
Example sinker in HLS method

10. Start a Private Facebook Group

Starting a private Facebook group for your business is a great way to build a fan club and turn members into leads. Invite your email subscribers or followers from other networks. Then, within the group, share content that they will enjoy — e.g., articles, videos, and conversation topics. Trust and familiarity will grow. Every once in a while, post an offering, a special deal, an invite to a webinar or networking event, or anything that will help nurture them through the sales funnel. 

To create an engaging group, try these practices: 

  • Post welcome messages often. 
  • Set up a code of conduct for new members to read. 
  • Keep the group content special and unique. 
  • Schedule your posts for peak activity times. 
  • Write posts that will spark healthy debate.
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Additional Reading:

This is one of many Facebook lead generation methods. To learn more, read our in-depth guide on facebook lead generation, where we show you both paid and free methods to gain traction on the network and build a lead generating machine.

11. Try SEO Content Marketing

SEO stands for search engine optimization. Essentially, people use SEO to generate organic traffic to their websites by writing articles or blog posts that will rank well on Google search. If an article ranks on the first page for a certain query, more people will click on it and end up on the website.

For example, a loan agency might try to rank for the Google search query “How do I get a personal loan?” To do so, they write an in-depth, unique, and helpful article that satisfies the searcher’s intent, then post it on their blog. For instance, NerdWallet, which sells loans, comes in at number four.

Example SEO ranking posts

The most important factor in getting posts to rank well is that you address the user’s question and intent. Focus on satisfying the person, not Google.

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Additional Reading:

To learn how to start using SEO, to generate leads read our article on SEO lead generation, which includes detailed steps on how to generate quality traffic from SEO and capture lead contact information.

12. Leverage LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms

LinkedIn lead gen forms are LinkedIn ads with embedded lead capture forms that pop up when a user clicks the ad. This enables you to capture lead information like email addresses and job titles directly on the platform. Better yet, the form prepopulates data about the user that it has in its system. That lower friction could mean higher conversion rates. According to LinkedIn, these forms produce conversion rates of 13%, while landing pages average just 2.35%.

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Additional Reading:

To learn more about LinkedIn lead gen forms and how they can supercharge your paid LinkedIn efforts, read our step-by-step guide on how to create LinkedIn lead gen forms, which includes best practices and examples.

13. Run Google PPC Ads

In SEO, you try to organically rank high on Google’s search engine results pages for certain queries. With PPC, you pay for placement at the top of the search engine results page of the keyword you’re targeting. Your goal is to win clicks on the link and drive people to your website or landing page. Also, it’s called pay-per-click (PPC) because you pay only when someone clicks on the ad.

Here’s an example. A food delivery service might pay to rank for the query “how to get healthy food delivered weekly.” This has high buyer intent, so it probably costs a pretty penny. Let’s see which businesses are using PPC ads on it.

Example of PPC Ads
Example PPC ads

PPC is a great way to capture leads that you might have ordinarily missed. Plus, you can capitalize on selling to them at the right time. If it’s on their mind and they google it, they might be ready to purchase immediately.

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Additional Reading:

For more detail on exactly how to set up a successful PPC campaign for lead generation, check out our step-by-step guide on how to generate leads from PPC Google ads, including great examples to emulate.

14. Implement Lead Scoring

Not all leads are equal. Some will tease you and waste your time. It’s important to be able to differentiate between promising leads and teases. You can then prioritize selling to these high-scoring leads who fit your buyer persona perfectly or express buying behavior. Lead scoring is the best systematic way of making this differentiation. 

Lead scoring is when you use a point system to rank leads. Scoring factors could include: 

  • Behavioral Metrics: Has the lead replied to emails, read a certain amount of content, interacted with your business on social, or engaged in other ways? 
  • Demographic Data: The user’s title, age, job, gender, etc. The more they match your buyer persona, the better the score. 
  • Firmographic Data: For B2B sellers, this refers to the lead’s company information such as revenue, size, and industry. The more it relates to your ideal customer profile, the better the score.

Leads with lower scores will receive different treatment and actions than leads with higher scores. For instance, a lead with a score of 2/10 might continue being nurtured by marketing. Meanwhile, leads with a 6/10 are passed to the sales team, which will attempt contact.

15. Use an Email Finder Tool

If you’re having trouble finding email addresses for potential prospects, try an email finder tool. These tools usually require you to type in the user’s full name and their company domain name. The tool then delivers you the email address or a batch of them. Two of the best email lookup tools are: 

  • VoilaNorbert: Great for any seller. Type the customer’s name and company domain, and VoilaNorbert will find you their email address. You get 50 free searches after creating an account. The monthly valet plan is $49/month and includes 1,000 searches. 
  • Hunter.io: Great for B2B sellers, especially if they’re engaged in account-based marketing or decision-maker hunting. You plug in the company domain, and it gives you a list of every employee’s email address. The free option includes 100 requests a month.
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Additional Reading:

To learn about other ways to find your lead’s email addresses, read our independent editorial review of the top email finder software, including what each is best for.

16. Create In-Depth & Targeted Research Reports

Instead of pitching people on your product or service, try offering them a hyper-targeted research report about their industry that reveals information they want to know. This is a great way to break through the noise. You can either send it to them as outreach to start a conversation or use it as a lead magnet. Seth Dotterer, CEO of SiteCompli, told us about how he used to use this lead generation strategy at a former company.

Giving value first makes all the difference. We would create custom research reports by vertical. We’d pick an industry, like anti-virus software, do a super targeted research report comparative performance of the top 10 players in the space, and send it to them. We’d say, ‘Hey, we did this report. Your company came up in the third spot. Are you interested in seeing it? And it's not bad for PR, either.'

Seth Dotterer
Seth Dotterer
CEO of SiteCompli

We’re all so used to being pitched about a product. If you mix it up and lead with the value of a hyper-targeted report based on research, you can get their attention.

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Additional Reading:

To learn more about creating awesome lead magnets like the in-depth research report, read our article on how to create lead magnets that convert. In it, we show you eight types of lead magnets (with examples) along with a five-step strategy for creating your own.

17. Work a Trade Show Booth

Trade shows are great places to form personal connections with potential leads, especially if you have your own booth that gives you a spot to engage with them. Better yet, most trade shows give out lists of attendees before the event. If that’s the case, look through the list and find people who fit your buyer persona. Then, email them asking them to stop by the booth for a quick demo or chat.

As for those who are just wandering around the trade show looking for cool swag, be more proactive. We asked Eric Hirsch, Creative/Digital Marketing Director at CDx Diagnostics, how he attracts people into the many trade show booths he’s run over the years.

Working a trade show booth is all psychology. When you're passionate about what you're doing and saying, and you're genuine, others can't help but be interested. Generating leads is about connecting with people, listening to what they have to say, and providing a solution to their challenges. But you can't wait for them to wander in; you have to engage with them. Otherwise, they will probably just walk by and grab a brochure when you aren't looking.

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Eric Hirsch
Creative/Digital Marketing Director of CDx Diagnostics

18. Cold Call & Email in Tandem

You rarely know which medium an individual prefers to receive contact from strangers. Sometimes, salespeople either cold call or cold email, forgetting the power of doing both together. In cold outreach, try a multi-channel approach. Michael Sullivan, Business Development Executive at Leyton Consulting, has this to say about sales outreach.

When doing cold outreach, you don't want to throw darts in the dark. People are busy, and a few random calls and emails aren't going to engage them. It's vital to structure outreach through a cadence that utilizes multiple channels, including calls, emails, LinkedIn, and video, but calls and emails are the bread and butter of any cadence. It's best to use calls and emails in tandem; a call by itself is a phantom touch, and emails are the best voicemails.

Michael Sullivan
Business Development Executive of Leyton Consulting

To gain the knowledge needed to form your cold calling and emailing cadence, read our articles on how to effectively cold email and how to cold call so that it actually works. In each, you’ll find repeatable formats as well as winning templates to use.

19. Ask for Introductions Over Referrals

Tap into your customer base to generate new customers by asking for introductions to other potential buyers in their network. If the customers enjoy your service and know someone who might benefit from it, why wouldn’t they facilitate an introduction? We asked Matt Green, founder of Sales Assembly, about how his company grew primarily from referrals. He gave us this informative response.

First of all, don't ask for a referral. Ask for an introduction — the two are different. Second, it's imperative that you remove as much friction as possible between the person you're asking for an introduction from, and the introduction itself.

"The best way to do that, in my experience, is to write an email in a manner that your contact can simply forward along to the person you'd like to connect with and simply say, 'See below. Open to an introduction?' Your email has to clearly lay out why you're asking for the introduction and, more importantly, the value you're going to be providing to the person should he/she opt in to connecting with you.

Matt Green
Matt Green
Chief Revenue Officer of Sales Assembly

If you follow Matt’s advice, you’re sure to find quality business referrals from your existing network. As he says, focus on getting introductions over asking explicitly for referrals.

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Additional Reading:

To learn more about sourcing referrals the right way, read our guide on the top ways to generate referrals, where we deep-dive into the possible options, including rewards programs and referral networks.

20. Include Video Memes in Your Outreach

Outreach is all about standing out. To do that, try using video memes. These are short videos that you send to leads. Piñata Farm is an app that makes creating these memes easy. For example, with no video editing skills required, you can grab a prospect’s headshot from their LinkedIn or their company logo and add it to a meme. Then, you can write in a blurb that explains why you are reaching out.

Joe Benjamin, Sales Leader and Co-Founder of CheetahIQ, had this to say about using the app as one of his creative sales outreach ideas.

Piñata Farm is something salespeople might want to consider to stand out from the noise. You certainly will if you can leverage it properly because it's a creative and unique way to get your prospect's attention.

Joe Benjamin
Sales Leader and Co-Founder of CheetahIQ

That said, go test it out. Younger markets will love this, especially if you can make the memes funny and relatable.

21. Join Relevant LinkedIn Groups

Social selling on LinkedIn is an effective lead generation tactic for B2B sellers. It focuses on building relationships with decision makers on the platform up to the point where enough rapport exists to ask them for a meeting. One of the best ways to find these industry decision makers is by joining relevant LinkedIn groups. For example, a proptech salesperson might join a property management group.

Example LinkedIn Group
Example LinkedIn Groups

Once inside the LinkedIn group, do the following: 

  • Scout for people who fit your buyer persona. 
  • Add them to your prospecting list. 
  • Engage with them each week — reply to comments, post articles, InMail them valuable content. 
  • Send a connection request. 

Soon they will begin to view you as an industry expert and will be open to a call.

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Additional Reading:

To learn how to craft the perfect LinkedIn lead generation strategy, read our ultimate guide on LinkedIn lead generation, which includes detail on free and paid methods.

22. Answer Questions on Reddit

Your audience might be posting questions on Reddit, which boasts 450 million active users. Get on the platform and answer those questions. This is a great way to build yourself up as an expert in your industry. For example, a natural skincare business owner might search out questions related to skin health. If someone asks, “Why is there a rash on my forehead?”, the business owner jumps to the rescue with research-backed answers.

And if your answers are the best, the algorithm will push them to the top of each question’s forum. Therefore, more people will see it.

To turn those inquisitive potential customers into leads, you can include a link out to your website. Or you can directly reach out to the person who asked the question, asking them if they need any help with their current problem.

23. Go Door-to-Door

Door-to-door sales, also known as cold canvassing, is when you walk from house to house or office to office trying to generate leads. Examples include a painter offering free estimates to homeowners in their territory or a bagel shop owner selling the idea of Bagel Mondays to an office manager.

The hardest part about door-to-door sales is that it’s hard to scale. It takes time to walk or drive door-to-door. However, if you sell something that applies to every homeowner/office in a local area, such as realtor services, landscaping, solar, energy, cable, or cookies, it might be worth it for that increased human connection. To succeed in door-to-door sales, follow these tips: 

  • Answer the Four W’s Immediately: People want to know who you are, what company you’re from, why you are at their door, and when you will leave. Give it to them ASAP to produce trust. 
  • Know Your Product Extremely Well: When you know you can handle any random question a prospect throws your way, you will have increased confidence, which is essential in this tactic. 
  • Use Powerful Closing Statements: Say “If we throw in {bonus X}, will you sign today?” or “If we can find a way to get over {hesitation X}, will you sign today?”

Most of all get used to rejection and at each new door maintain the mindset that something wonderful is about to happen. Your prospects will sense the positivity.

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Additional Reading:

To get the most out of your door-to-door sales strategy, read our ultimate guide on how to cold canvass, which helps you choose and canvass the best sales territories.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Lead Generation?

Lead generation refers to the process of researching and attracting potential customers who’d be interested in purchasing your product or service.

What is a Qualified Lead?

A qualified lead is a person or organization that fits your ideal customer profile and has expressed interest in your product or service. The best way to qualify leads is through a process of lead scoring where you rate how good a potential prospect is in terms of fit.

What is Inbound vs. Outbound Lead Generation?

Inbound lead generation refers to all methods of generating traffic online and sending to a website or landing page where leads are prompted to take an action in return for their contact details. Outbound lead generation, on the other hand, refers to the manual selling process of finding and reaching out to leads directly.

Bottom Line: Lead Generation Strategies

The right lead generation strategies are essential to any salesperson who wants their sales process to be a well-oiled machine. To determine which strategies are best for you, understand your sales process and your ideal customer profile, and then devise a strategy that most effectively helps you interact with your most valuable prospects.

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